Society & Culture & Entertainment Holidays & party

31st Birthday Ideas

    Treat It Like the First

    • A whimsical "1" cake, perfect for your first post-30 birthday party.

      In the 2008 film, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," the main character aged backwards; the film was nominated for an Oscar. You can borrow this idea for your 31st birthday party, and treat it like your "first" birthday party (first post-thirty, that is). Party decorations should be low-key, like the ones at a child's party. Think crepe paper, streamers, paper hats and party blowers. Make or order a cake in the shape of a "1" and celebrate with abandon! Play video games, board games or even classic party games like Pin the Tail on the Donkey (you can give it a grown-up spin by awarding a bottle of wine as a prize).

      As you're planning your "one"-year-old's party, consider a small way you can make a difference in the lives of actual one-year-old kids. Ask your friends to bring a child's toy as your birthday gift, and then donate the wrapped presents to a shelter.

    Host a Grown-up Dinner Party

    • A beautiful yet informal table setting, perfect for a dinner party.

      You can also celebrate from the opposite end of the spectrum. Instead of partying like a youngster, party like a grown-up; host a proper dinner party. Keep the guest list small (fewer than 10 guests) and make it an intimate night of appetizers, drinks, dinner and dessert. Your table setting is important, but it doesn't have to be traditional. Author and Food Network personality Giada de Laurentiis recommends mixing and matching dinnerware for a funky, eclectic feel. It keeps the look of the table less stuffy, and it's also convenient for those who don't have enough place settings in a single pattern.

      At your birthday dinner party, keep the drinks flowing, the music lively and the lighting dim. It's the host's job to make sure his guests have a good time, but that doesn't mean the party has to be a ton of work. You can cater the meal, pick up a centerpiece from the florist and buy the cake from your local bakery. Hosting a dinner party is about bringing people together, and that's what getting older is all about. Recognize how valuable your friends and family members are.

    Make It a Blast from the Past

    • Another fun way to celebrate is with a retro party, themed for the year you were born. Costumes, music and decor all play a part. If you were born in the 80s, for example, cue up a soundtrack full of Prince, Madonna and Bruce Springsteen. Ask your party guests to wear their best 80s threads, complete with acid-washed jeans and off-the-shoulder sweatshirts. Have a selection of 80s movies on hand to pop into the DVD player, and serve up novelty foods like microwave popcorn that your guests can nibble while dancing or mingling. If you can find one at your local thrift store or online, buy a Polaroid camera. Let your party guests snap candid shots the old-fashioned way.

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