8 Creative Pop Culture-Inspired 30th Birthday Ideas
I have to make a confession: I’m a total pop culture fiend and always have been. I know way too much about the best friendship of Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Schumer, shared all those Drake memes before any of my friends and, if I don’t catch up on my “stories,” aka Ryan Murphy and Shondaland shows of all varieties, my week doesn’t feel complete. Don’t get me wrong — I fully embrace my silly fixation. But I’m also 29 and will be turning 30 sooner than I would like to admit. Is it time to give up on my pop culture cravings when I hit the big 3-0?
I know that going from a 20-something to 30-something makes you sound like such an adult, but honestly, sometimes I still feel like a total kid! There is definitely still some Britney on my playlist, and Molly Ringwald is the only lady (besides my mom or sister) who can really comfort me on a sick day. Why not make turning 30 all about embracing the stuff you love instead of trying to reinvent yourself? Throwing a pop culture-themed party not only celebrates your past and present faves, but it’s also a fun way to not take crossing that threshold too seriously. Here are some ideas for pop-culture lovers to start off their new decade with a bang.
1. Party Like It’s 1985/‘86: Why not use the year you were born as the theme? For almost-30-year olds, it’s a great excuse to make your party a rockin’ ‘80s riot. Ask guests to dress up as their fave icon of the era (so many Madonna options) and set up a photo booth with plenty of tacky style props — the more neon, the better. Polaroids from the night as party favors, anyone? It’ll be totally rad!
2. 13 Going on 30 Party: No, we’re not talking the Jennifer Garner movie (although we could totally go for some Razzles right now). Think back to when you were actually 13 years old — the late ‘90s/ early 2000s — and have a celebration that’s non-stop teeny bop. Make the dress code 8th grade dance-chic (think: butterfly hair clips, flared jeans and Steve Madden-style platforms) or give the bash a TRL theme and dress up as your favorite pop tart (Britney a la “…Baby One More Time” always slays). Dig up some old-school BOP magazines for an epic game of MASH — a seventh-grade lunchtime fave — or have a WB-themed trivia game and test each other’s Buffy and Dawson’s Creek knowledge.
3. Party Like Your Fave #Girlboss: So many of our fave pop culture heroes also happen to be rad chicks in their 30s, like Amy, Mindy, Reese and Lupita. This is a party that should be all about celebrating being a kickass lady (and dressing[ish] the part, like with this amazing Lena Dunham tee by now-defunct brand Clashist). Play a name-that-quote game with soundbites from your favorite gals or, since being a girlboss ain’t easy, make it a time that you and your ladies get real about your #lifegoals and show support for each other, because if we’ve learned anything from Taylor Swift, it’s that badass friendships are just as important as mega success.
4. Breakfast Club Birthday Brunch: Make it a daytime celebration in honor of an ‘80s teen flick fave. Hang a modernized version of the movie poster ($16) above a fruit sushi bar, mix up pitchers of mimosas and bellinis all the bad kids will love and get down with a midday ’80s dance off during a matinee screening.
5. Golden Girls Party: No other pop culture icons brush off getting older like Dorothy, Rose, Blanche and Sophia, who should natch be front and center on your party invites ($20 for 8). Set up a DIY brooch table with plenty of pearls and faux flowers for guests to add to their cardigans. Don’t forget dessert! Make mini key lime pies (very Miami) and cheesecake, because no Golden Girls party would be complete without cheesecake.
6. Troop Beverly Hills Party: Kim KW did it for her baby shower, why shouldn’t you have just as rad of a birthday celebration? Make it a cozy pajama party with DIY forts, a build-your-own s’mores bar and face masks, because we all deserve a little glamping treat on our big days. Don’t forget your sashes!
7. SNICK Party: Go totally ‘90s and ring in your 30s in the style of your favorite TV night as a kid. Set up a video confession area (very Clarissa Explains It All), have an Are You Afraid of the Dark? scary story time or play a game of All That-style charades. Try your hand at making some Reptar bars for a Rugrats-themed treat — no Anglicas invited. (Photo via Nickelodeon)
8. Shondaland Party: Celebrate the big 3-0 in the style of our favorite TV lady boss. Have a wine tasting that Olivia Pope would be proud of, channel Meredith Grey by paying a game of Operation and make a Shondaland-themed trivia game with an Annalise Keating-style trophy for the winner. Even better, have your shindig on a Thursday and turn it into a TGIT viewing party. (Photo via WhoSay)
Will your upcoming birthday make you 30, flirty and thriving? Let us know your pop culture party ideas in the comments!