Reading the birthday stories of those who have lived through eight decades, one particular pearl of wisdom stuck in my mind: ‘we want memories, not things’.
If you’re thinking about throwing a surprise birthday party for an octogenarian, make sure that you provide plenty of opportunity for the celebrant and guests to reminisce and relive earlier times. One idea that is always popular for the advanced milestone parties is the creation of some type of photographic life display to form a focus for the surprise bash. Dig out as many old photographs as you can find, and ask the wedding guests to do the same. Add in scraps of old letters and newspaper clippings; emails from distant friends; drawings from the grandchildren and anything else of sentimental value and combine them into a wall-mounted display which you could get framed. Alternative variations on the theme include a photo-book, scrapbook or even slideshow. The important thing is to stimulate nostalgia and the opportunity to talk about and relive the past.
At 80-years-old, the birthday boy or girl (and their friends) may find a surprise party a little stressful. Therefore, make every effort to give them a comfortable experience. Choose familiar venues that are not too far from home and arrange the surprise party for the afternoon or evening to give the guests plenty of time to make it.
Some popular surprise birthday party venues for 80-year-olds are churches, schools, banquet halls or family members’ houses although hotels and restaurants may be suitable, particularly if the guest of honor has been a long-time patron. Even if the celebrant lives in a residential home, it may be possible to use their facilities to arrange the party there.
Plan the surprise party well in advance, particularly if you need to book a venue, and think carefully about who you need to invite. Local friends and family members will obviously be invited, but consider getting hold of some old school friends, work buddies or neighbors; reminiscing becomes a much richer experience when you can share memories with people who were actually there.
Get the invites out with an early RSVP date to help with planning. For inspiration, browse this small selection of popular invites designed by JaclinArt! They are customizable, easy and quick to order and affordable.
There are more Surprise Birthday Invites here
In terms of entertainment, think about hiring a DJ to play some sounds from the 30s and 40s, or getting hold of one of the birthday boy’s or girl’s favorite local bands. Depending on time, budget and preference, you may decide to get the family to help out with a party buffet or you might hire a local catering company to take care of the food. For ‘memory lane’ themed parties, place a centerpiece on each table, with each one consisting of a mini-display for a different decade in the celebrant’s life.
Here are some of JaclinArt’s newest creations!
Browse more 80th Birthday Planning tips here.
Neil Hocking is a Torbay copywriter with clients from around the world. His work includes writing web copy, newsletters, sports journalism and advertising material. Design services are also available
www.nhwriting.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; +44 (0)1803 606092; +44 (0)7762 906818
NB: The intellectual ownership of the ‘number 80′ image material lies with Rijkswaterstaat, the executive arm of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment. No additional costs are associated with copyright, although it is mandatory to acknowledge the source with each publication: https://beeldbank.rws.nl, Rijkswaterstaat.