Adult Birthday Party Ideas

Sometimes it is hard to find adult birthday party ideas specifically for grown-ups, which is why I created this page. This page is dedicated to party games and themes for appropriate for an adult, and not the kiddos. This article gives step by step directions to help you plan the party, but throughout you will find helpful links to more specific information.

Many times a party is given when a special age milestone is reached.

For that reason, I have created dedicated pages to age 30, age 40, age 50, and age 60! To jump directly to these, use the links below.

people toasting

30th birthday party ideas
30th birthday gifts
40th birthday party ideas
40th birthday gifts
50th birthday party ideas
50th birthday gifts
60th birthday party ideas
60th birthday gifts

Otherwise, keep on reading for lots of tips!

Adult Birthday Party Ideas - Step 1:

Plan out the Date of the Party Well In Advance

Grown-ups get really busy. If you are throwing a party for someone else, make sure the guest of honor is free! Yes, this gets more complicated if it is a surprise party. The old trick is to make plans with the guest of honor for the same night but trick them by taking them to their party instead.
person with phone
You'll have more chances of people being able to come if you plan well in advance and get the invitations out soon. This can be as simple as sending an email to "save the date".

If there are "key" guests that you want to attend, you may want to take a look at their schedules first to see what date works. This gets hard with a large guest list. You cannot please everyone and you cannot expect everyone to be there. Don't go crazy trying to accommodate everyone.

Adult Birthday Party Ideas - Step 2:

Figure Out if You are Going to Have a Theme

people at luauA theme for an adult birthday party? Yes! It can be fun! You certainly do not have to pick one, but it sure makes the party more coordinated, and actually a bit easier to plan since you will have some direction on what to buy.

Picture this. Your husband is turning 40. Have a James Bond Theme. Have pictures from all the James Bond movies around, and the guests can guess the movie. Guests can dress up in formal clothes if that's your style, and you can take a formal photo of each couple as they arrive (think prom photos). You could even have casino gambling during the party and serve martinis. So classy!

So you get the idea, you can get really creative. For tons of fun theme ideas, please visit my creative party theme ideas page.

If you don’t want to have an actual theme, at least pick a color scheme so you can coordinate decorations (balloons, streamers) with your dinnerware (plates, cups, napkins). For milestone birthdays (40, 50, 60, 70) you could have black balloons and "Over the Hill" type decorations.

Adult Birthday Party Ideas - Step 3:

Figure out the Food!

Food is a big part of an adult birthday party. While kids are just happy with a sheet pizza, you will want to have more variety at a grown-up party.

buffet table Plan out a few main dishes using the suggestions from my party food ideas page. Variety is key. Remember you may have guest that is vegetarian or who has a food allergy. By providing a few different things to choose from is safe.

Also pick out a few snack and appetizers to have around at the party. Create your shopping list as you figure out what you are serving so you'll have that done. I like choosing foods that you can prepare the day before so there is one less thing to do on the party day.

Adult Birthday Party Ideas - Step 4:

Order the Birthday Cake

If you are having a large party with many guests, the easiest thing to do is to order a sheet cake from your local bakery. Order it a few days in advance, and arrange pick up of the cake the morning of the party. To make things easier, you may want to ask a friend to pick it up for you, so there is one less thing to do on party day.

Porsche cake

If you would like to try to make a cake yourself, go for it! There are so many creative ways to decorate a cake to match any theme. Visit my cake decorating ideas for inspiration.

Adult Birthday Party Ideas - Step 5:

How to Decorate for a Birthday Party

racing birthday banner

Balloons, streamers, and birthday banners go a long way to decorate a room. But another super fun thing is to have pictures up of the guest of honor. This is really fun for an adult because you can gather some from the past. Looking at the pictures is fun for guests and the guest of honor. Attach the photos to a piece of poster board and you can then tape or tack the poster board to a wall.

For my husband’s 40th birthday I made a time-line that read “Celebrating 40 Wonderful Years”. It began with pictures when he was small up to present day. It included the year below it, and if it was a certain milestone or achievement. I added photos that showed little known facts about him (the fact that he used to teach scuba diving, that he learned to fly planes, that he played basketball in high school). It was really a conversation starter because many of the guests that had come only knew him for the past ten years or so and were surprised to learn so much about him. It was a nice decoration and made him feel special.

birthday board
Another special thing to have for a party is a big poster board for your guests to sign. Encourage them to share a “Remember When…” story, or another funny story they remember about the guest of honor. Or, try, “The Best Thing I like about Jon is…” and have them finish the sentence. This makes a wonderful momento of the party and it is fun to look back at everyone that came to the party and what they had to say.

One thing I always do for parties is play around with their photos using Photoshop, or a similar photo editing software. I imagine you all will not agree with me here but it is just something fun I like to do. For my sister’s 40th birthday, I put photos of her with famous celebrities (I just photoshopped her in). It was a fun decoration to have around the party and it got a lot of people laughing!

Adult Birthday Party Ideas - Step 6:

Are you Going to Play Games?

gameIf you want to incorporate games, there are many birthday party games to pick from. If you visit the link I have mentioned you will see a large collection. You can browse to the section for adult games. Having games is a good way to break the ice and to have guests that don’t know each other get talking.

If you are not really into games, but would still like to have an ice-breaker, have name tags set out for each guest at the party. Have a little sign by the name tags explaining they should write a little known fact about themselves under their name. Or, have them write down their favorite movie. Or, their most embarrassing moment. You get the idea! This way, as guests mingle, they have something instantly to talk about and it is a fun conversation starter!

Adult Birthday Party Ideas - Step 7:

Send the Invitations Well in Advance

Depending on how casual the party is, the invitation could be as simple as an email. There are fun websites for designing invitations that are viewed on email, such as

racing invitation
For a more traditional invitation, you can buy the type where you fill in the information. Or, try making some on your own using a computer. I think it is always fun to put a picture of the guest of honor on the invitation too!

For adult parties, I think it is best to send out the invitations one month in advance. You will read and hear different advice on this, so use your judgment. I have a set of friends that are very busy so I need to give at least one month's notice!

Remember to ask for a RSVP too so you can plan on how many are attending the party!


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