Several years ago, my cousins had a 50th Anniversary Party for my Aunt and Uncle. The kids sent a small square of material (quilting) to family and friends. They asked that you cross-stitch, draw, or paint within that area about the couple (such as a memorial date, memory of them, etc). They asked that they sent the squares back by a certain date. They then put the squares together for a quilt. My Aunt to this day has the quilt hanging on her wall in the family room. Its beautiful and very big. Hope this helps. (05/09/2004)
My husband's cousins just had one for their parents.
1. They held in the back yard.
2. They took old pictures enlarged put on clothes line around yard.
3. They took old movies put on video tape and played it all day.
4. Picked menu that the couple's generation would like and we all brought something. We, as a family, always do potlucks.(approx.. 75 members).
5. One cousin who makes cakes made wedding type cake.
6. One cousin who drives a limo brought them (they thought they were going out to dinner) This kept cost down for 2 sons. Hope this helps (05/09/2004)
Here's an idea I came across in a magazine: Buy a large scrapbook and insert photos, write memories, drawings, etc. of things you remember that include your parents, send it along to each family member with a note that they should pass it along (by mail or hand delivered) to the next family member. This way you have a personalized gift to give to your parents that they are sure to treasure, and if some folks can't make it to the celebration, they will be there in "spirit"
My two sisters and I had a reception for my parents 50th anniversary last summer. We all live in different locations and it was hard to pull together. It was NOT a surprise reception, so my parents knew about some aspects of the planning, etc. I was the major coordinator. It was held in my parents hometown, in their church fellowship hall. By checking with the church in advance, I found out what decorations were there that we could use, the kitchen facilities, how many tables and sizes, what was allowed with regard to decorations and what we were expected to do regarding clean-up, etc.
One of my sisters took on the job of creating announcement-type invitations and sending them out to the relatives and friends. Another sister worked on procuring some of the decorations, but I did the majority of the decorating and planning and the food preparation.
We did have a cake catered by a local relative and it was fantastic. We planned on 200, did not ask for RSVPs and we had nearly 150 people show up. This was on a Saturday afternoon. In their small town (approximately 7000 people) we even placed an open invitation in the local newspaper with the article about their anniversary and pictures from their wedding and a current picture.
We didn't have a meal, just turkey and roast beef finger sandwiches, baby carrots, celery, zucchini, green pepper, broccoli and cauliflower and dip, olives, cake, punch, mints, nuts and coffee. Having the local relative's help in advising how they do this kind of thing in that town was a real help. I live in a large city and wouldn't dream of publishing an open invitation in a newspaper. My cousin assured me that it was done often in that location and worked well. Indeed, SEVERAL people attended and celebrated with my parents that none of us children knew. Remember, your parents had friends before they had you, and they may not be able to remember them all for an invitation, if you are having an open-house type reception. Some of these were people who had gone to school with my parents that they had not seen in years. It was really a wonderful day.
The real hit of the reception were the two or three tables loaded with photo albums and accumulated mementoes of my parents' life (Daddy's archery trophy, Mother's apple-pie winning notice from the fair, etc.) People really enjoyed looking at the photo albums. One of my uncles had one of the first movie cameras over 50 years ago, and took pictures of my parents outdoor wedding reception. We had these movies put on videotape and were able to use the TV and VCR in the church to show this movie and some other early movies.
We also had sheets of paper on each table, asking people to "Write a Memory" of our parents. I admit that not very many people participated in this, but the ones that did, well... they're fantastic. We had hole-punched these papers in advance and had a binder for my parents to keep them in, along with the guest book that everyone signed in on, and the many, many cards they received.
My parents arranged for a local photographer to arrive an hour before the reception and we had a formal family photograph taken, then individual families were also taken.
My sisters and I kept track of the costs each of us incurred. At the end of the day, we totaled our expenses and divided the total cost. I know I'm too wordy, but perhaps this will give you some ideas. Good luck! (05/09/2004)
Here are several ideas we did for my parents' 50th:
The children can each compose a special letter to their parents, including pictures, thanking them for a specific item or general. My brother thanked them for the gift of reading, telling how that gift has been such an enjoyment in his life and he also included a picture of himself reading as a small child.
We contacted the newspaper of the town my parents were married in and got the clipping of their wedding notice.
An aunt of mine, who wrote poetry, composed a special poem about the bridal shower, wedding day, etc.
We also wrote to the White House and received a special notice of congratulations to the parents and we also contacted various relatives and members of the wedding party to get their perspective on the wedding day. You might even have these people place their thoughts on a cassette tape to be played at the party or privately. (05/09/2004)
By Valerie Morikone
For your parents 50th wedding anniversary, this is an idea we used for mine but it might take some time. We got ahold of most of the people that were at their wedding and mailed them a letter asking if they could share a special memory of their wedding and told them it was a surprise and keep quiet, once we had all the letters returned we went to a local print shop an had them bound in book form and gave them to them for a gift. (05/09/2004)
To the person wanting suggestion on make a very special Anniversary. Send a note to all the guests along with their invitation asking them to write down a special memory they have of the happy couple. Read these at the party. We did this at my friends parents 40th Anniversary and had a real good time remembering. (05/09/2004)
For the 50th Wedding Anniversary a friend of mine made an Album with a theme of the past 50 years. She used newspaper clippings, great headline events, big family events, and pictures. The biggest part centered on the year they were married. She covered the album in fabric and a crosstitch title. Hope this helps. (05/09/2004)
For the 50th Anniversary party, Have a card party. Write a pamphlet out to all friends and family to send a card by a certain date. Put it in the hometown church bulletin. We did this for my grandfather's 80th birthday and he received 82 cards! Even one from the President! Also gather all the family talent and put on a show. It will be something everyone will always remember because all the relatives get involved. Have fun. (05/09/2004)
My parents celebrated their anniversary several years ago and rather than have one big party they "partied" all year, in other words, they planned several "always wanted to do" events during the year. Their anniversary is in June so they started in January. They took a 10 day cruise, they went sight seeing with friends, they visited their children, went to the mountains for a little R and R, bought goodies for their yard, etc. The kids sent them family portraits, in gold frames for Christmas. On their actual anniversary some of us sent flowers or balloons. We kids kept it simple and let our parents plan their day (year) I hope these ideas help. (05/09/2004)
We never had a wedding reception, so are planning one for our 50th anniversary. The invitation will read something like: "50 years ago, we had the wedding. Now we would like to invite you to attend our reception." We plan to have dinner, wedding cake and all the trimmings! I also plan to make the guests our focal point, since many would have traveled long distances to attend.
One idea we have is to have a corner of the room prepared for pictures, much like "Prom Pictures." Their picture would be taken, then placed in a pretty folder to take home with them. My husband also plans to tell what each couple/individual has meant to us at different times in our lives. We want it to be an evening they will enjoy and always remember. That will be gift enough for us. (01/19/2005)
Loved all the suggestions for 50th anniversary. We are planning a scrapbook with letters and cards from family and friends. One thing different is we are putting 50 (dated) pennies at the front for every year of their marriage. Lines will be put by each dated penny so a particular memory can be placed on it. We are going to leave extra lines so guests can add their memory of that year. This idea comes from the book The Hundred Penny Box.
My sister and I are also doing our parents 50th. For centerpieces I used terra cotta pots. This isn't expensive. My husband cooked Bar-b-Que. My sister made memory cards and a video of the past. Thanks to all for the other neat ideas also. (06/08/2005)
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