What Makes a Birthday Party Special?

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The presents, the cake, the glitter and glitz – what elements truly make a birthday party great?  Thanks to my partnership with Oriental Trading, I’m exploring all the things that make a birthday party a special and memorable occasion.

As I reflect on the stand-out birthday celebrations in my life, the one over-arching element that made it great was being surrounded by the people I love, who were kind enough to join me in celebrating another year of life.  Ultimately, no matter what the venue, its the people who make our day so special.

What Makes a Birthday Party Special?

There are also things like location, favorite cakes and party decor that are infused with the awesome memories of the celebration.  Like the time my husband had a special Star Wars-themed cake made for my 40th birthday and when we celebrated my cat’s first birthday with Hello Kitty-themed party ware and cat-themed crafts.  These things enhanced our birthday celebrations, taking the party up a notch and creating a colorful, fun atmosphere.

It’s wonderful to acknowledge and be thankful for the anniversary of the day our loved ones are born.  It’s also lovely to set the stage and to add special touches to commemorate this milestone.  Adding in themed party ware and decorations is always a sure-fire hit.  Having activities and games for party guests to enjoy can really help make the celebration memorable, too.  If you are looking for ways to make your next birthday party special, use these ideas to ramp up the fun factor!

What Makes a Birthday Party Special?

10 Ways to Make Your Birthday Party Special

Pick a theme.  Think about the person’s favorite colors, movies, televisions shows, hobbies and interests.

Set the stage with the invitation.  Be sure the invitations match your theme for the day.  There’s no need to spend a lot of money on these or make them too elaborate, you can simply pick out invites that clearly match the theme and mail them or use a variety of free e-invite methods via email or programs like Facebook’s event invitations.

Decorate!  Create a festive atmosphere with table ware and decorations that coincide with your theme.  For my granddaughter’s recent birthday party (pictured throughout this feature,) we went with a “unicorn and pony theme.”  Even though we hosted the party outside our home at an arcade, it was clear to guests which area was ours with all the bright, colorful unicorn and pony table ware, goody buckets and cupcakes we brought along.

What Makes a Birthday Party Special?

Think outside the decoration box.  Create a fun entrance by filling your foyer with a three foot layer of balloon for guests to wade through on their way in.  Hang streamers in straight rows from doorways to create a magical entrance.  You can certainly stick with traditional decor methods but it’s also fun to set up things in unexpected ways.

Keep the party them going throughout the home.  Add a special touch to every room, even if it’s just a few streamers and balloons.  Write “happy birthday” messages on mirrors, fill your bathtubs with balloons, hang banners in the family room, and make birthday wreaths or signs for your doors.

Dress up for the occasion.  Select a special shirt, hat or outfit for the birthday party boy or girl.  Take it a step further and have everyone join in by dressing up for a particular theme like “roaring 20’s”, “wizard party,” or even a colorful “unicorns and rainbows” party like we had.

What Makes a Birthday Party Special?

Find a fun venue.  Roller rinks, bowling allies, tea houses and video arcades are all fun places to host a party.  If you are hosting at home, you can still add in super fun elements by staging an outdoor game zone complete with buckets of sidewalk chalk or by setting up tables with board games indoors.

Create a birthday memory book.  One of the best things we did for my mother’s birthday was to create a celebration book for her where everyone wrote down a special memory they had with my mom and included a favorite photo.  This is a book she still cherishes and reads regularly.  If you don’t want to be too elaborate, create a simple birthday memory board – decorate a poster board and let everyone at the party sign it.  These are awesome keepsakes to have and hang up at home to keep the celebration alive throughout the year.

What Makes a Birthday Party Special?

Set up a photo station.  These are all the rage at parties now as people love snapping “selfies” and sharing on social media.  Create a designated spot in your home or the venue where there will be great lighting to snap some pictures.  Include a bucket full of props like funny sunglasses, birthday signs, hats and scarves for people to use in the photos.  Take things a step further and have a Polaroid camera set up at the station for people to take a memento of the occasion home.

Make the party a game.  Sends guests on a scavenger hunt for goody bags and party favors.  Go elaborate and set up a mystery party or an escape room party for everyone to participate in.  Also think of the little ones and try to add lots of games and activities to keep them occupied throughout the party.  One of my favorite things to do is to print off coloring sheets with the party theme and let the children decorate them.  Another fun idea is to get little stampers that match your party theme and to let the kids decorate the party napkins with them.  It adds a fun whimsical touch when it’s time to serve the cake.

What Makes a Birthday Party Special?

Whatever element you choose to add to the celebration, it will be sure to brighten up the day and make your birthday party even more special and memorable.  Collecting those memories over a lifetime of birth date celebrations is a wonderful gift, indeed!

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Tags: party
Barb Webb. Founder and Editor of Rural Mom, is an the author of "Getting Laid" and "Getting Baked". A sustainable living expert nesting in Appalachian Kentucky, wen she’s not chasing chickens around the farm or engaging in mock Jedi battles, she’s writing about country living and artisan culture.
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