Planning a 90th birthday is an exciting privilege, but there are some details that the party planner should be sensitive to, as the list of things not to do can be as important as the list of good party ideas. For example, a nonagenarian may not be receptive to a surprise party; your guest of honor should feel they’ve been included in the planning of their big day, and they can be of great service to the party planner in making the day a special one. This article aims to help guide your planning and offer a few creative ideas to make the event more meaningful for the birthday boy or girl.
Primarily, it is important to consider the guest list; know your audience, so to speak. The extended family of the guest of honor should all be invited far in advance as travel plans may be in order. Friends may be more difficult to track down, but work with the birthday guest to make sure their loved ones are well represented. Remember, the entire day is for him or her.
In consideration of the elderly guests, it is best to have the party during the day; a brunch, for example, is a laid back setting at a time of day that suits any age group. If you can’t have the party at a private residence, choose somewhere familiar to the majority of the guests. Most clubhouses or hotels will rent banquet rooms early in the day for a fair price. If you wish for alcohol to be served, mimosas are still appropriate and inexpensive.
Once your venue and guest list are established, turn your focus to the ways in which your party will pay tribute to the guest of honor. There are a number of ways you can do this, and the best of them require time and planning, so do your best to schedule extra time before the event to work out details.
Because this event is centered on celebrating the life of a loved one, memories will play an intricate role. Photographs can be helpful in evoking this nostalgia. Slideshows are common at 90th birthdays and afford an opportunity to include some favorite songs as accompaniment to the pictures. Be sure not to drag the slideshow on too long. Only make it the center of attention of a few minutes at most; more photos can be shown throughout the event on a slide loop, in photo books, or on collage boards.
Another touching, reminiscent surprise can be made in advance if you ask guests to submit their favorite memories of the guest of honor and assemble them into a memoir collection to read later. If this is too difficult or there is not enough time, notify guests on the invitation that there will be an “open mic” time for people to express their personal memories, thanks, or tributes to the guest of honor.
Keeping with the theme of memory, be sure to have people taking pictures and even someone video recording the entire event. It is nice to wrap this footage up into a final gift so that they can remember and experience their big day over again any time they please.