The Who, What, When, Where, Why and How of Anniversary Planning
Who to invite25th, 40th and 50th Anniversary parties celebrate the life of the couple. You can invite anyone who's life they have touched. Be sure to order extra invitations, as people you wish to invite are discovered along the party planning process. In some cases, an open invitation is made to the community.
What type of partyAnniversary parties range from small and intimate dinners at home to large catered events held at restaurants, hotels or reception halls. Sometimes, a luncheon or open house is held after a special anniversary church service. Which would your honored couple prefer?
Whatever the size, make it special and meaningful for the anniversary couple with personal touches. If you have a large party, you can tie together the look of the party with color and personal effects, such as photographs, centerpieces, a sign-in book or frame, and a memory scrapbook your guests contribute to.
When to planYour anniversary party does not need to be on the exact date of the anniversary, but should be within the season, or at least the anniversary year. Accommodating visiting relatives is more important than matching the date. WHAT you plan will determine how far in advance to begin planning. You want to get invitations out 4-6 weeks ahead, or more if people will travel to come, and of course need much more lead time to book a hall or restaurant.
Where to celebrateYour party size, budget and personalities of the honorees will determine what space you need for your party. Some popular options include:
- an open house at your home
- a family dinner at a nice restaurant
- a light luncheon in a church hall after a special church service
- dinner and dancing in a hall or ballroom
- a cocktails and hors d'oeuvres reception
- a large picnic at a park shelter house or informal hall
Why celebrateCreating special moments that become treasured memories is life's dessert!
How to begin
Date, Time, LocationStart your plans with a general idea on size and location, choose a date, and begin to assemble the guest list. If you wish to plan a surprise party, close friends of the honorees and relatives could all contribute addresses and names, and a note could be included with the invitation to pass along the address of any friends who may have been overlooked when assembling the list. If you are renting a hall or using a restaurant, you will want to include an RSVP so that you can get a count for the caterer.
- Plan a collective project
Decide if you want the guests to contribute any items toward the event, like photos, stories or scrapbook additions. These plans should be included with the invitations, so you have to decide early. To make the evening more fun, we suggest you ask each guest to bring something to add to a scrapbook for the couple... a story, memory or token from their past. Simply note your request with the invitation. You can assemble these into the book before the event or collect them at the anniversary party.
- Order your invitations
Photo anniversary invitations are popular, using the original wedding photo or a combination of old and new photos. The most important part of the invitation, however, is to make your life easier by making sure it contains all the information your guests need. Naptime Productions offers an invitation checklist to help you make sure you did not miss any crucial details.
Find out what you can about the wedding. You may want to feature colors, music, clothing, and memorabilia from the past. Or, you could consider a traditional color scheme based on the anniversary year symbol.
- 10th Anniversary - Tin
- 15th Anniversary - Crystal
- 20th Anniversary - China or Platinum
- 25th Anniversary - Silver
- 30th Anniversary - Pearl or Diamond
- 35th Anniversary - Coral or Jade
- 40th Anniversary - Ruby
- 45th Anniversary - Sapphire
- 50th Anniversary - Gold
- 55th Anniversary - Emerald
- 60th Anniversary - Diamond
Try picking up the gold or silver anniversary theme with accents in the china, flatware, linens, crystal, and napkin holders or ribbons or beads tied around the napkins. It is easy to add a matching touch with gold or silver tone candlesticks or votives. Scatter gold or silver picture frames holding photos of the couple, and/or use small matching frames as place holders or party favors. You can use gold or silver ink on placecards, and gold or silver doilies or runners on the tables.
Centerpieces at the tables can carry your theme and/or colors through the room. Photo decorations or photo centerpieces also act as conversation starters and entertainment.
In addition to table settings, you can create a nostalgic atmosphere by displaying the wedding dress, cake topper, framed photos, and collectables from the era.
MusicPlan some music from the couple's dating years, as well as the first decades together. Find out "their song" and perhaps some songs they loved back then. Visit Acclaimed Music to get a top songs list for any year.
ToastOne of the most meaningful and romantic toasts is the wedding anniversary toast. It reflects on the day when two people joined together in life’s journey. While every speech should be short and sweet, include events from the past. If it’s your anniversary being celebrated, make sure that your toast covers the things that were important to both of you, not just yourself.
If you are making a toast in honor of someone else’s anniversary, maybe include some stories about how the couple met, something memorable or funny on their wedding day, events that stood out during their marriage. A nice touch would be to have someone who was actually in the wedding give the speech.
Make it special!A successful party is not determined by beautiful food or huge turnout. A successful party leaves the honored couple feeling cherished and loved, and the guests glad they attended. So stir up some fun! Try adding some life to the party with some of these:
- A guest book the couple can keep... either in scrapbook form with comments added by the guests or perhaps a framed photo where all the guests signed the mat.
- A collection of conversation starters placed through out the room. Perhaps hats from the era of the wedding? A series of old and new family photos with blank caption bubbles? Badges for all the guests that claim membership the couple's fan club?
- Personal and humorous toasts offered regularly throughout the evening. Perhaps each time an era song plays, or glasses clink. Each child and grandchild could share a brief memory, or marriage advice they have learned from the honorees.
- A special dance for the anniversary couple, and then their children, and then grandchildren.
- Disposable cameras placed on the tables for guests to use and leave for the guests-of-honor.
- A map to show all the places they have lived, and where their children and grandchildren are all settled currently.