If you’re lucky enough to have a birthday during the summer (or have a friend or family member who does), you’re in luck because there are so many fun options for a vegan friendly, outdoor party. As an event planner, I’m the go-to person for organizing parties for friends, family, and sometimes myself. One thing I’ve learned as a professional is that whether you’re throwing a birthday bash for yourself or someone else, don’t wait around for someone else to plan the party—get started immediately, and you’ll see how much fun it is! The best part is you don’t need to be a pro to have an awesome birthday party … especially if you begin with one of my five tips.
1. Beach party
For those of us who enjoy only a few months of warm weather every year, going to the beach is a real treat! So, take advantage of the summer, sand, and water for a super beach birthday. To make it easier on yourself, make the party a potluck so you don’t have to tote all of the food and drinks by yourself. Then, pack blankets, towels, sunscreen, your swimsuit, a hat, pool noodles, and maybe some water guns. Also, don’t forget the fun games to play with your friends. Consider volleyball, soccer, limbo, beach-bag relay, or water balloon toss.
Pro tip: If you’re planning to stay late, be sure to find out if a permit is required to have a bonfire on the beach, and educate yourself on fire safety.
2. Picnic in a park
Don’t have a beach nearby? Another great option is a party in a local park. Bring picnic foods such as sandwiches, hummus, veggies, chips, and fruit. Even better—bring a portable grill for veggie dogs and burgers, tofu, or tempeh. Some parks already have grills, but there’s no guarantee how clean they will be, so bringing your own (so you know it won’t come with meat drippings on it) is ideal. Sure, you’ll already be surrounded by beauty, but why not bring some decorations to make your party a bit more festive? You could do balloons or string paper lanterns. These double as helpful markers for your guests to find you in a crowded place. And, similar to the beach, you’ll want to plan some fun games so people can let loose. Some fun ideas include charades, bean bag toss, karaoke, hot potato, and Twister.
Pro tip: The most popular areas usually require reservations, so be sure to research whether or not you need one before finalizing your plans.
3. Obstacle courses
If the birthday gal or guy is more of an adventure seeker, book a party somewhere with an obstacle course. Whether it’s zip-lining through a forest, walking on a suspended bridge, or hanging from the monkey bars, these adventures are sure to create awesome memories with your friends (and lots of laughs).
Pro tip: You’ll need to reserve a time in advance, especially for a large group. When you place your reservation, ask what you should wear and bring (ie, a water bottle).
4. Camping weekend
Looking to treat that birthday person to a special getaway? Why not plan a camping trip or rent a cottage with a group of friends for a truly memorable experience? If you’re on a budget, camping is more economical, but if you can get a group of friends together, splitting an Airbnb might not be as expensive as you think. Both options will require a bit of planning, so be prepared to do some research. Whether you’re camping or staying at cottage, there are so many fun things you can do as a group to celebrate. Going to the beach, going on a hike, renting a boat, sitting by a fire and roasting vegan s’mores all make for a weekend to remember.
Pro tip: Popular campsites often are booked months in advance, so plan ahead!
5. Outdoor dinner party
Celebrate a milestone birthday by hiring a private chef to prepare an intimate outdoor party. Brunch, a tea party, or an evening dinner all work here depending on your desired theme. You’ll also want to set a beautifully decorated table. This is something the chef can help with, or you can get inspired and do it yourself. Think flowers and a nice table setting.
Pro tip: Vegans are all about food, so be sure you sample the meals before you decide which chef to hire. You’ll also want to ask your guests if they have any dietary restrictions or food allergies that will need to be discussed with the chef.
Karine Brighten is the founder of Veg Speed Date and has more than a decade of experience planning and producing vegan events.