Reaching a significant milestone is an important event -- one that rarely goes unnoticed by the person or people who have achieved it. And in most cases, even the most ardent party-poopers are flattered and touched when those around them want to help celebrate their special day. Read on for a few suggestions about how to throw a great milestone party, for yourself or someone close to you.
Whether you’re celebrating a 30th birthday or a golden wedding anniversary, there are a few considerationsto keep in mind.
To surprise or not to surprise?
Surprises are great, and are often OK even with those who insist they
"don’t want any fuss." However, if you know your guest of honor would
absolutely not welcome a surprise party, then respect his or her wishes.
you do decide to go the surprise route, enlist some partners in crime to help
you pull it off. Consider hosting the event somewhere other than your home, and
have someone else coordinate RSVPs (or e-mail your invitations and set up a
secret Hotmail account to handle replies). Make sure all your guests know it's
a surprise, and have a decoy activity planned for the guest of honor that day.
Who to invite?
Get help with the guest list from friends and family. Contact old school chums,
former neighbors, ex-coworkers – anyone you think your guest of honor would
enjoy seeing. Chances are, you won't be at a loss for names!
Food and drinks: Work within your means
For food, keep things simple, particularly if you don't want to limit your
guest list to pull off an elaborate menu. Buffet style is easiest, and if it's
casual it can even be potluck or a selection of pizza and finger foods. Another
option: Make (or buy) a selection of interesting appetizers ahead of time. You
can set them up in stations, which encourages mingling, and each station can be
decorated with photos or memorabilia. Or have the party.
If the party is being hosted at a restaurant, work out a set menu in advance. What
you generally should not do: Invite people to attend the party and expect them
to pay for their own meal and/or drinks. If your party is small and you are
confident that all attendees would be comfortable with such an arrangement,
fine. But as a rule of thumb, you should entertain in the style in which you
can afford. If you don't want to limit the guest list but can't afford to
provide a meal, host an afternoon drop-in and provide cake and coffee. The
occasion should be marked by thoughtfulness and celebration, not the money you
Group gift ideas: Creating keepsakes
Be clear about how you want gifts to be handled -- if you don’t want guests to
bring any, indicate that on the invitation. Some people request donations to a
particular charity in lieu of presents. If you do want to give your guest(s) of
honor something to remember the day by, there are a few options.
Memories album: Buy a photo album with
removable pages and send one to each guest prior to the party. Each person can
fill their page in with photos of themselves with the guest(s) of honor, funny
or touching memories of times shared together, wishes for the future, or
whatever they like. Discreetly collect the pages as guests arrive on party day,
and present the album to the guest(s) of honor during the festivities so all
Signed photo: Frame a photo of the birthday
boy or girl, or the anniversary couple -- either from younger days or a more
recent shot -- with a wide mat. Have guests sign the mat (tuck the frame and
glass safely aside) in lieu of a guest book to give the couple a lasting
reminder o f the special day.
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