50th Birthday Tips and Tricks

 In Events

An Insider’s Guide to Planning Your 50th

Of course, the good thing about turning fifty is that it’s a celebration that’s about achieving a glorious milestone, one that is years in the making. With this in mind, we’ve compiled a handy list of things to keep in mind when planning your quintastic spectacular. Give it a quick squiz before rushing out to buy your piñatas in the shape of a “five-oh”.

Who is coming?

Make a list of who you would most dearly love to celebrate your special day with. Make it big, make sure you’ve got some of your ‘wild’ friends as well as your sensible ones, because your fiftieth is going to be the party to end all parties!

With that in mind, knock up your list. It’s a good place to start because once you have a rough idea on how many people are attending, then you can start to tailor your venue search for something that’s going to suit your group size. You’ll know whether you will need to hire out a venue exclusively, or just make a group booking.

What’s the vibe?

As the philosopher Dennis Denuto once said, ‘It’s the constitution, it’s Mabo, it’s the vibe…’ and truer words have never been spoken. Another good thing to suss out before you get cracking is what you’d like your event to feel like. Start thinking about the different ways you can host your event: would you like a sit-down dinner, or a stand-up cocktail function? Would you like a formal affair, or a casual get-together? Would you like cocktails, or shots of Chartreuse (or both)? Would you like Vivaldi or Velvet Underground?

Details can be hard to pin down, especially when you’re organising a large group of people. But the vibe is something that you can get thinking about from Day One, and having a rough idea of the kind of party you want to have can help you get the most from the people helping to plan your party. You’ll be able to ask questions about how they’ve run similar events, how you can achieve your perfect night, and pick their brains for ideas – and don’t be afraid to do just that.

Keep ’em entertained

If you’re feeling that pin-the-tail isn’t really your bag anymore, we understand – and don’t worry. Keeping adults entertained isn’t really that different from keeping six-year-olds preoccupied, to be honest. Make sure you choose a venue that has a great sound system and you’re golden. A nightclub set-up is ideal, firstly because it’s malleable, secondly because it’s marvellous. Knock up an ‘ideal playlist’ and start finding people who can make it happen. If you’d like a list of our favourite local DJs, shoot me an email and I’ll help you out. Later on when the novelty wears off (yeah right) or the DJ knocks off, get the staff to chuck on your favourite playlist and hit the dancefloor to boogie to all of your favourite tunes.

Decorate smarter, not harder

Balloons are usually the first thing that springs to mind whenever ‘party decorations’ are mentioned. And we are not here to dispute their place atop the Pinnacle of Party Presentation – but there are a few other things you can do to supplement your helium beautifiers.

Got a few embarrassing pictures of yourself and your mates over the years? Chuck them on a USB, and make sure your venue has a great AV hook-up. TVs are great, but projectors are ideal – slideshows are great fun to have playing in the background and have the added bonus of livening up an entire wall. With little effort on your part you can either have your friends in stitches at your hilarious dog-and-pony show, or put together a moving tribute to friends and family – or even a nice thoughtful blend of both. As well as showing off how great you look, you will have provided your guests with lots of talking points to bond over during the course of your party.

The key to snacking is being able to fit food easily in your non-drink-holding hand…


When you’re trawling through your collection of function menus, keep an eye out for everyone’s favourite one-bite wonders. I’ve never known a person to turn down a sausage roll. Some other proven winners include sliders (perhaps a selection of chicken and beef?) or a nice refreshing bruschetta. Most menus will have a wide selection of items available so you can easily cater for a diverse range of needs without your brain exploding.

Never, ever be afraid to ask questions about a menu and the options provided. A venue will be able to help you customise a menu that gets everyone fed and happy, and you can just relax and kick back with a canape in one hand and a drink in the other.

Speaking of which…

Want a cocktail on arrival? Have a favourite beer that you never usually get to drink? Got your mate Sharon coming who only drinks Wolf Blass with ice cubes?

Speak up! Ask for it! It. Is. YOUR. BIRTHDAY.

Let’s remember here, it’s your day, and yes, it’s important to cater for all of your guests but damnit you’re the guest of honour and too often we see people become overwhelmed with the hassle of organising things.

Organising a drink-on-arrival is a really simple and effective way of putting your guests at ease from the start. It makes people feel instantly welcomed and taken care of, and of course helps get the ball rolling, party-wise. It’s always worth asking if this can be organised, and that way you can just float around and play the gregarious host, without agonising over whether or not your guests have a drink yet.

So let’s get one thing straight – if there’s a drink you’d really really love to have on your birthday but you’re not sure if the bartender can make it (they might have to Google the recipe for a Fluffy Duck), – ask. Bartenders are your friends, and nobody loves to talk about drinks more than they do. If you’re not sure what sorts of cocktails or wines or beers you’d like to have on the day, our advice remains the same. A bartender will talk drinks with you until the cows come home – the real trick is getting them to stop.

Pick your place

Now that you’ve got your vibe, your guestlist, ideas for what to eat and drink, and your playlist sorted, you can begin the process of searching for a venue that can give you exactly what you need.

As we mentioned before, don’t hesitate to ask questions. Just because a place ‘doesn’t usually’ do something doesn’t mean that they can’t – and you’ve nothing to lose by asking if you can deck the whole place out in Astroturf and set up a miniature putting green, right?

Make sure you’re getting the information and support that you need – ask for function packs, dietary info, AV capabilities, dance floor, smoking area, cocktail-on-arrival, and know who your point of contact is at each venue. That way, you’ll be able to follow up with them directly if you think of any questions further down the track, and what’s more, you can simply put your event in their hands, tell them the vibe you’re going for, and just sit back with your friends and family and watch your milestone event unfold.



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