Nearly fifty years ago, the world was graced with the birth of my most favorite people. This year, I have been summoned to choose between elegant 50th birthday party themes. No more paper plates or corny "happy birthday" banners strung along the dining room wall allowed! This year we're celebrating a milestone — and only the best of the best will do.
If you're in the same boat, fret not! There are plenty of elegant 50th birthday party themes to please every palette. From planning a classic Hollywood bash to arranging a sophisticated garden soirée, any of the party themes below are guaranteed to be a smash hit.
Why Parties with Themes Are Better
Planning a birthday celebration is loads of fun in and of itself. The enthusiastic planner will shriek in joy every step of the party planning process. Everything from sending out invitations to picking which table settings to use is one step closer to creating the perfect party backdrop.
Elegant 50th birthday party themes involve a lot of work but also plenty of rewards. Your guests will know how much effort you put into making sure every aspect is on-theme. Conversely, a non-themed party may not look as put together because there is no linking topic to connect all the decor, food, and drink.
While there are plenty of themes to choose from, there is a certain level of sophistication when you're turning 50. Like a fine wine, you've aged gracefully and now crave the finer things in life. It is only natural to have a fiftieth birthday party as classic and graceful as are. You may be inspired by your hard-earned expensive taste or the beauty of the great outdoors. Whatever you prefer, we have a theme that will suit your personality beautifully.
DIY vs. Buying
Throughout this planning process, you may be thinking about two things: a personal touch and budget. Just because the celebration is supposed to be beautiful and elegant doesn't mean you have to buy everything in-store.
DIYing (or doing-it-yourself) is a great way to save some money while adding a little bit of your personality. There are plenty of DIY guides online to make everything from floral arrangements to entire backdrops. While you may have to begin your party planning a little earlier to create your decor, you will save a significant amount of money in the end.
However, should you be low on time, you will more than likely have to purchase most of your items online or in-store. This means your party will come together much faster, but you will probably be spending more than if you were to make some things yourself.
Elegant 50th Birthday Party Themes
Below are a few elegant 50th birthday party themes sure to take your milestone celebration from unimaginative and dull to chic and sophisticated.
50 and fabulous
These "50 and Fabulous" elegant 50th birthday party themes are all about celebrating in style. Find inspiration in everything is glittery, gold, and makes you feel like a million bucks. To bring this theme together, we've divided into three categories: decorations, food, and drinks.
Visit your local party store and hone in on the section that is mostly divided by color. Covering this theme means finding lots of black and gold decorations rather than sacking the "50s" section of the store. This means going for those luxurious-looking golden napkins and sleek charger plates.
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You can also do some online shopping for some extra unique decorations. This can mean investing some money on a gorgeous "50 and Fabulous" cake topper or waiting for a golden fabric backdrop to ship so you can have the perfect photo background. You can go further than these two items. Why not purchase your DIY balloon garland? It may cost less than having them done in-store, and you can make them on-site, so transport is not an issue.
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Of course, you could always try your hand at more in-depth DIY projects such as making a centerpiece. This tutorial will take you through the step-by-step process to create your very own 50th golden centerpiece and a beautiful flower vase.
These fabulous 50th birthday party themes require finger food which dazzles your guests. This means pulling out finger-licking-good shrimp skewers and grilling up some tasty oysters for a quick snack while you chat with your friends. Make some quick and easy quinoa salad or some mini butternut squash croquettes as sides, and your guests will be raving about your healthy food options.
Of course, for those of us with a sweet tooth, these s'mores cream puffs will appease children and adults alike. Alternatively, some macarons dressed in gold leaves will keep the party buzzing and look dazzling on your sweets table. Just visit your local macaron shop, purchase a few of their sweet treats and roll them in edible gold leaf.
Nothing says sophistication quite like a glass of shimmering champagne. This involves purchasing some edible gold luster and mixing it with your champagne. If you'd prefer something a little simpler, how about a glass of prosecco topped with a pink cloud of cotton candy? The best part is that the champagne will have a sweet pinkish hue once the cotton candy drops into the glass!
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But don't stop there -- this golden girl cocktail looks almost too good to drink! For the alcohol-free guest, serve a few blackberry thyme sparklers to sip while they munch on some appetizers.
Unlike other elegant 50th birthday party themes, this floral theme is all about getting in touch with nature's beauty. Gather inspiration from flower gardens, shops, and your local flower connoisseur. Everything from your appetizers to your drinks can be showered with real flowers to make them that much more dazzling.
Set the stage with plenty of floral decorations ranging from large peonies to little mini roses. Your decorations could range from simple and sophisticated bouquets to buying or making outlandish and over-the-top decorating choices. Whether you're decorating for an indoor or outdoor party, artificial flowers such as this flower ball or faux sunflowers are excellent decorating options.
If you have the time, order some floral wall decals and place them on an otherwise bland wall. Alternatively, you could always make your own floral garden backdrop. This backdrop acts as an impromptu selfie station as well as a beautiful background for your sweets station.
Did you know that there are several kinds of flowers that are perfectly safe to eat? Do some research to find out which ones exactly are edible and remember to double -- and triple -- check before you consume them. Once you've found a bunch, wash and dry them and roll your favorite ball of cheese on them for a beautiful appetizer. Another option is to mix these edible flowers in your salad and toss them with a light salad dressing to stay on-theme.
Dessert is probably the easiest menu item to keep with this floral 50th birthday party theme. A cake embellished with sugar flowers or real edible flowers are not difficult to find. You could also forego the traditional cake and instead make some delicious cupcakes topped with icing sugar succulents and mini cacti. Should your birthday fall in the summertime, flower-infused Popsicle would also be a great way to keep your guests cool.
Not unlike floral food, drinks could also be topped with mini flowers to strengthen your theme. For something sweet, try your hand at making a pink lady cocktail made with gin, grenadine, and egg whites. On the other hand, you could also fix your guests a Blackberry French 75 (a cocktail made with gin, champagne, blackberries, and lemon juice).
Top your drink with a floral pick and your glass is ready to be served. However, for an extra touch of elegance, add a couple of real flowers to your drinks instead! A few hibiscuses or lavender petals will go a long way to impress your guests.
The 50s in Hollywood
No list of the most elegant 50th birthday party themes would be complete without rolling out the red carpet. This Hollywood-themed party pulls out all the stops with no detail overlooked. Bring out the cameras because this theme is all about fame and glamour.
No Hollywood party would be complete without your very own red carpet runner. The best part is that after everyone has gone home, you can still use it anywhere in your home! But if you want to make your entrance grander, you could dress up columns in shimmery gold or silver fabric and invest in some helium-filled star balloons. For some more pizzazz, don't forget to add plenty of red roses and glittering stars.
Props would also go well with this 50th birthday party theme. While the theme remains elegant and sophisticated, your guests can have some fun with some photo props. You can DIY your selfie props or (if you have time to wait for shipping) purchase some Gatsby-inspired accessories. If you still want to keep with the tres-elegant theme, visit your local thrift stores to search for faux pearl necklaces, feather fans, and long boas.
Only the best of the best will work to please both the birthday person and their guests. Should your budget allow, have your party catered by your favorite restaurant with plenty of finger food. However, you could also take the day before to bake and cook your appetizers. Scour the world wide web for some mini beef wellington recipes or something equally as small and delicious such as mini tartines or tostadas.
For dessert, the presentation is vital. Spend some time perfecting plating techniques and your desserts will shine no matter how small they are. Take some weight off your shoulders by purchasing a few sweets at your local bakery. Then plate these desserts individually with elegant garnishes and visually appealing sauces to complete your Hollywood-themed party.
An elegant 50th birthday party theme inspired by Hollywood would not be whole without a selection of fancy drinks. The most obvious choice is to include the classic James Bond vodka martini — shaken, not stirred of course. Fans of the show Sex and the City would rejoice at the sight of a beautifully made Cosmopolitan ready to be sipped. For a Mad Men reference, be sure also to include an Old Fashioned made with bourbon, sugar, and your choice of bitters.
A rustic 50th party theme
Another one of our favorite elegant 50th birthday party themes is the rustic theme. While floral 50th birthday parties are all about flowers, this rustic theme is all about the great outdoors and wilderness. Plenty of earthy colors such as warm browns and fresh greens come together to create a woodsy theme full of whimsy.
Just because you're planning an elegant 50th birthday party theme does not mean you have to be indoors. If the weather cooperates, secure an outdoor location with plenty of sun, flowers, and greenery. A barn would be the perfect setting: an outdoor place for partying when the sun is shining and indoors if the weather turns dark. The barn ladder, for example, may be out of commission but can still be used as a decorative feature for candles and flowers.
Additionally, anything having to do with mason jars will add to this theme. Mason jars can serve as candle holders, drinking glasses, and even flower vases. Small galvanized buckets can hold everything from utensils to napkins while slabs of wood are useful as serving trays for foods and drinks. For a personal touch, purchase a wooden 50th cake topper.
Forget the frills of the other elegant 50th birthday party themes. A rustic theme means being as down to earth as possible. However, this does not mean that your party food can't be thoughtful and a little quirky. Pretzel sticks, for instance, can suddenly turn into tree branches once they are dipped in milk chocolate and drizzled with white chocolate. Your prizes cheeseball can turn into the perfect pinecone with some almonds and sprigs of rosemary.
Dessert can also be as wholesome and fun as the appetizers. Search through your recipe book for your classic apple pie recipe or try your hand with a tart with whatever fruit is in season. Should you wish to leave dessert for the experts, contract a baker to make a three-tiered "naked" birthday cake. This version nearly eliminates all of the calorific icings and still looks beautiful sitting on your dessert table.
As previously mentioned, mason jars make the perfect rustic vessels for your alcoholic beverages. Texas teas made of lemon juice, vodka, gin, rum, and plenty of other spirits make for excellent drinks for mason jars. However, mint juleps (made with mint leaves, bourbon, seltzer water, and sugar) are better served in tall glasses.
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You'll love this theme if you're inspired by high fashion and the allure of the Coco Chanel era. This one of our elegant 50th birthday party themes is about living the high life and being immersed in the upper-class culture.
Before planning your decorations, be sure to let your invitees know about the theme! Your invitations can reflect your theme by sticking to a strict color scheme and letting your guests know to dress accordingly. Concerning room decor, stick to black, white, and an additional color (pink, for example). This will make the decor much easier to find and come together like pieces of a puzzle.
To add some glamour, purchase (or make) your Chanel photo backdrop with sleek red drapes for a pop of color. Forego traditional balloons and instead, buy (or create) your giant paper flowers. If you prefer hiring a florist, be sure to raise your bouquet with a beautiful tall vase to add some height to your table setting. Should your guests not dress up for the occasion, you could always give them some emergency photo props, so at least their photos reflect your hard-work on the theme!
If you have the time and the resources, having personal food packaging made would make your Chanel-inspired party a hit. Imagine making hamburgers and packaging them on black boxes stamped with the Chanel logo. Or homemade popcorn with classic popcorn bags with Chanel on the front. This would be an easy way to make any food look extra special.
Alternatively, the sweets table could be the focus of your party. Searching for "DIY Chanel birthday cake" on the internet will yield thousands of different variations of the themed dessert. If you want to try your hand at making Chanel cookies instead, a perfume-shaped cookie cutter will make cutting much easier.
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Much like Chanel-inspired birthday cakes, there are also hundreds of recipes for Coco Chanel cocktails. You can narrow down your list by selecting a cocktail made with your favorite spirit. Several CoCo Chanel drinks are made with Kahlua, gin, and heavy cream. However, martini lovers will enjoy sipping on the Coco Chanel martini instead, which consists of vodka and St. Germain, a liqueur made of elderflower.
Any of these elegant 50th birthday party themes will make for an excellent celebration if well planned. Which one you select is merely up to personal preference and budget. If you've organized a 50th birthday party with a theme not listed above? If you have any elegant 50th birthday party themes that didn't make it onto our list, let us know in the comments below!