A birthday party is always more fun when a theme is involved - even a specific year that marked an important decade, like 1969. Particularly for those in their 40s and 50s, a 1969-themed party can be memorable and fun. This theme reflects the joy, patriotic pride, accomplishment, discovery and controversy of the '60s. Several events that occurred during that year can be used as the basis for a 1969-themed party.
Woodstock, which ran Aug. 15-17, 1969, was a monumental event, not only for music, but also for freedom of speech, peace, free love and human rights. Many have tried to replicate this famous music festival, and failed. For music lovers, those with an August birthday or those who actually attended the event, a Woodstock-themed party is a fun way to celebrate a birthday. Request that guests' attire be 1969 or hippie-themed. If possible, get a cover musician/band to perform songs from Woodstock musicians, such as Jimi Hendrix, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and Joe McDonald. If this isn't possible, make sure you have music on hand by these artists, as well as Janis Joplin, Richie Havens, John Sebastian, Melanie, Arlo Guthrie, Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead. Serve food including cheese fondue, chocolate dipped fruit, sandwich and crudite platters, along with mixed cocktails like rum punch. For decorations, frame vintage rock posters around the room, evenly spaced on walls, and use tableclothes, napkins and plates with tye-dye patterns and bright colors like red, green, blue, orange and yellow.
James Bond and Casino Royal
Although the James Bond film "Casino Royale" came out in 1966, the James Bond theme was still all the rage in 1969. Turn the birthday party into a 1969 casino glam theme, focusing a lot on the decor and game tables, costumes, and different types of martinis with flavored vodkas that are on the market today. Have a handful of rented casino tables, such as blackjack, baccarat, poker and roulette, and maybe even a play slot machine in the corner. Welcome your guests to the venue with velvet ropes and red carpet, along with a premium cigar bar, and a server or two with platters of hors d'oeuvres. Set the tone with a color palette of scarlet red, black, jade green, gold or creamy white for a luxurious atmosphere. Play music from James Bond such as "Gold Finger," "Live and Let Die," "From Russia With Love" and "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang." Serve food such as caviar on bruschetta (a modern twist), assorted French cheeses and breads, shrimp, cocktail sauce, mini salads or quiche, and steak and asparagus bites. Don't forget the martini bar should be based off of the concept, "shaken, not stirred."
Create a goofy and fun or formal party based off the moon landing and the influence the event had in 1969. For more casual settings, ask guests to wear moon shoes, space suit costumes and glittery clothing. Cover walls in black velvet, put up large pictures of the moon or astronaut cut-outs, and hang glittery stars and moon rocks from the ceiling. For a little more elegance, ask guests to dress for a black-tie event, requesting only silver, white or black clothing, such as glittery sequin dresses and elbow length gloves. Serve simple food with moon references, like Moon Pies or moon track ice cream (like moose tracks, but slightly different), and clear drinks with moon rock ice cubes.
Summer of Love BBQ
Since 1969 was deemed the Summer of Love, re-create this theme for a birthday party, turning it into a casual, fun outdoors barbecue. Invite the closest friends and family and ask everyone to bring a dish like a potluck, or prepare all the barbecue fixings and food yourself. Make it a little more classy by serving modern gourmet barbecue, like pulled pork sliders, French potato salad and green beans, lemonade ice cream pie, and sparkling champagne cocktails. Request guests wear hippie summer clothes, like Daisy Duke shorts, long hair wigs with beads, and fringed leather or jean vests. Keep the playlist on with classic rock from the era, and put out some non-toxic finger paints to encourage guests to get messy with each other or on a canvas or fence before jumping into the pool.