How To Plan A 30th or 40th Birthday Party With Checklist

Author: Philip Lee Hewitson - Google+
After the hype of a 21st birthday party, the next cause for celebration is usually a 30th or 40th birthday. For some the notion of celebrating their 30th or 40th is accepting they’re getting old, for others it is a chance to let their hair down, spend time with their family and catch up with old friends.

Over the years we have helped to plan a veriety of party's so hopefully this article will give you a helping hand in the planning process.

Planning a birthday party for a 30th or 40th st birthday party

When looking at organising your 30th or 40th birthday party you may think because you are older you have seen it all before, you know exactly what you are doing and everything will go to plan. This may well be the case, but even still there is no harm in producing a checklist, after all you don’t want the party to turn into a disaster.

Party checklist print it off here

The initial checklist should include ideas on the following:


The venue very much depends on the number of guests you wish to invite. For smaller functions you may look at holding the party in your home, this would be ideal and very cost effective if you were just looking at inviting family members and family friends. However, venues such as social clubs, pub function rooms, church halls and parish halls make great venues for 30th and 40th birthday parties.

Typically such venues hold in the region of 80 and 100 guests. You may look to hire a venue where you have had previous functions or even a venue from your youth, adding a bit of nostalgia to the occasion.

Number of guests

There are no set guidelines of the number of guests for a 30th or 40th birthday party, this will vary from one party to another. Ideally you should be looking to fill your chosen venue, if you have decided to hire a private venue then ask the owners for their advice on how many guests you should be looking to invite.

These type of parties usually attract a range of people with many using birthday parties to catch up with old school friends. The guest list should look to include representation from the following, family, family friends, school friends, work colleagues (old and new), neighbours and friends from other avenues. Not only will this allow you to celebrate your milestone birthday with all your friends and family but it will also mean that certain pockets of the guests in attendance will represent certain times in your life thus far.

party prices

Usually 30th and 40th birthday parties allow for a little more extravagance in contrast to children’s parties and 18th birthday parties, simply because the individual who is celebrating their birthday is in charge of the budget. This said however it is still advised that you choose a budget before making plans and look to stick to this where possible.

Admittedly you may need to re-calculate once you have shopped around and noted the prices of various things. Simplicity is often the key, hire the essentials first such as the venue, the entertainment and the catering, then use the remainder of the money to add the finishing touches.

party theme

Themes are not just for children’s parties, they’re a really good way of making your birthday party unique and giving guests something to remember the occasion by.

Fancy dress is an old favourite, this can by general fancy dress or a themed fancy dress. A really good idea for themed fancy dress is to use the decade in which you were born. Other themes could include certain colours; this would make buying other items such as napkins and table clothes very simple. Alternatively you could look to join your birthday party to another up and coming event, a football world cup or a royal wedding for example, this would help you decide the theme. It is not compulsory to have a party theme but it can help make certain elements of the day a lot simpler and help add that unique touch.

The length of the party

When you reach the age of 30 or 40 you may have children of your own as may some of your guests, for this reason the idea of partying through till the early hours of the morning becomes an unrealistic prospect. You may choose to hold and evening party opposed to a night part, this would be ideal for the summer months, especially if your venue has outdoor facilities. The ideal party length is about four hours, for family affairs you may choose to celebrate for longer but for large functions four hours seems to be the norm. Remember however that you will require at least an hour before and after the event to set up and tidy up so bear this is mind when booking your venue.

Once the initial checklist has been discussed and the details of the party have been finalised it is then time to decide the finer details of the event. The checklist below will help with this.

party catering

good quality catering can turn an average party into a huge success.

For smaller parties it may be cost effective to supply your own food, for larger events however you shouldn’t look any further then hiring a catering company.
Paying someone to take care of the catering may seem costly but it takes away a lot of stress and gives you free time elsewhere.
Most catering companies offer a hot and cold buffet service as well as mass catering options such as hog roasts and barbecues.
Also, if you are looking to host your 30th or 40th birthday party in a church hall or parish hall then why not ask about a mobile bar service? Be sure to contact the venue before hand however.

party catering options

Party Entertainment

This is the one factor that can make a party memorable when compared to others.
A disco is the traditional choice of entertainment at these events, if you chose a disco for your 30th or 40th birthday then you could add a bit of personalisation by choosing the music yourself, asking the DJ to only play songs from the decade you were born in or from when you were growing up. The likelihood is that this choice of music would also appeal to your guests as well as yourself. Adult entertainers are always a surprise entertainment option for 30th and 40th birthday parties, be very wary when looking into this however, think not only of the birthday girl or boy but also the other guests in attendance.

Party Invitations

These are very important and send them to guests around six weeks before the event is very important, this gives everyone who receives an invite enough time to make possible childcare and transport arrangements. Remember to set the RSVP date carefully, allowing yourself enough time to invite further guests at a later date if required.

Outline all information clearly and in large text, particularly for elderly guests. Also, it may set the tone of the party if you link the invitations to the theme of your party, if you have decided to choose one.

party helpers

The need for help becomes less important as you get older, after all you will not have a room full of small children running round, spilling drinks and causing mayhem, it will be the adults this time instead! Helpers are usually handy before and after the event, whether it’s them lending a hand to make food, blow up balloons or clear tables, never turn away people offering to help.