Your wife's 40th birthday is coming up, and you're looking for inspiration and ideas to make her special day unforgettable.
Turning 40 is a huge milestone in a person’s life. It’s worth putting in the time and effort to make her birthday extra special.
Even if you're convinced you don't have a romantic bone in your body, these 12 birthday ideas will give you plenty of inspiration for a romantic and memorable birthday celebration.
The key is to choose a plan that fits with her preferences and personality.
Here are 12 romantic 40th birthday ideas that can help you find the right choice for your wife:
1. Take Her on a Romantic Getaway
Is there a place your wife has longed to travel, or can't wait to visit again?
Whisking her away on a special trip to a place she loves is an exciting way to spend her birthday (or birth-week).
Whether you fly off to Tokyo, go backpacking in Italy, or spend a whole day touring New York City—or even a nearby town—you'll make life-long memories that she'll look back on with a smile.
Make sure to plan an itinerary with attractions to visit, restaurants to try, and experiences to have together (with some wiggle room for spontaneity).
And if your plans include traveling to another country, this personalized passport cover is a wonderful way to mark the occasion.
2. Set Up a Relaxing Spa Day
A day at the spa gives your wife plenty of time for self care, and helps her to feel loved, cherished, and absolutely beautiful in her own skin.
Maybe she'll appreciate a full-day course at a highly-rated spa in your area. Maybe she wants to try Botox, a facial, or laser treatments. Maybe she'd really love a beautiful manicure and pedicure. Or a luxurious hair treatment at a five-star hair salon.
The options are endless, and it doesn't help that spa treatments sound like a foreign language to many husbands.
If you're not sure what she'll like, try asking her mom, sisters, or good friends for some ideas.
3. Hire a Private Chef (Or Prepare Her Meals for a Day)
For some people, nothing says I love you more than a delicious home-cooked meal.
If your wife is usually on chef duty, or you rely on takeout more often than you'd like, consider hiring a private chef to prepare home-cooked meals for an entire day or week.
These days, you can even hire private meal prep chefs who can create food in larger portions that you can enjoy throughout the week.
If you're on a tighter budget, you can be her private chef and prepare her favorite recipes yourself. (A couple of low-cost cooking classes or some help from friends can go a long way!)
By the way, breakfast in bed isn't a bad idea, either.
Add to the VIP feeling by serving food on this personalized cutting board.
4. Surprise Her With Concert Tickets
Which artist's songs does your wife know all the words to? The ones she can't help singing when she's having a good day?
Give her a big surprise by scoping out that artist’s next tour and snagging a pair of tickets for the both of you.
Even if the concert will happen later that year, the simple act of presenting the tickets in a gorgeous gift box will be an unforgettable birthday surprise. (Combined with another one of these ideas, of course.)
She'll know just how much you spent time planning, preparing, and sitting on Ticketmaster to secure those coveted tickets.
Plus, you'll get to celebrate again when the day of the concert comes around.
5. Spend a Fun Night Out
Usually, your late thirties don't look like your twenties.
Your wife may have been the going out or partying type before, but after having kids, getting settled into a career, or simply developing a good routine, she may find herself staying home more days than not.
Her 40th birthday is a great chance to remind her of her inner twenty-something self and have a bit of fun together.
Take her out dancing, drinking, to a gorgeous dinner, or another place she enjoys. Let her forget all the responsibilities and cares of life and simply enjoy the moment.
Just one thing to remember, now that you have some years of wisdom on your side: Have the Aspirin, Tums, and water ready for the morning after.
6. Collect Birthday Wishes From Family and Friends
You're not the only one remembering your amazing wife on her birthday. Chances are, she's got dozens of family members and friends who want to wish her well and make her day special, too.
You can create a beautiful and meaningful joint gift by hand-writing letters to your wife. Collect letters from your kids, your family, her friends, and don’t forget to write an extra heartfelt message from yours truly.
Include favorite memories, things you love about her, inside jokes, and other things only she will understand.
Tuck them into a personalized memory box for a thoughtful gift she can treasure for years to come.
7. Host a Family Trip
Maybe your wife is a family-oriented person, and a trip with your kids or with your extended family sounds more fun than spending time as a couple.
If you’re up to it, you can plan a fun birthday outing for the whole family to enjoy.
Try outdoor attractions like hiking spots and campgrounds, city tours, zoos and museums, or a stay in a lakehouse or beach house together.
Gatherings like these take a lot of work and planning, which makes it all the more meaningful for your wife.
There may be a few arguments and stressful moments (part of any family get-together), but it’s more than worth it to give your wife these special memories together.
Make it extra fun by ordering matching t-shirts for the celebration—or better yet—matching tumblers for the whole family.
8. Support Her Favorite Hobby
Does your wife enjoy learning new things? Does she have a favorite hobby or a new interest she's exploring recently?
Her 40th birthday is a great opportunity to support her hobby by setting her up with an awesome hobbying kit.
For example, if she's into wine tasting, you could subscribe to a wine-of-the-month club, set up a wine-tasting excursion, and buy her a special set of wine glasses.
Or if she's learning to crochet, you could put together an overflowing gift basket of needles, bundles of colorful yarn, and craft books. Top it off with a gift certificate for crochet classes.
And if she loves pickleball, shower her with brand-new pickleball paddles, sportswear in her favorite colors, a sports bag, or other useful items. Throw in a personalized pickleball tumbler to hydrate herself during games.
9. Throw a Huge Birthday Bash
Turning 40 is a major event, and that calls for a party!
So why not throw your wife a big birthday celebration? Invite her family and closest friends, cater with her favorite food, put on her favorite music, and organize some fun games or activities to entertain everyone.
What else can you do to make it more fun?
- Set up a glittery photo booth complete with a Polaroid camera and plenty of film
- Fill up the room with colorful balloons or construct a balloon arch
- Create a message board for everyone to write their birthday wishes
- Ask everyone to bring a gift or food to share
- Make it a surprise party!
- Or bring a surprise guest, like a friend from a faraway state or country
Whether you order catering or organize a more casual spread of her favorite snacks, this personalized charcuterie board can serve as a memorable gift from the party.
10. Organize a Birthday Shopping Spree
This one is super fun, but requires some space in your budget, if you know what we mean.
It goes like this: You take your wife to her favorite store, give her a time limit and a shopping cart. Everything she can fit into the basket within the time limit she gets to keep.
Some excellent shopping spree choices include: Target, a bookstore, a home goods store, Sephora, a favorite clothing store, a stationery shop... But maybe don't take her to the Apple store for this one. 😉
If you're worried about the budget, you can also set ground rules like “only books” or set a price limit for the shopping trip. (In that case, you might want to remove the time limit so she can take her time to find what she really wants.)
Bonus points if you film the whole thing so you can relive the fun together later.
11. Plan a Perfect Day at Home
Maybe your wife isn't a "people" person. Maybe she'd rather soak up the birthday vibes from the great indoors than go out and see the world.
For her, a huge birthday bash or a family trip to a faraway place may not sound appealing. But a cozy day at home, filled with all her favorite things? Now you're speaking her language.
Start the day with her favorite breakfast, ready when she wakes up. Serve her favorite coffee or tea in a personalized coffee mug, and make it super relaxing—maybe she'd like to read a book or sit and chat together.
The rest of the day should follow what she enjoys. If she wants to spend all day reading alone, so be it! If she wants to play video games, paint, or watch her shows on Netflix, that's the plan!
12. Hold a 40th Birthday Portrait Session
Give your wife the celebrity treatment by setting up a luxurious portrait session for her big day.
Every woman is beautiful, and this will show your wife just how beautiful she is to you!
If it's too stressful to dress up for pictures on the actual day, you could take photos in advance and print them for her birthday celebration or give a special album as a gift.
That said, not all women want to be photographed, and scheduling a photoshoot could cause unnecessary pressure for some. You might want to suggest the idea before booking to make sure she's on board with it.
It's also smart to discuss how and where you'll share the photos. She might not be comfortable sharing them online or with family, but might enjoy a private album to keep for herself.
Find the Perfect Personalized Gift at Engrave My Memories
The best birthday gifts aren't gifts—it's the grand gestures, memorable experiences, and expressions of love that stick with us forever.
That said, a personalized gift can complement any one of these 40th birthday ideas, and become a keepsake that she can cherish for years to come.
At Engrave My Memories, we engrave each gift by hand to ensure that any gift you buy from us will be of exceptional quality and will delight your recipient.
Browse through our shop to see our full selection of engraved gifts. And don't forget to sign up for our mailing list to get 20% off your first order.
And with that, we wish your wife a happy and healthy 40th birthday! Here's to more years of happiness together. 🥂
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How can I make my wife's 40th birthday special?
Your wife will feel special if she knows that you thought about her, spent time planning a birthday experience, and enjoyed celebrating her birthday with her. What you actually do for her birthday depends on what kind of person she is and what she enjoys doing. See the article above for 12 creative ideas to celebrate her birthday in a memorable way.
What should a husband do for his wife's 40th birthday?
It's great to give gifts, but planning some activities for your wife's birthday, like a spa day, a shopping spree, a birthday party, or a romantic getaway, will make it more meaningful to her. After that, a well-chosen gift is a cherry on top of the entire birthday experience.
How can I celebrate my wife's birthday differently?
Some unique birthday ideas: Create a giant gift basket of items that support her favorite hobby, organize a celebrity-style photo shoot, or set up a shopping spree at her favorite store.
What is the traditional gift for the 40th birthday?
A ruby is the traditional gift for a 40th anniversary or birthday, so consider buying her a beautiful piece of ruby jewelry or surprising her with a bouquet of 40 ruby-red roses.