Forget those kids turning 20 or 30. Major birthdays—40, 50, 60 and up—are milestone events. Big birthdays are an achievement, marking the completion of a decade, with all of its successes and heartaches, and the promise of the next. But most of all, milestone birthdays are an irresistible reason to celebrate in a big way—and we have the party to match.
Invite the inner circle for an intimate dinner party with a table set for memories, laughter and lingering conversation. Giving the evening a hint of formality is a fun way to up the ante while affectionately honoring the birthday lady or gent.
Retro Cocktails + Relish Tray
Grown-up birthdays call for grown-up cocktails. Offer guests a choice of two cocktails before dinner, accompanied by a modernized relish tray full of olives, radishes, carrots and pickles. In a separate tray, set out herbed, buttered nuts and hummus with homemade flatbreads.
As guests are finishing their cocktails and settling in for the evening, gently begin to nudge them toward the dining room table. Plate salads ahead of time so they can be easily served once everyone is seated. Pouring a festive cava or Champagne is a nice way to start.
If there’s ever a time for a beautiful roasted tenderloin, this is it. Break out the big, bold reds to complement.
Big birthdays deserve something over-the-top decadent. In a word: chocolate. Consider a special vintage port or cognac to balance the richness. And don’t forget the candles!
Make It Extra Special
- Just because the party has a formal bent doesn’t mean the music has to be. Create a playlist with the guest of honor’s favorite jams or songs from the past decade or year they were born.
- Ask each guest to bring a favorite story or prepare a few words about the birthday boy or girl. These can be shared like mini-toasts with dessert.
- Place photographs of the guest of honor throughout his/her life in the dining room and kitchen. Bonus points for finding photos featuring friends and family who’ll be present at the party.