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This "30 Going on 13" 30th Birthday Party was a Glittery Night of Y2K Nostalgia

All photos by Sydney K. Bradley

By Veronica Viccora


How to host a "30 Going on 13" 30th Birthday Party

It was while watching an episode of Gilmore Girls late one night, (Episode 20 Season 6 to be exact), that the idea struck me.

If you need a refresher, Lorelei swoops in to save the drab birthday party of one young April Nardini with a little sparkly eyeshadow and some pizza and takes the party from ultimate snooze fest to ultimate slumber party.

Watching this group of preteen girls galavant through Stars Hollow hand in hand, made so happy by such sweet simplicities as glitter & cheesy dough had me reminiscing about my own girlhood birthday parties.

What if we could relive some of those memories? The late night gigglefits. The silly pictures on our digital cameras.

Truth be told, as hard as I often am on myself, in many ways, I think my 13 year old self would be so f*cking proud of who she turned into. And maybe I don't always honor the freedom she craved so desperately back then. She can finally wear the high heels, the tube tops, the blue eyeshadow without her parents telling her she was too young. And how often do I exercise that right?

So with my 30th birthday around the corner, a late night bout of inspiration was sparked for what I hoped would be a perfect celebration to honor not only the older, wiser version of myself, but the inner child in me as well:

A "30 Going on 13" Birthday Bash.

There would be sparkles and tube tops. There would be stickers and butterfly hair clips. There would be Dance Dance Revolution and hair brush karaoke.

This would be the ultimate excuse to dress up, kick back and party like it was 2007 again.

The Party Inspiration

13 Going on 30 inspired birthday party moodboard

My main vision for this 30th birthday party was of course a cheeky twist on the movie 13 Going on 30. I loved the bold colors and the Y2K whimsy of it all. I really wanted the party to feel a glitzy mix of both childhood memories and future fantasies. Like an elevated version the simple, silly parties that made us so happy as kids, dressed up as the girls we wished could've been at 13 but were way too young and awkward to be just yet.

And naturally once I gathered all my inspiration, it was only right to make a moodboard.

The Activities

  • Dance Dance Revolution

  • Hairbrush karaoke

  • Temporary tattoos (tramp stamps highly encouraged)

  • A shared craft (scrapbooking, collaging, etc)

  • Board games

The Menu

I can't tell you how many I've stressed myself out over crafting the PERFECT menu only to realize everyone was allergic, dieting or just not into the spread. Thankfully, this kind of party is the perfect excuse to keep the standards low. After all, it was the salty potato chips, greasy pizza and candy that made our childhood birthday parties so fun.

Also, shout out to Kristina who whipped up a homemade funfetti cake and elevated it to new heights with a raspberry apricot filling & cream cheese icing.


  • Cosmic brownies

  • Chips & dip

  • Candy

Main course

  • Pizza (why complicate things?)


  • Homemade funfetti cake (sprinkles not optional)


  • Wine & beer (just don't tell my parents)

The Look

One of my favorite parts of the party was before the pre-party getting ready moment. Getting dressed up with my besties just like the good ol' days when we used to raid our mom's closets and sneak lipgloss and eyeshadow. We had Fergie playing in the background as we got ready together and the girls helped me craft a look that would've left Lizzie McGuire screaming.

Kristina let me borrow an orange slip skirt and Sydney had a matching pair of puff ball earrings. They helped me achieve the perfect spiky space buns and I busted out the blue eyeshadow to finish it all off.

And honestly, taking MySpace-esque mirror pictures and helping each other put on lipliner reawakened my love and gratitude for being an absolute girly-girl.




The Finishing Touches

What was the best and most dramatic part of every childhood birthday party?

The goody bags.

The thrill you'd get seeing them all laid out on the table, just waiting to be opened. The gut wrench you'd feel when you realized seemingly everyone got pink lollipops and you got the only blue one. It was a chaotic blur of bliss and aguish and it was the moment we all learned a powerful mantra: you get what you get and you don't get upset.

(still working on that one)

So as one final sweet takeaway, each guest got a little nostalgia filled goody bag as a thank you for showing up in the dead of winter to indulge my birthday wishes. Each one was packed with ring pops, butterfly clips, Lipsmacker chapstick, bubble wands and blow pops and hand decorated with Lisa Frank Stickers and gems.

And as far as I'm aware, no goody bags caused any tears.

"30 Going on 13" Goody Bags

Fun fact: I actually ordered all of that online but the package never came. So instead I went on a wild goose chase the morning of the party to find replacements. Despite the fact that I NEVER thought I'd find such nostalgic items anywhere, I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw one last pack of Lisa Frank stickers and Lipsmackers chapstick hiding on the shelves of my local 5 Below. It was birthday magic at it's finest.




And that's how I created my "30 Going on 13" 30th birthday bash with the help of all my favorite people! I hope it gave you some inspiration for your next big soirée. The best part about a party like this is that it's simple, affordable and so much frikin fun. Everyone came away feeling a little more in touch with their inner child and it didn't take much effort to create!

So what do you think, would you host a party like this for your 30th birthday?


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