Achieving one’s 80th birthday is quite an accomplishment – one that needs to be celebrated. Here are some tips that will help you plan an 80th birthday party that will mean so much to your guest of honor.
Make sure that you involve the guest of honor in the planning process. If you have lived to be 80 years old, you know what you like. My Aunt Millie wanted a large party with all of her friends and family members. She selected her favorite Italian restaurant as the location for the event. My grandmother, on the other hand, told us that her idea of a perfect party would be to go to her son’s house and have just the immediate family celebrate. To my grandmother, a large, blow out party would be overwhelming.
Find out what is most important to the celebrant. For some it may mean having an out of town relative attend. Others may be focused on the menu and flowers. My Aunt Millie really wanted to wear a corsage and have all of her children wear one as well, so everyone would recognize them. Ask open ended questions such as these to get to what really matters to the person being celebrated:
- Describe your ideal party.
- Who would attend?
- What would we eat?
- What would be served?
- Would there be activities, music, or entertainment?
You don’t have to involve the celebrant in all of the details, just the ones that are viewed as important. Once you have gathered all of the data about the desired guest list and location, your work will begin.
Invitations. Be sure to send written invitations, as many of the important guests may or many not check their email regularly, or may not use email at all. Include the following on the invitation:
- Date. List the day of the week as well as the actual date.
- Time. Let people know the start time as well as the end time, if it is not open ended.
- Location. Include the address and directions.
- Meal. Be sure guests know what type of meal you are serving (brunch, lunch or dinner). You may also decide to have a party with hor d’oeuvres only
- Gifts. Find out if the guest of honor would like any type of special gift. At one 80th birthday party, all guests were asked to write a paragraph about their fondest memory with the celebrant.
- RSVP. Include a phone number and email address for guest to use when responding.
Invitations do not have to be expensive. There are so many fun bordered paper at office supply stores, you can create your own very easily.
Once people have responded to your invitations, give a count to the person or facility hosting the party. Arrange for any type of audio visual needs. If there will be speeches, have a microphone and speaker set up.
Entertainment or Activities: Make sure you take this into account when planning a party. I attended an 80th birthday party where the host created a PowerPoint presentation of old and current photos of the celebrant. At another they posted the photos on poster board and hung them for the party. If the party is not too large you can also guests to share their favorite memory of the celebrant.
And as a ‘after the party’ gift to the guest of honors, make sure that you take lots of pictures at the party – especially of them with their many friends and family members. Then put the pictures in an album and present it to them. They will be so appreciative of this thoughtful gesture.