You heard it here first—throw out your party hats. And get some bigger, flashier and more creative new ones because 2024 is going to be a birthday party year for the books.
We don’t know if it’s because it’s nearly 100 years since “The Great Gatsby” was first published, but our party planning experts are predicting OTT decor, lavish details, immersive experiences from start to finish and an abundance of creativity when it comes to planning.
Disco Isn’t Dead
Hope you didn’t ditch those disco balls—one of the biggest party trends of 2023, disco, is only getting more spectacular in 2024. “The Barbie parties are still trending, but with a disco twist,” says Lisa, while Emily suggests that cowboy/cowgirl disco themes will be one of the top retro-combo themes (more on that to come!).
Transformative & Immersive Are Key
Long story short, you cannot have too much music at a birthday party. “DJ or band? We are seeing clients have both! People will opt for a big band for the main event and a DJ for the afterparty,” reveals Lisa. Emily mentions that people are even “combining a DJ with a live musician (like a sax player or violinist)” to keep their guests engaged and entertained.”
But for people looking for one type of musical entertainment at their party, Lisa recommends going live. “Live private performances from artists are very popular at parties. Whether it be an electric violinist, a drum troupe, a cover band, Broadway performers or an actual recording artist, having a specialty live performance has gotten a lot of attention.”
Music isn’t the only form of immersive entertainment people are loving right now. A few emerging trends on Emily’s radar include:
- Pop-up dancers to keep guests on their toes
- Costumed characters to greet guests as they arrive
- Live embroidery with upcycled merch for a sustainable approach
- A typewriter poet
- VR headsets for a gaming experience
And, of course, food and drinks are an excellent way to engage people at the party. “Spirit tastings such as whisky- or tequila-tasting bars, curated bar programs and cannabis stations are of the freshest interactive inclusions for the new year,” states Kristin.
Take note—2024 is all about going OTT! “Adult birthday parties are really embracing decadence now and we will see that move into 2024. These celebrations were put on the back burner in favor of kids’ parties when we emerged out of Covid,” says Lisa. “However, milestone and non-milestone parties have picked up speed. Expect to see a lot of James Bond- and Gatsby-inspired events with a taste for excess and a flair for the extravagant.”
Maximalist & Vividly Colorful Decor
Maximalism is absolutely having a moment, and let’s be real—when it comes to epic parties, the more everything, the merrier. “We expect that vivid and energetic color palettes that create a visual feast for the eyes will be popular in 2024," predicts Lisa. "Maximalized tablescapes will be big, with layers of textures, patterns and ornate details—think colorful glassware, mixed china and over-the-top centerpieces."
Will florals be in bloom at bday bashes in 2024? YES, says Kristin, but in a new, fresh way. “This year, we will see roses and floral patterns make a comeback particularly within oversized prints and exaggerated floral accents beyond just use of the florals themselves.”
Emily notes that one color, in particular, will be all over the birthday party scene: Blue-violet! Which we think will look unbelievable with her other decor recs:
- LED video walls for everything from your DJ booth to your stage facade and backdrop
- Heavy drapery
- 360-degree rounded bars
- Signage and personalized elements
- Projection mapping for an immersive experience
- Table lamp centerpieces
- Live plants
- Ceiling treatments (fringe, flowers, balloons, pendant lighting, etc.)
But don’t worry if maximalism isn’t your vibe, says Kristin. “Minimalism will also drive design in 2024 with a renewed focus on quality as opposed to quantity, streamlining concepts in decor, culinary and entertainment with very intentional selections reflective of the host.”
Mixing & Mingling
There’s no greater sign of party success than seeing all of your guests enjoying each others’ company. Instead of pulling out a pack of conversation starter cards or spending the entirety of your party making introductions, opt for decor and a layout that makes it happen organically.
“Food stations spread around the party footprint encourage people to circulate, socialize and discover new things to eat,” says Emily. Lisa recommends choosing unconventional seating arrangements with eye-catching furniture. “The idea is to encourage mixing and mingling amongst guests, from cocktails to dinner to the afterparty, to create distinct and different experiences.”
Dressing to Impress
Lisa says it best: “People are ready to party. We have shed our sweatpants and are ready to wear our sequins. Expect parties to be over-the-top in terms of attire. Clients are going all out from their accessories to their gowns. Guests will apply the same decadence for theme parties as well to nail their look!”
Kristin is seeing guests take a more creative and elevated approach to party attire. “Pantsuits for women, velvet suits for men and creative fashion-forward attire are replacing traditional event dress for a more couture approach to personal event styling.” Emily also anticipates party-goers blurring the lines between casual and formal at their parties. “People are opting for comfortable yet polished and chic. Fashion-wise, anticipate lots of sheer fabrics, cargo pants, fringe and denim.”
Setting a Theme (Preferably with Retro Twist)
We’ve mentioned themes being a major part of the 2024 birthday party scene (but really, when aren’t they popular?) and our insiders are noticing a major trend toward retro-themed parties. “Think neon and disco balls,” says Emily, and, “combining the nostalgia of a decades-themed party with another theme, like disco cowboy, modern Gatsby and classic neon.” Emily recommends getting everyone at the party immersed in the theme. “Coordinate the staff uniforms to the theme, like colorful bow ties, aprons, the chef’s jacket, hats, etc.”
Intimate Vibes, Big Experiences
While birthday party guest list sizes continue to grow, many people are focusing more on the wow factor of the experience rather than the number of guests. “Smaller and more intimate experiences, ceremonies and dinners allowing for greater personalization is the new direction for 2024,” opines Kristin. Lisa, too, highlights the importance of intimacy at these parties. “Adults are opting for bigger parties but with intimacy and personalization. There will be a connection with all their guests regardless of the size. Most people are ready to branch out and see each other after years of uncertainty and unpredictability. Clients are stepping into luxury with immersive event spaces with lavish details and luxurious furnishings to create an opulent atmosphere.”
There’s a new sweet way to celebrate on the scene: dessert tables. “Over-the-top dessert displays will be popular,” says Lisa. “Think not just one cake, but several small cakes, plus ice cream and candy coupled with dessert drinks.”
It should come as no surprise (especially with the other trends noted above) that people are looking for venues with that certain something special. And that certain something special is uniqueness. “People do not want to have their event someplace their guests have already been,” says Lisa. “The more difficult it is to get into the space, the more popular the venue. For example, private member clubs, especially in New York City, have become popular amongst the younger crowd to hold their celebrations.”
Venue flexibility is also a key factor when it comes to choosing the perfect place to party. “People want to have their vision come to life without any restrictions in terms of décor, timing and noise,” says Lisa. Emily mentions that people are focusing on the layout options. “People are looking for venues that are flexible and transformative with indoor and outdoor capabilities. A rooftop with a view is a big bonus!”
Food & Drinks—More Options, More Wow-Factor
Presentation, luxe touches and customization are going to be a huge part of menu planning in 2024. Emily calls out “passed small bites on thoughtful serving pieces tied to the party theme (like a neon tray with a customized liner)” as a fabulous option, in addition to “interactive cocktails that make a statement—smoke or vapor, branded ice cubes, etc.” Lisa concurs: “Creative and cutting-edge mixology to elevate the occasion will be extremely popular. Champagne towers are back and in full effect. Mini shot versions of espresso martinis or the guest of honor’s favorite drink. The caviar bump has been trending and will continue into 2024.”
Customizable meals are another major trend to expect in 2024. “Interactive food experiences that the guests can customize for themselves during cocktail hour will be a big hit,” says Lisa. “Whether it’s making your own fried rice, poke bowl or mac and cheese, guests love the option of choosing what they want.”
Hosts and party planners are also increasingly more mindful of catering to every guest’s preferences. “Vegetarian and vegan menus are on the rise with a culinary movement towards plant-based dishes made with real plants as opposed to a focus towards mock meats,” says Kristin. When it comes to drinks, Emily highlights the importance of offering exciting non-boozy options and embracing sober mixology and non-alcoholic cocktails.
Another food trend that is making waves right now is sustainability. Kristin notes that “Sustainability is now a critical factor in event cuisine, sourcing locally and seasonally grown selections, along with the employment of local staff.”
Party Favors People Actually Want
A well-thought-out party favor can keep the party vibes going even after the party is over—especially if it doubles as an interactive activity during the party! “High fashion sketches of attendees are going to serve as an alternative to photo booths for something more chic and special,” suggests Kristin. In addition, “Live tattoos, piercings and tooth gems are the trendiest new event offerings. They all serve as custom favors and interactive opportunities.”
But interactive activities aren’t the only way to treat your guests to a little gift, according to Emily. She recommends giving something useful, like a sweet treat (sure to delight your guests as they make their way home after hours of celebrating!) or a DIY swag bag where guests can personalize their own favors.
BTW, when we call Lisa, Emily and Kristin "party planning experts," we aren't kidding. Check out all of their work below!
Ready to plan a birthday party that’ll be talked about long after 2024 is over? Our adult birthday party invites and milestone birthday invites are here to make it happen, as are these birthday party supplies (we especially love these disco and Barbie-themed party supplies). Oh, and don't forget to send thank you eCards to all of your amazing guests after the party is over (we bet they’ll send you one in return simply for being invited to your epic bday bash).
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