Table at The 228 with a bouquet on one side and a lantern on the other with a cake in the middle. Cake has a 30 on top and is decorated with birch look frosting with initials carved in a heart.

Wedding anniversary parties typically get planned once a couple reaches 25 years or more of wedding bliss. Some people hold parties on earlier anniversaries, such as the 10th, 15th, or 20th. With the high rates of divorce in the U.S., staying married this long merits a celebration. If it’s worth throwing an anniversary party, it’s worth doing it well. Keep the following things in mind when you plan the bash.

Start With a Budget

As with any event, start by creating a budget to keep spending from getting out of control. The budget affects other aspects of planning, such as the location you choose and the guest list. You may need to compromise to stick to the budget set.

Decide on a Guest List

People typically invite close friends and family members to these parties. In particular, consider the friends who took part in the wedding or have known the couple for many years. Decide whether to include children, as this affects the budget, planning, and details necessary for the invitation.

Set the Date

An anniversary party usually takes place on the anniversary itself or the weekend before or after that date. However, sometimes schedules necessitate holding it further away from the anniversary date. Avoid scheduling the party on a holiday, which increases expenses and makes it harder for some guests to attend.

Choose a Venue

A small informal party may take place in the home of the couple or a family member. A larger or more formal event may require the rental of an event space, restaurant, or other location. Make reservations early to ensure you get the date desired. The venue may recommend other vendors, such as a caterer, DJ, band, or photographer to make planning easier.

Consider Having a Theme

Setting a theme simplifies the overall planning because it gives a good starting point for deciding on everything from the food to the décor. Some popular themes include barbeques, luaus, a certain decade (perhaps the one during which the couple got married), or a fiesta. Choosing something the couple loves as the theme, such as a particular place or activity, also works.

Send Out Invitations

For a more informal event, consider sending online invitations or inviting people by phone. For a more formal event, print out and mail invitations. Note whether the invitation includes children or plus-ones, any dress code, and any wishes of the couple regarding presents. You can request people not bring presents or donate to charity instead of bringing presents. Send out invitations at least a few weeks in advance.

Include Traditional Elements

Use the colors from the couple’s wedding and a recreation of their wedding cake, or use the colors or flowers associated with that anniversary year. For example, for a 25-year anniversary, the color (and traditional gift) is silver, and the flower is an iris. There are both modern and traditional versions of the lists of gifts, colors, and gems associated with anniversaries. You have a few options to choose from.

Decide on the Menu

Hiring a caterer or holding the event in a restaurant means that the host can better enjoy the party. Take into account the theme, the event type, and the likes and dislikes of the couple when setting the menu. Include dishes to suit people with dietary restrictions, such as something gluten-free and something vegetarian. Decide whether you want a more formal sit-down meal, a buffet, or passed appetizers.

Purchase, Rent, or Make Decorations and Favors

If allowed by the venue, decorate to suit the theme. Perhaps include pictures of the couple taken throughout the years of their marriage. Favors make a nice touch if they fit within the budget, especially if many people have to travel to attend the anniversary party.

Decide on the Entertainment

This includes anything from a slideshow of pictures of the couple and their family, outdoor games, dancing, icebreaker games, or karaoke. Whatever best suits the type of anniversary party and the wishes of the couple. Sometimes people request guests submit a memory or a photo with the couple to help create a slideshow or memory book as a keepsake.

Plan for Documenting the Anniversary Party

You’ll want to document the anniversary party for the happy couple. Have a videographer or a photographer on hand to record the event. Setting up a shared hashtag for the guests to use when posting makes it easier to gather up some good pictures to use to make a souvenir for the couple.

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