My dad turned 60 years old this month and for quite awhile now, we had planned on throwing a big bash to celebrate this milestone. The current global pandemic put a dent in that idea but we still knew it was important to mark the occasion. Daddy either wanted a big party or to go home to Nigeria for his 60th (honestly both) but neither is possible at the moment. And if you know anything about Nigerian culture, you know that small parties aren’t really a thing. So my siblings and I put our heads together to come up with ideas to make this milestone celebration memorable. Here’s how we threw a truly fabulous socially distanced birthday party for our father.

60th birthday celebrant laughing with sibling

in-laws posing for picture at birthday party

father with children seated around him

My brother found a photo of ballon installation we liked and the party color scheme of ivory, gold, green, and black really flowed from that. This happened to pull in some of Daddy’s favorite colors and the Nigerian flag so we just went from there. I designed a digital invitation aligned with the theme in Canva. You’ll see these colors throughout the decor and we accidentally coordinated outfits, too! I wish I could say this part was more meticulously planned but it all worked out quite well.

digital birthday invitation

How to Make a Birthday Wishes Video

If you think it’s hard to keep kids spread out, let me just tell you that coming up with socially-distanced birthday party ideas for adults is a whole nother beast. Chief among our 60th birthday party ideas for dad was incorporating his friends and family from afar. The in-person party guest list was really short in order to celebrate safely so we solicited submissions for a birthday wishes video in order to add a kind of virtual birthday celebration to the event.

I made a list of everyone we asked and, as the clips came in, I checked the names off. Then I unchecked the names as I added each clip to the actual video in order to ensure I didn’t overlook anyone’s birthday wishes. People sent their videos in via email, text, and Whatsapp and I found that Whatsapp was quickest and easiest. To compile the video, I simply put all the clips together in the iMovie app on my phone. No fancy equipment or software required! This video was my favorite of the memorable milestone birthday celebration ideas we executed. We uploaded it to YouTube so Daddy can watch it whenever and played it on the big screen after cutting cake. Speaking of cake, let’s get into the menu.

green airbrushed half sheet cake reading "Happy Birthday Ladi"

Daddy’s Socially Distanced 60th Birthday Party Menu

  • Celebration Salad – This is my go-to salad for any kind of gathering and is always a hit.
  • Fish
  • Chicken & Beef
  • Nigerian Fried Rice
  • Nigerian Jollof Rice
  • Meat Pies
  • Dodo (fried plantain)
  • Infused Water
  • Bottled Southern Comforts by Mixy Mobile Bartending
  • Assorted Liquor and Mixers
  • Cake – We ordered a white on white 1/2 sheet cake with cream cheese filling from Three Brothers Bakery and provided the color scheme details. Ask for the airbrushed sheet cake if you want to order the same!
  • Chocolate and Vanilla Cupcakes
holding plate of salad, rice, beef, and fried plantain

bottled cocktails in acrylic ice bucket

display of chocolate and vanilla cupcakes with 6-0 candles sticking out of top

Considerations for a Socially Distanced Birthday Party

Ensuring people could spread out as needed was at the center of our socially distanced party ideas. Here’s what we came up with for creative ways to celebrate a birthday safely.

  • Firstly, we kept the guest list short. I mean, it was microscopic by Nigerian standards. It consisted of my siblings and I, My dad’s siblings that live here in town, in-laws, and three close friends in order to stay well under our local gathering size recommendations. If you’re planning any kind of gathering during the pandemic, it’s a good idea to consider whether the folks on your guest list have been following CDC guidelines for safety and have received negative COVID test results.
personalized face masks reading "Happy 60th Birthday Ladi Are"
  • Food was in the kitchen and actual dining took place outside in either a lounge-style covered area one of my brothers set up or at spaced out tables. By the way, aren’t the tablescapes lovely? My sister-in-law did them.
backyard tablescape with floating candles and bottles of sparkling water
  • We ordered bottled cocktails and had to-go containers on hand for anyone that wanted to eat and drink elsewhere.
  • For the happy birthday serenade (of which we did both the standard and Stevie Wonder versions), Daddy blew out his candles on a cupcake in order to avoid any blowing over birthday cake, which is honestly a good idea whether or not there’s a pandemic going on.
Jazzmine holding bottle of champagne standing in front of balloon installation

green, black, and gold front yard greeting sign reading "Happy 60th Birthday Daddy"

gold and white balloon garland on staircase

Milestone Birthday Party Decorations

Birthday party decor was an area where we tried to incorporate a couple of wow factors. We used Sign Gypsies to set up a giant front yard greeting. They’re a franchise setup where you just type in your zip code to find the closest one near you. They set up the evening before and remove everything either the night of or the next day.

My youngest brother and sister-in-law put together an ivory and gold balloon garland for the entry way using this kit from Party City and our friend Kate created a huge balloon install for the backyard lounge area.

Daddy cutting 60th birthday cake

None of us is an expert at how to host a social distancing party but this gathering was a hit. Daddy had a blast and we all danced and sang the night away to Afrobeats and old school soul music. I know some of you need social distancing gathering ideas or are looking for ideas on how to celebrate your dad’s birthday at home and hope you found this post helpful.

Sharing is caring so be sure to pin this socially distanced birthday party planning guide on Pinterest. Thanks for reading!

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