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40th Birthday Party Ideas for Every Style

Event Planning: Geffen Events | Venue: Buffalo Club | Photography: 2me Studios

A milestone birthday is wonderful cause for celebration. Bringing friends and family together to toast the years past and the ones to come is a great way to kick off a landmark year. To choose an appropriately fun and engaging theme, take into consideration the personality and taste of your celebrant. Fabulous music, lighting, and decor are a must, but even small details contribute to making an event memorable. Check out our favorite 40th birthday party ideas for celebration inspiration.

River Cruise

Dennis Lee Photography

A glamorous evening on the Chicago River was ideal for this 40th birthday celebrant, who chose to host an intimate dinner aboard Chicago’s First Lady Cruise’s largest vessel, Chicago’s Leading Lady. Event designer David Rogers Inc. created a luxurious atmosphere for this intimate dinner party, with Kehoe Designs providing cozy Chesterfield sofas and mid-century chairs in burgundy velvet, plus Eugenia topiaries and cones. Entertaining Company planned and executed a four-course menu and passed hors d’oeuvres, which included black salt encrusted beef tenderloin and apple crumble with bourbon sauce. Guests enjoyed the delicious food and live music, as they cruised by Chicago’s most stunning architecture — the perfect backdrop for gorgeous photos from Dennis Lee Photography.

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Pretty in Pink

Photographer: Garbo Productions

What better spot for an educator’s 40th birthday party than the iconic Bernie’s Book Bank in Lake Forest, Illinois? The space was transformed with a sophisticated vision by event planning company, Affairs With Linda, and hip decor by Erin McDonald Co. Delicious bites included sushi platters, sliders and passed hors d’oeuvres, provided by Catering By Michaels. Hall’s Rental Service, Inc. added high top and round tables which BBJ Linen covered in chic slate and fuchsia tablecloths. A variety of upbeat tunes were provided by a drummer and DJ combo from Carey Smolensky Productions, and guests got endless entertainment from the Smilebooth photobooth. All the fun during this fabulous evening was captured by Garbo Productions.

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Disco Glam

Photographer: 2me Studios

Glitz and glamour was the goal for event planner Geffen Events, presenting this lucky celebrant with a dreamy “Studio 40” disco-themed extravaganza, a riff on the iconic Studio 54. Held at the luxe and spacious Buffalo Club in Los Angeles, guests danced the night away to beats from a DJ and live band. The decor included shining gold and glitter elements with customized silk throw pillows, mirrored draping and opulent white floral arrangements. Disco balls and 70s style lighting set the tone on the dance floor against a stylish backdrop screen themed for the event. Silver balloons covered the ceiling, offering a stylish accent in the dining area. 2me Studios caught all the action on camera with photos guests will treasure for years to come.

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Floral Festivities

Photographer: Arte De Vie

This birthday girl decided on a decadent dinner party for her 40th birthday celebration, which was planned with feminine flair by Sapphire Events. Held at Restaurant August in New Orleans, the menu was completely customized, and featured a gorgeous four-tiered cake frosted white with classic fleur-de- lis fondant decor. Lovely white, soft pink and lilac floral arrangements covered the dining tables, artfully spilling over the sides. A spiked blood orange punch, created for the guest of honor, was poured for friends and family, who enjoyed live music and posed for photos taken by Arte De Vie.

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Birthday Bubbles

Kent Drake Photography

A fabulous dinner party featuring the birthday girl’s love of champagne was on the menu for this 40th birthday, held at swanky RPM Italian in downtown Chicago. Christina Currie Events, Inc. planned the evening, starting with gorgeous invites from Charmant Invitations and a table set in pink and gold by BBJ Linen. Dark pink roses from Anthony Gowder Designs dressed the dinner table, along with a gorgeous floral menu customized for the birthday girl. Kent Drake Photography captured the event, including a truly spectacular cake from Elysia Root Cakes, which took the form of a Louis Vuitton handbag with a bottle of champagne popping out of the top.

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Secret Agent Soirée


This bold birthday boy chose a James Bond theme for his 40th, executed with sophisticated flair by Kesh Designs. The white loft inside Chez was transformed thanks to uplighting and patterned projections by A Posh Production. Guests dressed in black and white formal attire mixed and mingled to the tunes of Sway Chicago and enjoyed cigars with custom matchboxes. Delicious bites from Entertaining Company, including a luxe “0040” sports car cake. But the icing on this perfect evening were the live aerial performers that twisted and twirled on white and red ribbons suspended above amazed onlookers, and caught on camera by Gold Grid Studios.

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Southern Charm

Photographer: Erika Dufour

This 40th birthday party celebrated homestyle cooking and Southern roots, starting with classic Americana decor from Revel Decor, that included a vintage trailer, wooden bars, and tons of shabby chic details. Guests rocked out to hot tunes from country stars Sugarland and Sara Evans late into the evening. Limelight Catering served sliders, milkshakes, and other comfort food, and a “bubbles bar” provided champagne-based cocktails for thirsty dancers. Perfect lighting and props, like cozy mismatched sofas and recliners, provided photographer Erika Dufour with a rich backdrop to capture all the good times.

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Party Animals

Photographer: Thomas Mosley, Art of Mind Productions

Guests at this surprise 40th birthday party took a walk on the wild side with live animal Entertainment and the excitement of a giant champagne bottle sabering. Photographer Thomas Mosley of Art of Mind Productions expertly captured images of guests as the rode atop camels, played with an adorable monkey, or took their chances with a massive coiling snake (handled, of course, by an exotic animal trainer). Steve Kemble planned and executed this extravagant affair, which also featured a DJ, portraits drawn on-the-spot by a professional sketch artist, and tons of treats customized especially for this birthday couple.

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Boho Birthday

Francis Son Photography

A love of the Grateful Dead, psychics, and everything in between, translated into a beautifully boho chic 40th birthday party for this lucky celebrant. Planned by North Shore Weddings & Events, this hip happening featured a Grateful Dead cover band called Terrapin Flyer, a psychic who performed tarot card readings for guests, and fabulous handcrafted cocktails. Erin McDonald Co transformed the trendy Chicago restaurant, The Dawson, into a sumptuous bohemian dream, with decor elements like filigree lanterns, paisley linens, and gorgeous embroidered umbrellas suspended above guests. Guest clipped feathers into their hair and donned cool wooden sunglasses for vintage photobooth fun while Francis Son Photography caught all the action. The birthday girl blew out candles on a gorgeous free-spirited-style cake designed and made by a close friend’s 9-year-old daughter — a professional baker in the making!

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Ultra Violet

Photographer: Cattura Weddings

Christine Janda Design & Events played up this 40th birthday girl’s favorite color — violet — and used her passion for the hue to create an ultra-cool theme. The event planner chose lush, jewel-toned floral arrangements as well as uplighting in ultra-violet (Pantone’s color of 2018!) to illuminate popular Chicago party venue, BRIQUE. The hue cast a beautiful glow on guests as caught on camera by photographer Cattura Weddings. Boutique Bites provided delicious small plates, which looked even better against the gorgeous backdrop of BBJ Linens understated table settings. A stunning, gilded three-tiered cake featured a miniature disco ball perched on top and a fireworks candle casting sparks.

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Personalized Party

© La Vie Photography

An over-the-top “midlife crisis” theme was created to perfectly suit this surprised celebrant at his 40th birthday event. Rocket Science Events dug deep to find out all of the birthday boy’s favorite things, and transformed his home into a showcase of food and fun for guests. An authentic cigar roller was at the ready, along with golf and hunting-themed stations that featured hors d’oeuvres from D’Amico Catering. La Vie Photography snapped plenty of photos, including a personalized ice sculpture, sleek sports car cake, and cutting edge lighting designs by AV For You. A mixologist from Liquid Motion satisfied thirsty guests who danced late into the evening thanks to tunes from Three Six Sound.

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Better With Age

Photographer: Ben Finch

This extravagant birthday weekend took place in the beautiful seclusion of the Covert Estate. Special guests arrived to the venue in shiny Cadillacs which set the tone for the weekend. Cultured Vine stopped at nothing to produce this ultra luxurious weekend, working with ROQUE Events to take full advantage of the modern arches and gorgeous space. Fur throws sitting alongside peach accents brought together the masculinity of the event and sunny springtime in Wine country. Fun and outside-of-the-box menus by Estate Events by Meadowood paired perfectly with fine wines by Covert Estate and Tres Perlas by Renteria. The string trio from Ivy Hill Entertainment matched the peaceful and vast landscape, making this 40th birthday party memorable for all.

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