All birthdays are special, but perhaps none more so than those ending with the big zero: 30, 40, 50, 60 and beyond.
If you’re reading this, you’ve probably hit one or more of those fabulous milestone events.
Families celebrate other milestone birthdays, too, such as 13, 16, 18, 21 and 75.
Milestone birthdays are fun and memorable. Eighteen, for example, has a special meaning. You’re legal. Twenty-one is the legal drinking age, and at 30, birthday girls and boys begin to plan their future: family, purchasing a home and choosing a career path to get through the next milestone birthdays.
And then there’s 50. You’ve reached the half-century mark. Turning 50 is a huge milestone worthy of a big fancy celebration.
Milestone birthday parties go above and beyond a typical birthday bash of food, drinks, balloons and gifts. They’re the birthdays where memories are a special occasion.
Themes and activities are high on the list for milestone birthday planning. It’s an event to pull out all the stops. It’s the best excuse for a blowout party. Top themes this year include Era parties, James Bond and World’s Fair parties. In St. Louis, caterers are seeing a rise in neighborhood themed parties, such as Soulard-themed and the Hill-themed parties.
As director of sales and catering at Butler’s Pantry in Lafayette Square, Melody Buckner and her team have thrown their share of spectacular milestone birthday parties.
“One that we just did this past weekend was an ’80s throwback ball,” says Buckner. Their customer was celebrating her 40th but decided to celebrate the era instead of the big 4-0. Guests were decked out in ’80s attire, and even the Butler’s Pantry staff was dressed in ’80s garb. A platform at the door was designed by Exclusive Events, and guests traveled through time viewing icons and events from the ’80s. Food from the period was served, including a Tater Tots bar with different cheeses and peppers, pizza pockets and even Pac-Man cupcakes (adult style).
Recently, Buckner and her team planned a celebration for two women celebrating 50. The number 100 was present throughout the celebration with a giant 100 used as a backdrop for photo opportunities. They also designed a cake in the shape of 100.
“Group parties are high on the list, too,” adds Buckner. You can split the bill planning a party together.
“I celebrated for 30 days straight before my 30th birthday,” says Dawn Lynch of St. Louis. Her best friend secretly organized “30 Days of Dawn.”
For the 30 days leading up to her birthday, family members and friends each took one day and planned a surprise or event.
“After a few days, I put the pieces together of what was happening and was in suspense every day for what was to come,” she adds.
Her surprises included: showing up for a hair appointment and being told it was already paid for, edible arrangements and flower deliveries to her house and office, coming home to a clean house and presents everywhere, dinners, drinks, brunch, ice cream and lunches.
“One day I got a video sent to my phone every hour.” She was blown away at the time and effort put in by each person who was involved. It was all capped off with an incredible and memorable party.
“You never need a reason to travel and explore, but traveling in celebration for milestone birthdays has grown in popularity,” says Marcie Boyle, president of Travel Leaders Chesterfield (owned and operated by RSVP Events & Travel).
She plans milestone birthday trips every week for every age: 21, 30, 40, 50, 60; they’ve even helped a client celebrate an 85th birthday on the Rocky Mountaineer, a Canadian train tour company.
“The biggest trend we see in group celebration travel is the all-inclusive resort destinations such as Jamaica, Punta Cana, Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Maya,” she adds. These types of trips offer amazing resort options that cater to all ages, budgets and preferences. “Travelers love all-inclusive options because all expenses are included for one price, and they can celebrate their special day without worrying about the cost of a celebratory cocktail or dessert.”
IDEAS FOR MILESTONE BIRTHDAY GIFTS
• Christine Stark owner of Picket Fence Crafts in Bourbonnais, Ill., creates custom collage numbers and letters for milestone birthdays. “Each number tells a story,” Stark says. The story comes from the photographs that customers send her.
Digital photos are sharpened, laser printed, resized, hand cut and arranged on high-density fiber board. The numbers can be hung by Velcro or placed on an easel.
Each number is about 13 inches high and 7 inches wide. You’ll spend about $199 on two numbers in black and white, or $250 for color.
• A birthday photo collage, designed by a pro, can be a treasured gift. Using a collection of Polaroids, photographs or digital files, ProCollage artists will work with you to create a personalized keepsake. An 18-inch by 24-inch black-and-white photo collage, with 24 pictures, is about $230.
A money tree is a hot item on Pinterest and other sites for milestone birthday gifts. We created our own version of a money tree. It took about 20 minutes from start to finish. You’ll need:
2 small branches with lots of mini branches
1. Find two small branches with lots of small branches to fit inside a gardening container. Remove all leaves from both branches.
2. Tie the two branches together (we used a rubber band). Stand the branch inside a flower pot and fill the pot half way with small rocks. Add enough sand to hold the branches in place.
3. Attach a dollar bill with a paper clip to the small branches. Repeat until every branch is filled.
• Take a stroll down memory lane with Birthday Street art prints. The personalized print starts at $395, unframed and $465 framed for a 10-inch-by-20-inch) at Yourmemorylane.com.
August 31, 2014 11:00 am •