The most stressful part about turning 40? Party planning for my birthday! If you’re like me and a bit of a perfectionist and love planning parties that have lots of well thought out details, then you’ll likely understand the time and effort this sort of party takes.
When I decided on having a celebration for my 40th birthday, I was so excited about all the possibilities of a theme, colour scheme etc. Then I went on Pinterest, and that excitement turned into overwhelm. THERE ARE SO MANY OPTIONS! One minute my heart was settled on a gold and pink theme, the next I was considering monochrome, and I became more and more confused as August ticked along.
Eventually, I created some ideas based on blogs I had read, images I’d saved over the years on Pinterest, and my own imagination. So I wanted to create this post, in the hope that if you’re sat wondering what theme or colour scheme your party is going to be, that maybe you can use some of the ideas I put together, to help you with your planning.
Starting with drinks, I settled on San Pellegrino flavoured soda’s in a can for the non-drinkers, alongside Perrier sparkling water in a can because they look adorable ;o) For the drinkers, I wanted my favourite summer drink, Aperol Spritz, so using a peg board, I created directions for making your own. We also had bellini’s, champagne, white wine and rosé.
To add to the fun, I created my own wine labels, which I stuck on the white wine and rosé bottles. Here’s some of the label captions I used (you’ll find plenty of ideas on Pinterest):
Someone needs to set a bad example.
F*ck it, it’s time for wine.
Pairs well with bad decisions.
Just add ice and whatever dignity you have left.
You’re gonna need a bigger glass.
You and I both know you’ll be crying later.
For the food, I wanted a long platter full of delicious bites from prosciutto and salami, to olives, breadsticks, grapes, cheese and crackers. We piled it high and it was the perfect snacking platter for my guests. We also had platters of cheese and crackers, prosciutto and melon, and popcorn bags.
For the popcorn bags, I ordered paper bags online, and created a label that said ‘Pop it like it’s hot’, printing this directly onto the popcorn bags. FYI this was a tricky process, as the bags kept slipping in the printer, so I advise you to either buy LOADS of bags to counteract the amount you’ll need to throw away when the printing smudges, or print onto sticky labels instead.
And of course, what’s a party without dessert? I ordered a bunch of mini ice cream tubs in the most amazing flavours: Lavender, Raspberry Pavlova, Lucky Charms, Rose, Dulce De Leche, Peach, Nutella and Honey Halva. Yum! (My go-to store for these ice creams made by the Cream Lab, is The Hoarder in West Brompton – if you’re in London). Alongside the ice cream I added some bellini and champagne alco ice pops to the mix, because, hey why not? ;o)
I decided to make my own sweet bags too, ordering huge tubs of sweets online and purchasing glassine bags to put them in. To add to the fun, I created ‘I’ll take you to the candy shop’ stickers, printing onto sticky labels, to go on the front of the bags.
The colour scheme ended up being mostly black, white and yellow. You’ll see from the images, I had yellow plates, black ‘pop fizz clink’ napkins, black and white straws and we scoured the internet for some amazing white polycarbonate wine glasses (similar ones here). I purchased silver foiled balloon letters that read #YOUNGAF because I wanted all the details to be light hearted and fun, and this hung above the drinks table.
I love a goody bag, and over the years when I’ve hosted parties and dinners I’ve often made goody bags for friends to take home. So this birthday was no exception and I decided to hand out Hangover Kits to my guests. The Hangover Kit contents included: Coffee, water, chocolate, vodka and spicy tomato juice to make a bloody mary.
I purchased brown paper bags and created the ‘Hangover Kit’ label, printing directly onto the bags. I created a ‘F*cking Strong Coffee’ label and printed these on sticky labels, sticking them on glassine bags. To put inside the coffee bag I purchased these instant coffee bags.
I bought family sized Galaxy chocolate bars, removing the paper label so it just remained wrapped in foil, and then created and printed my own chocolate bar labels that read ‘Although you can party like an absolute rockstar, it appears you can’t recover like one’.
Making my own labels for the water bottles that read ‘H2Ooohhhh f*ck my head hurts’, I stuck these onto mini Evian bottles and for the bloody mary contents, I purchased Big Tom bloody mary mix in a can, and I also bought small glass bottles online, decanting vodka into them and created a label for the bottles reading ‘Hair of the Dog. The one that bit you’.
The day before the party, the weather forecast confirmed torrential rain, so we made a dash to Ikea and purchased a marquee, alongside extra wine glasses, side tables, stools and other bit and pieces, so I recommend using Ikea for any party furniture!
Party planning is NO JOKE, it’s time consuming, so make sure you leave a few weeks to prepare. It will always take longer than you think! It’s worth it though, when it all comes together on the day!
Hope these ideas help you with any future parties you’re planning!