How to Throw the Ultimate 30th Birthday Party


Turning 30 means finally achieving adult status. There’s a job, maybe a mortgage, perhaps kids. The average 30-year-old is more likely to pull all-nighters to finish an important work project than to be up at 2 a.m. to hear "last call."

But turning 30 doesn’t mean the end of fun. Here are three great 30th birthday ideas – one for each decade – that will help you throw the ultimate party for a pal facing this milestone.

Go Retro

Taking the guest of honor back to the decade of his or her birth is always a fun theme. In the case of this coming generation of 30-year-olds, that decade is the 1980s.

Start with a custom invitation that encourages guest participation, and send it early enough to give them time to scour thrift stores and their parents’ closets for 80s-appropriate attire.

Turn to an 80s music play list for entertainment. The songs will be familiar to most guests because they grew up hearing their folks play Madonna, Michael Jackson and more. Add some over-the-top colorful 80s decorations and your work is finished.

A Funeral For Youth

This theme works best for a newly minted 30-year-old who’s already settled into a career or family. Break out the tombstone decorations and drape the room in black. Glittery black background curtains add a festive note to the "somber" occasion.

Invite guests to deliver eulogies to the guest of honor’s younger days. Invite the grim reaper, too, though he can assure the guest of honor that all he’s after is cake.

Even if the event is catered, set up a pot-luck style food table similar to what mourners see after the funeral. Ask guests to dress in black and decorate the room with a funeral wreath. Bonus points if you can convince someone to moan piteously or weep uncontrollably all evening long.

Dirty 30 Fun

Hold a messy run as a fund-raiser or as a friendly competition among friends who think they’re tough mudders. Go dirt biking or paintballing.

There are many, many ways to get grimy at a birthday party for an active 30-year-old, plus it’s a chance for the birthday boy or girl to prove they still got it.

If you’re planning a public event, mark it with a custom banner. Come to think of it, use a banner even if the party is private so you can make sure the world knows the guest of honor’s advancing age.