Help Needed - Planning My Wife's First Birthday Party

This is such a great suggestion. I once surprised a friend with one of those McDonald’s birthday packages on a lark. We all had such fun.

Make it a clothing optional party!

Aw, too far to come from England…

Would the budget stretch to a band? My mum had a massive party with a ceilidh band at her 50th (for which she was such a big kid she started inviting people over a year in advance), but any kind of guided dancing is always a good hit for mixed adults and kids groups; even for those who don’t want to dance, it’s a great way to get the kids happy and tieed. Is there a music genre your wife really likes?

Get a sheet of acid. The party makes itself.

So many good ideas here, and some funny ones too. Rather than addressing each one, I’ll answer some questions that were asked.

@Azeotrope - That tablecloth idea is really unique.

@Rhiannon - Nope, sorry, we’re not in Northern CA. Unless of course you’re offering to fly us out. In that case, the party is at wherever Rhiannon wants, lol. You can always come to Indiana if you like.

@Spiderman - Can’t afford any of those ideas, though they sound fun. Our new friends are quite varied in age and physical ability and I would think many would be left out, but I’ve seen some of those places around and they look cool.

@Senegoid - We already know enough about our friends from cleaning many of their houses, and they know a lot about our lives. We’ve got to keep some mystery our things will get boring, or at least not so scarring.

@Filbert - A band isn’t in the budget. A venue alone is likely to run $300-500, then we have to buy cupcakes and decorations and so much more. We are looking at one place that is a dance studio that has a great sound system though, so we can hook up our laptop and play whatever we like, which should be good, if we go with that place. We just have to keep things within reason because we have some other financial goals that we’re aiming at this year.

This has been a fun discussion. I’ve got a list of new ideas from this thread and have already shared them with my wife.

Funny you should mention the game with hidden presents around the house. Many years ago we were painting an apartment at the end of a loooong day and we were hungry. I told her that I’d go out and get us some food, and I did, but first I made a stop at the local Kohl’s and bought her all kinds of jewelry. Not expensive stuff, but sterling silver (she’s allergic to most anything but that anyway) earrings and necklaces and rings. I went home and hid them all around the house. Then I got back in the car, picked us up some food really quick, and returned to the apartment that we were painting. I put a ring on top of her fish sandwich as a prelude to what was in store at home after we got done with the job. It was fun, and one of the more memorable gift moments that we’ve had. I love giving gifts and making it fun.

I also noticed her eyeballing a watch at a local store one time that was beautiful, and the store was nearby our house. I tried to order her one like it online at a more affordable price and when it arrived it was disappointing. Something on it was broken and I told her I’d work on it while she showered. So when she jumped in the shower I took off up to the store, bought the watch that I knew she really wanted even though it was a bit much for that time in our life, and came back home. I put it in the box of the broken watch and told her that I had fixed it. She sure was surprised when she opened the box again and found the nicer watch she really wanted.

Good times. Oh, and yes, she likes flowers. I haven’t been online much after asking the question on here because I’ve been helping her plan her garden. Flowers are definitely a hit around here.

Chuck E. Cheese’s?

Since the budget is limited, I’d recommend asking friends to bring food and drinks potluck style. This saves you a lot of time and money on the practical side, and you often wind up with a great variety of foods that you would never have put together if you did it all yourself. Just make sure to give people some clues about what you’re thinking - is there a sit-down meal, or just finger foods, do you want alcohol, etc?

For games, I prefer games that don’t control the action of the party. One that works for me is a sort of murder mystery game - no, not one of those where everyone dresses up and acts in character (unless you like that idea). Simply create clues and give one clue to every guest. The guests have to ask each other to collect clues. When a guest thinks they figured out the mystery, they put their guess in a box. Near the end of the party, you draw guesses from the box and whichever correct answer is drawn first earns some kind of prize. This way, there’s an incentive to mingle enough to talk to everyone, but no rush and no obligation to play if you really don’t want to.

Here’s an idea for a game that might be fun - I’m planning to do this for my husband’s 60th.

It’s more of a contest, really. Before the party, research a variety of movies, books, songs, movie stars, etc. that are ALMOST the same age as your wife. You can probably do this most easily by Googling “movies that came out in 1979” or “famous people born in 1981” and so on. The idea is to get a list of well-known items that are a just a little younger or older than your wife.

Then, make a quiz sheet (ideally with pics and graphics) that is titled “WHO IS OLDER?”

Partway through the party, gather everyone around and tell them sternly to put their gadgets away (we wouldn’t want anyone sneaking a peek at Google on their smart phones). Then pass out the quiz and pencils, and let everyone guess the answers. Winner(s) should get a small trinket as a prize.

I’m looking forward to doing this myself in the coming months. FWIW, my husband is older than Bridge Over the River Kwai and 12 Angry Men. But he’s younger than Yellow Rose of Texas.

Yes this is a sweet idea. It was my wife’s birthday yesterday, and we just had to have a small party - it’s important.

However, upon reading the original title brought to mind SNL’s funniest skit in years: Meet Your Second Wife. I was hoping you didn’t mean your (future) wife’s FIRST birthday!

The photo booth idea with funny hats and moustaches and glasses on sticks and such worked out great at my anniversary party. Things like guest books never worked out well in the past for me so I wouldn’t do that, personally, but that might just be my set of friends.

You absolutely cannot go wrong with a few bottles of bubbles laying around, and people of all ages love glow items. It doesn’t even have to be dark, people just freak out for glow stuff. I didn’t expect it the first time I threw an adult party and ran out of glow necklaces and bracelets pretty much immediately, thinking only the kids would be interested. I had people making glow swords, glow balls, just flicking them at each other, I dunno. Get some glow necklaces and bracelets. Two necklaces for every attendee seems to be the amount for everyone to be happy. Bracelets aren’t as popular so you don’t need as many, just one per person. I usually order from an online supplier of cheap party items and just bought variety packs in bulk.

So, a poster named joyfool here asked how the birthday party went and I thought I should come back here and update. After all, you guys gave us so many great ideas.

Let’s see. We rented the fellowship hall at an Episcopal Church that had a playground that was right up against it. We thought that would be great for parents that came and had kids. The kids could go right out into the fenced playground and play, and the adults could mingle and enjoy the party inside. We had it for five hours, one for setup, three for the party, and one for tear down. Thankfully we managed to work out an extra half hour before for setup, and some friends just happened to show up to help. We thought we’d do it all ourselves, and we would have never made it without the help of those who showed up and surprised us. We did manage to get everything up and running right as the first people started trickling in.

My wife loves to color. She has a lot of those adult coloring books (not THAT type of “adult”). She wanted a rainbow party. So we had all of the tables set up in a pattern of color, and we had colored sections of streamers on one wall. She also bought a rainbow colored cake that matched a picture she found on Pinterest that she loved. The bakery matched it perfectly. It was half lemon and half strawberry. She also went for a rainbow fruit platter and a rainbow vegetable one. In the middle of each table was a glass vase filled with M&Ms. They were sorted by color and then the vases were filled with them in order by colors of the rainbow. I’m probably forgetting some things here, but she had other food as well like queso and chips and other snacks.

She put together a bunch of photos on a posterboard type display with descriptions of many. Our new friends don’t always know a lot about our past so she explained what some were and who were in those photos, like her family who now shuns us. It was a huge hit and lots of people stood and asked questions about them and were really interested.

We also put together a photo booth. I bought black backgrounds and silver tinsel overlays that hung off of a stand that I got from Amazon. I set up an old cell phone on a tripod and had a bluetooth shutter that people could use to take their own pics. We also bought a bunch of props from Amazon, including emoji masks, and people had fun with them.

I had music, though you couldn’t hear it over the talking. I could have turned it up but was having a great time and didn’t even notice. We had a couple of cornhole boards set up and they got a little play. Again, people were sitting and talking and eating, so the games went largely unnoticed. We also set up a table with lots of coloring pages and supplies and the kids had fun coloring. My wife was given some pictures to take home by some of the kids.

Oh, and I put together gift bags for all of the kids. I got some plastic dinosaurs, emoji stamps, and some sort of foam stuff that is moldable but not messy on Amazon and put them in colorful polka dotted bags.

I put together a “who’s older” game with notable events or famous people and put them against my wife. I printed off sheets for everyone to participate. The person closest to the right answer would get prizes. I had some nice prizes too. The joke was that my wife was older than everything on the game. Again, people were having a good time and we ran out of time and didn’t get to it.

My wife got a ton of presents. Lots of cards for 1 year olds. She opened everything there in front of everyone and had so much fun. People really got a kick out of it.

In all about 65 people passed through over those three hours. Some stayed for the duration, some came and went, but all left happy. The kids got to leave with their gift bags. We had many people tell us how shocked they were that we pulled off such a big party, having never done something like that before. It was a magical day, and my wife has a lot of great memories from it. Some people showed up and we were surprised, others didn’t come and we were surprised there too. You just never know who will or won’t show.

If anyone has any questions just ask. We left with a van full of leftover food, presents, balloons, etc. Thanks to all of you for your suggestions. It really helped put us at ease over what to expect, gave us ideas as to things we could do, etc. This new life is exciting, but a bit scary at times being adults jumping into things that others have been doing for decades. It is worth any effort though. :slight_smile:

There was cake, wasn’t there?:smiley:

It’s not a birthday party without cake!:stuck_out_tongue:

I remember making a sheet cake for my dad, with little chocolate motorcycle decorations. I got it to my folk’s house before the party, and mom and I put it just inside the door to the attic, where it would stay cold.

When I came back Mom met me with a disturbed look on her face and said, “Baker, I don’t know how to tell you this…” I was scared somebody was sick or had been in an accident. Turns out Dad had gone into the attic and put the cake box to one side, turning it UP on it’s side. So the sheet cake had a major crack across it. I was so relieved I didn’t care about the cake, and we ended up calling it the “tectonic” birthday cake.

Oh yes, there was definitely cake, a huge sheet cake as described above:

She also bought a rainbow colored cake that matched a picture she found on Pinterest that she loved. The bakery matched it perfectly. It was half lemon and half strawberry.

We didn’t have a cool tectonic style story about ours though.

That sounds amazing! I’m so glad it turned out wonderfully and it was everything your wife dreamed of. If you think it would be okay, do you have any links to pictures we could see? The whole rainbow decorating scheme sounds like something I’d just adore. Good on you for being such a sweet husband. I hope all y’all’s firsts are this perfect.

Dude, that party sounds like a dream come true!

In case it hasn’t been stated to you otherwise…you are a kickass husband for putting all of that together for her. I read every word of that with a smile on my face knowing just how special it should have been…and knowing that the final result blew that out of the water!

Thanks for making the followup post!

Sorry, I missed the part about the cake. It sounds gorgeous, I love rainbow decorations, it’s how the wallpaper in my bathroom is patterned, plus several other things.

But wait, No chocolate cake?:smiley:

This is one of the happiest things I’ve ever read on the dope. Pulling off a successful party is a real accomplishment and provides wonderful memories for years to come. What a great day for your wife (and you)!

I agree! What a great story and party! You brought a tear to my eye, justanothermike! You two sound like fun people to know, and I am glad your party was a hit! :smiley:

Sounds like you had a great time! And a belated Happy Birthday to your wife. :cool:

(If you ever change your mind about religion, the Episcopal Church welcomes everybody.)