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50th Anniversary Ideas?

My parent's 50th anniversary is fast approaching and my brother, sister and I would like to plan a party, however, we all live in different states and each are about 1000 miles away from my parents! We've discussed meeting in our parents town and taking them out to dinner or planning a party for local family and friends. None of us have much money to spend, but we'd like to make the occasion special. Any and all suggestions would be appreaciated!


50th Anniversary Ideas? 02/01/2004
If you mean you need ideas for organizing a party, you can either go out for the occasion and have it done for you, or you can do it all yourself (with some help of course).

My parents didn't want a big fuss for their 50th, but we still wanted to celebrate, so we took the immediate family (the siblings, spouses, and grandkids) out to eat at an Italian style family restaurant, and then we kids paid the bill. My sis-in-law brought gold and white balloons filled with helium, tied on long gold and white curling ribbons, and attached them to the backs of my parents' chairs. She also bought an anniversary sheet cake at either BJ's or Sam's Club, which we brought in after the meal and the restaurant brought us plates and silverware to serve it. All in all, it went over well.


On the other hand, I helped a friend organize a large anniversary party for 60 for her parents, held at her church hall. All the planning, decorating, and cooking was done by us and her family members and friends of her family. It takes some planning and work, but you can do it if you have willing helpers!

If you want to have a big "do", see if anyone in the family belongs to a club or organization, and try to rent their hall for the party. It's usually very reasonably priced for members. My sis-in-law rented the Eagles Club hall to have her shower, because my dad's a member; it was cheap at the time. Also check out church halls or community rooms. If the weather's nice, why not reserve a park shelter?

Once you've found a location to hold the party, divide up the duties among family members. One member could do decorations, another could do salads, a third could arrange to have appetizers, a fourth could handle desserts, and so on. They won't have to make them all themselves -- they could call up family members and friends and have each commit to bringing something. Or various people could be "assigned" to bring specific dishes. (People love to show off their best cooking and recipes, and it makes for conversation at the party!) You could handle the main dishes, and believe me, it's not that hard -- borrow some electric roaster ovens and crockpots and think what could go in them, such as roast beef and au jus (the beef is sliced and bought from the local meat market or deli), pasta with sauce and mozarella cheese, swedish meatballs, turkey roll-ups...almost anything can be made for the occasion.


An anniversary sheet cake can be bought reasonably at the local grocery store bakery department or from Sam's or BJ's (stand alone bakeries are usually more expensive). If you're lucky, maybe someone in your family who likes to bake will volunteer to make the cake.

Decorations don't have to be too complicated. Put out colorful poster boards with pictures of your mom and dad from their wedding day up until until today. Ask friends and relatives if they have photos you can borrow too. These will be fun for everyone to see and talk about. You might even put out some momentoes like dad's army hat or mom's wedding tiara to go along with the photos. Centerpieces on the tables could be clusters of helium-filled gold balloons (or whatever colors you like) tied to objects your mom and dad's love are associated with -- a garden spade for mom's love of gardening, a hammer for dad's love of woodworking, a child's rattle from one of the grandchildren -- just associate it with your parents love of someone or something.


For entertainment, line up some friends and family to tell some sweet or funny anecdotes about your mom and dad and why they think the marriage is so successful. Have each sibling make a toast -- or have the grandkids make toasts too. The idea is to have fun! Make the guests happy and comfortable, and honor your mom and dad and their lasting marriage. You don't need to spend a fortune to do that. You just need a little imagination, lot of love, and some family and friends to help out.

Let us know what you decided on when the party is over, and how it turned out!


By lilredwaz
50th Anniversary Ideas? 02/03/2004
Another idea I have done for many parties is to do a search of all the news items, events and inventions for the year they were married or a time-line of what has happened in all of those glorious years. I've had great success with this. I print up a long scroll. (before i could use continuous paper, I used to tape the pages together) and make a scroll of papertowel tubes. I use nice dowels since i can use continuous paper. I wrap or, hang the scroll with the bottom hanging to be unraveled later. This is a great conversation starter and believe it or not?, everyone loves "reliving the old times" and all join in.

Also, being 50th.. use all the gold accents you can, with a pearl white, rather than just plain white or other choices. It makes everything absolutely gorgeous. Also, all the "party plans" of the other responder are great!! I've done a lot of parties and with all that info, you should have a great one!! I hope you have left enough time to plan and follow-through on everything. It takes longer than you think. Best of luck!!
By kathy Schofill
50th Anniversary Ideas? 07/26/2004
I have a question! I am planning a 50th for my folks, and they don't want a 'big blow-out' either. We got a deal (free..good deal, huh?) on a beautiful banquet room overlooking the falls. We're putting together some Memory scrapbooks and will have some of their fav 50's music playing in the room (background music)... Love the gold and white balloon idea! We are ending the evening by having a vow renewal ceremony (hope they are ok with that LOL)

But, here's my question ... we are trying to decide if it should just be immediate family, (kids, spouses, grandkids) or if we should invite a select few to join us.. what is the protocol when paying for dinner. If we invite them, are we obligated to pay for their meal/drinks? And if not, how do you tactfully let them know? Yikes.

By Sandi (Guest Post)
50th Anniversary Ideas? 03/29/2005
Get everyone involved! If you do a party at a restaurant, YOU are responsible for paying for anyone i.e. friends you invite. Using the other posts, you can get food platters, cooked meats, etc, in bulk at places like Costco and most chain grocery stores sell fried chicken in bulk if you order ahead. Pair this with an array of salads that you can make or buy, add a decorated cake, a champagne toast, and it's party time. Green plants make nice centerpieces-and souvenirs, too! Put each in a gold pot cover which a florist can order for you or you can get at a floral supply store. Balloons can be tied to a pick and stuck into the plant pot. Pictures of your parents from all stages of their lives blown up and posted on walls, or made into a collage and foto-copied into placemats would be cool. And, if you are indoors, sprinkle tables with gold mylar confetti and gold wrapped Hershey's kisses!
By Linda (Guest Post)
50th Anniversary Ideas? 03/29/2005
We did my parents 50th anniversary last year. They wanted just family so I don't really have any party suggestions. The 'gift' we gave them was a big hit. I came up with a note that I sent to their friends (past and present) and siblings asking for memories/stories and/or pictures that they had of my parents. My parents had moved several times but I was able to find alot of addresses on the internet. Most people responded with a letter telling how much my parents meant to them, a funny story from the past or a photo from years ago. I wish I had asked each couple to send a photo of themselves also. We put together a scrapbook and my parents really enjoyed it. You probably need to send the note 2 months before the anniversary. Mention that it's a secret until after the anniversary date. Also, President Bush will send an anniversary greeting to your parents. You can google 'the White House' and find their home page. You have to request this about 6-8 weeks before the anniversary. My dad loved the card they sent.
By Ann4 (Guest Post)
50th Anniversary Ideas? 03/29/2005
Sloppy joes sounds a little messy. We like to serve up the St. Louis favorite "wedding" food, moscacholli with a Rich and Charlies Salad and french bread. Goes a long way and is a big favorite.
By Kathy (Guest Post)
50th Anniversary Ideas? 04/03/2005
My mom and Dad did not want a big blowout for their 50th so we respected their wishes.But actually,not a lot make it to celebrate 50 years. It is a BIG ACCOMPLISHMENT. By working yogether, the family can do food within a budget.I recommend: meatballs in bbq sauce/grapejelly mixed in, Sausage balls, a Large cheeseball and mixed crackers ,make your own fruit and veggie trays . You can cut up your own and get two plus refills for the price of store bought ones . Dollar Trees sell the large trays and lids. Fruit dip is made from cream cheese and marshmallow cream and everybody knows how to make ranch dip. For table decorations run a wide satin ribbon down the center of the table. Gold would be pretty.Use small fishbowl centerpieces filled halfway with water with cut flowers floating inside (yellow mums are pretty AND cheap. Set a flared out votive cup on the inside ledge above the water and light a yellow or gold votive candle.Sprinkle gold confetti. Makes a pretty table and a fortune saved on tablecloths. Another nice decoration is pictures in inexpensive frame sitting on the table (of wedding photos, important life events). Trust me if you watch your Ps andQs you can pull off an event for several as cheaply as a family get together. GOOD LUCK Hope I've been helpful. - Sharon, KY
By ThriftyFun
50th Anniversary Ideas? 04/12/2005
I think it would be fun to dig up some popular recipes from 50 years ago, and serve those. You will be amazed what you can find on line, like a 1950's Betty Crocker cookbook---or ask friends who recall that era for recipes and get together a group of friends to help you cook them. Picnics are wonderful that time of year, and a park pavilion will be both inexpensive and hold lots of people. It can be decorated with crepe paper streamers, and you could have a little table with a wedding photo, maybe some personal memorabilia, or other things from that era. Find a little blank paged book- you can find at Dollar Tree! - and have everyone write a memory they have of the couple in it. You can check out old cassettes from the library to play for background music.(Try and find out what songs they liked, particularly if they have "their song", what they danced their first dance to at their wedding, etc)

Have fun!

By Pari (Guest Post)
Archived Request: 50th Anniversary Ideas? 04/14/2005
I am in charge of a 50th anniversary and I need ideas for food, sloppy joes, etc. I also need some decorative ideas. And of course we are on a budget. This happens in June. Thanks so much,

Joyce from Missouri

By ThriftyFun
50th Anniversary Ideas? 04/15/2005
You and your family should get together and make them a scrapbook. You can put old pictures in it....old recipe of the times...old movie titles, etc and you can all sign it and write them a nice message to go with it. Kind of a nice keepsake album they always look back on and just present to them at dinner one night. Something like that would be cheaper and more meaningful to them I am sure.
By eva morin
50th Anniversary Ideas? 04/16/2005
Write to the White House and request a 50th anniversary greeting to be mailed to your parents. The White House sends out anniversary greetings to couples who have been married 50 years or more. Here is the url for more information:

By Pamela Wheeler
50th Anniversary Ideas? 04/21/2005
For my parents 40th anniversary, I put together a slide show. I went through all their pictures from the time they were babies, dating, married, first house, kids, etc to present and had them made into slides. I then wrote a story to narrate the pictures full of little tidbits many people did'nt know about them. It was the hit of the party and since we have the slide show on video, they can watch it again and again.
By kathy (Guest Post)
50th Anniversary Ideas? 03/17/2006
We are making a memory album. We have asked all the cousins and Aunts and Uncles to write down their favorite memories and send pictures from all the family get togethers over the years. We made one for an Aunt and Uncle for their 40th and everyone loved it. My aunt cried.....
By Judy (Guest Post)
50th Anniversary Ideas? 05/31/2006
Look into renting a pavillion in your parents local park, enclosed of course. Set up picnic style and let friends and family come throughout the day to visit your parents. Your GFS store or Sams club is good at large quantities at a good price. Our local store even does fried chicken at a very reasonable price. this is what we are doing and have used the park before for my daughters 16th birthday party and it went very well. Best of luck and happy anniversary to your parent(
By (Guest Post)

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