Saying goodbye to your 20s can be a tough transition. It’s time to officially put your irresponsible days behind you and step into adulthood (as recommended over a decade ago).
But that doesn’t mean you can’t live it up one more time.
Here’s a ton of 30th birthday party ideas so you can party like a total not-washed-out rockstar.
Adult Cake Smash by Anna Kulyk Phototgraphy
1. Have a 30th Birthday Party Photo Shoot
You’ve seen the adorable pictures from first birthday party cake smashes. Just because you’re hitting your third decade of life doesn’t mean you can’t have your cake and smash it too! This may be one of our favorite 30th birthday party ideas, ever.
Add a stunning backdrop, some balloons, alcohol, and a pretty cake from your fav bakery to destroy. Strike a pose.
2. Dress Up Like a Kid Again
Pull out the biggest tutus and sparkliest tiaras. For guys, if you wanna go bare chested and show off all that unruly chest hair, go for it. We dare ya to wear a crown, too.
3. Create a Milestone Chalkboard
Since you’re 360 months young, be sure to create a milestone chalkboard. Include it in your photo shoot or share it on social media. Add your biggest milestones to the board: Like buying a car without mom and dad’s help.
30th Birthday Cake Smash by Kristen Weaver
4. Have a Backyard BBQ
Invite your closest crew over to celebrate in the backyard. Fire up the grill and sip on your favorite drinks. Reminisce on the nights spent with the people you love.
5. Celebrate with Champagne
Nothing says party like some champagne. Have your cups at the ready to attempt to catch the waterfall of bubbly raining down once the cork pops. This dirty 30 birthday idea is sure to lead to a memorable night.
6. Embrace Your Inner Child
Some of the sweetest moments are childhood ones, right? Whether you were team BSB or *NSYNC, we know you’ve got a favorite 90s tune to belt out. Use your sweet 30th birthday to reminisce about the good ole’ days.
7. Dress Up as Your Favorite 90s Celebrity
In an era of great music and one-hit-wonders, you’ve got plenty of options — Spice Girls, Hanson, Cindy Crawford, Britney and Justin (remember those matching denim outfits?!). Get wild.
8. Host a Dance-Off Competition
MMMBop your way around the house while singing out your heart. Or, cue your inner Britney Spears and see who can best perform the moves from “…Baby One More Time” while being filmed. And, you’ll now have priceless footage that will live forever on the internet unlike it did in 1999. Thanks, YouTube.
9. Set Up a Candy Bar
Add Pop Rocks, Nerds, Wonder Balls, Push Pops, and FruitStripe gum — it will give you a sugar rush right back to your childhood. It’ll also get your energy popping like a shaken-up can of Surge.
10. Bust Out the Games
Twister, Bop It, and 13 Dead End Drive. You know you’ve got the box in the back of your closet. Pull out the boombox along with those cassette tapes that took you forever to make. Let the 90s throwback commence.
11. Play Reruns of your Favorite Shows
As background noise, or even full-on entertainment, have reruns of your favorite shows playing on the big screen. All That, Full House, Saved By The Bell and Sabrina The Teenage Witch, anyone? It’ll be a joy ride of memories watching your favorite celebrities before they all went cray cray.
Birthday Boys Just Want to Eat Cake by Amanda J. Alvares
12. Eat All Your Feelings
It’s important to take a moment to honor the fact you’ve miraculously survived adulting. We know hitting 30 means you’re practically 40, and that can feel a bit…depressing. No one is going to judge you for wanting to eat all your feelings as childhood slips further and further away.
Let the new 30-year-old you eat cake, and more cake, we say!
Birthday Brunch Cart by Pizzazzerie
13. Host Brunch After Dark
Grab your best hotel-style waffle maker (or get the box of Eggos) for an after-hours adult brunch. Bring on the mountains of whipped cream, strawberries, and chocolate syrup. Or, keep it simple: have a cereal bar with all your childhood favorites like Fruity Pebbles or Golden Grahams. Wash it all down with a mimosa. Repeat until midnight.
How to Throw a Wine Tasting Party by Gold and Bloom
14. Have an Aged to Perfection Theme
Nothing says classy like an aged to perfection wine party. Gather round with your favorite glasses of vino to share stories about the birthday guy or gal. Thirty years of reminiscing is bound to bring up some real good memories.
Have guests wear matching shirts to show support for the aging process. And to make you feel less upset about your newfound wrinkles and gray hair, of course.
Ice Cream Shoppe by CatchMyParty
15. Try an Ice Cream Bar
Remember the days of ice cream socials? Style your own sundae with all the rainbow sprinkles you want. Double up on the hot fudge while you’re at it! No one is judging you since you only turn 30 once. Happy birthday to you!
16. Create a Bake-Off Battle
For competitive friends, this theme is a must. Have guests bring their yummiest baked goods recipes. Enjoy a bake-off with the birthday star voting on their favorite cake (or cupcakes, if that’s your thing!). Snap photos to document the inevitable Pinterest fails.
Sprinkle Cake Tutorial by Sweetness and Bites
17. Host a Hawaiian Luau
Dress up in your tackiest Hawaiian shirts with your biggest leis. Or just snag a sweet pineapple shirt. Everyone knows Hawaii is to pineapple as roasted pig is to luau, right? For cheap laughs and entertainment, see who can limbo the lowest without pulling a muscle. But, really, you might want to have the contact of the nearest massage therapist and chiropractor ready on speed dial.
18. Have a Pool Party
Create your own giant water slide for an outdoor party no one will forget. All you need is a tarp, a small-ish hill (if possible), and some soap. A little bravery wouldn’t hurt, either. Bust out the super soakers and water balloons for the athletic party goers.
19. Recreate a Classic College Night
Order pizza and wings. Practice your keg stands a week in advance. Represent your favorite collegiate team with whatever terrible color scheme your alma mater blended together. Just try not to get the cops called on you for partying until like, 10 p.m. You little lawbreaker.
20. Tailgate it Up, Even if There’s Not a Football Game in Sight
Your neighbors may think you’re crazy, but they probably think that anyways. Later, (if you’ve got the energy, that is) rent a limo or a party bus and head to the nearest club. We bet you’ve got better dance moves than any of those college kids anyways. 30 is the new 21, right?
21. Gather Besties for a Sugar-Filled-Party-Turned-Sleepover
Add alcohol to pretty much any food just like you did back in college. Champagne cupcakes. Champagne jello shots. Mimosas that are a little less OJ and a lot more…well, ya know. Champagne is the drink of choice if you’ve made it to 30. Drink up! Gifts are also encouraged.
22. Make it a Toga Party
Grab your favorite sheets (no shame if you’re still sleeping on the set you bought as a freshman) and assemble your best toga. Since your GPA doesn’t matter any more to you than it did in college, partying until the wee hours shouldn’t be a problem. Get the toga chants started once the first keg is tapped.
23. Have a Costume Party
If you’re kind of a unique breed (which we bet you are), then there’s a chance you like some off-the-wall kind of ideas. Celebrate your 30th birthday by dressing up in something even your mother would be embarrassed to see you wear. And you know how much she loves you.
24. Host an Awkward Prom
Whether you pull out your hideous dress from high school (what were you thinking?!) or head to Goodwill, this theme is guaranteed to be a hit. Be sure to designate a photographer to capture all those magically awkward moments that would have been MySpace worthy.
Radical 80’s Themed 30th Birthday Party by CatchMyParty
25. Say Hello to Your 30s by Saying a Sweet Goodbye to Your 20s
Host a ‘roaring 20s’ theme and invite your favorite gangsters and flappers to doll up and head to your place. Just don’t let anyone light up those fancy cigarettes inside. Feather boas, cigarettes, and alcohol don’t mix.
26. Throw an 80s Flashback Party
Encourage guests to find the brightest leotards and longest holding hairspray. Our bet is on the bottle you can find in the way back of your mom’s bathroom cabinets. See who can create the biggest Farrah Fawcett or Bon Jovi hair. Birthday guest of honor gets to vote (bring a ruler!) on who went a little crazy with the Aqua Net. This 30th birthday party idea will be a memorable one.
Midnight Wonderland by CatchMyParty
27. Bring Alive the Theme From Alice in Wonderland
Whether you create a proper high tea or a rambunctious mad-hatter impromptu luncheon, this 30th birthday idea is sure to draw a crowd. After a few “drink me” adult potions, see who can play the best croquet match with plastic flamingos. Everyone will look so ridiculous, you’ll probably forget the whole party was because you turned 30.
28. Go to Vegas
What happens in Vegas…will haunt you for the next 30 years. A classic dirty 30 birthday idea is to embrace adulthood and live it up with a trip to Vegas.
29. Have a Staycation
You don’t have to go far to have a good time. Rent an Airbnb or hotel room and live in luxury for a night or two. Check out a local spa or try DIY facials.
30. Go on a Camping Trip
Spend your birthday reconnecting with nature and setting your intentions for this new chapter. Find a local campsite or take a roadtip to a national park. Sound a little too dirty for your 30th? Try glamping!
Now that you’ve got plenty of 30th birthday ideas, it’s t ime to get planning. If you don’t, you’ll be 40 before you know it.
Need some attire for the big birthday bash? Check out Redbubble’s fine selection of apparel. Even if you’ve gotten older, at least your taste has gotten better. If you’re an attendee, don’t show up empty-handed. A card is the easiest gift to remind someone they’re one year older and potentially wiser. If you’re not sure what to say in it, check out these tips for what to write in a birthday card.