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40th Birthday Party Decorations & Ideas

By an Award-Winning Professional Party Planner

Get ideas for room decorations, entrance decor, welcome areas, and dessert table decor

About This Site

Welcome!
Watch video or read summary below
Matt James video title


  • Hi, I'm Matt James, a professional event planner with 25 years experience
  • I've produced events for A-list celebrities, including:

    Elton John,
    Sarah Jessica Parker,
    Stella McCartney,
    Kevin Spacey...and more!
  • I've won 30 industry awards for my events
  • And I'm the author of Become an Event Planner: Secrets for Getting Hired by Employers, Recruiters, and Event Professionals


    On this site, I'll share...

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Contents

01

Entrance Decorations

Identify the party location, direct guests to the entrance, and create a warm welcome

02

Welcome Area Décor

Greet guests with signage, décor, arrival drinks, activities, photo ops, and party favors

03

Dessert Table Décor

Maximize your budget by concentrating decorations around a dessert / buffet table

04

Room Decorations

Add creative twists and personal touches to everyday decorations

40TH BIRTHDAY PARTY DECORATIONS

40th birthday party decorations


SUMMARY

  • Avoid obvious, generic, store-bought decorations; it’s lazy and unimaginative
  • Customize decorations with cute, funny, and embarrassing old photos of the birthday boy/girl
  • Creative twists, clever details, and personal touches create talking points, photo ops, and sharing
  • Engagement generates buzz and atmosphere that will make your party a success
  • Don’t try to dress the entire room, this will spread decorations too thinly
  • Focus on four key areas: entrance, welcome area, dessert / buffet table or bar, and room décor
  • Entrance decorations should identify the location of the party, direct guests to the entrance, and create a warm welcome
  • Make a welcome area to greet guests with signage, activities, and self-service drinks
  • Maximize budget by concentrating decorations around a dessert / buffet table or bar to create focal point
  • Better to invest budget in one well-dressed feature wall / large display
  • Then use a few general decorations around the room to tie everything together
  • Consider how a room will look when it’s full of people, rather than empty
  • Concentrate on dressing perimeter walls, space above head height, and table décor that adds height
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01

Entrance Decorations

Matt's Tip Watch video or read summary below
Matt James video title


Why You Need Entrance Decorations

We’ve all turned up to a party where it’s just a cold front door awaiting you...

You can’t hear any music or see any people inside, so you immediately feel a sense of dread…

It doesn’t sound much like a party, what if there’s hardly anyone there?

Will I be stuck making awkward small talk with people I don’t know?

Am I going to be itching to leave in five minutes?

Hell, am I even in the right place?

Grrr....I knew I should’ve stayed on the sofa!

Entrance decorations need to be welcoming and functional

They should identify the location of the party, direct guests to the entrance, and creating a warm welcome.

The first few minutes of a party set the tone and reassure your guests it’s going to be fun event, so first impressions matter.

Hit the 'Read More' button below to check out my page dedicated to entrance decorations

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02

Welcome Area

Matt's Tip Watch video or read summary below
Matt James video title


Why You Need To Create a Welcome Area

When the party starts, in an ideal world, you'd be answering the door, greeting guests, taking coats, offering drinks, and introducing people to one another.

Which is fine for the first few people who arrive

But in reality, it’s just not realistic to try to greet every guest personally the moment they arrive; unless you plan to hang around the entrance all night.

Which is why it pays to create a welcome area to:

  • greet guests; with signage, décor, and self-service drinks,
  • entertain; with activities, photo ops, and party favors, and
  • manage flow; with directional signage for cloakrooms, bathrooms, table plans, and a gift/card table.

This way, guests feel acknowledged upon arrival and it’s clear what they should do and where they should go; without you having to act as a receptionist.

Hit the 'Read More' button below to check out my welcome area decoration ideas.

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03

Dessert Table Décor

Matt's Tip Watch video or read summary below
Matt James video title


How to Maximize Your Decorations Budget

A common mistake people make is to try to dress an entire room or venue.

Decorations often have to compete with existing room décor, so they can get a bit lost if spread too thinly and it dilutes the overall effect.

I always recommend concentrating the majority of party decorations around a dessert or buffet table, in order to create a focal point in the room.

It’s far better to invest your budget in creating one well-dressed feature wall that everyone’s eye will be drawn to.

This way, the food—along with it’s styling and presentation—also contributes to the décor, working together to create a larger display and amplifying the overall effect.

This approach will give you far more ‘bang for your buck’ than trying to dress the entire room.

You can then use a few general decorations, such as balloons and banners, around the room to tie everything together.

Hit the 'Read More' button below to check out my dessert table decoration ideas.

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04

Room Decorations

Matt's Tip Watch video or read summary below
Matt James video title


Picture the Room Full of People

When decorating a room, consider how it will look when it’s full of people, rather than when it’s empty.

This will prevent you wasting time and budget trying to hide too much of the existing room décor.

Focus decorations in clusters around focal points, such as the welcome area, bars, and dessert / buffet tables.

For the remainder, concentrate on:

  • perimeter of the room; with decorations that cover large areas such as curtains, backdrops, garlands, banners, signs, balloons, freestanding displays etc
  • space above head height; so they are visible once the room fills up with people, e.g. ceiling décor, lanterns, hanging decorations, banners, garlands, balloons etc,
  • tall tabletop décor; that will add height to bar tops, food stations, and occasional tables, such as vases, giant letters/numbers, balloons, stacked cubes, cut outs/standees, photo displays etc
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Avoid the Obvious

Milestone birthdays are a big deal; so, you need to make an effort.

A special occasion needs to look and feel special.

This won’t happen if you just type ‘40th birthday party decorations’ into Amazon and buy a whole bunch of generic ‘off the self’ decorations.

Cheap, shiny, and mass-produced in China doesn’t exactly say ‘special’ does it?

These types of decorations are just lazy and unimaginative—and I guarantee your guests will have seen them all before and knows exactly where you got them.


Make it Personal

That’s not to say you need to spend a fortune on fancy decorations. Instead, opt for everyday party supplies that can be customized.

Adding a personal touch makes them far more interesting and demonstrates that you took the time to create something unique, just for the birthday boy or girl.

We’re all so used to seeing balloons and banners at parties that they barely even register anymore.

Customization adds a point of difference. It grabs people’s attention and encourages them to ‘lean in’; to inspect, engage with, photograph, and discuss—rather than passively glance at. All of which generates buzz and atmosphere that will make your party a success.

It also shows that a bit of thought, love, and care has gone into everything, which will make them feel loved and appreciated on a day they might be feeling a little sensitive about getting older.

Remember that phrase, ‘it’s the thought that counts’?


Approach it like a pro

An easy way to create memorable decorations, that are sure to bring a smile to guest’s faces, is to use cute, funny, and embarrassing old photos showing the birthday boy/girl at different stages of their life.

It’s these creative twists, clever details, and personal touches that guests discuss, photograph, share, and remember.


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Ideas pictured feature below or press and select 'jump to' now

Why this Works

Not only are these charming ways to celebrate the birthday boy/girl and make everything more person, but it’s entertaining for guests too.

Many guests might only know them from one stage of their life—so seeing them as a cheeky kid or a boho college student will be amusing.

People love to discover new things about someone they know, especially when it allows them to see a side they haven’t seen before. Using photos can demonstrate what a rich life they’ve led; which feels particularly fitting when reflecting on reaching another milestone.

Planning Your Own Party?

If you’re planning your own bash, you can still do these things yourself (in fact, it’ll be a lot easier for you to source old photos!).

You don’t worry about people thinking you’re an ego-maniac. If you use a mix of old photos—rather than just new ones where you look good—it actually has the opposite effect. It communicates honesty, self-deprecation, and a sense of openness; that you don’t take yourself too seriously and you can laugh at your bad old haircuts and crimes of fashion.

Your guests will appreciate this as, not only will it be entertaining, but revealing things about yourself in a ‘warts and all’ kind of way lets people in, makes you relatable, and fosters a connection.

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Fun Facts Balloon Chandelier

Fun Facts photos of the birthday boy/girl hanging from helium balloons
  • THE IDEA
  • Hang photos with 'fun facts you may not know about the birthday boy/girl' from helium balloons to entertain guests

  • THE HOW
  • Collect up old photos of the birthday boy/girl from different stages of their life
  • Make a list of fun facts about them
  • Type one fact per piece of paper, trim to the same size as each photo and glue to the back of it
  • Alternatively, upload digital / scanned photos and use the predesigned template below to have 'Fun Facts' cards printed and shipped
  • Inflate helium balloons and attached one 'Fun Fact' photo to each string
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matt james, professional event planner
matt's tip by matt james, professional event planner

MATT'S TIP

"A word of warning...a standard photograph can be surprisingly heavy (even more so if you stick printed paper to the back). It's enough to make a helium balloon sink to the floor!

That's why I created the template below, where you can scan and upload photos, add the text, and have them printed onto smaller cards that are lighter. The template allows you to print two different 'Fun Facts' cards onto one standard postcard size (4.25" x 5.6"), which you can then cut in half, making two for the price of one.

Just remember to the edit the text if you need to change 'birthday boy' to 'birthday girl' (or any other recipient) and tick the "Attribution: Remove Independent Creator Credit" to delete the annoying QR code the printer has added to the design.

Old printed photos can be transferred to a digital format very inexpensively nowadays ($20-$30 for 100 photos, link below) so it's a great opportunity to preserve them for years to come.

Similarly, old photos that are fading, discolored, or damaged can often be restored at the same time (see link below)."



Disclaimer: Product links are provided for your convenience only and do not consitute an endorsement of the seller, their reliability, or the quality of their products. This post may contain affiliate links.
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Big Head Cutouts

big head photo cutouts of the 40th birthday honoree as a man, boy, and baby hanging above dancefloor full of people
  • THE IDEA
  • Decorate large spaces by hanging or lining the walls with custom head cutouts of the birthday boy/girl at different stages of their life

  • THE HOW
  • For best results, choose at least 3 different photos of the birthday boy/girl; some as an adult and some as a child/baby
  • Once printed, punch a hole and attach string or ribbon
  • Hang from the ceiling if space permits
  • Alternatively, fix to the perimeter walls around the room / venue
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man holding big head cutout in front of his face
group of people holding big head cut outs of a man's face
group of young people holding big head cutouts
size guide for big head cut outs showing 18, 24, and 36 inch options
matt james, professional event planner
matt's tip by matt james, professional event planner

MATT'S TIP

"These always work best when you a use of variety of photos of the birthday boy/girl from different stages of their life.

If you're hanging from the ceiling, just remember the image is only print on one side.

Personally I don't think this matters because they tend to rotate gently when hung anyway and will be viewed from all different angles."



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Custom Face Banners

garland banner of faces of same person as a man, child, and baby wearing a 40th birthday party hat
  • THE IDEA
  • Personalize your decorations with custom face banners of the birthday boy/girl at different stages of their life

  • THE HOW
  • For best results, choose at least 3 different photos of the birthday boy/girl; some as an adult and some as a child / baby
  • Hang from mantelpieces, curtain rails, above bars / dessert / buffet tables, or around the perimeter of the room above head height
  • Combine with a text banner, as shown, to create a larger display
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custom face banner alternating pictures of birthday boy as a man and child
custom face banner showing bithday girl wearing different hats
custom face banner of woman wearing 40 AF pink party hats
custom face banner of man in 40 party hat hung above fireplace


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Photo Collage Cutouts

Number 40 photo collage cutouts standing on dessert table
  • THE IDEA
  • Create a tabletop display or decorate walls with a photo collage cutout showing the birthday boy/girl at different stages of their life

  • THE HOW
  • Ask friends and family to contribute old photos of the birthday boy / girl to create the collage
  • Spell out names and phrases with letter cutouts or ages with number cutouts
  • Once printed, hang on walls or use to add height to bars, welcome area tables, buffets or dessert tables
  • Alternatively, position on a standalone occasional table in an area where guests can comfortably view all the images without causing congestion
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numer 40 photo collage hung on wall behind birthday girl
photo collage letters spelling the name Mark hung on garden fence
birthday boy standing behind number 40 photo collage cutout
photo collage spelling out the name Mia with a photo collage heart
matt james, professional event planner
matt's tip by matt james, professional event planner

MATT'S TIP

"Rather than only draw upon your own collection, considering asking friends and family members to lend you some of their photos of the birthday boy/girl from significant periods of their life.

That way you might discover some less familiar photos—perhaps even some the birthday boy/girl might have forgotten or never even seen before.

Old printed photos can be transferred to a digital format very inexpensively nowadays ($20-$30 for 100 photos, link below) so it's a great opportunity to preserve them for years to come.

Similarly, old photos that are fading, discolored, or damaged can often be restored at the same time (see link below)."



  • WHERE TO BUY

  • Update 2022: The seller of this item has temporarily ceased trading. I do not know when or if they will return. Where possible, I have linked below to similar products instead. Unfortunately, some products were unique to the original seller so there is not always a comparable alternative at this time. If you discover one, please share with me.



Disclaimer: Product links are provided for your convenience only and do not consitute an endorsement of the seller, their reliability, or the quality of their products. This post may contain affiliate links.
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Photo Collage

framed photo collage for 40th birthday
  • THE IDEA
  • A framed photo collage of the birthday boy / girl at different stages of their life makes both a thoughtful gift and entertaining tabletop display

  • THE HOW
  • Ask friends and family to contribute old photos of the birthday boy / girl to create a framed collage of their name, age, or year of birth
  • Present to the birthday honoree as a unique gift with sentimental value
  • Display on bars, welcome area tables, buffets or dessert tables to entertain guests at the party
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Tap images to enlarge

matt james, professional event planner
matt's tip by matt james, professional event planner

MATT'S TIP

"Rather than only draw upon your own collection, considering asking friends and family members to lend you some of their photos of the birthday boy/girl from significant periods of their life.

That way you might discover some less familiar photos—perhaps even some the birthday boy/girl might have forgotten or never even seen before.

Old printed photos can be transferred to a digital format very inexpensively nowadays ($20-$30 for 100 photos, link below) so it's a great opportunity to preserve them for years to come.

Similarly, old photos that are fading, discolored, or damaged can often be restored at the same time (see link below)."



Disclaimer: Product links are provided for your convenience only and do not consitute an endorsement of the seller, their reliability, or the quality of their products. This post may contain affiliate links.
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Photo Collage Board

Look Who's 40 freestanding photo collage board with man standing alongside
  • THE IDEA
  • Entertain guests with a freestanding printed photo collage board showing the birthday boy/girl at different stages of their life

  • THE HOW
  • Ask friends and family to contribute old photos of the birthday boy / girl to create a freestanding photo collage board
  • Position alongside a dessert / buffet table or bar to create a larger display
  • Alternatively, use as a standalone display in an area where guests can comfortably view all the images without causing congestion
+ Read More

Tap images to enlarge

matt james, professional event planner
matt's tip by matt james, professional event planner

MATT'S TIP

"Rather than only draw upon your own collection, considering asking friends and family members to lend you some of their photos of the birthday boy/girl from significant periods of their life.

That way you might discover some less familiar photos—perhaps even some the birthday boy/girl might have forgotten or never even seen before.

Old printed photos can be transferred to a digital format very inexpensively nowadays ($20-$30 for 100 photos, link below) so it's a great opportunity to preserve them for years to come.

Similarly, old photos that are fading, discolored, or damaged can often be restored at the same time (see link below)."



  • WHERE TO BUY

  • Update 2022: The seller of this item has temporarily ceased trading. I do not know when or if they will return. Where possible, I have linked below to similar products instead. Unfortunately, some products were unique to the original seller so there is not always a comparable alternative at this time. If you discover one, please share with me.



Disclaimer: Product links are provided for your convenience only and do not consitute an endorsement of the seller, their reliability, or the quality of their products. This post may contain affiliate links.
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Photo Collage Sign

Celebrating 40 years photo collage sign displayed on easel on bar top
  • THE IDEA
  • Entertain guests by placing a photo collage showing the birthday boy/girl at different stages of their life on bars, dessert or buffet tables

  • THE HOW
  • Ask friends and family to contribute old photos of the birthday boy/girl to create a photo collage sign celebrating the birthday boy/girl's life (so far)
  • Choose from printable or print and ship templates and add custom text
  • Use to decorate the entrance, welcome area, bar tops, dessert / buffet, or occasional tables
  • You can also frame it so it doubles as a gift / keepsake
  • Alternatively, use the large 3 panel option pictured below as a dessert / buffet table backdrop
+ Read More

Tap images to enlarge

matt james, professional event planner
matt's tip by matt james, professional event planner

MATT'S TIP

"Rather than only draw upon your own collection, considering asking friends and family members to lend you some of their photos of the birthday boy/girl from significant periods of their life.

That way you might discover some less familiar photos—perhaps even some the birthday boy/girl might have forgotten or never even seen before.

Old printed photos can be transferred to a digital format very inexpensively nowadays ($20-$30 for 100 photos, link below) so it's a great opportunity to preserve them for years to come.

Similarly, old photos that are fading, discolored, or damaged can often be restored at the same time (see link below)."



Disclaimer: Product links are provided for your convenience only and do not consitute an endorsement of the seller, their reliability, or the quality of their products. This post may contain affiliate links.
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A Year to Remember

40 years ago fun facts sign on an easel at 40th birthday party
  • THE IDEA
  • Entertain party guests by decorating with printable signs listing fun facts and trivia about the year the birthday boy/girl was born

  • THE HOW
  • Customize a 'Year to Remember' fun facts sign with a photo of the birthday boy/girl (as a kid / baby works best)
  • Choose from printable or print and ship templates and add custom text
  • Use to decorate the entrance, welcome area, bar tops, dessert / buffet / occasional tables, or bathrooms
+ Read More

Tap images to enlarge

matt james, professional event planner
matt's tip by matt james, professional event planner

MATT'S TIP

"These signs are extremely versatile so you can duplicate them in multiple locations at your event, which, if you opt for the printable version, is a great way to maximize your décor budget.

Guests sometimes miss little details at parties, so it's fine to give them more than one opportunity to catch something.

I like to position fun decorations like this in the bathrooms; by the wash basins, on the backs of cubicle doors, and above urinals.

People often forget to decorate the bathrooms so inexpensive printables like these are a fun way to surprise guests with your attention to detail."



Disclaimer: Product links are provided for your convenience only and do not consitute an endorsement of the seller, their reliability, or the quality of their products. This post may contain affiliate links.
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'Through the Years' Photo Garlands

garlands of photos hung on wall with LED clip lights
  • THE IDEA
  • Create interactive party decorations by asking guests to bring their favorite pictures of the birthday boy/girl to make photo garlands

  • THE HOW
  • Contact friends and family ahead of the event and ask them to bring some cute, funny, or embarrassing old photos of the birthday boy/girl with them, from all different stages of their life
  • Decide how many photo clip LED string lights you'll need to decorate the room / venue and attach these to the walls in advance
  • On arrival, ask guests to add their photos to the string lights and watch the display grow over time
  • This interactive moment helps break the ice and gives guests something to do when they arrive
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photos hung on LED photo clip string lights
woman hanging photos to LED photo clip string lights
photos displayed on LED photo clip string lights against a wall
photos hung on LED photo clip string lights
matt james, professional event planner
matt's tip by matt james, professional event planner

MATT'S TIP

"Specify how many photos you want each guest to bring, depending on how many are coming and how big the area(s) you want to decorate are (otherwise you know aunt Pam will turn up with an entire box of photos and won't be able to choose!).

Ask guests to write their full name in pencil on the reverse of each photo (or attach a Post It if they prefer) so that you can return them post-event.

Consider creating these photo garlands on a number of different walls to encourage circulation, which helps keep the atmosphere up.

You might also want use signage to give each display a name, e.g., baby photos / college years, or a theme, e.g. embarrassing moments / crimes of fashion".



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'Through the Years' photo banners

Garland banner with photographs showing the birthday girl Through the Years
  • THE IDEA
  • Personalize your party decorations and entertain guests with photo garland banners showing the birthday boy/girl 'through the years'

  • THE HOW
  • Ask friends and family to contribute cute, funny, or embarrassing old photos of the birthday boy/girl
  • Add the best photos to these decorative garland banners to give your decorations a more elegant, polished, and professional look
  • Hang from mantelpieces, curtain rails, above bars / dessert / buffet tables, or around the perimeter of the room above head height
+ Read More

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blue garland banner with photographs showing the birthday girl Through the Years
pink garland banner with photographs showing the birthday girl Through the Years
close up of pink garland banner with photographs showing the birthday girl at 10 years and 20 years
close up of pink Through the Years garland banner with photograph showing the birthday girl at 1 year old


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 Fantastic Finds: 

Great Ideas I Wish I'd Thought Of...

Fun Facts Garland Banners

Fun Facts garland banners wrapped around a tree at a garden party
  • THE IDEA
  • Personalize your party decorations and entertain guests with garland banners highlighting fun facts about the birthday boy/girl

  • THE HOW
  • Take inspiration from these charming homemade decorations from Marta Dansie's in-laws 50th wedding anniversary (see more at Marta Writes)
  • Make a list of 40 'Fun Facts' about the birthday boy/girl
  • Print one fact per sheet of paper, number it, and mount into cardstock
  • Attach to string or ribbon using wooden pegs for a simple, down to earth, rustic look
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Fun Facts garland banners wrapped around a tree at a garden party
Fun Facts garland banners wrapped around a tree at a garden party

If you don't want to make these from scratch, you can buy an editable and printable wedding seating plan card template for around $5 (see links below) and just change the text to your chosen facts.


matt james, professional event planner
matt's tip by matt james, professional event planner

MATT'S TIP

"In Marta's example, pictured above, they came up with a fact inspired by each number of the 50 years being celebrated e.g. 11: trips to France, 15: grandchildren, 17: months they dated before they were engaged etc.

Alternatively, to make it a little easier, you could just list 40 fun facts without linking each to a year. This way, you could ask friends and family to submit some facts guests might not know about the birthday boy/girl."



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Custom Phrase Banner

Personalized 40th Birthday gold text banner on wooden backdrop
  • THE IDEA
  • Personalize your decorations with custom phrase banners that let you choose just the right words for the occasion

  • THE HOW
  • Instead of relying on generic, pre-printed banners, spell out exactly what you want to say
  • Choose your text, font style, and color
  • Have it assembled and shipped, ready to hang
  • Hang from mantelpieces, curtain rails, above bars / dessert / buffet tables, or around the perimeter of the room above head height
+ Read More

Tap images to enlarge

matt james, professional event planner
matt's tip by matt james, professional event planner

MATT'S TIP

"These banners give you the opportunity to have a little fun, so don't think you have to stick to traditional message, such as 'Happy 40th Birthday'.

You could go for more humorous phrases, such as 'Too Late to Die Young','176 in Cat Years', 'Slaying Since 1982', 'Older Not Wiser', or 'Let's Party Bitches'

Alternatively, you could go for more feel-good options such as 'The Man, The Myth, The Legend', 'Still Got It', or 'Young at Heart'."



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Funny / Rude Banners

Please Leave by 9 gold text banner hung above cake
  • THE IDEA
  • Tailor your party decorations to the guest of honor's personality with funny or rude banners

  • THE HOW
  • Add some fun to your decorations with these ready-made funny / rude banners
  • Choose your text, font style, and color
  • Have it shipped strung or unstrung
  • Hang from mantelpieces, curtain rails, above bars / dessert / buffet tables, or around the perimeter of the room above head height
+ Read More

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matt james, professional event planner
matt's tip by matt james, professional event planner

MATT'S TIP

"These ready-made funny / rude banners are typically cheaper than creating your own custom text banner. So, hit the button below to check out the full range.

If you don't find one that's quite right, have something custom made using the links in the previous idea above."



  • WHERE TO BUY

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Disclaimer: Product links are provided for your convenience only and do not consitute an endorsement of the seller, their reliability, or the quality of their products. This post may contain affiliate links.
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 Fantastic Finds: 

Great Ideas I Wish I'd Thought Of...

DIY Custom Phrase Banners

text banners with Christmas carol lyrics hung from ceiling at holiday party
  • THE IDEA
  • Use multiple banners with relevant phrases, sayings, quotes, lyrics, or poetry to decorate the space above guests' heads

  • THE HOW
  • Take inspiration from these cute homemade banners from Katie Rich's holiday party (read more at Katie did) that feature lyrics from traditional carols such as 'Oh Come Let Us Adore Him'
  • She cut out paper letters freehand in all different sizes then attached to twine by folding Scotch tape from the front of each letter, over the twine, and onto the back of the letter before hanging
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text banners of Christmas carol lyrics hung from ceiling at holiday party
text banners of Christmas carol lyrics hung from ceiling at holiday party
matt james, professional event planner
matt's tip by matt james, professional event planner

MATT'S TIP

"The way Katie hung these banners, criss-crossing the room and filling the space above guests' heads, is a great example of how overhead decorations can really make a room look well-dressed and full.

If you can't face cutting out all the letters yourself, you can cheat by buying packs of cardstock letters to spell out your chosen quotes or lyrics (see link below).

Alternatively, use the link below for the 'Custom Phrase Banner' idea above to have them made for you and shipped, ready to hang."



Disclaimer: Product links are provided for your convenience only and do not consitute an endorsement of the seller, their reliability, or the quality of their products. This post may contain affiliate links.
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Photo Cubes

3 giant photo cubes stacked on top of each other
  • THE IDEA
  • Decorate large spaces by hanging cubes from the ceiling printed with photos of the guest of honor or stack alongside dessert / buffet tables and bars

  • THE HOW
  • Upload a different photo of the birthday boy/girl to print on each of the six sides of these cardboard cubes
  • Fold to assemble
  • Stack alongside dessert / buffet tables and bars to create a larger display / focal point in the room
  • Alternatively, hang from the ceiling to fill the space above guests' heads
+ Read More

Tap images to enlarge

3 giant photo cubes stacked on top of each other
3 giant photo cubes hanging from ceiling above a party table
3 giant photo cubes stacked on top of each other alongside a birthday dessert table
3 giant photo cubes stacked on top of each other with birthday girl standing alongside


  • WHERE TO BUY

  • Update 2022: The seller of this item has temporarily ceased trading. I do not know when or if they will return. Where possible, I have linked below to similar products instead. Unfortunately, some products were unique to the original seller so there is not always a comparable alternative at this time. If you discover one, please share with me.



Disclaimer: Product links are provided for your convenience only and do not consitute an endorsement of the seller, their reliability, or the quality of their products. This post may contain affiliate links.
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'Then & Now' Photo Banners

Cheers to 40 Years custom photo banner showing birthday boy as a baby and as a man
  • THE IDEA
  • Give party guests a glimpse of the birthday boy/girl back in the day by decorating walls with 'Then & Now' style photo banners

  • THE HOW
  • Choose a template with 1, 2, 4, or 6 photos or a collage
  • Upload old photos of the birthday boy / girl at different stages of their life e.g. baby, kid, teen, graduate etc
  • Customize the text and background color
  • Print and ship
  • Use to fill large spaces by hanging on walls, above doorways, or as a backdrop to dessert / buffet tables and bars
+ Read More

Tap images to enlarge

matt james, professional event planner
matt's tip by matt james, professional event planner

MATT'S TIP

"Banners hung directly onto walls look best if you 'frame' them with some additional decorations, such as bunches of balloons, at each end. This helps to blend them in and create a larger display. Otherwise they can look too small and get a bit lost if just plonked on a wall surrounded by a lots of empty space.

Similarly, if using as a backdrop for a dessert / buffet table or bar, line the wall behind the banner with an inexpensive foil curtain, paper garland, or streamer backdrop first so it will stand out against a colorful background and look more substantial (see my Dessert Table Backdrops page for more ideas like this).

If you need to transfer old printed photos to a digital format, this can be done very inexpensively nowadays ($20-$30 for 100 photos, link below) so it's a great opportunity to preserve them for years to come.

Similarly, old photos that are fading, discolored, or damaged can often be restored at the same time (see link below)."



Disclaimer: Product links are provided for your convenience only and do not consitute an endorsement of the seller, their reliability, or the quality of their products. This post may contain affiliate links.
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'Through the Years' Photo Backdrop

Celebrating 40 Years photo backdrop showing birthday boy through the years
  • THE IDEA
  • Create a custom backdrop for a dessert / buffet table, photo booth, or bar featuring pictures of the birthday boy/girl 'through the years'

  • THE HOW
  • Choose the 3 photo template or collage option
  • Upload old photos of the birthday boy/girl at different stages of their life e.g. baby, teen/college graduate, and present day
  • Customize the text and colors
  • Use to decorate large areas, line walls, and hide existing room decor or as a backdrop for dessert / buffet tables and bars
+ Read More

Tap images to enlarge

matt james, professional event planner
matt's tip by matt james, professional event planner

MATT'S TIP

"As these fabric backdrops come in large and extra-large sizes, they're a great solution if you need to dress large areas and hide existing room decor.

Whether you're using as a backdrop to a table / bar or to dress walls in a larger room, these look best if you 'frame' or 'blend' the edges with additional decoration; be it balloons, flowers / foliage, garlands, or paper decorations. This helps soften the harsh edge—where the backdrop ends and meets the wall—so it blends into the surrounding decor and doesn't just look like a poster or bed sheet hung on the wall. See my Dessert Table Backdrops page for ideas like this.

If you need to transfer old printed photos to a digital format, this can be done very inexpensively nowadays ($20-$30 for 100 photos, link below) so it's a great opportunity to preserve them for years to come.

Similarly, old photos that are fading, discolored, or damaged can often be restored at the same time (see link below)."



Disclaimer: Product links are provided for your convenience only and do not consitute an endorsement of the seller, their reliability, or the quality of their products. This post may contain affiliate links.
+ Close

Graphic Backdrops

The Man, The Myth, The Legend custom name backdrop
  • THE IDEA
  • If you don't have pictures of the birthday boy/girl for a photo backdrop, opt for a customizable graphic backdrop for dessert / buffet tables, bars, or photo booths

  • THE HOW
  • Choose one of the existing backdrop designs, such as the ones pictured below (more available)
  • Customize the text and colors
  • Use to decorate large areas, line walls, and hide existing room decor or as a backdrop for dessert / buffet tables and bars
+ Read More

Tap images to enlarge

matt james, professional event planner
matt's tip by matt james, professional event planner

MATT'S TIP

"As these fabric backdrops come in large and extra-large sizes, they're a great solution if you need to dress large areas and hide existing room decor.

Whether you're using as a backdrop to a table / bar or to dress walls in a larger room, these look best if you 'frame' or 'blend' the edges with additional decoration; be it balloons, flowers / foliage, garlands, or paper decorations. This helps soften the harsh edge—where the backdrop ends and meets the wall—so it blends into the surrounding decor and doesn't just look like a poster or bed sheet hung on the wall. See my Dessert Table Backdrops page for ideas like this."



  • WHERE TO BUY

OR PRESS ANY IMAGE      



Disclaimer: Product links are provided for your convenience only and do not consitute an endorsement of the seller, their reliability, or the quality of their products. This post may contain affiliate links.
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Graphic Banners

black and gold sequin Celebrating Forty Years custom birthday banner
  • THE IDEA
  • If you don't have pictures of the birthday boy/girl to make photo banners, decorate large areas by hanging customizable graphic banners

  • THE HOW
  • Choose one of the existing banner designs, such as the ones pictured below (more available)
  • Customize the text and colors
  • Use to fill large spaces by hanging on walls, above doorways, or as a backdrop to dessert / buffet tables and bars
+ Read More

Tap images to enlarge

matt james, professional event planner
matt's tip by matt james, professional event planner

MATT'S TIP

"Banners hung directly onto walls look best if you 'frame' them with some additional decorations, such as bunches of balloons, at each end. This helps to blend them in and create a larger display. Otherwise they can look too small and get a bit lost if just plonked on a wall surrounded by a lots of empty space.

Similarly, if using as a backdrop for a dessert / buffet table or bar, line the wall behind the banner with an inexpensive foil curtain, paper garland, or streamer backdrop first so it will stand out against a colorful background and look more substantial (see my Dessert Table Backdrops page for more ideas like this)."



  • WHERE TO BUY

OR PRESS ANY IMAGE      



Disclaimer: Product links are provided for your convenience only and do not consitute an endorsement of the seller, their reliability, or the quality of their products. This post may contain affiliate links.
+ Close

Number Balloons

Giant gold number balloons spelling 1981 above party buffet table
  • THE IDEA
  • Dress Walls or draw attention to buffet / dessert tables and bars with giant 40" number balloons celebrating the guest of honor's age or year of birth

  • THE HOW
  • Decide whether to spell out their age or year of birth
  • Choose from gold, silver, or rose gold
  • Ships flat and needs to be inflated
  • Can be filled with air or helium
  • Complete with tabs at top and bottom for hanging or tying down
+ Read More

Tap images to enlarge

woman holding giant gold number balloons spelling 40
Giant rose gold number 40 balloons and other birthday decorations
Giant rose gold number 40 balloons next to flowers
Giant black number 40 balloons and other decorations
matt james, professional event planner
matt's tip by matt james, professional event planner

MATT'S TIP

"If you're filling these with helium, be aware they have the tendency to bob around and rotate so they work best if there's a wall behind them.

Even against a wall, I'd suggest using double-sided sticky tape to fix the balloons to one another as this will reduce the movement.

Alternatively, fill them with air and stick directly to walls or hang with ribbon / string using the tabs at the top.

If you're going to be blowing up a lot of balloons, consider getting an electric balloon pump (under $20 see button below) as it saves a lot of effort compared to a hand pump!"



Disclaimer: Product links are provided for your convenience only and do not consitute an endorsement of the seller, their reliability, or the quality of their products. This post may contain affiliate links.
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Letter Balloons

giant gold letter balloons spelling out the name Mary above party buffet table
  • THE IDEA
  • Identify food tables and bars by using giant 40" letter balloons as signage or decorate large spaces by spelling out the guest of honor's name

  • THE HOW
  • Decide whether to spell out names, such as Mary, roles, such as Mum, Dad, BFF, or short phrases, such as OMG 40 or 40 AF
  • Alternatively, use as signs for bars and food tables e.g. Bar, Fizz, Bubbles, Booze, Cheers, Cake, Eat, Yum, etc
  • Choose from gold, silver, or rose gold
  • Ships flat and needs to be inflated with air or helium
  • Complete with tabs at top and bottom for hanging or tying down
+ Read More

Tap images to enlarge

Giant silver letter balloons spelling the word CAKE above a dessert table
Giant gold and silver letter balloons spelling the phrase OMG 40 above a buffet table
Giant gold and silver letter balloons spelling the word CHEERS above a party dining table
Giant gold letter balloons spelling the word DAD above a buffet table
matt james, professional event planner
matt's tip by matt james, professional event planner

MATT'S TIP

"If you're filling these with helium, be aware they have the tendency to bob around and rotate so they work best if there's a wall behind them.

Even against a wall, I'd suggest using double-sided sticky tape to fix the balloons to one another as this will reduce the movement.

Alternatively, fill them with air and stick directly to walls or hang with ribbon / string using the tabs at the top.

If you're going to be blowing up a lot of balloons, consider getting an electric balloon pump (under $20 see button below) as it saves a lot of effort compared to a hand pump!"



Disclaimer: Product links are provided for your convenience only and do not consitute an endorsement of the seller, their reliability, or the quality of their products. This post may contain affiliate links.
+ Close

Balloon Phrases

Oh What Fun spelled out with giant gold letter balloons in a room with other decoration
  • THE IDEA
  • Decorate large spaces by spelling out phrases, sayings, or well wishes with giant 40" letter balloons

  • THE HOW
  • Get creative with your phrase; think song titles, lyrics, quotes, and poems
  • Alternatively, think about general birthday / party-related phrases such as Dance All Night, God is a DJ, Not Dead Yet, Drop It Like It's Hot, Still Got It, etc
  • Choose from gold, silver, or rose gold
  • Ships flat and needs to be inflated with air or helium
  • Complete with tabs at top and bottom for hanging or tying down
+ Read More

Tap images to enlarge

Let's Party spelled out with giant gold letter balloons next to a pool
Cheers to 40 Years spelled out with giant gold letter balloons above birthday dining tables
Bring It On spelled out with giant gold letter balloons along a fence in a yard
Older Not Wiser spelled out with giant gold letter balloons at an outdoor celebration
matt james, professional event planner
matt's tip by matt james, professional event planner

MATT'S TIP

"If you're filling these with helium, be aware they have the tendency to bob around and rotate so they work best if there's a wall behind them.

Even against a wall, I'd suggest using double-sided sticky tape to fix the balloons to one another as this will reduce the movement.

Alternatively, fill them with air and stick directly to walls or hang with ribbon / string using the tabs at the top.

If you're going to be blowing up a lot of balloons, consider getting an electric balloon pump (under $20 see button below) as it saves a lot of effort compared to a hand pump!"



Disclaimer: Product links are provided for your convenience only and do not consitute an endorsement of the seller, their reliability, or the quality of their products. This post may contain affiliate links.
+ Close


Small Balloon Phrases

So Happy I Am 40 Today letter balloons on wall surrounded by balloon garland
  • THE IDEA
  • Decorate walls or make garland banners spelling out longer phrases, sayings, and lyrics with smaller 16" letter balloons

  • THE HOW
  • Ships flat and needs to be inflated with air. 16" balloons do not float with helium.
  • Best fixed directly onto walls or made into garland banners by threading string through the tabs at top
  • Ideas include:
    • Too Late to Die Young
    • Party Like Gatsby
    • Straight Outta My Thirties
    • Awesome Since 1982
+ Read More
  • It Took 40 Years to Create This Masterpiece
  • Made in 1982 All Original Parts
  • May the Forties be With You
  • Making 40 Look Good, 40 & Fabulous
  • Looks 18 Feels 14 Acts 8 = 40
  • Aged to Perfection
  • 176 Cat Years Old
  • Slayin' Since 1982

Tap images to enlarge

Too Late to Die Young letter balloons used as dessert table backdrop
176 Cat Years Old letter balloons on wall
Slayin Since 1981 letter balloons customize any year
Cheers & Beers to John's 40 Years letter balloons customize any name
matt james, professional event planner
matt's tip by matt james, professional event planner

MATT'S TIP

"These need to be inflated with air. 16" balloons do not float with helium.

They're best fixed directly onto walls or made into garland banners by threading string through the tabs at top

If you're going to be blowing up a lot of balloons, consider getting an electric balloon pump (under $20 see button below) as it saves a lot of effort compared to a hand pump!"



Disclaimer: Product links are provided for your convenience only and do not consitute an endorsement of the seller, their reliability, or the quality of their products. This post may contain affiliate links.
+ Close

Balloon Garlands

Pastel colored balloon garland draped around a pink backdrop photo booth
  • THE IDEA
  • Dress walls and staircases, frame doorways, windows, and dessert / buffet tables, or hang from the ceiling; balloon garlands make versatile room decorations

  • THE HOW
  • Inflate all the different size balloons that come in the kit
  • Insert each balloon into a hole on the balloon strip to form a chain
  • Fix the balloon hook to the wall or ceiling, hang a piece of ribbon from the hook, and tie to the end of the balloon garland. Drape and arrange in your desired shape.
  • Use glue dots to attach additional balloons to any areas that need to be filled in
+ Read More

Tap images to enlarge

black, gold, and silver balloon garland hung on wall and draped around a party drinks table
green, white, and gold balloon garland draped around the doorway of an open plan kitchen
gold balloon garland hung above a long dinning table
blue, white, and gold balloon garland draped around illuminated 50 number cut outs
balloon garland hung on staircase handrail in a house
balloon garland draped around a party tent
balloon garland hung above a party dining area in back yard
balloon garland draped around the windows inside a restaurant
matt james, professional event planner
matt's tip by matt james, professional event planner

MATT'S TIP

"Keep in mind, balloon garlands are a fair bit of work. There's a lot of balloons to inflate, then you have to tie each one to the strip, so allow plenty of time and rope in some helpers.

I'd also strongly advise investing in an electric balloon pump (under $20 see button below) as a hand pump involves a lot of energy!"



Disclaimer: Product links are provided for your convenience only and do not consitute an endorsement of the seller, their reliability, or the quality of their products. This post may contain affiliate links.
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Balloon Mosaic

Bronze, orange, and white 40 balloon mosaic standing next to a lake
  • THE IDEA
  • Create a dramatic focal point with a stunning freestanding balloon mosaic spelling out the guest of honor's name or age

  • THE HOW
  • Letter and number frames available as pre-cut foam board ready to be assembled
  • Alternatively, buy a printable template and instruction guide so you can cut and glue your own foam board letters and numbers at home
  • Can be filled with balloons, flowers, lights, and more
  • Available as 1ft - 6ft tall
  • Use at entrances, DJ / photo booths, dessert/buffet tables or bars, or alongside a dance floor or pool
+ Read More

Tap images to enlarge

I'm the Florist spelled out with white and pink balloon mosaic letters in a yard
40 balloon mosaic numbers filled with black balloons inside a house
Mom spelled out with pink and purple balloon mosaic letters outside a house
Kash spelled out with navy and pale blue balloon mosaic letters alongide a kids pool party
matt james, professional event planner
matt's tip by matt james, professional event planner

MATT'S TIP

"If you're crafty and have the time, buying the template and cutting and gluing your own foam board at home will save on budget.

However, if budget permits, it's much easier to buy the flat-packed pre-cut version where all your need to do is glue or clip together to assemble before filling.

For the balloons, I'd also strongly advise investing in an electric balloon pump (under $20 see button below) as a hand pump involves a lot of energy!"



Disclaimer: Product links are provided for your convenience only and do not consitute an endorsement of the seller, their reliability, or the quality of their products. This post may contain affiliate links.
+ Close

Custom Balloon Boxes

4 stacked transparent boxes filled with red balloons with AMY 40 on the sides
  • THE IDEA
  • Stack custom balloon boxes on bars or dessert / buffet / occasional / dining tables to add height to your decorations

  • THE HOW
  • Cardstock & plastic boxes ship flat
  • Fold to assemble
  • Apply chosen letter / number stickers (sold separately) to each box
  • Fill with balloon, flowers, or props
  • Stack boxes on bars and tables to add height
+ Read More

Tap images to enlarge

4 stacked transparent boxes filled with white and gold balloons with GRAD spelled out on the sides surrounded by balloon garland
3 stacked transparent boxes filled with balloons with NYE spelled out on the sides
4 transparent boxes filled with red and gold balloons with LOVE spelled out on the sides
4 stacked transparent boxes filled with  balloons with the name SHAE spelled out on the sides
matt james, professional event planner
matt's tip by matt james, professional event planner

MATT'S TIP

"If you're stacking these on bars or tables that will have lots of passing traffic, use glue dots to secure each box in place, otherwise someone will knock into them and send them tumbling.

Consider adding a battery operated LED votive candle / tea light or flashing balloon light (see links below) to each box to bring them to life with color and light."



Disclaimer: Product links are provided for your convenience only and do not consitute an endorsement of the seller, their reliability, or the quality of their products. This post may contain affiliate links.
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Custom Photo Balloons

Custom photo balloons with This Kid is Turning 40 and Look Who's 40 printed
  • THE IDEA
  • Personalize your decorations with photo balloons showing the guest of honor at different stages of their life

  • THE HOW
  • Upload a selection of funny, cute, or embarrassing old photos showing the birthday boy/girl at different stages of their life
  • Customize the text
  • Print on 22" for helium-filled or 11" for air-filled
  • Ships flat ready to inflate
  • Re-usable: can be deflated and re-inflated
+ Read More

Tap images to enlarge

This Kid Is Turning 40 photo balloon with old picture of a baby
Bunch of photo balloons mixed with other myler and latext balloons
Congratulations helium filled photo balloon with man's face and blue and silver latex balloons used as centerpieces for dining tables
3 Happy Birthday Dad photo balloons
matt james, professional event planner
matt's tip by matt james, professional event planner

MATT'S TIP

"These work best when you treat them as an accent for larger bunches of mylar or latex balloons.

I also recommend using a mix of old photos of the birthday boy/girl, rather than just one as a baby or in the present day, as this is more entertaining for guests to discover (and laugh at!).

These also make great table centerpieces for dining or occasional tables. If filled with helium on long strings they'll add height to your room decorations and will be visible over guest's heads."

Alternatively, add to larger bunches of balloons and use to flank dessert / buffet tables and bars to make a larger display."



Disclaimer: Product links are provided for your convenience only and do not consitute an endorsement of the seller, their reliability, or the quality of their products. This post may contain affiliate links.
+ Close

Custom Latex Balloons

Male & Female couple standing next to green balloon with their faces printed on it
  • THE IDEA
  • Personalize your decorations with custom printed latex balloons featuring images of the birthday boy/girl

  • THE HOW
  • Choose a photo to print on the balloons (will be screen printed in black and white)
  • Choose custom text
  • 12" latex balloons can be helium or air-filled
  • If planning to fill with air, image can be printed upside down so it appears upright if hung from ceiling
  • Minimum order 25 balloons
+ Read More

Tap images to enlarge

Picture of Father and son printed onto a white latex balloon with Happy Birthday
Picture of graduate printed onto a gold latex balloon with Congratulations Jessica
Picture of woman printed onto a white latex balloon with Happy Birthday Abby
Picture of couple printed onto a white latex balloon with their names, wedding date, and location
matt james, professional event planner
matt's tip by matt james, professional event planner

MATT'S TIP

"Make your budget stretch further by treating these as accents and mixing with regular latex balloons to make larger bunches.

You could also use these as table centerpieces for dining or occasional tables. If filled with helium on long strings they'll add height to your room decorations and will be visible over guest's heads."

Alternatively, add to larger bunches of balloons and use to flank dessert / buffet tables and bars to make a bigger display.

If you're going to be blowing up a lot of balloons, consider getting an electric balloon pump (under $20 see button below) as it saves a lot of effort compared to a hand pump!"



Disclaimer: Product links are provided for your convenience only and do not consitute an endorsement of the seller, their reliability, or the quality of their products. This post may contain affiliate links.
+ Close

Rude Balloons

Too Late to Die Young printing on black latext balloon
  • THE IDEA
  • Spice up your party decorations with funny or rude balloons that aren't afraid to say what everyone's really thinking

  • THE HOW
  • Maximize your budget by treating these as accents and mixing with regular latex balloons to make larger bunches
  • Depending on the size of each bunch, 2 or 3 rude balloons mixed into each one should be sufficient
  • Use helium-filled bunches to flank dessert / buffet tables tables and bars or to add height height to occasional tables for they're visible over guest's heads
+ Read More

Tap images to enlarge

Rude balloons: Happy Fu**ing Birthday, Too Late to Die Young, and Better a Year Older than a Month Late
Rude Balloons: Anti-Social Social Club, Please Leave by 9, Event a Pity Party is Still a Party
Let's Party Bitches purple balloon
Party Time Mother Fu**ers white balloon
matt james, professional event planner
matt's tip by matt james, professional event planner

MATT'S TIP

"These are great fun, but I do recommend you consider whether the ones that use expletives will be appropriate for the type party guests expected.

While the birthday boy/girl might ordinarily have a great sense of humor, they might prefer to tone it down a bit if they're expecting work colleagues, elderly relatives, kids, or Church friends to attend the party.

If you're going to be blowing up a lot of balloons, consider getting an electric balloon pump (under $20 see button below) as it saves a lot of effort compared to a hand pump!"



Disclaimer: Product links are provided for your convenience only and do not consitute an endorsement of the seller, their reliability, or the quality of their products. This post may contain affiliate links.
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Balloon Decals

Congratulations George balloon decal sticker applied to gold balloons
  • THE IDEA
  • Personalize your decorations with custom balloon decal / stickers that allow you to choose the right words for the occasion

  • THE HOW
  • Choose the size, font, color, and text for your decal
  • Choose decal only or balloon plus decal
  • Both options require self-assembly
  • To apply, peel the backing off the decal, position on the balloon, then slowly peel off the transfer tape
  • Ensure balloon is fully inflated first
+ Read More

Tap images to enlarge

Levi Turns Three decal applied to green balloon
Rosie's Baby Shower decal applied to pale blue balloon
Congrats Ellie You Passed decal applied to pink balloon
3 custom name milestone birthday balloon decals applied to balloons


Disclaimer: Product links are provided for your convenience only and do not consitute an endorsement of the seller, their reliability, or the quality of their products. This post may contain affiliate links.
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Fun Facts Filled Balloons

Gold balloon with Pop Me written on it and Fun Facts on strips of paper
  • THE IDEA
  • Fill balloons with 'fun facts you may not know about the birthday boy/girl' and let guests to pop to reveal

  • THE HOW
  • Type the heading 'Fun Fact You May Not Know About The Birthday Boy/Girl' on one line in bold and underlined, followed by the fact on the following line.
  • Use a small font so that both lines combined are approx 3/4 inch tall
  • Duplicate format over a full page then cut into strips
  • Insert one strip into each balloon, folding if you need to
  • Inflate balloon, tie, and apply 'Pop Me' decal (see previous idea above) or handwrite in with a Sharpie
+ Read More

Tap images to enlarge

Fun Facts typed onto paper strips and inserted into neck of balloon before inflating
bunch of blue balloons with Pop Me decals on them
custom wording decal on white balloon
balloons dropping from ceiling into dancefloor full of people
matt james, professional event planner
matt's tip by matt james, professional event planner

MATT'S TIP

"These are a fun way to add an interactive element to your party to help break the ice, encourage mingling, and keep the energy up, which in turn creates atmosphere.

You could fill the balloons with helium, add string, and let them dangle from the ceiling for guests to pull down during the drinks reception.

Alternatively, fill with air and scatter generously across the venue floor / dance floor for guests to walk through (and stamp on to pop!).

Or hang a balloon drop net above the dance floor and pull to release so they all come cascading down at a certain point.

If you're going to be blowing up a lot of balloons, consider getting an electric balloon pump (under $20 see button below) as it saves a lot of effort compared to a hand pump!"



Disclaimer: Product links are provided for your convenience only and do not consitute an endorsement of the seller, their reliability, or the quality of their products. This post may contain affiliate links.
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Giant Styrofoam Letters

Giant styrofoam letters spelling LOVE decorated with flowers
  • THE IDEA
  • Spell out names, ages, words, or phrases with giant free-standing Styrofoam letters or use as a base for bars and dessert / buffet tables

  • THE HOW
  • Available in several different sizes 16" to 40+"
  • Freestanding with a flat top
  • Sturdy enough to support an acrylic top to use as a dessert table
  • Alternatively, display on dessert / buffet tables or bars to add height or alongside a dance floor or pool
  • Can be painted with acrylic or latex paint, not spray paint
+ Read More

Tap images to enlarge

It's a Boy giant Styrofoam letters used as a base for a dessert table
giant 21 Styrofoam numbers
giant Styrofoam letters spelling the name GRACE used as a dessert table base
giant Styrofoam letters spelling MARRY ME standing alongside a pool
matt james, professional event planner
matt's tip by matt james, professional event planner

MATT'S TIP

"If your budget allows, these make a fantastic base for a dessert table. Just lay a sheet of acrylic on top (see links below for more info).

Alternatively, sit them on top of dessert / buffet tables or bars to act as a backdrop.

Or opt for taller letters and use them as freestanding props alongside a dance floor or pool."



Disclaimer: Product links are provided for your convenience only and do not consitute an endorsement of the seller, their reliability, or the quality of their products. This post may contain affiliate links.
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Pool Letters

Pool float letters spelling THE BARBERS at a pool party
  • THE IDEA
  • Decorate the pool by spelling out names, phrases, or your event's hash tag using floating pool letters

  • THE HOW
  • Choose letters, size, and font
  • Some sellers offer painted options
  • Not suitable for spray painting at home
  • Comes with either clear plastic strips and silicone glue or zip ties and hooks to attach letters together to form words
  • Not just for outdoor events and pool parties, these also look great at indoor events overlooking a pool, especially if lit at night.
+ Read More

Tap images to enlarge

Tropic Like Its Hot yellow pool float letters at a pool party
pool float letters spelling the name CHANTELLE at a pool party
pink pool float letters spelling the name JESSICA at a pool party
pink pool float letters spelling We Heart Boulder at a pool party


Disclaimer: Product links are provided for your convenience only and do not consitute an endorsement of the seller, their reliability, or the quality of their products. This post may contain affiliate links.
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Large Marquee Letters

Large marquee letters spelling Carey & John outside party tent
  • THE IDEA
  • Give your decorations a professional look by spelling out names, ages, initials, words, or phrases with large marquee letters

  • THE HOW
  • Choose letters/numbers, size (1ft - 4ft tall), and style
  • Available in wood or metal
  • Indoor / outdoor use options available
  • Bulbs included
  • Check whether sellers provides US or EU plugs
+ Read More

Tap images to enlarge

Large marquee letters spelling 40 surrounded by balloons
Large marquee letters spelling DANCE with bride & groom on dancefloor
Large marquee letters spelling WE HEART RL surrounded by balloons
Large marquee letters spelling LETTER on grass next to pool
matt james, professional event planner
matt's tip by matt james, professional event planner

MATT'S TIP

"Whether you choose to spell out names, ages, initials, words, or phrases will likely be dictated by your budget.

However, if you can stretch to names, words, or phrases, these will lend some drama to your event décor if positioned freestanding at the entrance, on a terrace, in front of a top table, or alongside dance floors, DJ booths, or pools.

Alternatively, for numbers or initials, raise them on top of dessert / buffet tables or bars to act as a backdrop and add height to your decorations."

Either way, you can embellish them further by surrounding with some simple balloon garlands / bunches to make an even larger and more colorful display."



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Small Marquee Letters

small marquee letters spelling LOVE arranged on a shelf at a wedding reception
  • THE IDEA
  • Light up bars and dessert / buffet tables by spelling out names, ages, words, or phrases with small marquee letters

  • THE HOW
  • Choose letters/numbers, size (7" - 21"), and style
  • Plastic, wood, and metal options available
  • Battery and mains powered versions available
  • For mains powered versions, check plug is US or EU style
  • Use on tabletops, bars, shelves, above doorways, or hung overhead from the ceiling
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small marquee letters spelling The Kellers hung from ceiling above bride and groom at wedding
small marquee letters spelling Dad on terrace at night
small marquee letters spelling LOVE on dessert table
small marquee letters spelling LOVE hung from ceiling in a barn at a wedding
matt james, professional event planner
matt's tip by matt james, professional event planner

MATT'S TIP

"Use to spell out names or roles, such as Jack, Mum, Dad, BFF etc, or short phrases, such as OMG 40 or 40 AF.

As the smaller letters are less expensive you might also consider longer party-related phrases such as Let's Party, Dance Till Dawn, Oh What Fun, God is a DJ, Please Leave by 9 etc.

Alternatively, use as signage to both identify and decorate bars and food tables e.g. Bar, Drinks, Cheers, Fizz, Bubbles, Eat, Cake, Yum etc."



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Marquee Signs

light up marquee sign spelling PHOTOS above event photo booth
  • THE IDEA
  • Make bars, dessert / buffet tables, games or activities stand out with illuminated marquee signs

  • THE HOW
  • For general words that don't require customization, such as Bar, Desserts, Drinks, Beer etc choose an existing marquee sign which can work out cheaper
  • Plastic, wood, and metal options available
  • Check plug is US or EU style
  • Use on tabletops, bars, shelves, above doorways, or hung overhead from the ceiling
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Custom Neon Sign

Let's Get This Party Started neon sign surrounded by flowers and foliage
  • THE IDEA
  • Lend a professional look to bars, dessert/buffet tables, or dance floors with a custom neon sign

  • THE HOW
  • Choose font, color, size, and text
  • Made from flexible silicon LED; no glass or mercury
  • Brighter, silent, more durable and power-saving than traditional glass neon signs
  • Mounted onto a transparent acrylic plate with hook holes
  • Plugs for different countries US, UK, EU, AU etc
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happy birthday neon sign surrounded by balloons
The Smiths custom neon sign above wedding top table
Austin Joseph custom name blue neon sign above baby's crib with balloons
M+S custom initials neon sign above dessert table at wedding


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