My wife's 30 birthday
April 12, 2005 6:31 AM   Subscribe

My wife is turning 30 in June. She wants me to do something memorable for her. While money is a slight object, time is the main stumbling block (we both are extremely busy). What are some suggestions to making a great to ring in the 30's for your sweetie?

--on a side note. Jessamyn's Flickr Birthday card was great and I'm considering that, but I feel that I'll have to do something more.
posted by Hands of Manos to Society & Culture (18 answers total)
I'm a big fan of spending any Important Numerical Birthdays out of town. Not necessarily anyplace fancy, just different. Can you get a weekend away? Check where the last-minute flights are and just go someplace wacky? After all, there's *something* to do almost anywhere, and smaller towns often have roadside-attration-like museums and inexpensive hotels.
posted by desuetude at 6:42 AM on April 12, 2005

Set off fireworks in the backyard. Whatever else you do in combination with that, she'll remember that one.
posted by orange swan at 6:51 AM on April 12, 2005

Try to think of all the times she's started a sentence with "I've always wanted to..." and from that list, see what is most plausible with the cash and timeframe allowed. It could even be as simple as throwing a party and inviting her friends, and taking care of ALL the detail, including catering and cleanup.
posted by annathea at 6:53 AM on April 12, 2005

I'm with desuetude on the going away somewhere you've never been thing. For my 30th I spent a weekend in Amsterdam which was great. Museums I'd never seen before, bars I'd never seen before, public transport I'd never been on before... truly memorable.

Although I guess it's easier to go someplace different when you live in the UK - there are whole countries I can get to for under 100$ which I haven't visited yet, and I guess that isn't true of you living in Atlanta.
posted by handee at 6:58 AM on April 12, 2005

Best answer: I always try to make a big deal of all birthdays, money or not. I think that it's vital to acknowledge the banner birthdays in as big and public a way as possible. Plan a party with all friends and family that is reasonable, ask for help by all means. Get a good gift that will become part of your household for years, art maybe? Give it to her at the party, preferably as a surprise. If shes really, really not up for that sort of scene, try for a "birthday week" where lots and lots of small gifts, (ahem) favors and other considerations are lavished over a number of days. If she is, do both... the more the better.

It doesn't take diamonds to prove love, just things that take a lot of thoughtful time, they need not break the bank in the process. It really boils down to showing her that, no matter how busy you are, it was important enough to you to make the time to plan something memorable and thoughtful. I personally believe that both sexes miss this part of relationships... it's sad. Our time together is too short to be too busy to care.
posted by Dean_Paxton at 7:04 AM on April 12, 2005

too busy to care

Oh my, that doesn't read well. I didn't mean that to sound like an indictment against you... just blabbering.
posted by Dean_Paxton at 7:06 AM on April 12, 2005

Response by poster: Hi guys,

THANK YOU for these responses, they are GREAT! Let me hone it down a bit though.

Okay not to sound like I spoil her to death (I try though) but just slightly after her birthday, we're going to live in Mexico for 6 traveling would be out (like I said, money is a slight object...I can still do something for her, and while I did want to load us up on a plane and go somewhere fun...we'll be loading up on a plane the week after and 2 sets of tickets would kill me).

As far as when she said "I've always wanted to..." < --believe me, i've got her up to date those. so that's why i'm having a snag, to try to figure out something that she'd want to do special for her>
I like the fireworks idea...but sadly we're trying to sell our house and the city would come down on us as well (for lighting fireworks inside the city limits)...but man is that a sweet-ass idea!

Dean-I like the way your brain ticks too. The problem that all our friends live far away and we do not have many here where we live now (We have some, mind you...and we consider them great friends...but it's only two). As far as a gift...once again we're trying to sell the house and we're trying to be clutter free...but yeah, buying some art (well, I'd do the art for her before I bought some...sorry, it's a pride can't be an artist and buy art from someone else to give to your wife! ha!).

BUT...birthday week...NOW THAT ROCKS. I think I might could run with that!
posted by Hands of Manos at 7:22 AM on April 12, 2005

What about a total planned out day? I'm always the one planning things in my relationship, and I like nothing better than when he says "take the day off on Friday, you're mine." Then plan it out - breakfast in bed, a massage (by you or professionally), an outing - the zoo perhaps? or a picnic?, and end with dinner out - either the two of you alone somewhere nice, or somewhere sortanice but with friends and family. It doesn't have to be expensive, just a day to give up control.

Or, cook her a special dinner for two while she's being pampered at the spa.

Or, send her somewhere with her best friend - not that she doesn't want to spend the time with you, but maybe there's something she always wanted to do that would be more fun with a friend. For instance, I might want to see the Ryan Adams show, but it will be much more fun if I go with my best friend than with my husband. He'd go, but he'd hate it and I'd know. Same with musicals.

And, whatever you do, make her card. Make it a love letter.
posted by dpx.mfx at 7:30 AM on April 12, 2005

Fireworks are fun. If you can't set them off inside city limits, consider the 'drive to the country' and picnic option, followed with setting off fireworks in a field, somewhere. You'll have to figure out how to find a field where the owner isn't going to mind the fireworks, mind you.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:33 AM on April 12, 2005

We celebrated my wife's 40th yesterday. I took the day off and 'caught' the kids as they were waking up, before they managed to come through and wake Mummy up. I brought her breakfast in bed, with champagne and strawberries, homemade bread and scrambled eggs with smoked trout.

The kids made special birthday cards for her; the elder bought her mum a birthday necklace with butterflies and flowers on it. We all had pizza and pasta for lunch at one of our favourite local restaurants (from "when we were still single, and life was great") and shared a naughty mid-afternoon bottle of cold rosé wine.

For dinner we hired a sitter and went out to a tasting dinner sponsored by Slow Food.

Against the backdrop of routine, a day full of small but memorable rents in the fabric of the ordinary are sure to provide her with a lasting memory of the big day.
posted by sagwalla at 7:49 AM on April 12, 2005

I had custom wine labels made by a graphic artist, front and back. . .worked with her to make a sketch of him on the front, create a color palate, and had the text: _________(husband's name); Vintage ___________(birth year). The back label had one of those little descriptive paragraphs: "this bold, spicy wine originated in ________(birthplace) overtones of ______. etc etc. We made a bunch of them, and served them at the party and had keepsakes for ourselves and friends and family. Just stuck 'em over the regular wine labels. Take the labels to the store to make sure they "fit" the bottles. I also rendered him in pumpkin, but it was October. I was pretty proud of myself.
posted by rainbaby at 7:56 AM on April 12, 2005

Best answer: Once for a family member we organized lots of people who knew her to write a little story. Some told hysterical anecdotes from their childhood, others just gave their wishes and a little memory. We tried to arrange the stories in a book, and paired them with an appropriate photo or token of the memory. So if the story was about camping, we'd put a little leaf or at least a photo [or cutout magazine image] on the same page as illustration. The whole thing came together beautifully and the people don't have to be in the same city for it to work. It was much appreciated, especially for someone who did alot for other people and doesn't ask for much in return. It showed what an impact she'd had on everyone who contributed.
posted by fionab at 8:01 AM on April 12, 2005

Best answer: How about an 'advent' calendar counting down the 30 days to her 30th birthday? Each day can be something small: a mix CD, a memory from your courtship, something for the upcoming trip [new headphones, Spanish language CD, a night of margaritas, a bottle of fancy tequila to get into the habit, a foot massage, nails painted], her favourite ice cream sundae, a favourite magazine, a handmade card, something cheap from eBay with her name on it, a new keychain for your place in Mexico, a book of crosswords and a new pen, fun sunglasses, framed photo... each morning, wake her up with the day's surprise! Doesn't actually have to cost a lot - just a little planning!
posted by fionab at 8:17 AM on April 12, 2005

^^^ There you go. 30 days... that ups the ante. I've also done theme birthdays too... those take some thought.

BUT...birthday week...NOW THAT ROCKS. I think I might could run with that!

What with moving, being away from family, and trying to declutter... you've definitely going to have to stick with qualitative stuff.
posted by Dean_Paxton at 8:31 AM on April 12, 2005

Are there any particularly awesome gardens/arboretums/parks/zoos that are a bit of a drive? An "always meant to drive the hour/two and go to such and such place?" That and a picnic would be a lower-cost neat day.
posted by desuetude at 8:51 AM on April 12, 2005

I would still consider the fireworks option. The thing about fireworks is that even if someone spots them and calls the cops (and would they really do that anyway?), by the time the cops show up the fireworks will be over and they won't know exactly where they were coming from.

Of course fireworks in the country are even better than fireworks in the backyard.
posted by duck at 9:52 AM on April 12, 2005

Do you / she have friends who are in bands / are musicians? For my 30th, my (now ex-)GF booked a bar on a sunday afternoon (free 'cause they were happy to have the business), and got my brother and some of his friends / bandmates to play as my favorite band.

That was, like, the best birthday present ever...
posted by dersins at 10:07 AM on April 12, 2005

How about hot-air ballooning?
When I lived in Vancouver B.C., we found a company that did short rides- 30mins/1hr. It's pretty amazing to float along up there.
Look it up in the yellow pages in case there's one near you.
posted by Radio7 at 2:30 PM on April 12, 2005

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