The thirtieth birthday party is right up there with the biggest milestones in a young person's life, not unlike graduating, buying a house, babies and promotions. It is a time to reflect on your achievements and lessons learnt. It is also the time to celebrate you!
Uncork the champagne, for this is the birthday to truly indulge. Bid adieu to parties with shots and welcome instead elegant dinners in a cozy cabin up in the snow or warm up by a fire on your private beach. Round-up your besties from school, call the girls from college, and reminisce with friends from your neighbourhood: it’s a soiree designed for you! Take time with this milestone, reflect and make this party the one to beat with tailor-made invitations, bespoke décor, couture off the runway and memories to last a lifetime:
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Fact: in the history of parties, there is no one who has ever had a clear idea of whom to invite or how many people they would love to see at their special shindig. And let’s remember, you’re always going to forget that one colleague, your partner’s friend who doesn’t live in the city, or that old pal from school or college. The solution? Begin by making two guest lists. An A-list for the names that are non-negotiable and a B-list for those you need to think about.
Once you have your final list ready you should send your save-the-dates one month ahead and invitations two weeks later. While there is no denying the allure of a beautifully designed card or a box of chocolates to accompany the invite, one must think about the option of going digital. There are more designs to choose from and it is a decision that ensures you care for the planet. Plus, you are guaranteed to receive an RSVP almost instantaneously, with the added benefit of alerting your guests on the dress code, theme or any last-minute changes. Think of a specific theme while designing your invite. Go elegantly simple with a classic black and white theme, or go as elaborate as your theme allows. Remember though, co-ordinate your invite with the overall theme and don’t jump the gun!
Once you have decided your guest-list and have your numbers ready, you can start scouting for the right venue. An outdoor garden party or an indoor soiree? The venue affects the theme, décor and sets the tone for the party. Are you one for an evening under the stars with the chirp of crickets as you sip your cocktail with your best mates? Or are you seeking luxurious experiences with the comfort of fires and warm toddies over a spirited game of monopoly? Think of the type of party that animates your dreams and begin soon, for zeroing in on the venue is only half the battle won!
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The theme for your party can help ensure the other decisions are a snap. Decor, colour, food and drinks, party favours - they will all fall in line once you’ve chosen the theme for your party. There are a couple of basic options for you - The End of Your Roaring 20s, Dirty Thirties, 80s or 90s flashback, a theme based on your favourite book, film or show, A Trip Down Memory Lane or Vintage - customise any one of these and you cannot go wrong!
Begin with the venue - do a site-inspection with your party planner before your big day, armed with measuring tape and plenty of paper for notes on lighting, seating etc. Keep it simple and subtle, nothing is worse than a hostess who couldn't make up her mind, ending up with elements that clash. Begin with a foundation of bunting and centrepieces. Start small and work your way up to ensure your decor is tasteful.
Luxurious candles and plenty of flowers are all one truly needs for an elegantly tasteful party. Splurge on hydrangeas in a diverse palette of colours or orchids for a minimalist yet unmistakable touch. Talk to your event planner about lighting, it is the one detail that divides a garrulous party from a sophisticated event. Ensconce candles in gilded cages or lamps for a golden glow, hide fairy lights in fresh flowers and encourage your party planner to think out of the box.
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How do you ensure you stand out from the crowd? By having a dress code, of course! Know what your guests will be wearing and plan your outfit for the day down to the accessories and shoes to make sure you’re the belle of the ball! But remember, whatever you do, don't make your guests wear something that you wouldn’t. Channel the current love for midi, be on trend and keep as you party this season. The midi is no longer the dowdy choice for the mother of three with its haute couture spin that has already made it an IFM favourite (read all about our love here)! The midi too formal for you? Break out the glitterbug in you! Not only is it completely on trend, but a dash of sequins is always a great touch to any birthday celebration in our book!
Whether The Beatles are your jam or your soul calls for classic blues, there’s always one song that will make you want to hug that glass of prosecco or have you dancing away into the wee hours of the morning. Ensure you have time to unwind with that glass of champagne by hiring a DJ; it is a foolproof option to keep your guests on the dance floor. But even if you hire a professional or your event planner is taking over the reins, do not forget to put together a playlist to make sure the evening’s entertainment is to your taste.
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While most of your guest list will probably head to the bar to begin the festivities, do not forget to include choices for your teetotaller friends. Add a unique touch and engage with a drinks consultant or mixologist from your favourite hangout downtown to create a signature cocktail for the evening.
Nothing but the best champagne will work to bring in your 30s. We recommend foregoing the usual suspects - Moët & Chandon – for new entrant Veuve Clicquot or the classic Laurent-Perrier. Clicquot will mark you as an Instagram influencer while Perrier, a brand favoured by the fashion crowd, including Kate Moss, will ensure your party is the talk of town!
Finger food, brunch station, a formal sit-down dinner - there are a wide array of options to choose from. Plan your food and stagger its arrival. Trays of hors d’oeuvres can circulate in the beginning of the evening to make sure no one is drinking on an empty stomach. A buffet might be a sound decision for later in the evening, giving your guests the option of either dancing or sitting down with a beautiful plate of food as they give their feet a break! Remember to include vegetarian or vegan options for guests with a sensitive constitution, there is nothing worse than travelling far for a party and discovering there is nothing you can eat on the menu!
And let’s not forget the most important culinary event of the day – the unveiling of the birthday cake! With many options from bespoke cakes to options from the choicest bakeries, you can indulge your sweet tooth or opt for a boozy version like wine or a rum-infused concoction.
Artisanal gifts from craftsmen or local farms make for wonderful party favours. Bespoke pastries from Le15 Patisserie, chocolates from Vivanda Chocolate Co or how about the gift that keeps on giving – a bottle of homegrown luxury spirits (we’ve made a handy list for you) – that will ensure your friend thinks about you every time they uncork that bottle.
Do also think about the location; if it is an outdoor party maybe some of your guests would be grateful for heel stoppers, or a pack of tissues to blot the effects of a humid afternoon. A balance between gifts of utility, which show that you care about their comfort, and gifts that they can keep forever will ensure they leave with warm memories of an unforgettable do!
Make sure you remember to have fun at your party! Our tips and tricks allow for even the most caring of hosts to take time off from their duties and set the dance floor on fire. This party is to celebrate you – make the most of it surrounded by your friends and family with food, décor and festivities that are uniquely yours.