Fun, inexpensive ways to celebrate their 30th birthday

Surprise 30th Birthday Party Ideas

by Dollar Stretcher Contributors

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Ideas for a Surprise 30th Birthday Party?

My best girlfriend will turn 30 later this year. I'd like to throw a surprise party. Planning the food and drinks will be easy. But, I don't know whether I should give it a theme or what kind of special things I should plan. Does anyone have suggestions?

Decide on a Theme

A theme will make planning it much easier. My husband and sister threw me a Mexican fiesta for my 30th this year. It was easy for them to figure out what to do for food, decorations, music, etc.
Christilynn (via Facebook)

Give 30 in 30

I received a surprise party for my 30th birthday. Every 30 minutes, I received a gift that was 30 of something. For example, I received 30 quarters because I'm a dart player. It was a lot of fun, and it was wonderful to see the creativity my friends showed.

Related: Planning Party Food Platters

Blast from the Past

For my boss' 50th birthday, I invited (by email, fax, or phone) all the people who had been important or influential in his life to drop by throughout the day just to say "happy birthday." I specified no gifts, as he is "the man who has everything." I had a big sign-in scrapbook where people could write something (kind of like they do in high school yearbooks). He was touched and amazed at the people who came by, from his 5th grade teacher to his first employer to his high school sweetheart (his wife told me who this was) to the former priest from his church who performed his wedding. The surprises went on all day. It was fun, very happy, and nostalgic.

3 Themes to Consider

A few possible themes:

  • Have a "This Is Your Life" theme with pictures, old toys, and even people from her past.
  • Celebrate the year she was born complete with music, old movies, and posters of old celebrities. Guests could even wear 80s attire and dance to 80s music.
  • Enjoy a "Little Kid" theme. What would she have loved for her birthday party as a kid? Maybe she enjoyed balloons, pin the tail on the donkey, cake, and macaroni and cheese? Ask her parents what she loved as a little girl.


Related: Make Your Own Ice Cream Cakes

Get Creative with the Theme

Will this be in the summer? If so, then a simple theme could be "summer" (think Hawaiian grass skirt). Have cute umbrellas in the drinks. Decorate the tables with grass skirts. Use paper flamingos for the wall decorations. If you get the decorations now, they should all be on clearance at the party stores. If the party will be held in the winter or spring, this may also work to put everyone in a warmer mood while there's snow outside. Go to the local party store and see what's on sale. If you see something not on sale, ask when it will be discounted.

Another theme my family had fun with was a "Mustache Bash." Everyone wore a mustache. I made mustaches that I hung from the ceiling to take photos with (colored construction paper). I bought extra stick-on mustaches for those who did not sport a mustache of their own. Things were on sale because they were leftover from Halloween. The cake said, "I mustache you a question." My centerpieces were homemade chocolate mustache lollipops stuck in flowerpots with the green foam holding them in place. I have pictures of my kids on the wall and used dry erase markers to draw mustaches on their baby pictures.

Reviewed January 2018

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