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about :: wedding invitation etiquette | wedding invitation trends | weddings and budgets | wedding decoration ideas

How to Plan the Perfect Anniversary Party

Anniversaries are always worth celebrating, whether it's the happy couple's 1st or 50th. An anniversary is the perfect moment to celebrate the couple, their achievement, and the friends and family they've inspired by their relationship. It may seem illogical to celebrate an anniversary with multitudes of friends and family, but a significant partnership is truly meaningful in the lives of your loved ones, and they'll definitely want to be involved in your special day! If you're hoping to host an anniversary party for a special couple in your life, read on for step-by-step advice on how to host a great event, complete with plenty of tips and advice on anniversary party themes, invitations, décor, and etiquette.

How to Host an Anniversary Party Step 1: Pick a Date and Location

After you've made the decision to host a special anniversary gathering, follow these steps to secure the two most crucial details: date and location.

  1. Set the date
    Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to host an anniversary party on the anniversary itself. In fact, you may be interfering with the couple's personal plans for the date. Check with the honorees first for what works best for them, and then proceed to choose a convenient time and date for the majority of guests. For example, if the anniversary falls on a Monday, you may choose a convenient time the weekend before to host an event that won't fall on a busy weeknight.
  2. Choose a Location
    The location you choose should, first and foremost, be convenient for the couple in question. The event doesn't have to be held across the street from their house, but it should be hosted at a reasonably convenient location. A private home is ideal, but if none is available a favorite bar, restaurant, church, club or other preferred venue are all great choices. If you're at a loss and not planning a surprise party, ask the couple for their input!

Step 2: Pick a Theme

You might assume the anniversary is a theme in itself, but even anniversary celebrations can use a coordinating theme! If you're hosting a ruby, silver, or gold anniversary party, your theme is set. If not, read on for our favorite anniversary party themes!

20th Anniversary Art Deco Themed Party Invitation
  • Decades. Whether you're celebrating a couple who got married in the 50's, 70's or 90's, a decade-themed anniversary party adds the perfect touch of nostalgia. Match your décor and entertainment to the time period, and create a playlist of the decade's most popular tunes. The couple of honor will appreciate the throwback!
  • Famous Couples. Particularly if you're hosting an event for lots of other couples, a "famous couples" theme could be the perfect idea to get the party started. Everyone will love it when Barbie and Ken or Mr. and Mrs. Claus show up!
  • Luau/Island theme. This is the perfect solution for a laid-back and outdoorsy couple. The invites, drinks and décor are perfectly streamlined, and encouraging guests to come in costume will surely create a few memories. If the anniversary falls in the summer or the couple in question wed or honeymooned somewhere tropical, this theme's a no-brainer!
  • Picnic/Potluck theme. This thoughtful theme is perfect for warm weather, and really creates an open, friendly and casual vibe. You might consider this theme if you're planning on hosting a large or outdoor celebration, or if your honorees have lots of foodie friends!
  • Vow Renewal. If this special anniversary includes a vow renewal, there's really no need for an extra theme. Base your décor on the couple's wedding, or just add a few decorative touches to the renewal altar and venue.
  • Holiday Party. If the special anniversary falls near a holiday, celebrate the season and incorporate the holiday as your celebration's theme.

Step 3: Send out Invitations

Anniversary party invitations should reflect the personalities of the couple, the significance of the occasion, and the theme of the party itself. With so much to plan for, it's easy to get overwhelmed! Choose a style you think accurately represents these three aspects of your celebration, and make sure to customize your invites as much as possible. No two marriages are alike, and the same is true for anniversaries! Once you've chosen and customized your personalized anniversary party invitations, make sure you include these two details:

gray and white silver themed anniversary formal party invitations
  1. Include RSVP Information
    Unless you're planning a super-casual gathering, RSVP's are necessary to know to accurately plan food, drinks and entertainment.
  2. Make Gifting Requirements Clear
    The etiquette on gift-giving at anniversary parties is not always clear, so help your guests out and make sure to include “No gifts, please” on your invitation. If that's not your intention, be prepared to answer questions about gifts as the RSVP's come in!
  3. Include the Anniversary Year
    Although you expect your guests to know, it's a courtesy to remind everyone what year the couple is celebrating on the invitation. For example, instead of requesting guests “Come celebrate Jack and Angie's anniversary,” use “Come celebrate Jack and Angie's 10th anniversary!” Customize your invites and avoid any confusion.

Step 4: Plan Décor and Entertainment

Décor and entertainment for anniversary parties depends on the personality and comfort levels of the couple celebrating. If your honorees love to entertain and can't wait to celebrate in style, plan to elaborate décor and plenty of entertainment, both matched to your chosen theme. If the couple in question is more low-key, stick with the basics and don't overthink the entertainment. See below for a list of our favorite anniversary party décor and entertainment ideas!

50th anniversary invitation with old black and white photograph
  • Order a replica wedding cake to display.
  • Match your décor to the couple's wedding colors.
  • Gift the bride a replica of her wedding bouquet.
  • Display the couple's wedding album for guests to peruse, and consider including a recent snapshot as a fun comparison.
  • Create a game of trivia about the honorees and offer a fun prize for the winner!
  • Create a video tribute to display at the event.
  • Compose a playlist of musical throwbacks to entertain and inspire nostalgia.
  • Create a custom anniversary party guestbook, which doubles as décor and a gift to the happy couple!

Anniversary Party Etiquette

Proper etiquette for anniversary parties is not completely clear. Because every couple, anniversary and celebration is different, there's only a few rules to follow.

If you're hosting a surprise party, cover your bases! Be sure to check with someone close to the couple to make sure you're not interfering with any private anniversary plans.

Is a destination event appropriate for an anniversary party? The answer is yes, if you inform your guests and gather RSVP's beforehand. If your honorees want to do something fun and adventurous for their special day, create the guest list and secure RSVP's before making plans. Once you're down to a smaller, committed group, the destination plans will come more easily.

Check your guest list. If you're not hosting a surprise party, check the guest list with the couple before sending out invites. They'll definitely have a few ideas!

Is it appropriate to create a gift registry? Proper etiquette says no, registries should be kept unique to weddings and left out of anniversary situations. Of course, it's completely up to you, but anniversary parties are usually about celebrating the couple and their relationship, and not about gift giving.

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