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60th Birthday Party Ideas

By an Award-Winning Professional Party Planner

Get ideas for decorations, dessert tables, food & drink, invitations, and gifts.

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

Make It Personal

How to add creative twists and personal touches that will create talking points and memorable moments.

02

Plan it like a pro

How to maximize your budget, create the right atmosphere, and ensure your party is remembered (for the right reasons!)

03

Show Some Love

Why you should celebrate the person; not their age, focus on the feel-good, and create meaningful memories

04

Party Decorations

How to maximize your budget by concentrating decorations in a few key areas

05

Interactive elements

How to create atmosphere using interactive elements to break the ice, provide conversation-starters, and encourage mingling

06

Party Food

Why food stations geared towards small bites, tasting plates, and DIY options are better than buffets

07

Dessert Table

How dessert tables lend visual spectable, save time, and maximize budget

08

Party Drinks

Get that professionally-catered look and give traditional drinks a creative twist

09

Invitations

Why invitations needs to excite, inspire, and give guests something to look forward to

10

Gifts

Avoid uninspiring and clichéd gifts in favor of something that's unique, meaningful, or a treat

11

Ideas for Men

Party themes, decorations, and ideas aimed at men

60th Birthday Party Ideas

60th Birthday Party Ideas


SUMMARY

  • Milestone birthdays are significant - you need to make an effort!
  • Avoid the obvious: generic store-bought decorations emblazoned with 60
  • Instead, make everything as personal as possible
  • Celebrate the person, not their age
  • Avoid lame jokes and clichés like ‘old as dirt’, ‘over the hill, and ‘60 rocks’
  • Concentrate on making them feel loved and appreciated
  • Celebrate their life; their background, accomplishments, and all the things that've made them who they are
  • Celebrate who they are; admirable qualities, characteristics everyone loves, and even their weird habits and obsessions that drive people crazy!
  • Celebrate your relationship with them; take a walk down memory lane, share memories, funny stories, embarrassing photos, amusing anecdotes, fun facts guests may not know, and indulge in a little sentimentality
  • Focus on things that are meaningful, because that’s what they'll remember.
  • If you're planning your own 60th birthday bash, you should still take the same approach. Make everything as personal as possible so that it's a reflection of you; your tastes, your interests, and your sense of humor—with plenty of embarrassing old photos and fun facts.
  • Design your party like a pro; create ‘beats’ or ‘moments’ that run throughout so guests continue to discover new things as the party unfolds
  • Think of the guest’s journey in terms of different touch points; arrivals, bar, room décor, food, entertainment etc.
  • Then, add a creative twist, person touch, or talking point to each
  • Don't forget to include interactive elements; things for guests to do that will break the ice, encourage mingling, provide conversation-starters, and create a fun atmosphere that includes everyone.
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01

Make it Personal

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


Why You Need to Make an Effort

Milestone birthdays are a big deal—most are a once-in-a-decade occasion—so you need to make an effort.

This doesn’t mean it has to be a flashy, expensive, over-the-top affair that would make an Elton John bash look restrained; an intimate dinner with a group of close friends is just as valid as a swinging house party.

But, regardless of size or format, it’s the creative twists, clever details, personal touches, and memorable moments you add that will make it feel special and elevate it above that of a regular get-together.

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


Avoid the Obvious

It’s a special occasion, so it needs to feel special.

If you’re throwing the party for someone else, you’ll want them to feel you’ve made an effort—that you didn’t just run down to Party City the day before and sweep up a bunch of generic 60th birthday party supplies from aisle three that in no way reflect their personality, style, or taste.

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Planning Your Own Party?

If you’re planning your own 60th birthday bash, you can still do a lot of these ideas yourself.

Make everything as personal as possible so that the event is a reflection of you; your tastes, your interests, and your sense of humor—with plenty of embarrassing old photos, amusing anecdotes, and fun facts guests might not know.

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People often feel self-conscious celebrating themselves or worry that it might come accross as egotistical. But if you use plenty of cute, funny, and embarrassing old photos, it actually has the opposite effect. It communicates self-deprecation, honesty, and a sense of openness; that you don’t take yourself too seriously and you can laugh at all your bad old haircuts and crimes of fashion!

Guests will love it too; many of whom might never have seen you as a cute baby, cheeky little kid, or scruffy college student. So, not only will they find this entertaining, but revealing yourself in a ‘warts and all’ kind of way lets people in, makes you relatable, and fosters a connection.

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02

Plan it like a pro

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


How to Create the Right Atmosphere

Professional event planners often plot out the arc of a party, from start to finish, in order to create a series of ‘beats’ or moments that run throughout the event.

This is to ensure that guests continue discover new things—surprises, talking points, activities, or entertainment—and remain stimulated as the party unfolds.

We’ve all been to parties where there’s been no structure, direction, or things to do. So, after grabbing a drink or a bite to eat and drifting around making small talk, there’s little else to do and so we find ourselves wondering how early we can get away with leaving.

You don’t want your 60th birthday party to be one of those!


Make it Memorable....For the Right Reasons!

The two key ingredients to most successful parties are atmosphere and attention to detail; the little things that make guests smile.

Atmosphere can be generated by plotting the layout and arc of the party so there are plenty of things to engage guests; activities and experiences that encourage them to circulate, connect, discover, contribute, or be entertained.

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03

Show Some Love

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


Celebrate the person, not their age

A common mistake when planning milestone birthdays is to focus all the attention on the age someone is turning.

This inevitably leads people to reach for all those obvious party supplies, cliched themes, and tedious jokes, like ‘Over the Hill’, ‘Old as Dirt’, or ‘Oh Crap You’re Old’, resulting in a generic party—devoid of any personality—that really could’ve been thrown for anyone turning 60.

While they might not show it, many people can feel a little sensitive about the fact their getting older. They may not be where they expected to be by this stage of their life, they might have concerns about their future, or feel self-conscious about changes to their physical appearance.


Limit the gag gifts

All those gag gifts and bad jokes just re-enforce the idea that getting older is a negative thing; emphasizing all the things you might not have or be able to do as you get older, rather than looking back and celebrating all the things you’ve learned, achieved, and experienced in life.

Don’t get me wrong, a few jokes here and there are fine—in fact, there’s a section dedicated to gag gifts and funny decorations later on this page—but just don’t make them the entire focus or theme of the party.

Instead, celebrate the person, not their age.


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Focus on the Feel-Good

Instead of poking fun at someone’s age, concentrate on making them feel loved and appreciated.

Birthdays should be about making that person feel good about themselves; treating them, reminding them what makes them special, and expressing what they mean to you. It’s an opportunity to communicate all the things we might often think, but seldom say.

People often focus on their own faults or failings and overlook or underestimate the good things about themselves. Friends and family are there to remind them of how amazing they are; the good they’ve done; what they’ve contributed, accomplished, and the effect they’ve have on others.

So, use their 60th birthday to:

.
  • Celebrate their life; their background, their achievements, and what they’ve contributed
  • Celebrate who they are; their admirable qualities, characteristics everyone loves, and even their weird habits and obsessions that drive people crazy!
  • and also


  • Celebrate your relationship with them; take a walk down memory lane, share memories, funny stories, embarrassing photos, amusing anecdotes, fun facts guests may not know, and indulge in a little sentimentality.

You want them to look back and remember their 60th birthday warmly, so focus on things that are meaningful, because that’s what they’ll remember.



Create Memories

Let’s be honest, looking back, they’re probably not going to remember that their 60th birthday party had Mango Mojitos or gourmet bacon & goat cheese sliders, or that the balloons were emblazoned with 60 & Fabulous...


and all those gag gifts and joke are probably going to get stuffed in a drawer (or the bin!) the very next day...


but the ideas in this section are the type of things that they’ll keep, treasure, and get enjoyment from re-visiting in the future...


because they’ll remember how they made them FEEL.



Planning Your Own Party?

If you’re planning your own 60th birthday bash, but wish someone would plan one of these ideas for you, look out for the strip of share buttons under each idea so you can hint to friends and family.

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60 memories from 60 friends

60 years of memories postcards
  • THE IDEA
  • Invite friends and family to send a postcard sharing memories or best wishes for the birthday boy or girl

  • THE HOW
  • Make a list of friends, family members, and colleagues of the birthday boy/girl
  • Send each person one of the printable postcard designs shown below
  • The 'directions' card enclosed asks them to mail the postcard back sharing birthday wishes or a favorite memory of the birthday boy/girl
  • Ask guests to mail by a certain date so they all arrive in the week leading up to their birthday
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Tap images to enlarge


If you prefer not to mess around with printables, there are several designs—such as the ones shown below—that come pre-printed, some of which can be customized with a photo of the birthday boy/girl.




  • THE WHY?
  • Surprise; rare to get personal correspondence in the mail nowadays, so feels special
  • Thoughtful; reassures birthday boy/girl people haven't forgotten their birthday
  • Anticipation; extends the celebrations in the run up to the big day
  • Heartwarming; reminds birthday boy/girl people are thinking of them and that they are loved
  • Nostalgic; sharing memories makes it more personal than traditional birthday cards
  • Inclusive; allows friends and family far away, those only in occasional contact, and any who can't attend the party to still contribute
  • Keepsake; commits treasured memories to paper for birthday boy/girl to revisit in future
MATT'S TIP
matt james, professional event planner
matt's tip by matt james, professional event planner

"Whether heartfelt and meaningful, amusing, or darn right embarrassing, try to encourage friends and family to share their favorite memory of the birthday boy/girl, rather than just send traditional birthday wishes.

This will make the postcards so much more personal and create a wonderfully nostalgic keepsake to re-read in the future.

Just remember you might need to adjust the suggested 'return by' date for friends and family that live further away to ensure they arrive in time."



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A Gift Every Hour

Stack of gifts
  • THE IDEA
  • Spread the love over an entire day with 12 smaller gifts; one to open every 60 minutes!

  • THE HOW
  • Wrap 12 gifts and label each with the time to open
  • Aim for one every 60 minutes
  • Send the birthday boy/girl off to work with a bag full of the gifts
  • Alternatively, hide them around the house for them to hunt down
  • Message or call them throughout the day to remind them to open each gift, provide clues to their location, or just to share in their reaction once opened
  • Have friends and family contribute gifts
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  • THE WHY?
  • Prolongs; spreads the celebration over the entire day
  • Thoughtful; makes someone feel special and shows you've made an effort
  • Generous; lets you to spoil someone with multiple treats
  • Personal; encourages you to give smaller yet meaningful gifts
  • Participation; allows you spend moments together throughout the day sharing their reactions
  • Entertaining; creates fun activity to fill time ahead of an evening event
  • Collaborative; can include gifts from friends, family, and colleagues to make more substantial
  • Budget-friendly; gifts can be inexpensive or share costs with friends and family
  • More options; can give smaller gifts that might not have been considered substantial enough on their own
MATT'S TIP
matt james, professional event planner
matt's tip by matt james, professional event planner

"Giving 12 gifts doesn't have to be any more expensive than giving one. In fact, this idea works well because it encourages you to think of more meaningful gifts that are likely to have personal or sentimental—rather than monetary—value e.g photo gifts, a favorite childhood candy or hard to find delicacy from their hometown, a video message from a long-distance friend, or a coupon for a foot rub.

It also means you can give smaller gifts you know they'll love, but that ordinarily, might not be substantial enough on their own.

Regarding presentation, if you're revealing the stack of gifts all at once (as opposed to hiding them individually like a treasure hunt) they'll look more stylish if they're all wrapped in identical gift wrap. There's just something more chic and professional about a clean, uniform look."



  • GIFT IDEAS

For smaller gift ideas, such as the ones below, and lots of personalized photo-based gifts, check out my dedicated 60th birthday gift ideas page using the button below.


Tap images to enlarge



  • GIFT WRAP IDEAS

One way to make this idea even more special is wrap the gifts using photo collage wrapping paper, ribbon, and tags showing the birthday boy/girl at different stages of their life.


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Alternatively, if you don't have easy access to old photos of the birthday boy, you can still customize the wrapping with personalized wraping paper, number charms (to indicate the hour to open each gift), or chalkboard wrapping paper and tags so you can write your own instructions/message/time for each gift.


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60 reasons We Love You

60 reasons We Love You framed gift
  • THE IDEA
  • Invite friends and family to highlight the admirable qualities, notable traits, or amusing quirks that make the birthday boy/girl so loved

  • THE HOW
  • Asked friends, family, and colleagues to send you examples of some of the things they love about the birthday boy/girl
  • The reasons could be profound, lighthearted, or sentimental; highlighting admirable qualities, characteristics, personality traits, or even their weird little habits and obsessions
  • Complile a list of reasons and have them formatted in one of designs shown below to be framed and presented as a special birthday gift
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Tap images to enlarge



  • THE WHY?
  • Touching; gives people the opportunity to articulate things they might think, but rarely say
  • Feel good; celebrates positive attributes to make the birthday boy/girl feel loved, seen, and appreciated
  • Thoughtful; celebrates the person, not their age
  • Meaningful; a unique gift with sentimental value
  • Memorable; will become a treasured keepsake; people always remember how you make them feel
  • Inclusive; allows all friends and family to contribute; even those who can't attend the party
  • Budget-friendly; low-cost gift option that offers a 'big bang for your buck'
  • Entertaining; party guests will enjoy reading what everyone else has said about the birthday boy/girl
MATT'S TIP
matt james, professional event planner
matt's tip by matt james, professional event planner

"To avoid everyone highlighting similar—perhaps a little obvious—things they love about the birthday boy/girl, you might consider giving some gentle guidance to help steer people in the right direction.

This idea works best when there's a mix of the profound; e.g 'You always believe in me more than I do myself', the lighthearted; e.g 'That you tell Starbucks baristas your name is Beyoncé', and the sentimental; e.g 'You've seen me at my worst and you still love me'.

Consider asking a certain group of people to contribute profound reasons, another group to contribute lighthearted ones, and another to focus on sentimental ones etc. That way you'll achieve a good mix.

Decide whether you want to attribute each reason to the person who submitted it by including their name afterwards, like a quote."



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Reasons We Love You Photo Book

cover of reasons we love you photo book
  • THE IDEA
  • Invite friends and family to create photos expressing things they love about the birthday boy/girl and collect them together in a keepsake photo book

  • THE HOW
  • Ask friends and family to take photos of themselves holding up a sign explaining one thing they love about the birthday boy/girl
  • The reasons could be profound, lighthearted, or sentimental; highlighting admirable qualities, characteristics, personality traits, or even their weird little habits and obsessions
  • Collect all the photos together to print a custom photo book to present as a birthday gift
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young Indian girl holding up sign explaining the reason she loves someone
group of people at gym holding up sign explaining the reason they love someone
bald businessman in suit holding up sign explaining the reason he loves someone
cover and inside page spread of reasons we love you photo book showing people holding up signs


  • THE WHY?
  • Visual; allows the birthday boy/girl to both SEE and FEEL the love
  • Touching; gives people the opportunity to articulate things they might think, but rarely say
  • Feel good; celebrates positive attributes to make the birthday boy/girl feel loved, seen, and appreciated
  • Attribution; allows them to see which reason each of their loved ones contributed
  • Keepsake; captures touching sentiments in an illustrated book to look back on again and again
  • Unique; elevates the traditional photo book gift to something even more personal
  • Meaningful; celebrates the person, not their age
  • Inclusive; allows all friends and family to contribute; even those who can't attend the party
  • Heartwarming; touching for the recipient to discover friends and family collaborated on a meaningful gift
  • Budget-friendly; low-cost gift option that offers a 'big bang for your buck'
MATT'S TIP
matt james, professional event planner
matt's tip by matt james, professional event planner

"To ensure quality and consistency, give clear instructions for how people should take their photos. Consider:

Sign: specify the size, background color, how to hold, size of writing, and pen (e.g black Sharpie) to ensure all are legible

Orientation: specify full length and landscape with space either side of the person so you have the option to crop to square, portrait, or landscape during page layout

Background: vary the instructions so some are told to take inside versus outside, against different textured backgrounds e.g brick wall, hedge etc, and in different locations e.g office, garden etc. These photos often look best with more natural and realistic background scenes/locations, rather than everyone trying to take against a plain wall; which can look flat and sterile."



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60 years of Memories

60 years of Memories stack of letters
  • THE IDEA
  • Invite friends and family to pen a handwritten letter sharing their fondest memories of the the birthday boy/girl to present as a gift

  • THE HOW
  • Ask friends and family to pen a handwritten letter recounting a favorite memory of the birthday boy/girl to be shared with them on their birthday
  • Have the letters mailed back to you ahead of time
  • Repackage each letter into more decorative envelopes, stack them up, tie into a bundle, and label them '60 years of Memories'
  • During the party, present the bundle of letters to the guest of honor as a special gift from everyone present (and those who couldn't be there!)
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stack of envelopes, handwritten letter, and old photo
man smiling while reading letter


  • THE WHY?
  • Extraordinary; who writes personal letters anymore? No-one. That's what makes this idea so special
  • Surprise; creates a sentimental moment during the party (expect the odd tear!)
  • Nostalgic; a walk down memory lane with so many friends and family is a wonderful way to celebrate a milestone birthday
  • Personal; celebrates their relationships, not just the age they're turning
  • Meaningful; creates a unique gift with sentimental value
  • Heartwarming; touching for the recipient to discover friends and family all took the time to create a very special gift
  • Inclusive; allows friends and family far away, those only in occasional contact, and any who can't attend the party to still contribute
  • Keepsake; commits treasured memories to paper for birthday boy/girl to revisit in future
  • Budget-friendly; low-cost gift option that offers a 'big bang for your buck'
matt james, professional event planner
matt's tip by matt james, professional event planner

MATT'S TIP

"Plan ahead and allow enough time. It can take a while for people to actually sit down and put pen to paper. Set a 'post no later than...' date and factor in enough time for a few reminders.

Explain that this is about celebrating the birthday boy/girl's life through memories and anecdotes; so it's fine to get a little effusive or sentimental. Alternatively, humor works too. They might recall a funny story about how they first met or something that really cemented their relationship; the more nostalgic the better.

Remind people to include their full name in the letter too, as there may be several people with the same first name.

These look great if you repackage the letters into vintage-style airmail envelopes (see below) or another type of decorative envelope."




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Photo Memory Box

Custom photo memory keepsake box
  • THE IDEA
  • Collect up cards, letters, photographs, memories, and birthday wishes from friends and family and present them to the birthday boy/girl in a custom photo keepsake box

  • THE HOW
  • Gather together old photos showing the birthday boy/girl at different stages of their life
  • Have them printed onto these unique wooden keepsake memory boxes
  • Use to present special gifts, such as the 60 years of Memories letters above, or other photos, cards, and birthday wishes to the guest of honor
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Tap images to enlarge

top view of custom photo keepsake / memory box showing black and white photos of female friends
front view of custom photo keepsake / memory box showing black and white family photos
inside view of custom photo keepsake / memory box showing black and white family photo
inside view of custom photo keepsake / memory box showing black and white family photos


  • THE WHY?
  • Preservation; safeguards mementos, trinkets, letters, and memories in one place to revisit again and again
  • Personal; elevates a traditional keepsake box into something even more personal
  • Nostalgic; tells the story of a life (so far) in pictures to celebrate a milestone birthday
  • Unique; a meaningful birthday gift with sentimental value
  • Keepsake; makes a place to keep sentimental little treasures, a special treasure in itself
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".




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60 years of Memories Photo Book

60 years of Memories Photo Book
  • THE IDEA
  • Invite friends and family to contribute photos of the birthday boy/girl through the years to capture in a custom photo book

  • THE HOW
  • Have old printed photos of the birthday boy/girl restored and/or transferred to digital format (see how below)
  • Combine with more recent digital photos
  • Collect together in a custom photo book titled '60 years of Memories' to tell the story of a life (so far).
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double page spread showing inside of custom photo book with retro graduation and wedding photos from the 1960s
double page spread showing inside of custom photo book with retro family photos from the 1970s
double page spread showing inside of custom photo book with old family photos celebrating 50 year anniversary
double page spread inside of custom photo book showing a journey of life timeline and family photos


  • THE WHY?
  • Nostalgic; tells the story of a life (so far) in pictures
  • Thoughtful; creates a unique gift with sentimental value
  • Preservation; opportunity to restore and/or transfer aging or damaged printed photos to digital format
  • Entertaining; party guests will enjoy flicking through old photos of the birthday boy/girl
  • Meaningful; celebrates the person, not their age
  • Keepsake; captures a visual walk down memory lane that can be revisited over and over again
matt james, professional event planner
matt's tip by matt james, professional event planner

MATT'S TIP

"Ask friends and family to rifle through their photo collections to discover lesser-known photos of the birthday boy/girl to tell the story of their life (so far).

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)."




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Photo Slideshow

group of friends watching a photo slideshow on projection screen in back yard social gathering
  • THE IDEA
  • Invite friends and family to contribute photos and videos of the birthday boy/girl to surprise them with an animated slideshow during the party

  • THE HOW
  • Gather up old photos and video clips of the birthday boy/girl that tell the story of their life (so far)
  • Transfer any old printed photos to digital format (link below)
  • Upload/email the photos to have them set to music, animated, and blended into one continuous presentation
  • Play the slideshow at the party, either on a loop in the background or gather everyone together to share the moment at a designated time
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  • THE WHY?
  • Entertainment; whether a surprise reveal or continuous loop, it's an easy way to keep party guests entertained
  • Surprise; creates a sentimental moment during the party (expect the odd tear!)
  • Nostalgic; a walk down memory lane is a wonderful way to celebrate a milestone birthday
  • Thoughtful; celebrates the person's life, not their age
  • Inclusive; allows friends and family who are deceased, far away, or can't attend to still have a presence at the party
matt james, professional event planner
matt's tip by matt james, professional event planner

MATT'S TIP

"Slideshows work best when they're a surprise for the birthday boy/girl. Use them to create a focal point that brings everyone together at a certain time for a big reveal. Alternatively, have it playing on a contnuous loop throughout the party to entertain guests during drinks; it can be a great ice breaker / conversation starter.

If you own (or can borrow) a projector for playback it will give a more special 'big-screen' event feel, fill a larger space, and enable more people to see easily in a crowded room. Alternatively, you could cast from a laptop or tablet to a large TV screen."




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Open When Letters

stack of brown manila envelope open when letters for different occasions
  • THE IDEA
  • Be there in spirit when you can't be there in person with a collection of 'Open When...' letters for every occasion

  • THE HOW
  • Pre-write a stack of comforting letters for the birthday boy/girl to open on specific occasions
  • Alternatively, have friends and family contribute one letter each
  • Occasions could include: when you're sad, need a confidence boost, have had a bad day, need a good laugh etc
  • Label and seal each letter in a decorative envelope
  • Present to the birthday boy/girl as a gift
+ Read More

Tap images to enlarge



  • THE WHY?
  • Extraordinary; people rarely write personal letters nowadays which makes this idea so special
  • Caring; letters are intended to comfort, motivate, inspire, and make them feel good
  • Thoughtful; a gift with sentimental value that continues giving long after their birthday
  • Heartwarming; reminds the recipient that they are loved and not alone when times are tough
  • Touching; gives people the opportunity the articulate things they might not otherwise take the time to say
  • Contact; allows people to be there, with wise words or positive thoughts, when they can't be there in person
  • Inclusive; allows friends and family to contribute a letter each
  • Budget-friendly; low-cost gift that packs a big emotional punch
  • Memorable; letters can be kept as a keep-sake from their milestone birthday and a reminder of how it made them feel
matt james, professional event planner
matt's tip by matt james, professional event planner

MATT'S TIP

"As this is a thoughtful 'make-it-yourself' gift, be sure to make a little effort with the styling and presentation; you want it to look handmade, not home-made.

Invest in some decorative envelopes and labels/tags to prevent them looking too amateurish—especially if your handwriting skills aren't great.

That's why I've included some of the examples above. The illustrated envelopes lend a cute, handmade feel that still has a personal touch. Whereas the rich colored and pattered options elevate the presentation to give them a more elegant and stylish look."



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04

Party Decorations

Matt's Tip Watch video or read summary below

A common mistake people make is that they often try to dress an entire room or venue and end up spreading their party decorations too thinly.

This means they get a bit lost when competing with existing room décor and it just dilutes the overall effect.

What you actually want to do is keep everything tight and compact, focusing on a few larger dispays or 'clusters' of decorations in key areas, which will make them look fuller and more noticeable.

Check out the preview images below, then follow the 'Read More' button to my dedicated 60th birthday party decorations page to learn more about the 4 key areas you should focus decorations on:

  • Entrance Décor
  • Welcome Area
  • Dessert / Buffet Table or Bar Décor
  • Room Decorations
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  • Entrance Decorations (Preview)

Entrance decorations should be welcoming and functional; identifying the location, directing 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.

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  • Welcome Area (Preview)

Avoid getting stuck at the entrance all night by creating a welcome area to: greet guests; with signage, décor, and self-service arrival 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.

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  • Dessert Table Decor (Preview)

Maximize your budget by concentrating decorations around a dessert / buffet table or bar to create one large display / feature wall that will act as a focal point in the room. This will give you more bang for your buck rather than trying to dress an entire venue and spreading decorations too thinly.

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  • Room Decorations (Preview)

Add creative twists and personal touches to everyday decorations, such as balloons and banners, to make them more special. This creates conversation-starters, photo-ops, and talking points to engage and entertain guests while encouraging mingling.

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+ VIEW DECORATIONS PAGE


05

Interactive Elements

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Matt James video title


Why You Need Interactive Elements

When throwing a party, people often overlook the importance of providing things for guests to do.

It’s so easy to become preoccupied with the basics of party planning, such as invitations, catering, and decorations, that you don’t spare much thought for what guests will do AFTER they’ve tuned up, looked at the decorations, and had a drink.

Small talk will only hold their attention for so long before they start looking at their watch (or phone!) and wondering how soon they can leave.

Engagement is essential for creating atmosphere and ensuring people have a good time.

Activities and entertainment enable flow and circulation, which keeps the energy up, and they help break the ice, encouraging mingling, and provide conversation-starters.

Perhaps most importantly, they prevent boredom and people leave with something to talk about, share, and remember; they feel as though they’ve had an experience.

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06

Party Food

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Matt James video title


Why You Shouldn't Offer a Buffet

Buffet tables are over. They're old fashioned, sloppy, and recall those nasty 'all you can eat' restaurants where the food sits out all day.

Nowadays, for event professionals, it’s all about creating ‘food stations’ that are geared towards small bites, tasting plates, and DIY options.

Food stations still let you feed large numbers, offer a range of dishes (so there’s something for everyone; looking at you vegans!), and keep food service relaxed and informal so as not to kill the party atmosphere.

The difference is you get to wow guests with the creative, modern, and stylish presentation that comes with mini tasting plates and dessert cups. As such, your food station contributes to your overall event design and décor.

Check out the preview images below, then follow the 'Read More' button to my party food ideas page to learn my simple food styling and presentation tips that will have everything thinking your party has been professionally catered!

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07

Dessert Table

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Matt James video title


Why You Need a Dessert Table

In addition to lending visual spectacle and wow factor, a dessert table offers the host many practical, logistical, and financial benefits such as:

  • Maximizing budget by making inexpensive or homemade desserts look stylish
  • Saving time by preparing big-batch desserts in advance to portion on the day
  • Using presentation to elevate simple, basic, or store-bought treats to make them feel more special
  • Entertaining, treating, or surprising guests with quirky, unusual, or indulgent bite-size treats
  • Easily accommodating diets, allergies, and intolerances with a variety of treats so there’s something for everyone
  • Managing flow; encouraging guests to move around and mingle while grazing
  • Fostering engagement by creating talking-points and photo ops
  • Minimizing clean-up and clearing with high quality disposable serving containers

Check out the preview images below, then follow the 'Read More' button to my party Dessert Tables page to learn more.

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08

Party Drinks

Matt's Tip
Matt James video title


Get that Professionally-Catered Look

Always create a signature drink for your party; it’s one of the easiest things you can do to make your party unique and create a talking point.

When people get dressed up and go out for the night, they want to discover and try new things that they don’t have at home.

It’s one of the reasons we go to restaurants; to taste the creations of chefs and experience flavor combinations that perhaps we wouldn’t have thought of or wouldn’t know how to make ourselves.

So, don’t play it too safe; offer them something unusual.


Give traditional drinks a creative twist

You should still offer more traditional drinks too but add a creative twist or personal touch to the styling and presentation; to make them a little more special.

This might be custom photo wine/beer bottle labels, personalized cups, glasses, stirrers, and straws, or cocktail napkins printed with ‘Fun facts you may not know about the birthday boy/girl’.

This might seem like a lot of attention to detail, but remember, drinks play a big role in every party. Your guests are probably going to be carrying one around for most of the night; so it’s worth making an effort.

A milestone birthday is a special occasion; so go out of your way to make it special.

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09

Party Invitations

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Matt James video title


Don't give guests a reason to cancel

Everybody worries whether enough guests are going to show up to their party; even professional party planners. Which is why you need to make an effort with your invitations.

Firstly, you must send a proper invitation in the mail, especially for a milestone birthday.

Inviting people by email or phone just won’t cut it. It sends the message that it’s just a casual arrangement; no big deal, nothing special, just if you’ve got nothing better to do. You’re practically inviting them to cancel on the day.

If you’re expecting guests to give up their evening, commit weeks in advance, arrange babysitters, buy a gift, get dressed up, and travel across town to celebrate YOUR birthday, the invitation needs to say ‘this is a special occasion’—and an email just doesn’t.


Want people to make an effort? then you have to

Nowadays, it’s getting more and more rare to receive personal correspondence through your letterbox. So, when a stiff, hand-addressed, luxurious, colored envelope unexpectedly lands on the mat, it instantly feels special.

Invitations set the tone; it’s a glimpse of what’s to come so it needs to excite and inspire. It needs to reassure people that they’re going to have fun. It’s needs to build excitement and give them something to look forward to. So, it needs to be creative.

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10

Gifts

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Matt James video title


Avoid the Obvious & Stereotypical

Let’s be honest, most gift websites suck.

They’re typically full of uninspiring, clichéd, or oh-so-hilarious (not!) gag gifts that retailers insist on pushing, but that no-one really wants to receive.

Does anyone really get excited personalized golf balls, monogrammed robes, or a ‘World’s Best Mum’ mug?

And why are they always so stereotypical? For men; golf accessories, tools, ties, and grilling equipment. For women; jewelry boxes, tote bags, photo frames, and engraved glass ornaments. Snore!


Personal v Personalized

Don’t be fooled into thinking that a gift with someone’s name engraved on it makes it personal.

A truly personal gift is one where some real thought has gone into it; something you know they’d love but would never treat themselves to, something meaningful with sentimental value, or something quirky, usual, or unique that’s been tailored to the recipient.

Hit ‘Read More’ to check out my page of less obvious 60th birthday gift ideas.

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10

Ideas for Men

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Matt James video title


Stuck for inspiration?

Check out some of these creative birthday themes and ideas for men, including:


  • The Man, The Myth, The Legend
  • The Silver Fox
  • Straight Outta My Thirties
  • Manly Men Doing Things That Men Do
  • Keep Calm I'm turning 60
  • Party Like Gatsby
  • Old Lives Matter
  • Jack Daniels Whiskey Bash
  • Rhythm & Brews
  • and more!
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