Planning A 50th Birthday Party

Planning a 50th birthday party begins with a happy attitude and good ideas.  From beginning to end, a good party planner needs to be flexible as well as prepared.    

While it is a challenge to push beyond our limits to generate new concepts and styles, we encourage you to try something new as you plan.

One of the easiest ways to start planning is to focus on the honoree and what best expresses how special they are.  Here you will find specific guidelines on how to organize for success.

Planning A 50th Birthday

Planning a 50th birthday party
starts with a game plan.

Turning 50 is a big deal, so it should be celebrated with lots of fanfare.  Whether planning a 50th birthday party backyard barbeque or a formal sit-down dinner, these guidelines will help even the most inexperienced host pull off a fabulous party.  After all, a gathering of family and friends is a fabulous way to say "Happy 50th Birthday".

Football 50 Yard Line

Planning a 50th Birthday Party Checklist

  • Set a budget.
  • Choose a time, date, and place.
  • Tackle a guest list.
  • Select a theme.
  • Kick off the party with invitations.
  • Plan a party menu.
  • Choose a party favor.
  • Plan something unexpected.
  • Select party decor.
50th Birthday Photo Art

Set a budget.
A successful party means spending your time and energy planning something your special someone will love and remember.  It does not mean spending a lot of money or planning a party you really can't afford.  Using the guidelines provided here, make your best estimate of what it will cost to make your dream party a reality.  Of those estimates, list the ideas that you are not willing to compromise.  The early decisions in planning a 50th birthday party often become great stress relievers.

Planning A 50th Birthday BBQ

Photo courtesy of Tonya Peterson Photography

Choose a time, date, and place for your party.

If at all possible, allow the guest of honor to choose the date and time of the party.  However, do consider what would be best for the majority of the guests to ensure good attendance.

Keep Calm It's Only 50 Sign

Photo courtesy of A+W Events

Location, location, location.
The location of the party is usually driven by the budget.  This is one decision that could either be the cheapest or the most expensive.  If there is a venue that is particularly special to your honoree, then it may be worth spending your money.  Otherwise, transform your own home or backyard into an entertaining 50th birthday party zone.  The advantages to your own home are more time to decorate and zero dollars spent.  The biggest advantage to an outside venue would probably be the clean up.

50th Birthday Ice Sculpture

Tackle a guest list.
Planning a 50th birthday party also includes deciding how many guests would be a comfortable number to entertain.  Ask your Honoree to compile a list of guests close to that number.  If the amount of space is available, consider inviting fifty guests to further commemorate the occasion.  Who should come? Sometimes a mixture of family and friends is a good idea.  When mixing groups of people, however, make sure they are compatible.  To further ensure the comfort level of your guests, allow guests to bring a date.

50th Birthday Party Dessert

Photo courtesy of Sweetest Jubilee

Select a theme.
The theme is the heartbeat of the party.  Combine your personal style with a fun party theme to create an unforgettable milestone birthday event.   Whether hosting a backyard picnic or an elaborate golden sit-down dinner, keep the party focused on your selected theme.  Get creative 50th birthday party themes here.

50th Birthday Fabulous

Kick-off the party with invitations.
Start the party buzz with unique invitations that inspire your guests to save the date.  Let your guests know exactly what to expect with crystal clear party details.  With so many 50th birthday invitation ideas available, choosing your card is an important beginning.

50th Birthday Party Invitation

Plan to spread 50th birthday cheer not germs.
Personalized hand sanitizer has become a very popular addition for any celebration.  While it is very practical, the design options make it a fun gift as well. Click on the photo below or find a
 hand sanitizer here to fit every theme.

Custom Cheers to 50 Years Birthday Hand Sanitizer

These single-use hand sanitizer packets can be scattered around the party area for convenience.  Perfect for buffet tables or dinner tables.  Click on the photo below or check out these sanitizer packet options.

Fabulous 50 Elegant Black White 50th Birthday Hand Sanitizer Packet

Planning a 50th birthday party menu. 

This menu is as practical as it is fanciful.  Simplify from the beginning.  It is best to have plenty of your favorite party foods versus a small amount of many different foods.  Not only does it make the shopping easier, it cuts down on serving space as well as serving pieces.

j50th Birthday Menu

Photo courtesy of Katelyn James Photography

Create a vibrant tablescape that is uncomplicated and layered
with these featured products from Amazon.

50th birthday cupcakes.
This cupcake display spells it all out because the treats are the decoration.  While homemade is best, don't sacrifice your sanity to prepare everything yourself.  These cupcakes look so good no one will be concerned with who made them. 

50th Birthday Cupcakes

Decorating your 50th birthday cupcakes has never been easier.  

Planning makes perfect.
Plan out the types of platters or bowls needed to serve favorite party foods.  It's a good idea to do a mock setup using the selected serving pieces prior to party day.  Create different levels by using risers, sturdy boxes draped with fabric, tiered servers, or simply turn over stemmed glasses to create a base.  Props can add color and interest to your table.  Photos, signs, flowers, candles, garland, or any theme related object can bring your table to life.  Planning ahead simplifies party day.

50th Birthday Food Wagon

Picturesque napkins.
A quick and easy way to add personalization and color.  Simply copy photos of Honoree, wrap around napkins, and secure with string.  Check out these 50th birthday napkin bands for another option.

50th Birthday Napkins
Happy Birthday Gold Glitter Photos Any Year Custom Napkins
Photograph Frame, Custom Photo – Personalized Napkins
Custom Photo 50 and Fabulous Birthday Party Napkins

Proper place setting.
A formal sit-down 50th birthday dinner party requires a formal table.  The meal seems to taste better on a properly set table.  This table setting diagram will help make a beautiful, elegant table that's sure to impress guests.

50th Birthday Table Setting

Age is only a number.  
How old is 50 really? 

607 months old
2,641 weeks old
18,493 days old
443,844 hours old
26,630,677 minutes old
1,597,840,656 seconds old

Planning a 50th Birthday Favor

Personalized 50th birthday coffee.
This gourmet roast will entice guests and the personalized label will provide a sentimental reminder of this milestone birthday.  We found these K-Cup coffee favors at Beau Coup.  

50th Birthday K-Cups
Shop for Party Favors @

Chocolate 50th Birthday Favors

Improving with age.
If your honoree appreciates a glass of fine wine, then this may the be perfect favor for your celebration. Amazon offers this striking wine glass as well as many others.

50th Birthday Wine Glass

50th Birthday Koozies

Cheers and beers to 30 years men birthday photo can cooler
Custom Cheers & Beers Milestone Birthday Can Cooler
Gold Glitter 50 & Fabulous Typography Birthday Can Cooler

50 and fabulous cookies.
Planning a 50th birthday party cookie based on the theme is a sweet idea.  Whether served at the party or sent home as a favor, guests will take pleasure sooner or later.

50th Birthday Cookie

50 and still hot.
Pack a little heat into your 50th birthday party favors with gourmet hot sauce.  Add a personal touch to your 50th birthday favors.

50th Birthday Hot Sauce
Zazzle 50th Birthday Party Favors Hot Sauce
Zazzle 50th Birthday Party Favors Custom Sauces
Zazzle 50th Birthday Party Favors Smoking Hot

Go for it and plan something unexpected.

Sparkle at 50.
Bring a bit of magic to your 50th birthday party without breaking your budget with these fun, twinkling favors.  We love the idea of watching the bright, dazzling sparks while singing "Happy Birthday". 

50th Birthday Sparklers

Photo courtesy of Apres Fete

Temporary tattoos.
Celebrate the big 5-0 with tattoos for the guest of honor and party goers.  So much fun without the long-term commitment.

50th Birthday Party Photo 12 Temporary Tattoos
Fabulous at 50 red Temporary Tattoos
Custom Legends Were Born in Date Month Year Age Temporary Tattoos

Memories last forever.
Planning a 50th birthday party often takes you on a trip down memory lane.  Incorporate a little help from friends and family by requesting 50 of their fondest memories of the Honoree.   

50th Birthday A Trip Down Memory Lane

Photo courtesy of Melinda Ann

Guest book for 50th birthday.
Let guests share their thoughts and memories in a guest book designed just for the Honoree.  Click on the photos below to customize with photos, designs, and text to create a keepsake that will be cherished forever.

50 & Fabulous Black & White 50th Birthday Photo Guest Book
50 Years in the Making, Luxury Black/Gold Birthday Guest Book
Photo Collage 50th Birthday Remember When ... Blue Guest Book

Photo prop.
Say cheese and let the party begin.  Picture the fun guests will have posing with party props while making tomorrow's memories.

50th Birthday Selfie Frame

50 facts about 50 years.
Display a fact about the Honoree's life that corresponds with the numbers from one to fifty.  For example, on number 23 the age the Honoree became a parent.

50th Birthday Party Facts

Planning a 50th birthday party and looking for something that's really unexpected.  We love this idea for a smashing good time.

Planning a 50th Birthday Party Decor.

Planning the decor.
Decorating for a 50th birthday party can be as fun as the party itself.  The party theme should be your guide in getting your venue party ready.  If you are a minimalist and desire only a few decorations, make them impactful.  If your style is over the top and like many decorations, start with the large attention getting pieces and add until you achieve your desired look.  Get spectacular 50th birthday party decorations here.

Planning 50th Birthday Party Decor

Photo courtesy of Party Wishes

Memorable beverage station.
Unexpected decorative elements add an extra dimension to 50th birthday decorations, particularly if it highlights or continues the theme.  Here, guests will drink in reflections of the past, while grabbing a refreshing beverage.  

50th Birthday Beverage Display

Photo courtesy of Halberg Photographers

Golden birthday balloon idea.
Conjure up a golden birthday atmosphere with a few festive gold and white balloons.  Getting the background right made all the difference with this simply dressed and inviting candy bar.

50th Birthday Balloons

Photo courtesy of Not Just A Mommy

50th birthday charm. 
Gelato champagne and cake pops look as special as the occasion here.  We love the tiny roses tucked inside a vintage silver sugar dish.

50th Birthday Decorating Idea

Photo courtesy of Whimsy Decor

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