Saying goodbye to your 20s can be a tough transition. It’s time to officially put your irresponsible days behind you and step into adulthood (as recommended over a decade ago).
But that doesn’t mean you can’t live it up one more time.
Here’s a ton of 30th birthday party ideas so you can party like a total not-washed-out rockstar.
30th Birthday Party Photo Shoot
You’ve seen the adorable pictures from first birthday party cake smashes. Just because you’re hitting your third decade of life doesn’t mean you can’t have your cake and smash it too! This may be one of our favorite 30th birthday party ideas, ever.
Adult Cake Smash by Anna Kulyk Phototgraphy
- Find your favorite local photographer, a stunning backdrop and just add some balloons, alcohol, and a pretty cake from your fav bakery to destroy. Strike a pose.
- Dress up like a kid again. Pull out the biggest tutus and sparkliest tiaras. For guys, if you wanna go bare chested and show off all that unruly chest hair, go for it. We dare ya to wear a crown, too.
- Since you’re 360 months young, be sure to have a milestone chalkboard in your photo shoot. Add your biggest milestones to the board: Like buying a car without mom and dad’s help.
30th Birthday Cake Smash by Kristen Weaver
- Create an impromptu shoot in your own backyard. Have your friends bring the props and maybe some adult beverages for liquid courage. Download a photo booth app for extra effects that you’ll laugh about at your next trip-around-the-sun party.
- Shake up a bottle of champagne with your besties surrounding you. Have your cups at the ready to attempt to catch the waterfall of bubbly raining down once the cork pops. Let the photog snap some shots of your I’m-not-feeling-30-quite-yet dance moves upon celebrating.
Celebrate Your Inner Kid
Some of the sweetest moments are childhood ones, right? Whether you were team BSB or *NSYNC, we know you’ve got a favorite 90s tune to belt out. Use your sweet 30th birthday to reminisce about the good ole’ days.
6. Dress up as your favorite 90s celebrity. In an era of great music and one-hit-wonders, you’ve got plenty of options — Spice Girls, Hanson, Cindy Crawford, Britney and Justin (remember those matching denim outfits?!). Get wild.
7. Host a dance-off competition. MMMBop your way around the house while singing out your heart. Or, cue your inner Britney Spears and see who can best perform the moves from “…Baby One More Time” while being filmed. And, you’ll now have priceless footage that will live forever on the internet unlike it did in 1999. Thanks, YouTube.
8. Set up a candy bar with Pop Rocks, Nerds, Wonder Balls, Push Pops, and FruitStripe gum — it will give you a sugar rush right back to your childhood. It’ll also get your energy popping like a shaken-up can of Surge.
9. Bust out the games — Twister, Bop It, and 13 Dead End Drive. You know you’ve got the box in the back of your closet. Pull out the boombox along with those cassette tapes that took you forever to make. Let the 90s throwback commence.
10. As background noise, or even full-on entertainment, have reruns of your favorite shows playing on the big screen. All That, Full House, Saved By The Bell and Sabrina The Teenage Witch, anyone? It’ll be a joy ride of memories watching your favorite celebrities before they all went cray cray.
Eat All Your Feelings
It’s important to take a moment to honor the fact you’ve miraculously survived adulting. We know hitting 30 means you’re practically 40, and that can feel a bit…depressing. No one is going to judge you for wanting to eat all your feelings as childhood slips further and further away.
Let the new 30-year-old you eat cake, and more cake, we say!
Birthday Boys Just Want to Eat Cake by Amanda J. Alvares
11. Brunch after dark theme – Grab your best hotel-style waffle maker (or get the box of Eggos) for an after-hours adult brunch. Bring on the mountains of whipped cream, strawberries, and chocolate syrup. Or, keep it simple: have a cereal bar with all your childhood favorites like Fruity Pebbles or Golden Grahams. Wash it all down with a mimosa. Repeat until midnight.
Birthday Brunch Cart by Pizzazzerie
12. Aged to perfection theme – Nothing says classy like an aged to perfection wine party. Gather round with your favorite glasses of vino to share stories about the birthday guy or gal. Thirty years of reminiscing is bound to bring up some real good memories.
Have guests wear matching shirts to show support for the aging process. And to make you feel less upset about your newfound wrinkles and gray hair, of course.
How to Throw a Wine Tasting Party by Gold and Bloom
13. Ice cream bar theme – Remember the days of ice cream socials? Style your own sundae with all the rainbow sprinkles you want. Double up on the hot fudge while you’re at it! No one is judging you since you only turn 30 once. Happy birthday to you!
Ice Cream Shoppe by CatchMyParty
14. Bake-off wars theme – For competitive friends, this theme is a must. Have guests bring their yummiest baked goods recipes. Enjoy a bake-off with the birthday star voting on their favorite cake (or cupcakes, if that’s your thing!). Snap photos to document the inevitable Pinterest fails.
Sprinkle Cake Tutorial by Sweetness and Bites
15. Hawaiian Luau theme – Dress up in your tackiest Hawaiian shirts with your biggest leis. Or just snag a sweet pineapple shirt. Everyone knows Hawaii is to pineapple as roasted pig is to luau, right? For cheap laughs and entertainment, see who can limbo the lowest without pulling a muscle. But, really, you might want to have the contact of the nearest massage therapist and chiropractor ready on speed dial.
College Throwback Par-tay
16. Get the party started right by setting the mood in the great outdoors. Create your own giant water slide for an outdoor party no one will forget. All you need is a tarp, a small-ish hill (if possible), and some soap. A little bravery wouldn’t hurt, either. Bust out the super soakers and water balloons for the athletic party goers.
17. Pretend you’ve got the metabolism of a college kid. Order pizza and wings. Practice your keg stands a week in advance. Represent your favorite collegiate team with whatever terrible color scheme your alma mater blended together. Just try not to get the cops called on you for partying until like, 10 p.m. You little lawbreaker.
18. Tailgate it up, even if there’s not a football game in sight. Your neighbors may think you’re crazy, but they probably think that anyways. Later, (if you’ve got the energy, that is) rent a limo or a party bus and head to the nearest club. We bet you’ve got better dance moves than any of those college kids anyways. 30 is the new 21, right?
19. Gather besties for a sugar-filled-party-turned-sleepover. Add alcohol to pretty much any food just like you did back in college. Champagne cupcakes. Champagne jello shots. Mimosas that are a little less OJ and a lot more…well, ya know. Champagne is the drink of choice if you’ve made it to 30. Drink up!
20. Grab your favorite sheets (no shame if you’re still sleeping on the set you bought as a freshman) and assemble your best toga. Since your GPA doesn’t matter any more to you than it did in college, partying until the wee hours shouldn’t be a problem. Get the toga chants started once the first keg is tapped.
Dress-up Party Themes
If you’re kind of a unique breed (which we bet you are), then there’s a chance you like some off-the-wall kind of ideas. Celebrate your 30th birthday by dressing up in something even your mother would be embarrassed to see you wear. And you know how much she loves you.
21. Animal onesies are all the rage. Plus, they are as comfy as a Snuggie and way cuter. Invite all your buds to wear their favorite animals in a way that even PETA wouldn’t find offensive. Just be sure to crank down the AC. It’ll probably get a little toasty.
22. If you love a good dance party, an awkward prom theme is the way to go. Whether you pull out your hideous dress from high school (what were you thinking?!) or head to Goodwill, this theme is guaranteed to be a hit. Be sure to designate a photographer to capture all those magically awkward moments that would have been MySpace worthy.
23. Say hello to your 30s by saying a sweet goodbye to your 20s. Host a ‘roaring 20s’ theme and invite your favorite gangsters and flappers to doll up and head to your place. Just don’t let anyone light up those fancy cigarettes inside. Feather boas, cigarettes, and alcohol don’t mix.
24. Throw an 80s flashback party. Encourage guests to find the brightest leotards and longest holding hairspray. Our bet is on the bottle you can find in the way back of your mom’s bathroom cabinets. See who can create the biggest Farrah Fawcett or Bon Jovi hair. Birthday guest of honor gets to vote (bring a ruler!) on who went a little crazy with the Aqua Net.
Radical 80’s Themed 30th Birthday Party by CatchMyParty
25. Bring alive the theme from Alice in Wonderland — whether a proper high tea or a rambunctious mad-hatter impromptu luncheon. After a few “drink me” adult potions, see who can play the best croquet match with plastic flamingos. Everyone will look so ridiculous, you’ll probably forget the whole party was because you turned 30.
Midnight Wonderland by CatchMyParty
Now that you’ve got plenty of 30th birthday ideas, it’s time to get planning. If you don’t, you’ll be 40 before you know it.
Need some attire for the big birthday bash? Check out Redbubble’s fine selection of apparel. Even if you’ve gotten older, at least your taste has gotten better. If you’re an attendee, don’t show up empty-handed. A card is the easiest gift to remind someone they’re one year older and potentially wiser.