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85th Birthday Party Planning

85th Birthday Party Planning Tips

How to Throw a Fantastic 85th Milestone Birthday

When planning or hosting an eighty-fifth birthday party, there are several things you can do to make the event come together seemingly effortlessly, yet be absolutely amazing and heart-warming. Your grandparent or other elder family member has earned the right to a fantastic day, and you can use the outline below to help you remember all the pertinent details.

Making the Guest List

Tip: Make sure you have correct mailing addresses for all your guests including phone numbers and email addresses, if applicable. Sending paper invitations is considered proper, but you can also do e-vites or phone calls.
  • When starting your guest list, it’s best to determine the amount of people you would like to invite. If it’s going to be a smaller party, immediate family and close friends are a must. For larger parties involving multiple branches of the family, it may be best to consult with the honoree to see who he or she wishes to be invited and then add people from there.
  • The guest of honor has undoubtedly made countless friends over the last eight decades. Speak with him or her to determine who should be invited. If it’s going to be a surprise, it may be best to speak with a sister or other close relative to help you determine who to invite.
  • A lifetime in the workforce has forged relationships, too. Don’t forget to ask about any business associates, vendors, or “work buddies” who should be included.

Set Your Location, Date, & Time

Tip: Remember that older persons may have an irregular sleep schedule, so be sure to check on this before setting a time too late in the day for them to enjoy themselves. A weekend event may be better for out-of-town guests, so confirm the date with each prospective venue to see which ones have your date available before choosing one.
  • Find out if there is a particular country club your loved one prefers or has been a member of for years. They generally have banquet rooms available to rent, as well as valet parking and an in-house kitchen staff to handle the food and beverages. The same can be said of a hotel.
  • If having a small gathering, it may be best to have the celebration in your home, or another relative’s home if you don’t have the room. To maximize the experience, be sure to arrange furniture for optimal pathways and conversation areas, and stock up on cleaning supplies for before and after the event.
  • The guest of honor may live in an assisted living community or retirement village. Check to see if they have a large room that can be rented out or that is open for use by the public.

Choose Food and Beverages

Tip: The guest of honor might be on a special diet and have to avoid certain foods due to allergies or medication. Confirm this before deciding on a menu.
  • For larger events, you may want to hire the services of a caterer. They can usually tailor a menu specific to your needs easier than a venue-provided kitchen. They will also handle refilling of buffet trays or family-style plating. Some will even have beverage packages for you to choose from.
  • If the venue provides food and beverage service, you may be able to get a discount by using them versus hiring out. They generally have a list of menu options you can choose from and should take requests for specialized dishes such as vegetarian or children’s options. They may also have an option for an open or cash bar. Be sure to have tea, coffee, and water available, as well as milk or lemonade for younger guests.
  • If you’re having the event at home, a potluck served buffet-style can be more personal. If there is a particular dish someone is known for, ask them to bring that, and then split the rest of the needs among other guests. This is an interesting and time-saving way for you to feed the masses without stressing about it.

Select Your Theme & Decorations 

Tip: Order your decorations, tableware, and accessories well in advance so you can get everything organized and make sure you have enough. Never wait until the last minute!
  • Whatever you choose, make sure it ties with something your guest of honor likes. For example, a floral theme for the garden enthusiast or a tropical theme for the sun and sand lover. Be sure to include plates, napkins, and disposable silverware to cut back on dishes. Most of these materials are recyclable, and some can even be re-used for later events or home use.
  • Specialty items like party favors can be ordered with the celebrant’s name and the date, or engraved/printed with “Happy 85th Birthday!” These items make great commemorative gifts and also can serve as guest table decorations.
  • You can do a lot with a little! Use pictures to make a collage of decades past and photo family trees. There are DIY friendly crafts like simple centerpieces with balloons, using hanging danglers to decorate tables and windows, or using crepe paper to create hanging ceiling décor. Be creative!

Don’t Forget the Entertainment! 

Tip: Be sure to include games or activities for your younger guests. Coloring books, crayons, and board games are all great choices.
  • Good music is the life of any party. Choosing music can be as simple as creating a playlist on your music player and walking away. You can also hire a DJ or a band that plays multi-generational music. Be sure to ask your guest of honor what music he or she prefers to have played, but also ask that modern music is played for the guests too.
  • Hiring a comedian can be fun and a great way to bring everyone together. If your guest of honor is up for it, have them do a “roast” of him or her. You can also ask if they will do a “comedy through the decades” by making jokes and telling tales of how things used to be.
  • Another great way to get everyone up and moving is to hire a dance instructor. You can coordinate this with a DJ or band and have your guests learn all the dance fads your loved one grew up with. Some of these dances are no longer in practice or rarely used, so do your research well!
Whatever you choose to do, always keep in mind that this is a huge milestone for your loved one. It’s a great way for him or her to not only celebrate life, but the ones who have been there along the way. Share in the stories that can be learned, and above all, have fun!

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