In December, I started contemplating the idea of throwing a spectacular 40th birthday bash for my partner, Jacen. Despite his selfless nature and his enneagram two personality (#IYKYK), I brought up the idea casually, just to gauge his interest. To my amazement, he was totally on board! So, I got to work and began brainstorming what this party would entail. I wanted it to be fun, loud, memorable, and, most importantly, for Jacen to feel absolutely loved and celebrated.
Here are some tips and tricks I used to make the party truly unforgettable:
Location, Location, Location
We live in the north/east part of COS; however, most of our friends are in the west side and downtown areas, and let’s be honest, we know that’s where most of the cool spots are. So, we knew that we wanted to host it somewhere that would be easily accessible by most of our guests.
As fate would have it, my beautiful and talented friend, Emily Costa, had been working on renovating and opening her own studio and event center, Somewhere Studio. We have an untapped resource of talented folks in Colorado Springs. Ask around and see if anyone is working on a new venue or if they know of any new spots that just opened up.
The Boring but Necessary Part
Once you have your venue, sit down with your partner and discuss your budget for the party. We set a number we were both comfortable with and saved room for extra expenses.
Consider the Guest List
I used Facebook to create our guest list. It’s not the most creative way, but it’s the most practical. Creating the event page in January, gave me time to let folks know to save the date for the birthday party in May. I also omitted Jacen from the Facebook event, which allowed me to reach out to friends outside Colorado and arrange for three friends to surprise him at the party. Create a private event and invite your closest friends and family. Consider inviting people your partner hasn’t seen in a while or even people they haven’t met yet but would love to, and don’t forget to reach out to those not on social media.
Drinks Are On Me
Who doesn’t love an open bar? Set up a bar and have a signature cocktail or two. You can even create a custom cocktail named after the guest of honor to make it extra special. And, of course, make sure to have plenty of non-alcoholic options for the folks who don’t drink.
Jacen and I got really creative and decided to serve up three drinks that were totally iconic of his different life stages. We had a Gin & Tonic to represent his wild 20’s, a Manhattan for his classy 30’s, and a Mezcal sour to welcome in his 40’s with a bang. And the best part? Our amazing bartender, Erika Nicole, was like a drink wizard! She helped us figure out what to buy and even mixed up some custom drinks for our guests. Needless to say, we kept her busy all night long!
It’s All About Food Trucks
Back in 2016, when Jacen and I tied the knot, we went for two food trucks at our wedding. At that time, not many people were on that trend yet, but it was a huge hit with our guests. So, I decided to bring this iconic option back and let me tell you, Colorado Springs is full of some amazing food trucks!
When we got married on Cinco de Mayo (yup, that’s Jacen’s actual birthday), we went for Huevones – a local, family-owned business with delicious Mexican-style food. They were quick to respond, affordable, and had some veggie options for our guests. I highly suggest exploring food trucks for your party and supporting a local business.
With A Little Help from My Friends (and In-Laws!)
It’s time to drop the DIY mentality and embrace the power of teamwork. I recruited one of my best friends, Laura, to help me with the decor. She’s got an eye for detail and is so creative. Together, we crafted two balloon arcs that made for the perfect photo op. And you know who else came through? My in-laws! They brought their DJ gear and kept us dancing all night long. Don’t make the same mistake I used to and try to do it all alone. Rally your crew and let them help you with the planning and decorating.
Give Them Something To Talk About
Remember when I said I wanted this party to be memorable? I meant it! Emily mentioned her friend, Maegan, was a burlesque dancer. As soon as I heard that, I knew we had to have her as our entertainment. So, I contacted Maegan and talked details with her. After making sure we could fit it into our budget, Jacen and I worked closely with Maegan to create a fun, sexy, and – yes – memorable dance number.
Being a huge fan of musicals, Jacen was thrilled with the music from Chicago. So, Maegan put together a fantastic routine that we were all excited to see. Don’t be afraid to take a risk and do something different! You could hire a local musician, comedic stand-up, drag queen, or even a tattoo artist. The possibilities are endless.
Support Local, Always
We support local as much as possible, and it felt so rewarding to know that all of our vendors, artists, bartenders, and spirits were from our community. Here’s a well-known secret: all of the folks that work in the industry throughout Colorado Springs are very well-connected.
I mentioned Erika, earlier in my post, who has been in the industry for years. She helped us feature bottles from Lee Spirits and whiskey bottles from Axe & Oak at the party. We had several friends from out of town that purchased bottles because they loved what they tasted! We are lucky to live in a community of passionate, professional, and creative individuals. Reach out to your connections. Make some moves, and make some magic happen.
Be Flexible and Enjoy
Sure, you might have put in a lot of effort planning, budgeting, decorating, and even choosing the perfect outfit for the occasion. But once the party gets going, it’s important to take a deep breath and let go of all your expectations. Something is bound to go wrong, no matter how much you prepare. Remember, you can’t control everything—not the weather, not a broken toilet, and not a spilled drink. But you can control your reaction and how much you let it affect you. After all, you’ve come this far, so don’t let anyone or anything rain on your parade.
We scheduled time for speeches and toasts. Jacen started by thanking everyone who showed up, traveled from afar, and took time to celebrate with us. We took a moment to look around a room packed with friends, family members, and co-workers. We both felt so grateful for the community we’ve built and will continue building upon. That’s what it’s all about—having a chance to celebrate life with loved ones and being grateful for it.
Hope this helps and inspires your next bash! And yes, count me in if you’re inviting 😉