photographer: 2me Studios | event planner: Ink Events & Design | venue: Buffalo Club
The Best of | Birthdays

9 [40th-Birthday] Party Ideas for Every Style

The best 40th-birthday party ideas go beyond streamers and balloons. After all, a milestone birthday is cause for celebration. The right inspiration (along with the perfect venue and party vendors) can turn any event into an extraordinary experience. So bring together your family and friends to toast the years past and the ones to come. It’s time to kick off a landmark year. 

Many factors go into determining the theme or aesthetic of a milestone birthday celebration. Two Be Wed Consultant Rachel Johnson suggests thinking beyond basic elements like color and instead focusing on the “experience you’re looking to find.” For example, this client wanted “fabulous cocktails, food, and a private space that felt like you could be somewhere other than Houston.”

What are some good 40th birthday party ideas?

Two Be Wed (along with their corporate counterpart TBWCreatives) knows that it’s important to focus on the client’s goals for the event — as well as the experience that they want their guests to enjoy. Johnson tells us, “To create a memorable and meaningful event, focus on the small details — personalized details are so important.” She also reminds us to “add an element that is unique and highlights the milestone.” 

Check out these unforgettable 40th-birthday party ideas for celebration inspiration. These real events (found on PartySlate) showcase everything from 40th-birthday decorations, 40th-birthday cakes, and more. You can even find the party vendors that made these dream celebrations come true.

1. “On the Water” 40th-Birthday Party Ideas

Romantic River Cruise 40th-Birthday Party in Chicago | PartySlate
photographer: Dennis Lee Photography

River Cruise

This 40th birthday celebrant chose to host an intimate dinner aboard a Chicago River Cruise. Cozy Chesterfield sofas and mid-century chairs in burgundy velvet — plus Eugenia topiaries and cones — created a luxurious atmosphere for this chic dinner party. Guests also enjoyed a four-course menu and live music as they cruised by Chicago’s most stunning architecture. Click to see one stunning photo op after another. 

The vendors who made this event happen:

photography: Dennis Lee Photography | décor: Kehoe Designs |Floral: Joseph Free | venue: Chicago’s First Lady Cruises |creative lead: David Rogers, Inc. | catering: Entertaining Company | rentals: On-Stage Rentals inc.

Beach Dinner, One of PartySlate's Favorite 40th-Birthday Party Ideas | PartySlate
photographer: John Schnack

Tented Beachfront Dinner

Newport Beach, CA

Guests soaked up the sun while enjoying stunning waterfront views at this picture-perfect birthday party. Luxe teal marquee tents provided a shady and comfortable dining spot. We especially love how glittering chandeliers kept the party beautifully illuminated long into the night. Best of all? American Idol Pia Toscano surprised the birthday honorée with a spectacular performance. 

The vendors who made this event happen:

photographer: John Schnack | planner: Bespoke by Katy Higgins | floral: Paul Fenner Floral Design | tent: Raj Tents | linen: La Tavola Fine Linen | music producer: TMI Productions | rentals: Baker Party Rentals


RELATED: 5 Birthday Gift Box & Invitation Box Ideas for Guests


2. “Floral-Forward” 40th-Birthday Ideas

Indoor Garden-Themed 40th-Birthday Party | PartySlate
photographer: Joseph West Photography

Indoor Garden Party

Houston, TX

“When hosting any event at a restaurant I like to create an experience that will feel different than if you were dining there on a normal evening,” Johnson of Two Be Wed tells us. “For this event, we first welcomed guests with a signature cocktail, ‘The Leo.’ Place settings were elevated by bringing in blush napkins, personalized menus, and custom cookies.”

She goes on to say, “To create a beautiful space, you can never go wrong with flowers. Brightly-colored show-stopping florals all the way down the long table made the event feel beautiful and luxurious.”

Best of all? “Our big 4-0 birthday cake adorned in flowers was a talking point for all the guests.” Click to see more photos from this charming celebration.  

The vendors who made this event happen:

photographer: Joseph West Photography | planner: Two Be Wed & TBWCreatives | floral: Maxit Flower Design | venue: Emmaline | linen: House of Hough | stationery: Memory Lane Paperie | cookies: Lisa’s Baking Addiction | cake: Busy Bee Bakery

Beautiful Pink Birthday Celebration With Floral and Candle Centerpieces | PartySlate
photographer: Arte De Vie

Candlelit Florals

New Orleans, LA

This birthday girl decided on a decadent dinner party for her 40th-birthday celebration. Guests enjoyed a customized menu as well as a gorgeous four-tiered cake frosted white with classic fleur-de-lis fondant décor.

Lovely white, soft pink, and lilac floral arrangements graced the dining tables, artfully spilling over the sides. Best of all, glittering candlelight cast a warm glow over this picturesque scene.

The vendors who made this event happen:

photographer: Arte De Vie | event planner: Sapphire Events


RELATED: 5 Backyard Birthday Party Ideas for an Intimate Party at Home


3. “Boho-Chic” 40th-Birthday Party Ideas

Boho-Themed 40th Birthday Party on Rooftop | PartySlate
photographer: Ali Fisher

Rooftop Relaxation

New Orleans, LA

Every detail of this 40th-birthday party, set on a chic city rooftop, perfected the boho theme. Rattan seating, eclectic throw rugs, woven wall hangings, and plenty of pampas grass had guests reaching for their cameras over and over again. Click to see other fun elements from this rooftop soirée. We especially love the conical tenting and photo booth van.

The vendors who made this event happen:

photographer: Ali Fisher | planner, floral design, installations, & custom décor: NICE DAY | venue: Catahoula Hotel | rentals: Lovegood Wedding & Event Rentals

Boho Chic 40th-Birthday Party With Umbrella Ceiling Installation | PartySlate
photographer: Francis Son Photography

Hippie Heaven

Chicago, IL

This hip 40th-birthday party featured a Grateful Dead cover band, a psychic who performed tarot card readings, and fabulous handcrafted cocktails. Décor elements included filigree lanterns, paisley linens, and gorgeous embroidered umbrellas. We also love how guests clipped feathers into their hair and donned cool wooden sunglasses for vintage photo booth fun. Click here to experience the boho theme.

 

The vendors who made this event happen:

photographer: Francis Son Photography |event planner: NSWE Events |décor: Erin McDonald Co | venue: The Dawson | entertainment: Terrapin Flyer | dj: DJ Akib


RELATED: 9 Intimate Birthday Parties to Inspire Your Small Celebration


4. “Around the World” 40th-Birthday Ideas

Poolside, Italian-Themed Backyard 40th Birthday Bash | PartySlate
photographer: Stanlo Photography

Benvenuto in Italia

New York, NY

Guests left NYC behind and happily wandered into the Italian countryside (conveniently located in Williston Park, New York) at this 40th-birthday party. Natural greenery and a petal-strewn swimming pool created gorgeous textures at this outdoor bash — while plush lounge furniture boasted European style.

Other wow-worthy details included a gelato and espresso truck, Aperol spritz bicycle, and classic Italian beverages. Moreover, make sure to see how each guest received a personalized Nutella jar. 

The vendors who made this event happen:

photographer: Stanlo Photography | planning & design: Elle Audrey New York | floral: NYC Flower Project | gelato truck, spritz bike, & champagne cart: Dolce & Gelato Catering Inc. | luxury furniture & tableware rentals: Glam Party Rentals | dj: DJ MENYU | menus, stationery, & branded masks: Papered Wonders | bts video: Power of Vision | event wine: Maison Marcel | custom pillows & wait staff masks: Genesis Upholstery | staffing: Party Staffing | favors: La Voute

Chicago Tropical-Themed Birthday With Purple Uplighting and Palm Trees | PartySlate
photographer: North Shore Photography

A Trip to the Tropics

Chicago, IL

Chicago may be famous for its blustery winters, but this 40th-birthday party proved that paradise is a state of mind. Vibrant uplighting and tropical foliage created a island-like haven for the birthday honorée and guests. We especially enjoy the tropical-themed photo booth and starburst lighting designs.

Of course, that’s just the beginning. Click to see more fun-filled details from this tropical-themed bash. We’ll give you a hint: The snack station is worth a trip around the world.

The vendors who made this event happen:

photographer: North Shore Photography | planner: Alison Ross Events | décor: Epic Events | venue: private club | dj: Vibe Entertainment | photo booth: Photo Booth Time


RELATED: 14 Birthday Balloon Ideas to Make Every Milestone Memorable


5. “Ultra-Glam” 40th-Birthday Party Ideas

Glitzy Gold Birthday Party Lounge Area | PartySlate
photographer: 2me Studios

Studio 40

Los Angeles, CA

Behold this dreamy “Studio 40” disco-themed extravaganza — a fun-filled riff on the iconic Studio 54. The décor included shining gold and glittering 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. Click to see how silver balloons covered the ceiling, offering a stylish accent in the dining area. 

The vendors who made this event happen:

photography: 2me Studios |event planner: Ink Events & Design | venue: Buffalo Club

Cigar Station at James Bond-Themed Birthday Party | PartySlate
photographer: Gold Grid Studios

Secret Agent Soirée

Chicago, IL

The birthday gent stepped into the glamorous shoes of James Bond for his 40th-birthday bash. Guests, dressed to impress in black and white formal attire, mixed and mingled as they enjoyed cigars with custom matchboxes.

Of course, a Bond birthday wouldn’t be complete without a luxury car. Make sure to check out the “0040” sports car cake. While you’re there, “spy” on the live aerial performers. 

The vendors who made this event happen:

photographer: Gold Grid Studios | event planner & designer: Kesh Events| venue: Chez | caterer: Entertaining Company | lighting: A Posh Production | entertainment: Sway Chicago


RELATED: 30 Social Distancing Birthday Parties, Baby Showers, Weddings, & More to Inspire Your Safe Celebration


6. “Americana” 40th-Birthday Ideas

Country themed birthday party with live music | PartySlate
Photographer: Erika Dufour

Southern Charm

This 40th-birthday party celebrated homestyle cooking and Southern roots — starting with classic Americana décor that included a vintage trailer, wooden bars, and tons of shabby chic details. Guests rocked out to hot tunes from country stars late into the evening.

Sliders, milkshakes, and other comfort food kept guests satiated; while a “bubbles bar” provided champagne-based cocktails for thirsty dancers. We also love how lighting and props, like cozy mismatched sofas and recliners, provided a rich backdrop for endless photo ops.

The vendors who made this event happen:

photographer: Erika Dufour | décor: Revel Decor | caterer: Limelight Catering

Country Music-Themed Party With Lighting Ceiling installation and American Food Stations | PartySlate
photographer: Cobalt Photography

Country Music Festival

Rosemont, IL

Guests found their groove at this country music festival-themed birthday party. Whether reclining and relaxing on oversized tan sofas (with branded pillows) or indulging in festival-style food stations, friends and family found themselves happily surrounded by Americana décor. Make sure to check out the beer pong-themed custom tables and the dance floor  emblazoned with a beer label decal. Such unique elements inspired guests to put on their best cowboy boots and hit the dance floor.  

The vendors who made this event happen:

photographer: Cobalt Photography | planner: Simply Celebrate! | décor: Epic Events | venue: Joe’s Live Rosemont


RELATED: 14 Birthday Dinner Spots in Los Angeles to Make Milestones Memorable


7. “Luxe and Lavish” 40th-Birthday Party Ideas

40th-Birthday Party Table Setting With Light Pink Napkin and Glittering Gold Menu | PartySlate
photographer: Kent Drake Photography

Birthday Bubbles

Chicago, IL

A fabulous dinner party featuring the birthday girl’s love of champagne was on the menu for this 40th birthday. The bash began with glittering invites and continued with tablescapes set in pink and gold. Dark pink roses graced the dinner tables, along with a gorgeous floral menu customized for the birthday girl.

Discover the truly spectacular cake which took the form of a Louis Vuitton handbag with a bottle of champagne popping out of the top.

The vendors who made this event happen:

photographer: Kent Drake Photography | floral: Anthony Gowder Designs | venue: RPM Italian | balloons: Anthony’s Balloons LLC | stationery: Charmant Invitations | linens: BBJ Linen | cake: Elysia Root Cakes

40th-Birthday Party Dinner Set Between Wine Barrel Walls | PartySlate
photographer: Ben Finch

Better with Age

Napa, CA

This extravagant birthday weekend took place at a luxe estate situated in Napa Valley. Special guests arrived at the venue in shiny Cadillacs which set the tone for the weekend.

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 paired perfectly with the array of fine wines. Guests also enjoyed a talented string trio as they mixed and mingled against a backdrop of rolling hills.

The vendors who made this event happen:

photographer: Ben Finch | venue: Covert Estate | design: ROQUE Events | production: Cultured Vine | videographer: Vessul Creative | florals: Flower Girl Em | rentals: Theoni Collection and Bright Event Rentals | linens: La Tavola Fine Linen | signage: Laura Lambrix Designs | entertainment: Ivy Hill Entertainment | culinary: Meadowood Napa Valley


RELATED: Black-Owned Businesses in Chicago to Hire for Your Stunning Wedding or Private Event


8. “Fun and Funky” 40th-Birthday Ideas

40th Birthday at industrial Venue With Paisley Wall Lighting | PartySlate
photographer: Garbo Productions

Paisley Flair

Lake Forest, IL

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 and hip décor that included paisley lighting patterns and bright pink drapery.

Delicious bites included sushi platters, sliders, and passed hors d’oeuvres on funky pink and green service trays. We also love how high top and round tables were covered in chic slate and fuchsia tablecloths. Whatever you do, don’t miss the step and repeat photo booth with fun and colorful props.

The vendors who made this event happen:

photographer: Garbo Productions | venue: Bernie’s Book Bank | event planner: Affairs With Linda | caterer: Catering By Michaels | rentals: Hall’s Rental Service, Inc | linens: BBJ Linen | décor: Erin McDonald Co | photo booth: Smilebooth |entertainment: STORM Interactive Entertainment

Birthday bash in Chicago with disco balls and purple ceiling decor | PartySlate
photographer: Cattura Weddings

Time to Boogie

Chicago, IL

Shimmering tassels, flashing disco balls, and glimmering candlelight take illumination to the next level at this golden-glam 40th-birthday party. We also love how bright red and purple blooms pop against glittery gold linen while jewel-toned balloons shimmer in ultra-violet uplighting. 

But that’s not all. Check out the gilded three-tiered cake that featured a miniature disco ball as well as cold firework candles. Sometimes, birthday wishes really do come true.

But that’s not all. Check out the gilded three-tiered cake that featured a miniature disco ball as well as cold firework candles. Sometimes, birthday wishes really do come true.

The vendors who made this event happen:

photographer: Cattura Weddings | event planner: Christine Janda Design & Events | floral & design: Christine Janda Design & Events| venue: BRIQUE | caterer: Boutique Bites | paper goods: LBrown Design & Paperie| linens: BBJ Linen

40th-Birthday Party With Velvet Blue Seating and Gold Palm Tree Décor | PartySlate
photography: Soda Fountain Photography

Eclectic Extravaganza

Chicago, IL

What happens when an event planner turns 40th? She throws an unforgettable birthday party, of course. Event planner Michelle Dupetti brought a new twist to a jungle-theme with eclectic décor elements — all while celebrating an important milestone.

From glittering disco balls and vibrant purple uplighting to velvet lounge areas with sleek jaguar décor, this 40th-birthday party dazzles with glitz and glamour. Jewel-tone floral arrangements and custom painted tables immersed guests in another world (as well as another decade).

The vendors who made this event happen:

photography: Soda Fountain Photography | planner: Michelle Durpetti Events | décor: Revel Decor | photo booth: Fotio Vintage Photo Booth Chicago | caterer: Paramount Events & The Lakewood | dj: Élan Artists | hangover kits & napkins: Smitten Boutique | ladies’ flats: Rescue Flats | vocal trio: The Oh Yeahs | musical arrangement: BeatMix Music | nitro ice cream: WDS Desserts


RELATED: See More Milestone Birthday Ideas


9. Monochromatic 40th-Birthday Party Ideas

Guest, Dressed in White, Pose in Photo Booth at 40th-Birthday Party | PartySlate
photographer: Victor Johnson of A&D Media Group, INC.

White and Silver Soirée

Naperville, IL

This sophisticated 40th-birthday party captured a refined and elegant aesthetic with a white and silver color palette. Simple white tablescapes with delicate white rose florals complemented Chivari chairs and glittering chandeliers.

Dessert carried over the color theme with a chic “Chanel” cake and beautifully frosted desserts. We also love how guests participated in the celebration by wearing all-white — and how the birthday girl dazzled with a gorgeous red dress that stood out from the crowd. 

The vendors who made this event happen:

photographer: Victor Johnson of A&D Media Group, INC. | planner: Madison Elyse Events | venue & caterer: private club | desserts: Peeka’s Sweet Treats & Country Club Hills | buntini tower: Nothing Bunt Cakes | entertainment: DJ Ransom, Safire Belly Dancers, & Raks Geek

Tented Backyard Birthday Party With Violet Tablescape and Surrounding Greenery | PartySlate
photographer: Leandro Da Silva Photography

Very Violet 40th-Birthday Bash

Newark, NJ

We love how purple hydrangea and lavender linen create a stunning contrast against the surrounding greenery at this backyard birthday party. A violet 40th-birthday cake and luxe purple napkins (topped by miniature goody bags) perfected the look.

Make sure to see how mouthwatering appetizers and beautiful tenting made this backyard birthday a memorable affair. 

The vendors who made this event happen:

photographer: Leandro Da Silva Photography | planner: JENNIEVENTI | floral: More Than a Gift | venue: private residence | caterer: Crave Events Group | dj: Blanc Noir Events


Bring These 40th-Birthday Ideas to Life

So, you’ve envisioned your dream 40th-birthday party? Now, it’s time to find the perfect venue. Check out PartySlate’s curated directory to search for a venue near me. Use the filters to narrow down your search by location, amenities, and venue type.

You can also use PartySlate to find party vendors. Head here to discover everything from party planners and florists to caterers and entertainment companies. 

You can also visit our Birthday Party Idea Gallery for more milestone inspiration. Your wow-worthy 40th-birthday party is just a click away.