Retro Seventies Party: Celebrate your 60th like the teenager you were

Retro Seventies Party: Celebrate your 60th like the teenager you were – words Alexa Wang

If your 60th birthday is approaching, you have a choice. Hide away and pretend it isn’t happening, or celebrate with a huge smile on your face. It’s a glass half empty vs half full approach and I wholeheartedly recommend the latter.

Even better, why not throw a party for all your friends and revisit the decade of your youth with a retro seventies party? The 1970s were undoubtedly the coolest decade, and you should feel very privileged to have been born at just the right time so that you could experience it in all its glory.

Just cast your mind back to the long hot summer of 1976, Ziggy Stardust, the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, the death of Elvis and the birth of punk rock, and every home succumbing to the trend for orange and brown. It was a time of huge cultural diversity and upheaval and an exciting time to be growing up.

If proof was needed, the best of 1970s music and fashion has recently been ‘rediscovered’ by the youngsters, making the Seventies cool all over again!


The Invites

Start with proper party invitations to give your guests a flavour of the kind of party to expect. What were you into, back in the day – prog rock, disco dancing, David Cassidy? Whether you choose to have a glam rock themed party, a punk tribute or just a damn good boogie night, the invite should set the scene.

The Venue

Do you remember the ‘my house, my rules’ line your parents used whenever they felt threatened? Well, at the ripe old age of 60 you’re definitely a grown up, so you call the shots now. If you decide you’d like a big party at your house, a lock-in down the local pub or a lavish garden party with a fancy Bedouin tent, go right ahead.

The Décor

This is where you can let your sense of nostalgia run riot. Create a ‘far out’ Californian hippie vibe, complete with peace and love signs, tie dye table covers and flowers everywhere. Channel that famous Studio 54 vibe so you and your friends can strut your funky stuff. How about a rotating disco ball with coloured lights hung over the dance floor, all the better to capture the Saturday Night Fever with?

The Costumes

Of course, you don’t have to have a dress code but the 1970s lend themselves perfectly to suggesting that all your guests come in Seventies costumes. From groovy bell bottoms and hippie tunics to one-piece jumpsuits and sky high platform boots, polyester suits and loud shirts with huge collars, punk bondage or disco diva make-up, you can have huge fun dressing up to your heart’s content. Of course, you can also dress up like a favourite 70s personality – James Bond, Donna Summer, Elton John or Scooby Doo, anyone?

The Music

Music is the heart of any birthday party, and especially if you’re targeting your teenage decade. Do you still listen to the same old tunes and feel immediately transported back to the heady days of your youth? Would you recognise Deep Purple’s ‘Smoke On The Water’ from the first riff? How about The Trammps’ ‘Disco Inferno’, The Stranglers’ ‘No More Heroes’ or any ABBA track?

Unless you still have your old record collection, putting together a playlist of 1970s party music should be a doddle and an enjoyable journey back in time. If necessary, take inspiration from this playlist and get a teenager to help you with the technology, Grandad!

The Food

To keep in the spirit of the occasion of your 60s birthday, don’t forget that the catering should have a 1970s flavour too, and by that I don’t mean a throwback to school dinners! Create a buffet with iconic finger foods and delicacies reminiscent of when you were growing up.

Take inspiration from Devilled Eggs and Chicken Vol-au-vents, Quiche Lorraine and Ritz Crackers with cream cheese. Things on sticks were big back then – pineapple, olives, cheese, cocktail sausages. For pudding, Blackforest Gateau, Sherry Trifle, Banana Split and a packet of After Eights should get you thinking along the right lines.

The Drink

Finally, what drinks will you be serving at your 1970s themed 60th birthday bash? If you’re playing it straight you should be serving non-alcoholic classics such as Tizer, Dr Pepper or R White’s Lemonade, while those ‘old enough’ can reminisce over a classy glass of Mateus Rosé or a more down-to-earth pint of keg bitter. Cocktails were a big deal back in the Seventies, so you may want to get the party started with a White Russian, Pina Colada or Tequila Sunrise. Failing that, we’ll all have a Babycham.

Retro Seventies Party: Celebrate your 60th like the teenager you were – words Alexa Wang


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