Planning a 50th Birthday Party for Every Kind of Person
Ah, the 50th birthday. For some, it’s a symbol of lost youth and aging. For others, it’s a time to reflect on a life well-lived. We prefer the latter. Planning a 50th birthday party for yourself or a loved one is an excellent opportunity to show them how much you care and celebrate with a bang.
Whether you’re in charge of planning a 50th birthday party for your mom, dad, wife, husband, sister, brother, friend or yourself, we’ve got some tips lined up for you. We’ll go over everything from colors to themes and games, along with some low-key 50th birthday ideas for the introvert in your life and how to throw a 50th birthday party without them feeling old. It can be a sensitive age, and there’s a lot to cover, so let’s dive in.
Basics of Planning a 50th Birthday Party
A 50th birthday bash can go in hundreds of different directions, depending on your ideas and the personality of your honoree. Some concepts, however, apply to nearly every 50th birthday party.
- Budgeting: While we would all like to spend endless amounts of money for someone we love or to throw a party for ourselves, it’s not exactly feasible. Remember, money isn’t the only thing that makes a party meaningful. Figure out your budget and stick to it. Decide which components you need and which you can do without.
- The guest list: Think about how large a party you or your guest of honor will want. Some would like a massive gathering, while others prefer quiet, more intimate get-togethers. Your budget might have a hand in this choice too.
- Scheduling: If you can, let the guest of honor choose the date and time. Otherwise, try to pick a date that will allow for the best attendance.
- Location: Your budget might influence your location. Consider how special it is to your honoree and whether they’d prefer to celebrate in a fancy hall or with a tasty barbecue outside.
- Menu: Spend some time creating the perfect menu. Consider their favorite foods, or lay out candies that were popular when they were younger. If your venue offers onsite catering, like Colonial Golf and Tennis Club does, you can avoid the bigger stuff.
- Theme: While you don’t necessarily need a theme, a 50th birthday is an excellent opportunity for it. You can throw a decade party, with everyone dressed in the style of the year the honoree was born, or a party centered on their hobbies and interests. Do they like music? Create a rock-‘n’-roll party complete with guitar party favors, a cutout of Elvis and their favorite songs playing all night long. There are plenty of themes you can use to add a unique touch to the party.
- Decorations: You get some exciting options for your decor at a 50th birthday party. Try a flashback poster that lists off things that happened in the year they were born, like the top movies, songs and historical events. You can also set out items that were popular in their birth year, like popular vintage candies or toys.
Overall, remember to keep the guest of honor at the forefront. It is their day, after all, so keep their wishes in mind at all times.
How to Plan a 50th Birthday Party
Different people in your life offer unique party-throwing opportunities. Consider characteristics that fit your guest of honor to truly make it theirs.
How do you celebrate a woman’s 50th birthday? Whether you’re planning something special for your sister, wife, mom or friend, the party you throw should match their personality. Take your honoree’s style and interests into account. You can go for a “50 and Fabulous” theme or a garden party. Maybe they’re more on the elegant side, and you want something as classy as possible. The sky is the limit – but be sure to avoid jokes. Turning 50 can sometimes be more of a difficult subject for women than men, so steer clear of teasing and humor unless you know for sure they would respond well.
Another way to make a party truly unique is to make it more experiential with an activity. Try turning their party into a wine and cheese tasting or a murder mystery game. If they’re on the artsier side, a wine and paint night could be just the ticket. Some 50th birthday party ideas “for her” that you may need to take outside the party location include:
- A hot air balloon or helicopter ride
- Ziplining tour
- Horseback riding
- Brewery or chocolate factory tour
On a similar note, planning a 50th birthday party for a man also asks you to think about his personality. If you want to do a humorous theme like “Over the Hill,” you might have better luck with a male guest of honor. Make sure you know your honoree well and are 100% sure he is OK with it. Whether you’re planning a 50th birthday party for your husband, brother, dad or friend, you can always plan around their interests too, such as throwing a golf- or racing-themed party.
Just like with women, experiential gifts are an excellent option for men too. You can turn their party into a craft brewery “tour,” with flights and tastings. Include pub food and an “aged to perfection” tagline. As for activities, try taking them:
- To an escape room
- On a real brewery tour
- To stunt or stock car driving classes
- Deep-sea fishing
For Your Parents
Planning a 50th birthday party for your parents gives you some exclusive access to old photos and unique memories. You can play up the reflective aspect of the party and focus on a well-lived life so far. Try putting some of their favorite snacks or candies on display.
You probably know them better than most, so get personal and think about what they like. Work with your family members and make sure you all have a hand in the party. Nothing will make them feel more loved and appreciated than seeing their family come together to celebrate their life.
For Those Who Want to Stay Low-Key
Got an introvert on your hands? Keep it small. Now, “small” can mean different things to different people, so try to understand what kind of events your guest of honor likes. Would a get-together with 25 of your closest friends and family be too much? How about something with just the core family?
For some low-key 50th birthday ideas, consider a game night, where you set up various board and card games at tables for everyone to play through. A movie night is another option that stays laid-back. Set up pillows and blankets and maybe even a projector if your crowd is on the larger side. Air a favorite of your guest of honor, and relax with some popcorn and soda.
What Is the Color Theme for a 50th Birthday?
While there isn’t a “traditional” choice for a 50th birthday, one color does stand out. Gold is a classic color, symbolizing the “golden age” with elegance and refinement. Gold goes well with many other colors, but white creates a particularly classy contrast. Gold and white make a beautiful color theme for a 50th birthday.
Of course, that’s not the only option. Other colors like silver, dark red and deep purple are also great choices. These bold, rich shades are sophisticated and elegant, and they work well with a variety of party favors and elements.
50th Birthday Party Games for a Man or Woman
So what events should you plan for a 50th birthday party? It’s easy to jump into funny games here, like “Pin the Hair on the Bald Guy,” but be careful. Many people are touchy about their age when they turn 50, so make jokes with caution. Only poke fun if you’re 100% sure the person will be laughing with you. If you’re not sure? Skip it.
- Guess the Age: Post pictures of the honoree from different stages in their life. Have sheets of paper underneath with numbers that correspond to the photos. Partygoers need to guess how old the person was in each of the pictures, and whoever gets the most right wins.
- Who Knows Them Best?: Make a list of questions about the honoree, like, “What’s their favorite ice cream flavor?” and “When did they graduate high school?” Have guests answer them. Whoever gets the most questions right wins. You could even turn this into a Jeopardy! or trivia game, too.
- Piñata: Everyone loves the opportunity to hit something. Hang a big piñata with the number 50 and let guests take a whack.
- Lawn games: If your party is outdoors, you’ve got the perfect opportunity to set up a game of cornhole, croquet, volleyball or any other popular lawn game you can think of. These can keep guests entertained for hours.
- Birthday Bingo: Fill up a bingo card with squares that describe the person or their interests. You can include categories like their favorite artist or restaurant.
- Minute to Win It: These fast and fun games are perfect for parties, whether you’re working with groups or individuals. Attach a tissue box filled with Ping-Pong balls to someone’s waist and have them shake until the balls are out before a minute goes by. Have one person wrap their partner in streamers or toilet paper before time’s up. Cut up a bunch of cereal boxes and have people arrange them in under 60 seconds. Bonus points if the box is of a vintage cereal from the year they were born. You can find loads of minute-to-win-it games online to keep guests busy.
Is a 50th Birthday Important?
While some people like to pretend they’re not a day past 40, turning 50 should be a celebration, not an embarrassing moment. It’s an opportunity to relish how far you’ve come and all the accomplishments you’ve made. By the time you reach this significant milestone, you likely have a family, a career and a home. Of course, these aren’t universal events, but no matter what you’ve achieved, this birthday is an ideal time to celebrate it. You can reflect upon your life, and others can learn about it. Plus, not many people will turn down a fun party.
Aside from having a fantastic birthday blowout, here are a few more reasons to look forward to the milestone.
- Family: By now, you probably have a loving family to celebrate with. They’ll likely want to spend time with you and spoil you. Let them. Use the day to be grateful for the relationships you have, and appreciate them while you can.
- Accomplishments: Everyone’s got a story. Whatever hardships and difficulties your life involved, you overcame them and made it to 50 years old. Think about your career, your love life, your health, your children, scary situations, your education — everything you’ve been through that made you who you are today. Take time to celebrate those experiences.
- Treating yourself: A 50th birthday is a prime time to go on a trip or be surprised with a big present from your kids or significant other.
- A year closer to retirement: If you’re the person who’s looking forward to saying goodbye to their job, you’re almost there. You’re probably within 10 years of finishing work forever! Now that’s something to celebrate.
Should a 50th Birthday Party Be a Surprise?
In most cases, we’d say the answer is no, but it depends on the person. In many instances, people don’t like to suddenly find themselves in a party environment with no preparation. If they’re on the more introverted side, that’s even more of a reason to nix the surprise aspect of it. When you throw a surprise party, you’re relying on your knowledge of the guest of the honor to guide your party planning. If you don’t know with absolute certainty that they would enjoy a surprise and the party style you’ve chosen, don’t do it. Ask them first.
Asking your honoree both prepares them for the event and gives you a confirmation that your party is what they want. If not, you can redirect it and plan to their needs. You can invite the right number of guests and choose the location they like. Don’t forget that it is their day, after all. Even if you think their request for something small is a little underwhelming, if that’s what they want, you can make their birthday better by abiding by that wish. Don’t force them into an uncomfortable situation because you think that’s what a party should be.
On the other hand, a surprise can add a little extra something to a party and make your guest feel special. Some people love a party, but don’t want anything to do with planning. Others might have fun planning a party on their own more than having it done for them. If you’re not sure, the best approach is to ask whether they want to have a party and if they want to know about it ahead of time. If they want in, they can help plan and make it perfect. If not, you can keep all the information to yourself and have it be a semi-surprise. They still won’t know what it’s going to be like, who’s going to be there and when it will be. It’s a great way to make sure everyone is happy and avoid a potential upset.
Celebrating in Style
Planning the perfect 50th birthday party is no simple task. If you’re in charge of this milestone event and you’re near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Colonial Golf and Tennis Club can help. Our flexible indoor and outdoor event spaces and beautiful views make it the perfect place to usher in a new decade of life.
We can accommodate up to 250 people and will help you meet a variety of needs. Our in-house catering uses fresh, locally sourced food, and we can set it up as plated meals or a buffet. Whatever you have envisioned, Colonial Golf and Tennis Club can help bring your 50th birthday party to life. Reach out to us today for more information on hosting an event.