Birthdays should always be a time for fun and celebration. That’s especially true when it comes to milestone birthdays. You know the ones – the “big” birthdays like your 21st, your 30th, or your 40th and beyond. These are events that represent another decade of living life and learning new things. It’s fun to dedicate some time to celebrating the days gone passed and toasting to the those still to come.

Why am I writing about birthdays? Well, as you might have guessed by now – my birthday was just last month. It was an amazing time that I spent having fun with my family and friends in the location of my choice. Having just gone through the experience myself, I thought it might be fun to take a look at how to plan an amazing girls’ getaway weekend trip for your milestone birthday. Let’s get started!

1. Determine the Destination Yourself

While it’s fine to ask for input if you don’t have a set place in mind, remember that you’re the birthday girl! If you have your heart set on visiting a specific city, then that’s where the weekend getaway should take place. Take some time to weigh your options and then inform your birthday squad of your decision. Make hotel reservations and reserve enough rooms. You can always cancel the additional rooms after everyone RSVP.

Helpful tip: Communicate the total amount for the hotel stay (per person) once hotel reservations are made (several months in advance).

2. Pick the Birthday Squad

This is a very important step. You want to pick family and friends who are open minded, and you enjoy hanging with. But more specifically, you want to select individuals who are easygoing and know how to have fun. The last thing you want is someone having a breakdown because the birthday girl vetoes their dinner choice. MONEY is also an important factor. Therefore, select individuals that can afford to travel. Also, be mindful of individuals that may have other conflicting engagements that are close to the selected travel dates. You may not want to ask them to incur any additional expenses – such as, travel costs.

Helpful tip: DO NOT consider individuals that have umpteen million dislikes (e.g., don’t like getting hair wet, I don’t do this/that, etc.). Been there, done that and trust me – they will irk your nerves. Those type of individuals are not worth traveling with.

3. Hire an Event Planner

I recommend hiring a “professional” event planner to completely take the stress off of you and ensure that planning runs smoothly. The event planning firm (Events by Jess) in which I selected was by my side at every step of the way. They visited the Yacht to determine how much space we would have to work with (for décor and setup proposes), provided recommendations for décor, suggested restaurants, coordinated the setup on the Yacht, ensured that planning objectives were met, and more….

4. Set a Budget

The goal here is to have a great time. Spending more money than you can afford – or expecting your friends to do so – is not conducive to worry-free nights. Instead, think about what you can honestly afford to spend as well as how much your friends can spend. This part of the trip should definitely have input from the other participants. As for me, I wanted a celebration on a Yacht—which was the highlight of the trip. I paid to charter the Yacht and did not require my squad to contribute this expense (yacht and food/beverages). During the celebration on the Yacht—guests devoured light hors d’oeuvres, sweet treats, wine, and cocktails.

Keep in mind that the squad in which you select will incur traveling expenses. Therefore, find ways to cut cost. I did so by selecting a hotel that provided complimentary buffet style breakfast. That was one less meal in which my squad had to pay for. Food and wine was also provided on the evening of check-in (at no cost to guests). I also gifted each member of my birthday squad with a $25 gift card/meal credit at the restaurant in which I selected for my birthday dinner (Barton G is quite expensive).

5. Send the Invitations

Don’t bother with paper invites. Instead, consider embracing the digital age and sending them via email! It will be a fun surprise for your friends to find in their inbox. I also recommend including an itinerary within the invitation. This will allow the birthday squad to gain insight regarding activities and estimate how much to spend.

6. Find the Right Accommodations

Pick a space that allows your friends to see each other as much or as little as you’d like. Give it some thought and pick the best space for the needs of your group.

Are you ready to head to Miami, NYC, or Las Vegas? Wherever your trip may take you, have a great time – and happy birthday!

Special Shout Out to everyone that helped bring my 40th Birthday Celebration vision to light:

Photos of my weekend birthday celebration can be viewed at www.facebook.com/bossstyle9to5.