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Here's a great idea that costs nothing and is a great conversation piece for a 50th wedding anniversary party. Make a montage display of the wedding. Include your Mom's wedding dress, treasured original wedding gifts, music from that year, and even a bulletin board that you help them put together of their special milestones.
By kwbren from Yucxaipa, CA
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My parents will be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. I'm an only child and my mom's large family is expecting a party. I'm looking for ideas that won't break the bank (since I have no one to share expenses with) and satisfy everyone. Please help!
By Jody from Midwest
A picnic, a pot luck party (people bring food), backyard party, comes to mind. People don't mind "helping out" these days, they know things are expensive.
Pictures of them make nice decorations and aren't terribly expensive to use as decorations, especially if you just use ones they already have. Pictures from all through the years is nice.
Flowers from someone's garden or yards are free. Borrow pot plants or use pot plants you have. A grouping of potted plants looks great.
You can get inspiration as well as actual "party" goods at thrift stores, garage sales, etc. (and it's fun to "hunt and find"). A grouping of small candles, or tea lights in cheap, small, pretty glasses, jars or vintage saucers (mix & match looks great).....make great decorations. Look around your house, their or friends... for things already possessed...nice table cloths, fake flowers, glasses, urns, punch bowls, serving dishes, to borrow. We tend to think you have to go out and buy everything "new" and perfectly matched, but you don't.
If you buy the food, do it yourself. Make your own dips and veggie trays. Catering is terribly expensive. You can come out way cheaper making the food yourself. You can "borrow" friends refrigerators, your church, maybe. Heck, even a couple of coolers and some dry ice might do the trick to store to food until party time! If you serve liquor, keep it to punch bowl type or one or two types of drinks only and don't think everybody has to have 6 drinks total, you can help them with moderation by just providing minimal liquor.
Check your own music stash for music to play. (A CD player hidden works just fine). You can borrow music from others or the library. If you know someone who plays guitar or can sing, maybe they can provide a couple of songs for entertainment.
We played games at my Dad's 80th BD party. People got a real bang out of it. One of the games I came up with was questions ---"info" about him. What is his favorite pie? What was his childhood nickname? (try to think of some questions that are challenging.) We gave prizes (gift cards mainly), but they don't have to be much, or you could find small (new) gifts at thrift stores, or not even give gifts at all (offer a "dance" with Dad or something).
I gave a baby shower at my house once in which I used mostly items I already had (including the grouped candle thing with fake pot plants on the serving table). A very wealthy woman (boss of the baby's father) came to the party and told me as she left that it was the nicest baby shower she had ever been to.. and I am sure with her wealth and socializing, she'd been to plenty, so it's not all about "cost"-- it is more about making it festive, filled with love, creative, that counts the most towards having a really fabulous and memorable party.
First, make sure your parents actually want a big party. It's their anniversary, and it should be up to them as to how they want to celebrate it. And as for those family members "expecting" a big party, have them help!
Tell those family members to plan and pay for the party and you'll chip in, but not the other way around! No way!
You could make it an open house and just serve hors d'ouvoures like small finger sandwiches, relishes, etc.
You could ask your parents to pitch in, say like for all beverages. You could plan a picnic or potluck and ask relatives to bring a salad, you provide the meat choice and buns, and cake. I don't suggest asking relatives to just bring anything or else you might end up with a lot of chips and dessert and little else. I just held a farewell picnic where we furnished meat and buns and chips. Boy were the rest of the attendees skimpy about what they brought , except for the lady who made the cake. So tell people what you would like them to bring.
If they have been together that long, they are bound to have long time social connections; church, Sunday School class,senior citizens' center group,etc. Contact these people and let them get involved . They will love it!
Here is a side view of the brandy glass.
For a family reunion we did this-one family provided the chicken, one the pasta, one a large meat tray, one buns, etc. Pass around a list and divided into categories, and ask everyone to choose what they want to bring. Or in the invitations put in it please bring a dessert of your choice in a few of them, salads in a few, etc. We had a great response to them all.
We're having a fairly low-key 50th wedding anniversary Open House for my parents. About 40 people will be attending. I am looking for fun ideas as people mill around.
By Jen from Los Angeles
The open houses that I have been to, people sign the guest book, visit with different people, have lunch, visit some more, and leave when they want to. The people that attend open houses, are there to visit with other people, and have a good time doing just that.
Hello Jen. One similar event I attended had a buffet style table set off to one side that was filled with the anniversary couple's scrap books and photo albums. They used a few framed family portraits (from across the decades) as the "center piece" of this conversation area. It was really fun to browse about this table and it started many a delightful conversation between newer and longer term friends and family. Congrats to your folks for this milestone event.
Instead of the common guest book: look at your local bookstore to see if they have a coffee table book that has something significant to your parents. Maybe something that celebrates the 1960's? That would be something that they could display and enjoy all the time.
Rent a popular movie from "their year" (or an old tv series on DVD) and have it alive on the tv screen, but muted.
Food? Look up what things were popular in their year for entertaining.(we had a 1940's cocktail party styled wedding and had great hors d'oeuvres from that era. The fare from days of old is much less $$, too!) OMG...jello molds and Pineapple upside down cake!
decorate with crepe paper....that's pretty inexpensive and was the usual back in the '60's. Copy and blowup some Life magazine covers and frame them for your buffet table. And, of course, photos of your parents from their day!
Music....make a couple of dvd's of the popular music of that era and have that playing, but LOW.
redhatterb is right about wanting people to visit with each other, so keep the tunes as background only.
and, if you want a game or two to have just in case...charades and password were so popular then.
It sounds like a lot to do, but it's really simple. Keep it streamlined and then just enjoy!
I am trying to make a program for our celebration. We are renewing our vows and having dinner and a few other things. Is it better to eat first or renew vows or? What is the order of a program for our 50th wedding anniversary celebration?
By Yvonne from St. Louis, MO
When we had my parent's 50th anniversary we had the vow renewal first and the party, afterward.
What would you like to do first? It's your day! Congratulations on your milestone! (PS your guests will be just happy to be included on your most special day!)
I agree w/both previous posts, but tend to lean towards vows first and dinner party after, unless you know of an important guest who cannot be there "early" and would really want to be there for the renewal of vows! And, congratulations!
Why not make it the "special event" between dinner and dessert? It could make the dessert course (if you are having one) the highlight of your night. Let me know what you think! And again, as other say - CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!
Looking for help with 50th anniversary ideas.
By denise from Ft. Lauderdale, FL
I don't know if you mean for a party or for a gift. Mu suggestion is for a gift, it is what I did for my brothers 50th wedding anniversary. I got 50 silver dollars from the bank. I was shopping at a dollar store and just happened to find gold foil, a gold gift bag, and gold "Easter" grass. I cut up the foil and wrapped each coin seperately, taping each one shut. then I alternated a little grass and a coin or two in the bag. To open their present, they had to find the coins, and then unwrap, and count to make sure they didn't miss any. My brother knows I am kinda weird anyway, so was not surprized with my idea.
Google "fake newspapers" and you will come up with a slew of them. You can make a newspaper that will be stories and photos of the couple. But, keep in mind to order two, so they can frame either side of the newspaper if they choose. It's great for a gift and for a party!!
Dear friends who were celebrating their 50th anniversary didn't want a party or any kind of big deal event. Since they are both cancer survivors, I made a $50.00 contribution to the American Cancer Society in their name. It was the best choice I could have made!
I recently attended the 50th Anniversary party of a couple that was so wonderful. Their kids got a bunch of old/new pictures from the family album and used Smiling Snaps to compile them into a choreographed DVD show depicting their life together. It was perfectly synchronized to music and because it was professionally made, the results were awesome! It was so touching, the couple as well as many guests got emotional while watching those moments come alive on the screen!
We are having an anniversary party at a buffet. We will not be paying for the meals. We have the room so we can all be together. What is the best way to word this on the invitation?
By Yvonne Shaffer
My husband and I will celebrate 50 years of marriage next December 18, 2016, and we are considering renewing our vows. We are both retired and on a fixed income. Would it be possible in today's economy to do everything for $300? We'd like to keep it simple; we are both avid hunters and would like a camouflage theme.
I'd love to find a camouflage semi-formal maybe. And my husband could wear a camouflage vest and tie. Maybe with boots! I have 2 grown granddaughters. One is a culinary arts graduate and the other is a very creative and talented homemaker; both have agreed to help. They just need some ideas on food and decor on a "shoe string" budget! Any suggestions?
I am planning a 50th anniversary party at a church, in the afternoon. We will be serving appetizers. Should we have punch, or tea, coffee, and lemonade.
By Bobbie from Belleville, IL
We are celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary. We would like to give our 150 guests a gift. We need some ideas.
By Leo C.
My cousin and I (the granddaughters) were chosen to help plan the party. It is going to be a surprise. We are 13 years old. What should we do?
By Laurel D.
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My parents will be celebrating their 50th anniversary on 7/2/2005. I am planning on having a 2pm-5pm "event" with finger foods, cake, and punch. I can't seem to find any information on this type event. All that I've been able to find involves dinner, toasts, etc. Is a come and go not appropriate? What is it called? (celebration/reception?)
This is exactly the type of party we gave our parents on their 50th anniversary. We called it an Open House, but recently I've seen the term Come and Go. I'm guessing they are the same thing.
Our party was very informal, with cake and punch.
Good luck and have fun! (04/22/2005)
In the South we call that kind of event a "Tea". We have a lot of Bridal Teas after church on Sunday from 2 till 4. This enables everyone to come when they can and not feel like they have to stay the entire time. Also, at Teas the gifts are opened and displayed as they are brought in. One of the party planners opens the gifts so the Guest of Honor can mingle with her guests. Works well for us, and I'm sure you could do the same for an anniversary celebration. (04/22/2005)
This type of party is great. You can call it an "Honor Celebration" for a long and successful marriage. Which by the way is becoming all too rare. Congrats to them! Since your parents have been married 50 years they are unlikely to be in "need" of anything, so perhaps you might suggest something like "We request your presence not your presents", or if you should choose you might let each guest bring their favorite written story of their encounter with your parents. They can read these and smile for years to come. You could obtain some of these before the party and make a scrap book for them and add to it as guests arrive. I bet they will cherish this forever. (04/22/2005)
By Connie H.
Word the invitation: Jane, John and Jack Doe(ex.) invite you to join us as we celebrate our parents' 50th Wedding Anniversary with an "Open House" from 2:00- 4:00 pm. on Saturday July 15th. No gifts, please. Actually no one expects a big "sit down dinner" for an anniversary open house. (04/23/2005)
My aunt and uncle are celebrating their golden anniversary July 9th. It just so happens that our family reunion is on the 10th, so we made that the theme this year. We always do a big BBQ at a local park, I'll just change the decorations and make a big cake. (06/18/2005)
I'd call it a celebration with hors d'oeuvre.s
Sample invitation wording:
50 Golden Years!
Please join us for an afternoon of:
as our (my) parents (name) celebrate their 50th Wedding Anniversary
Given by: you and siblings names
RSVP: name and or number
My brothers and I are planning now for a July 2006 50th Golden Anniversary, too.
Good luck and have fun.
Asking for "no gifts" on an invitation is tacky, and doesn't work, anyway.
My parents 50th wedding anniversary is coming very quickly and I am struggling for ideas. We are not having a party because we had a huge 70th birthday party for both of them last year. We are renting condos in southern Indiana and the whole family will be together and I am looking for ideas of what we could do that would be special. I would really appreciate any help you could offer. Thanks.
disneygirl from Crown Point, IN
My parents were very poor and never went anywhere because they didn't have the money or the clothes to wear. Their 6 children respected their wishes not to have a "big party". So we came up with the idea to send post cards to everyone that my parents knew over the years as well as the president (who will respond) and governor, senators, and congressmen. The post card informed the receiver of their 50th wedding anniversary and gave the date and their address, with a request that they "send a card" of congratulations.
"A card shower" ensued. My parents were "elated" when they would go to the mailbox each day for nearly a month and find the cards. I think the number they received was well over one hundred. Mom would read each one, some enclosed stories, money, and congratulations. It took some time before they both realized how people knew they were celebrating an anniversary. We took all the cards and put them in a scrapbook for them to review whenever they wanted, and they did. We had a very small family party and presented the album to them.
For my grandparents' 50th anniversary some years back, the family booked a large table at a restaurant. Each family paid for their own meals and everyone chipped in with the cost of our grandparents meal. We'd also chipped in and bought them a nice gold coloured clock (to denote the passing of time). The were so happy just to be taken out for a meal, it's amazing what older people appreciate. Just the thought and the treat and being treated specially for the evening.
Another idea would be to purchase an album and either a disposable camera (or someone bring a camera) and take photos of everyone celebrating. Then pop them into the album as a keepsake of the evening with perhaps a wedding photo of the special couple at the beginning. Hope they have a great day with whatever you decide. (06/16/2006)
Set up a slide projector that runs automatically during the dinner party or at least cocktail hour. Show slides of them when they were younger. Perhaps photos of their wedding or when the children were young. Eveyone enjoys seeing themselves in pictures.
Stay away from buying gifts that they can't use. If you like, pool your money to buy something they need or a nice vacation. This party is a nice gift in itself.
Make a keepsake album for them with photos of people in attendance. Play games like you'd do at a shower. (06/16/2006)
By Carol in PA
I just read a lot of good ideas for people whose parents were having their 50th anniversary. Here is another idea a friend of mine used when their parents were celebrating their 50th. They threw a Hawaiian party, as their parents always wanted to go to Hawaii and couldn't afford the trip. Everyone dressed up and served Hawaiian foods and the parents loved it. I also like the sending card party what a great idea. (06/16/2006)
We sent out letters to friends and families asking them to write a funny story, tribute, or best wishes to be included in a scrapbook we were making as a surprise. Each of their children and grandchildren found pictures that were special to them and wrote something to or about them. The kids loved making their own pages and it was special for all involved. We also included their wedding pictures and other treasured family photos. (08/07/2006)
Last October we celebrated our 50th. I had our original brides maids' bouquets duplicated for center pieces. In the center of each centerpiece, I used 8 x 4 inch diameter glass vases and inserted pictures from our wedding album that I copied on translucent paper. Then I used brite lite voltives (not real candles) to illuminate.
We had gold chargers, with white china, gold table cloth with white overlay and gold napkins. It was stunning. We also had our bakery duplicate our wedding cake. We displayed my wedding dress and his white dinner jacket. Also, we displayed albums covering our 25th, and 40th Anniversary, as well as framed pictures.
For favors I got gold Christmas tree ornaments and printed our names on ribbons (you can order that) and tied the ribbons to the ornaments and placed at each place setting. We had a friend record all of our 50s music and used that for our dance music played by our DJ. (01/26/2008)
My grandparents are celebrating their 50th this year in September. Since they were married in 1958, we are throwing them a 50's themed party. Everyone will be dressed up from that era and we are even renting a car from back then to have them show up in. (02/05/2008)
By Jessica B.
In lieu of a gift, the family is spending the weekend together at the same place we celebrated my grandparents' 50th. On a smaller note, I'm having The White House send a card and I'm also buying disposable cameras for all 7 grandchildren (ages 6-14) to commemorate the event.
I read this tidbit and loved it. "I am the only daughter with 3 brothers and so I am starting now to get ahead for my brothers can't think past the day they are on." So true. (05/28/2008)
We are having a DVD made of their dating pictures, wedding, and family pictures of special events in everyone's lives up to a most current picture with 50's music in the background. I would like to know how you get note from the "Whitehouse" that would be really cool. Does anyone know? (07/07/2008)
By Mary B.
My parents are getting ready to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary in a few short months. While my siblings and I would like to have a party for them, we're all strapped for cash.