A Totally Awesome Birthday Party 50 Years in the Making

Around this time last year, I was feeling weighed down by both my age and my weight. The strain of my mental and physical health was taking a toll, and I was becoming increasingly less social. So when my husband asked what I wanted to do for my 50th birthday, I half-heartedly suggested a trip. I was in no mood for a big party, to be the center of attention, to spend hours around other people pretending to be upbeat and happy.

Then somewhere along the way, I took some much-needed steps to resetting my life. As these steps grew into leaps and bounds, I gained confidence, got excited about life again, and determined that I did, in fact, want a party. Inspired by a friend’s 90s-themed birthday, I decided to show these Millennials how it’s done and throw the most bodacious 80s-themed party ever!

Birthday Party

If I’ve learned anything these past nine years of fatherhood, it’s that pampering yourself, partying with friends and blowing off steam are VITAL to being an effective, happy and sane parent. Having also been in a creative slump, this birthday party became a great outlet for me to flex my design muscles in fab, fun ways.

If you were there, thanks for celebrating with me! If not, here’s a taste of how much fun I had turning 50… and here’s to 50 more!

[click all pics to enlarge]

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The invitation was going to se the tone — and hopefully get folks excited to come — so the pressure was on for it to be beyond tubular. A few selfies, a little retro font hunting and a bit of Photoshop later, and voilà!

50th Birthday Party Invitation



There was a spot at the venue to hang your own posters, so I had fun reimagining some of my favorite 80s movies starring yours truly… and a bevy of birthday-related puns. BONUS: I learned the word quinquagenarian.

80s movie posters 180s movie posters 280s movie posters 3



What’s a party without party favors? I’m nothing if not well-branded, so I had some big-ass buttons emblazoned with my big-ass face in various forms of 80s-ness.

50th Birthday Party buttons

The cocktail tables were decked out in centerpieces constructed of cassette tapes spray-painted in neon colors. Favorite album covers and pics of me from the 80s were also scattered throughout. I got a great deal on coasters, so I couldn’t resist getting plastered yet again.

50th Birthday Party coasters



The DJ provided a photo booth, and it was a huge smash. I designed a custom frame for the pics, and partygoers could choose from static photos, animated gifs or slide shows.

50th Birthday Party photo booth

Here’s a video of all the revelers doing their bitchinest 80s thing at the photo booth. SUCH. A. HOOT.
(music “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles”



As the venue is used for a lot of concerts, the back of the stage had a very cool feature — an LED wall. Animated gifs and images from 80s TV, movies and music served as a fun backdrop for the party, along with “yearbook pages” I created using old pics of myself… and guests brave enough to send me their own 1980s photos!



Of course the best thing about throwing yourself a big birthday party is surrounding yourself with all your favorite people. And my favorite people know how to party like it’s 1999, 1984 and 2019 all rolled into one!

50th Birthday Party party pics

50th Birthday Party party pics

50th Birthday Party party pics



Nothing takes me back to simpler (and pimplier) times like the amazing songs that formed the soundtrack of my youth. This playlist includes all of the “must play” songs I gave the DJ, as well as quite a few additional favorites. Sign of a good party: I honestly can’t remember which of these got played!



I want to give a huge shout out to all of the vendors that made my birthday party so epically eighties. Please check them out!
Jonathan Willen, Vintage Affairs (party planner)
AMP by Strathmore (venue)
Ridgewells (catering)
Christine Tremoulet (party photographer)
Chris Styles Events (DJ and photo booth)
Moo.com (invitations & thank you cards)
Sticker Mule (buttons & coasters)

Birthday Party THANK YOU!

As always, my biggest thank you goes to my husband and fellow Gen-Xer, Nick. His generosity, patience and love knows no bounds. And he looks so totally fine with spiked hair and a skinny tie.

Brent and Nick

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