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Unique 80th Birthday Party Ideas, Plus 7 Easy Steps for Planning the Perfect Celebration

photographer: Muñoz Photography | décor: Daniel Events | venue: The Addison

By Tasha Downing, Writer

A milestone birthday event as momentous as an 80th celebration should have plenty of details reflecting the unique personality and storied history of the celebrant. Everyone hopes to maintain a vitality and zest for life at age 80, so make sure the party toasting your favorite octogenarian reflects that desire — and make every moment count. We’ve outlined 7 steps to take when planning an 80th birthday party, plus some of our favorite and most fun 80th birthday party ideas.

1. Find the Perfect Venue

New York City venue
photographer: Fred Marcus Studio

In 80 years, your celebrant has seen a lot, so make sure to wow him or her with a not-your-everyday venue. For this joint 75th & 80th birthday party celebration, the in-the-know planners at Leslie Mastin Events chose New York’s iconic Carnegie Hall — and then conjured a celebration that moved indoors and outdoors, making the most of the spot’s sprawling city views. Jerry Rose Floral & Event Design chose the twin chic hues of black and silver for the elegant event, pairing midnight sequin linens with pops of alabaster florals. Frank Sinatra and Johnny Cash impersonators entertained guests, and that reverence for classic artists extended to the clever table names. View the full event to see the celebration’s cake, which doubles as a family tree, complete with photos of family members.

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2. Choose a Fun Theme

Multi-color bar
photographer: Heather Kincaid

A tribute to the 1980s was an appropriate theme for this 80th birthday bash in Los Angeles. JOWY Productions pulled out all the stops with neon signage, bright florals, and totally rad 80s props, provided by Studio D Decor. Caramelized Catering delivered festive bites and cool customized cocktails with playful names like “The Orange Julius” and “Pac-Man Piña Colada,” served up at a color-block tiled bar. Of course, no 80s party would be complete without classic arcade games, provided by Party Pals and enjoyed by guests throughout the evening. Heather Kincaid photographed the scene, all held at SmogShoppe’s indoor and outdoor spaces.

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3. Evoke a Meaningful Setting with Décor

Dining table
photographer: Michael Delott Photography and Headshots

You can take the girl out of Florida, but you can’t take Florida out of the girl. The sunshine state was the central theme for this 80th birthday party, even though it was held at a private residence in Glencoe, Illinois. The planners at Affairs With Linda evoked the birthday celebrant’s second home, setting tables with flamingo-pink tablecloths from BBJ Linen. Bright, tropical floral arrangements added to the lush scene, and Michael Delott Photography captured guests at dinner and mingling at high top tables arranged outdoors. The Affairs With Linda team brought in Stephanie Izard of Girl & the Goat to cater — a favorite among foodies in the Chicago restaurant scene. Topping it off was a sunny and bright birthday cake from Urban Icing.

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4. Hire World-Class Entertainment

photographer: Robin Subar

An adventurous gentleman celebrated his 80th birthday in Lake Forest, Illinois with a party theme evoking the novel, “Around the World in Eighty Days.” Stacey Moe Events planned this exciting affair, incorporating multiple countries throughout the venue for a highly interactive and entertaining evening. Décor by Kehoe Designs pulled in elements from the adventurous 80-year-old’s far-flung travels under a beautiful clear tent from Partytime-HDO Productions, Inc. View the full event to see the amazing themed birthday cake that realistically depicted vintage suitcases and a globe festooned with sparklers. Photographer Robin Subar captured the varied entertainment, like live bagpipers representing Scotland and fabulous dancers from Betty and Bellas who kept guests on their feet with Jazz Age dance steps. The talented Bill Pollock Orchestra entertained guests, then the high-energy tunes from Low Down Brass Band kept the party hopping well into the night.

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5. Make Time for Speeches

Woman giving a speech
photographer: Manolo Doreste Photographer

Turning 80 certainly didn’t slow down this real estate developer and car enthusiast, who gifted himself two high-end sports cars for the occasion. The gorgeous automobiles were on display during the festivities held in The Bath Club’s historic mansion and estate in Miami Beach. Karla Conceptual Event Experiences planned this fast and fabulous race car themed soirée, featuring tons of twinkle lights, racing stripes, and a chic red carpet style backdrop for photos, snapped by none other than Manolo Doreste Photographer. A sleek sports car-themed bar was designed for ‘refueling’ parched guests, and a variety of auto-themed, delicious desserts were baked and creatively decorated by Ana Paz Cakes. But no 80th birthday party would be complete without loving tributes to the guest of honor, and we love how this party paired meaningful speeches with images and live background music in a perfectly-planned event from Karla Conceptual Event Experiences.

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6. Choose a Menu That Wows

Seafood bar
photographer: Muñoz Photography

This is what it looks like to kick off an 80th birthday in style — a celebration that roams in and out of doors in the lush surroundings of The Addison estate in Boca Raton, Florida. Tables set amongst the majestic trees made for a glamorous scene. Daniel Events completed the pretty picture with avant garde red floral centerpieces atop silver linens complemented by soft lighting, creating the perfect scene for Muñoz Photography to capture guests enjoying themselves throughout the evening. Catering was expertly handled by The Addison Signature Catering and included a farm-to-table buffet, extravagant seafood buffet on sculpted ice, and a gelato bar. View the full event to see the square, silver cake and its unique marbled honeycomb design.

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7. Offer a Sweet Ending

Desert table
photographer: Ocken Photography

This fashionista’s 80th birthday party was decidedly feminine and high-class, showing off her good taste and penchant for all things Chanel. Pink gerbera daisies and white orchids from the flower shop, Bunches, filled the gorgeous space at The Peninsula Chicago, which overlooks iconic views of Michigan Avenue and the Water Tower. Ocken Photography captured all the sweet touches added by Henry Lato Events, the event planner in charge of this fabulous affair, and City Streets DJ turned up the beats after dinner to keep the energy high. A classic Chicago bakery, Sweet Mandy B’s, created the amazing Chanel-inspired birthday cake, dripping in pearls and flowers. And that cake would have been plenty, but they conjured a delectable sweets table as well, with bite-size treats perfect for sampling more than one.

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