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40th Birthday Party Ideas for Men and Women

Last Updated: Jul 20, 2018

Know someone who’s turning the big 40? You might have a lot of party planning ahead of you. From choosing a 40th birthday party theme, to picking out party games and selecting which dishes will make the menu, you’ll have your hands full.

Before you roll up your sleeves and get down to the details, you may find some party inspiration helpful. Start a pinboard for ‘fun 40th birthday party ideas’ and cue the brainstorming.

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Fun 40th Birthday Party Ideas and Themes

During your initial party planning, remember to take into consideration how the guest of honor is feeling about this big milestone. Plenty of people look forward to this birthday. Others are less excited. Plan the occasion accordingly for a birthday party that stays true to the honoree. All 40th birthday party plans should embrace the age and celebrate the idea that another year older is another year better. Bring this idea to life with these party planning tips and tricks that will help you throw a standout celebration. No matter who you are planning for, these 40th birthday party ideas for men and women will help you throw a fitting celebration.

40th birthday party ideas for men

40th Birthday Party Ideas For Men

Whether it’s your boyfriend, your brother, your dad or your best bud, these ideas are perfect for a guy-focused gathering. Masculine colors like deep chocolates and navy blues are beyond a doubt a good way to go. Party details like gourmet burger bars and hefty cigar stations also make fun additions. You can start your party planning with the birthday boy himself. Get inspired by his hobbies, favorite foods, or something you know he just absolutely loves and then go from there.

Cheers to Forty Years

This adult birthday theme calls for a toast, a cheers and a ching ching of glasses. What better way is there is jump into the 40 club then with a toast? This theme is fitting for an evening event at home with close friends and family. Opt to take the party outdoors to the backyard for an airy feel. Since the theme of the party is indeed a ‘Cheers!’ you should offer your guests a variety of refreshments.

Encourage party-goers to wet their whistle and set up a couple food and drink stations. These will be the most frequented areas of the party and also serve as a decorative piece, so why not jazz them up? When it comes to 40th party decorations for your Cheers to Forty Years birthday celebration go with the colors of the birthday guy’s favorite drink. For example, if his favorite is Guinness the party colors should be black and gold. If you don’t want to limit yourself and select one specific drink to take over the party details, then go with a burlap theme and include chalkboard signs. These hues will match just about anything.

A great idea for the food table would be a burger bar lined with a table runner featuring all the burger essentials, meat, bun and endless toppings. Give guests a variety of unique topping offerings like pineapples, mushrooms, avocados and onion rings, and call it ‘The Gourmet Burger Bar.’  At the end of the food table, set up aluminum tubs filled with ice and the birthday boy’s favorite brews. Along with personalized pilsner glasses that guests can both drink their beers from and also take home as the perfect 40th birthday party favor. Add some spice and set up a DIY bloody mary bar complete with all the mix ins. Bring this theme to life and hire a bartender to come and serve at the event to shake up, mix up and stir all the party goer’s favorite refreshments.

Comedy Night

Everyone loves a good laugh so how could you go wrong with planning a comedy night birthday celebration? Plus, if the birthday guy is a jokester, then this is right up his alley. Announce the big day and get the word out to his friends and family with clever 40th birthday party invitations.

This 40th appropriate party theme is characterized by a whole lot of chuckles. Perfect color schemes include bold red, yellow, and blue hues. Stock up on gag décor items like whoopee cushions and joke books that you can place around the venue. For some party entertainment, play your favorite stand up specials. Or if you feel like splurging, get tickets to see the guest of honor’s favorite comedian perform. Serve up your favorite refreshments as well as finger foods. Think chicken wings, pigs in a blanket, bruschetta, tea sandwiches, spinach dip and chips.

Backyard BBQ

Get ready to grill up a storm with these fitting fortieth birthday party ideas perfect for any of the male figures in your life. A backyard BBQ is a laid back celebration that will have all guests ready to grill and chill. Set up tables in your backyard area and cover them with red and white checkered cloth. Add table numbers to each table for a more orderly feel. Make the planning easier on yourself and serve up the dishes buffet style. Mirror the tablecloths and use the same design on your buffet table. Pack a punch with your plating and opt for using colorful food baskets instead which fit in perfectly with this theme.

This party idea focuses around the food and a BBQ usually features four different food groups: the snacks, grill food, sides, and dessert. It’s all about the ranch dip and chips, burgers, hot dogs, vegetable skewers, baked beans, corn on the cob, potato salad, watermelon, cake and all of the BBQ essentials. Since the outdoor area already provides for a lot of ambiance already there is no need to go overboard with the party decor. Decorate the party venue with simplistic items that will enhance the celebration, like hanging lights and a large display menu. This birthday party idea is all about wonderful food and great company. And make sure to send out those BBQ themed invitations early so friends and family have plenty of time to plan.

40th birthday party ideas for women

40th Birthday Party Ideas For Women

If you’re a woman turning 40 then you know it’s time to celebrate. You may just be unsure how to celebrate. These birthday party ideas were made with you in mind. Elevate the feel of your party to a level of sophisticated fun that just can’t be copied. This celebration is going to be all about tailor making each and every party detail to your taste. If you’re in charge of planning the celebration for a friend who isn’t so into the idea of having a big party, think about planning a group celebration with all of your friends who are turning 40. This way, no one feels put on the spot. If the party is for one person, check out these great 40th birthday party ideas for women to get you started.

Birthday For a Food Lover

Celebrate the foodie in your life with nothing other than a food themed birthday party. Reserve a table at your local cooking class or food-ify your home for the perfect soirée. Complete with chef’s hats and personalized aprons, this is a 40th birthday bash everyone wants a bite of. Pick a certain type of food and use that dish as party inspiration.  For example, if the birthday girl absolutely loves sushi, you could use bright greens and salmon hues to guide your party planning. Just get creative and have fun. And don’t forget to bring your appetite.

Wine Tasting Party Plus Grape Stomping

Rent out a party bus because it’s time to take the girls to the vineyards for a wine tasting and grape stomping 40th that’s sure to be a blast. Spice up the usual wine tasting excursion with a hands-on harvest experience. Why not celebrate forty by making wine the old fashioned way, especially if the birthday girl is a lover of wine. Although, this party idea is all about the wine, don’t forget to serve up some appetizers. Consider providing cheese and crackers before or after the tasting and stomping. This fun activity will only add to the celebratory feel of the big day.

A custom engraved wine glass is the perfect addition for this party theme. You can create these cute personalized glasses with a ‘Happy Birthday‘ sentiment and have guests use them all day long. Plus, once the day is done you can send them home with your guests as the perfect party favors. Since this will be a destination 40th birthday, focus all your decorating attention on the party bus. Bring balloons and streamers, and create a custom playlist including all of the guest of honor’s favorite tunes. Check out these unique wine tasting party ideas for some extra inspiration and planning tips.

Host a Dessert Buffet

If the guest of honor is more on the reserved side when it comes to birthday celebrations then an intimate dessert buffet with family members and a few close friends could be the way to go. Set up a long table for the buffet with a color scheme in mind. Use the birthday girl’s favorite colors or opt for more natural colors like sandy tans and shades of brown which are ideal and match just about everything. Use these colors to help you pick out dessert table essentials like cake stands and matching plates.  Hang a ‘Happy 40th’ banner above the goodie table to really set the tone.

Cakes galore on different sized stands with one in the middle that reads ‘Happy 40th” will demand all the attention at the dessert table. The only thing better than the cakes are more cakes, cake pops, and cupcakes which are adorable and add variety to the table scene. Stick some stylish cupcake toppers in them and viola! Don’t forget to include the honoree’s favorite guilty pleasure at the dessert table. Get creative with ideas like an ice cream float station with different flavor and soda offerings. When the party’s over don’t forget to send your guests home with a take out style box filled with goodies and sealed with a personalized 40th birthday sticker. Yum!

Surprise 40th Birthday Party Ideas

Shhhh. A surprise party is only as good as the people keeping the secret. This job calls for a sneaky party planner. If you are searching for some great surprise 40th birthday party ideas for men and women you’re in the right place.

This birthday secret is going to be very dependent on your surprise birthday party invites. Make sure that you are as straightforward as possible with your party details and that the invitation obviously states that the party is a surprise. Since the honoree is going to be blown away when he or she walks in, it’s important to have a ton of over the top décor elements. Think hanging streamers, huge balloons, and personalized banners. You’re going to need to thank your guests somehow for keeping the celebration a secret for so long. What better way to do so then with a some cute 40th birthday party favors? Box up some personalized sugar cookies with the honoree’s face on them for a favor every party goer will get a kick out of.

40th Birthday Party Decoration Ideas

A birthday celebration wouldn’t be complete without some great 40th birthday party decoration ideas. Include traditional party décor like birthday banners, confetti, streamers, balloons and some custom pieces. Then, decorate a wall of the venue with forty reasons why you all love the guest of honor. This is an easy way to make the birthday boy or girl feel really special, which is exactly the way one should feel on their day. After the big day, create a custom photo book complete with all of the guests’ favorite moments with the honoree. This keepsake makes for a beautiful way for the guest of honor to be able to look back on this special celebration and remember all of the people that made the day special.

If you need a little more inspiration before you go, remember you can never go wrong with throwing a cocktail party 40th birthday. With this guide to planning a creative 40th birthday party you are going to feel nothing short of a party planning master.

40th Birthday Party Favors Ideas

Party favors are an important part of throwing the perfect party. After all, this is what your guests have to remember the big events. Inspiration for favors should come from the party theme or the guest of honor. In case you don’t already have the perfect gift picked out, here’s some ideas we love.

  • Personalized wine or shot glasses
  • Customized mason jars
  • Decorated Cookies with “Happy 40th”
  • T-Shirts with the party’s name
  • Small potted succulents
  • Candy or sweet treat filled take-away boxes
  • Bottle of wine

Birthday confetti and party hat

Just remember, no matter what you do to celebrate the big 4-O, make sure that the guest of honor feels the love of their friends and family. As long as they feel celebrated, you’ve planned a perfect party.