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How to Plan an 80th Birthday Party

A festive cake for an eightieth birthday

A festive cake for an eightieth birthday

Celebrating A Very Special Birthday

It's quite a milestone to reach 80 years of life. It is a special birthday and should have a special celebration.

When my Dad's 80th birthday rolled around, we worked hard to created a special day that my Dad would always remember. In the end, we decided on a home party so my Dad could spend as much time with whoever he wanted. No rush.

I hope this article will give you ideas on how to create a day to remember for your 80th birthday celebration.

Celebration Heading Your Way

What Type Of Party Will You Have?

My Dad's 80th birthday party was going to be memorable. We wanted it to be something he would have fun at and remember.

Many ideas were thrown around. We could rent a hall, go to a restaurant, or spend a special day out. We considered a couple of factors. A couple of the guests were elderly and disabled. One was on oxygen. Several were hard of hearing. Anywhere we went would have to accommodate them.

More importantly, my Dad hadn't seen a couple of his siblings in a long time. He would want to sit with them and chat (something he did quite well). Would he be able to do that in a restaurant or elsewhere?

We asked ourselves what would Dad prefer? What would be important to him would be visiting with everyone in a relaxed manner, being able to yell and not worry about who heard, and spending as many hours as he liked with his family.

We settled on an at home party. This would allow my Dad to be the social butterfly that he was and let everyone enjoy each others company without any bustle.

You Need to Send Out Invitations

I know today everyone likes to do things digitally. But, it is nice to get a formal invitation in the mail for these kinds of events. Makes it seem special.

Plus, you need to consider your guests. Are they elderly? Are they even on the internet? If they have a computer, can they figure out a new fangled thing like a web invite? If not, you need to get some invitations.

Colorful Invites!

Who says you need to be stuffy? Invitations should be colorful and cheerful, don't you think? These invitations are designed in flashy multi-colored dots and stripes with a big bold number 80. They are eyecatching and festive. Perfect for a celebration!

You don't need to get invites with the age on them. But, I think these stand out.

Party To Do List

If you decided to have a party at home, you need to start planning!. Do you need decorations? How many people are your inviting? Are you going to cook dinner or order food? How big of cake do you need?

Don't forget to ask for help! There are plenty of family members to spread the work around.

  1. Ask for help and delegate duties
  2. Pick a theme that is special to the person or go with a general birthday theme
  3. Make up the guest list and send out the invitations
  4. Buy decorations
  5. Decide what's on the menu (will you be making the food or ordering out?)
  6. Order a cake
  7. Create a memento for the celebrant and the guests
  8. Make sure you have enough chairs especially if there are elderly guests
  9. Set everything up, get the food together, and enjoy!

Picking A Theme

Baseball themed table decorations

Baseball themed table decorations

Get Ready to Decorate!

When planning the big event, you'd like the party decorations to reflect things that are important in their life. My sister was in charge of decorations. The themes for my Dad's party reflected the things that were most important to him: family, baseball, gambling, and cars (not necessarily in that order).

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Poster boards were decorated with casino themes. Then, we got together a bunch of photographs old and new which were displayed on the boards.

The rest of the decorations came from the party store and my Dad's life. My sister found baseball and car themed items to decorated the tables. We found old Little League trophies and awards from my Dad's 30+ years of volunteer work with the organization. Some of his collectible cars were put out as well.

All the decorations held something special for my Dad. Everyone who came knew these things were important to him.

Steamers or Banners?

There are many decorations to choose from. Banners, streamers, balloons, confetti--just to name a few. How much space do you have to work with? Is it easy to hang things? Will hanging decorations be in the way?

I love these streamers. They are so colorful and cheery. Each set comes with 5 metallic "whirls". These curly steamers come in 5 different colors. They are 3 feet long.

Don't you love how springy they are? Makes you want to play with them.

Let's Set the Table

Okay, eventually your guests are going to want to eat. You'll need plates and napkins to set out for dinner and cake.

It's your choice if you want to use real or paper plates. If you go with paper plates do you want them to be plain, every day plates or do you want matching party plates and napkins?

If you go with the plain option, you'll save some money. You can probably pick up big packs at the dollar store. Matching plates and napkins can save you money by setting a festive tone without having to put out money for extra decorations.

It's really your choice.

Start with Festive Plates and Napkins

Depending on if you want to wash a ton of dishes after the party, you'll need to decide o real plates or paper papers. You can go with a solid color or party design with matching napkins. If you decide on matching paper plates and napkins, you have lots of options to choose from. I selected this set because I like the colors and they seem fit for a mature adult. They match the invitations and whirly streamers, too.

A Memento For The Guests

I wanted to put something together for the guests to take home. It had to be something biographical.

I decided to write up my Dad's story. I wrote up a five page biography with highlights from his childhood to the present. I threw in a couple funny stories, too. I included a couple of photographs to compliment the text. I made copies for the guests to take home and one special copy for my Dad.

I used a simple word processor (MS Works) to create the handout. It wasn't very complicated so the layout was easy.

Telling your loved ones story is great way to make sure they are remembered.

Handmade book with the story of my Dad's life

Handmade book with the story of my Dad's life

Get All The Photos Together

In the digital age, it's easier than ever to save our memories. At my Dad's party there were five people with cameras.

I was the person in charge of getting all the photographs together. I had everyone email or send me what they had. There were some duplicates which were weeded out. And, some bad photographs that the individuals would rather not see the light of day.

The photographs were copied in two places. I made CDs for those who'd like a personal copy or didn't have access to the internet. I also uploaded them to an online photo sharing site. In this way, everyone had copies and could remember that special day.

The Final Touch

It wouldn't be a party without hats. And, it seems to me that the celebrant should get a very special hat to wear to their own party.

This goofy 80th birthday hat is made to look like a cake complete with candles. The words on the front say "old and grumpy".

If you can't make the birthday person look silly on their birthday then there's no fun in it at all, is there?

A Hat to Remember

Where will you have your party?

You've got everything for your party. Invitations have been sent out. So, where are you going to have it?

Thank you for visiting!

Melody Lassalle (author) from California on August 12, 2015:

Jane, thanks for your comments! We were thinking about a nice restaurant for his party. Then, we realized that what my Dad really would want was time to talk to his siblings. It made sense to have it at home as this was the only time in several years they were all together.

Jane on August 10, 2015:

Very much enjoyed reading this and found lots of useful tips. Just wish I'd seen it earlier as it was my mom's 80th in July. She had a good birthday lunch in a restaurant with about 20 members of her coffee club and family, but I wish we had thought of some of the personal touches that you suggest here.

Melody Lassalle (author) from California on August 09, 2015:

ladyguitarpicker, thanks for comments! My Dad had such a great time at his 80th party. Having it at home made it more intimate but it also allowed him to be himself and really enjoy his guests. Don't you just love the photo boards? We had a great time making comments in front of them. It's wonderful to see old photographs.

stella vadakin from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619 on August 08, 2015:

Great hub and very kind of you to think of your dad. So many people forget their parent these days. I just had a surprise party for my husbands 70 birthday. It turned out great but wish I would have read your hub. I really like the poster board full of photos. Who knows maybe he will get one on his 80 birthday.

Melody Lassalle (author) from California on June 06, 2015:

Catherine, thanks for your comments and the vote up! My dad had a great time at his party. It took some planning but I know he enjoyed being able to visit with everyone in a relaxed environment.

You son should throw you a party anyway :D

Catherine Giordano from Orlando Florida on May 27, 2015:

Great ides. I especially like the bio memento, the pictu4e boards, and decorating the house with things from your father's collections. I think I should print this out and leave it where my son will see it so he can do something special for me when my day comes (in the far far distant future). voted Up++

Melody Lassalle (author) from California on May 12, 2015:

Thank you for your comments and the vote up, chateaudumer! It sounds like you had a wonderful celebrations. Having my Dad's party at home allowed him to have quality time with his siblings two of whom he only saw once or twice a year. He really appreciated it.

David B Katague from Northern California and the Philippines on May 08, 2015:

I celebrated my 80th birthday 5 months ago. I delegated my oldest daughter to arrange for the party. We did discuss several options of the venue of the party and after weighing the pros and cons, we decided it to be party at home. It was one memorable party I have experience and thanks to all my relatives and friends who attended, All the tips in your hub we probably have tried, Great hub and voted up.

WriterJanis2 on March 02, 2013:

I love the idea of the photo poster board.

Takkhis on March 02, 2013:

I appreciate all the ideas you have mentioned here, thanks for sharing :)

Jen from Canada on June 03, 2011:

Great tips for planning an 80th birthday. I think it's a great idea to create a keepsake for the guests. I think spending time with the family is more important the older we get. You appreciate the time you spend with the people around you more that you did as a kid. At least, I know I do.

Jeanette from Australia on May 31, 2011:

What great ideas! I especially love the photo board of your dad's life.

Missmerfaery444 on May 02, 2011:

Love this! You've put together some great ideas for an 80th birthday, love the casino theme and especially the biographical story gift for the guests!

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