I recently hosted a birthday dinner party for my mom's 80th and wanted to share the best tips I gained from going all out for her big celebration!
Not going to lie, it was a little overwhelming to pull off, so I want to save you any stress in planning a birthday dinner party of your own. I also share the things that significantly impacted the dinner party's efficiency, ambiance, and overall success.
This post is all about TIPS FOR HOSTING THE ULTiMATE BIRTHDAY DINNER PARTY
FIND INSPIRATION OR PICK A CREATIVE CONCEPT
Finding inspiration or picking a theme for a birthday dinner party is one of the most important first steps in planning. It sets the tone for the evening and keeps your party from going in 13 different aesthetic directions.
HOW TO PICK A PARTY STYLE
- Method 1: Find photographic inspiration
- Method 2: Choose a creative concept or style like "autumn glow" or "Game of Thrones."
plan THE menu with FAVORITES BUT KEEP iT SIMPLE
Ask your guest of honor what their absolute favorite appetizers, sides, entrees, cocktails, wine, and desserts are. Try to incorporate what they love into the menu, but don't do it at the expense of your sanity.
For example, if their favorite entree means you must tend to the stove for most of the night, find a variation of the entree that is easy to serve and frees you up to enjoy the party.
Easy DINNER party food ideas
- Hors d'oeuvres like oysters (shuck them 30 minutes before guests arrive), or shrimp cocktail
- Frozen appetizers like potato skins, mac and cheese bites, mini quiches, toasted bruschetta, or jalapeno poppers (throw them into the oven 15 minutes before guests arrive)
- Entrees like pasta dishes, baked casseroles, whole roasted chicken/turkey/pork, crockpot concoctions, or fajitas/tacos with a fixings bar
- Cocktails that you can pre-make in a large batch
- Desserts that don't need to be warmed to taste good
add GOOD lighting for ambiance
The ambiance of your space is everything! Good lighting makes your guests feel more comfortable and cozy. Also, I firmly believe the more candles you have, the better the party will be. (Check out the 800 candles I had at my intimate wedding tablescape.)
Three easy ways to create better ambiance:
- Place candles throughout the party to add that warm glow to your space. Choose scentless candles if any of your guests are scent-sensitive.
- Turn off overhead lights. Use lamps instead. (If you can't turn them off, dim them to 50-75%.)
- Light (or gas) up your fireplace for the ultimate cozy factor. You might want to open some windows to ensure it doesn't get too hot.
FAVORITE CANDLE IDEAS FOR A DINNER pARTY
- candle holders with candlesticks add elegance and so much style
- floating candles in glass hurricanes are so easy (bonus, you can always reuse them!)
- flameless candles are a great option if you are concerned about fire safety
add FLOWERS, botanicals, OR ANY NATURAL TEXTURE
Decorate the center of your table with flowers, botanicals, or any nature-based items to add dimension, warmth, and texture to the table.
Be sure your centerpieces aren't so tall or overbearing that they block the view of guests sitting across from each other. Instead, keep the decorations low, or alternate in between seats.
If you're in Los Angeles, I recommend going to the DTLA Flower Market for the best fresh-cut and dried flowers. You'll find incredible prices, seasonal options, and endless inspiration.
Otherwise, you'll find much better prices and variety by ordering wholesale fresh flowers or wholesale dried flowers from an online seller instead of your local grocery store or florist. Plan for them to arrive a day or two in advance, so you have time to prep and style them.
Ideas for TABLE DECORATIONS
- fresh cut flowers
- dried flowers
- rose petals
- green garland
- whole lemons, oranges, or pineapples
- fresh herbs or leaves
- pumpkins and gourds
- paper or wooden flowers
DRESS YOUR TABLESCAPE TO IMPRESS
A birthday dinner party is the perfect reason to break out your fanciest tablescape details!
Use the nice things you have. First, look on Pinterest for how to combine details in unexpected ways. Then, search for sellers on Etsy who craft handmade items that will add to your table design.
You could also add table details that are conversation starters, for example, personalized name settings or even a printed menu with the guest of honor's name at the top.
FAVORITE ITEMS FOR THE TABLE
- cloth napkins
- candle holders (be sure to get slow-burning candlesticks!)
- tea lights scattered plentifully
- chargers or underplates
- gold, brass, or gunmetal plated silverware
- colored goblet glasses
- wine glasses and champagne flutes
- natural textile table runners
- the entire stack of your best dishes (even the bread plate!)
- a festive, statement centerpiece
- DIY name placeholders
- Maybe even a pre-printed menu!
ENLIST SOME HELPING HANDS
Don't try to tackle the prep and hosting all yourself. It's a lot for one person to handle!
Ideally, enlist some help before the party with the grocery haul, flower prep, items for the table, making or ordering the cake, and fetching the alcohol.
Before the party, ask one of your guests if they would be willing to be an extra set of hands during the dinner.
Of course, if you don't have any help during the week or party, you might pull it off. But I'm confident you will feel like you got hit by a truck by the end of the dinner, no matter how simple of a party you think you might be hosting!
add a PERSONAL touch
Make the night specifically about celebrating your guest of honor. Adding personal touches throughout the evening will make it a special night they will never forget.
PERSONAL TOUCH PARTY IDEAS
- scatter framed photos around the party
- create a personalized playlist
- print a custom menu with the guest of honor's name or initials
- ask a few guests to give a toast (or roast!)
- spell out the guest of honor's name in balloon letters or sequin letter garland
- create a slideshow of memories
- add a custom cake topper
- hang a custom face banner
Take LOTS OF photos + video
Don't forget to document the party! Take lots of photos and videos, especially of the guest of honor. Then, follow up within a few days of the party and share all the footage you captured. It's a great way to keep the celebration alive!
Be sure to document the personal touches throughout the party, too, so the guest of honor can share the details of the evening with those who couldn't attend.
DON'T FORGET THE champagne and the cake!
A birthday dinner party is not complete without a multi-layer birthday cake (and lots of candles to make a wish!) and bubbly enough to go around for all to toast to the guest of honor.
Don't want to be stuck with leftover cake to nibble on for the coming weeks? Send each guest home with a slice (or three!). No one is mad at breakfast cake the morning after an awesome party.
ThiS POST WAS ALL ABOUT TIPS TO THROW AN AWESOME BIRTHDAY DINNER PARTY
I hope these tips help you create a fun, memorable, extraordinary birthday dinner party experience for someone you love. XOXO, Sarah
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