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How to Plan an Anniversary Party

Anniversary Party Overview

Anniversary parties are special because they bring back fond memories of a couple’s special day. It is also a celebration of the couple’s enduring commitment and love to each other. Commemorate this special occasion by celebrating it with relatives and friends by holding an anniversary party.

While most people keep their anniversary celebrations within family members or between them, those who love to party will often invite close friends to commemorate the event.

Pre-planning: A month before the party

It’s easier to plan a party if you have a guide to help you through the things you need to do. Even if it’s just a simple event, having a plan makes it easier.

  1. When is the party? Weekends are usually best to hold the party.
  2. Where will you celebrate? Your anniversary party should turn out that way you want it to be, whether that means a simple yet fun get together in your home, or a more elegant affair in a function room of a hotel or restaurant.
  3. Who do you invite? It depends on what kind of party you are having. If you want an intimate family gathering then immediate family members and close relatives should be on your guest list. If you’re having a big bash, then you can widen the circle to include close friends and other relatives.
  4. How much do you spend? To avoid spending more than you can handle, set aside funds for the party and plan how or where you spend it.

Tips for Planning an Awesome Anniversary Party

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 on 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.

Pick a Location

Choosing a location to host the anniversary party really depends on a few details such as, are you having a daytime or evening celebration, will it be a formal or an informal occasion, how many guests have you invited? Once you’ve answered those questions it’ll make it a lot easier to come to a decision on the venue. For a small get-together then you have the option to host the party at the couple’s house or another member of the family’s. If you can rely on the weather, an outdoors get-together maybe in the park or a garden could be a lovely touch. It’ll feel more personal but also keep costs down too.

On the other hand, if you’re planning to go all out for this big occasion then you may want to consider renting a larger venue i.e. country club lounge, hotel, church hall or restaurant.  Either of these would work well but just make sure to book the venue out sooner rather than late to avoid disappointment.

Choose a Theme

Now this is where the fun part begins, choosing a theme! Generally, you want the theme to be fun and reflect the couple you’re celebrating and/or the type of occasion you’re hosting. For formal occasions there is normally a colour-based theme in place to ensure the anniversary party decorations match and everything looks cohesive. Whereas, for casual parties you don’t need to worry too much about sticking to a strict theme. You’ll have a little more freedom to choose a range of anniversary party decorations within your theme, for example a rustic anniversary party or a floral anniversary party.

Another popular choice when deciding on the décor is to build the theme around the couple’s wedding anniversary symbol. For instance, the symbol and colour for a 40th Wedding Anniversary is Ruby, so you can expect majority of the décor including tableware to be red. The theme will also influence the anniversary gifts people buy, so keep this in mind.

Send Out Anniversary Party Invitations

Once you’ve organized your guest list and chosen an invitation design, you should send out anniversary party invitations 6 to 8 weeks before the anniversary date, especially if the party is formal. However, if you know your date far enough in advance, you can send save the dates to give loved ones who live far away earlier notice. It’s also important to list the date for the RSVP deadline on the invitation, so you can adjust your budget and buy the right of amount of food and drinks. You’ll also want to list any relevant information such as the dress code so attendees are prepared. For guests, your party invitations are an introduction on what to expect at your celebration.

Plan Out Food And Drinks

One of the most important steps in planning your anniversary party is keeping your guests full and happy! When it comes to food and drinks, set a budget before you head to the grocery store or consult with a catering company so you can keep track of how much you’re spending. If you’re hosting a small crowd, you may want to consider cooking and opting for a buffet style set-up. However, if you’re hosting a large crowd of more than 30 guests or so, you should have the anniversary party catered to avoid the stress of having to cook for such a large party. You can hire a local caterer or family friend to cook if you’re working with a small budget, or you can go with a larger catering company if your budget permits. You’ll also want to set aside budget for a themed anniversary cake to honor the happy couple. Whether you decide to cook or have the anniversary party catered, remember to provide a variety of appetizers, cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages, along with a vegetarian option.

Schedule entertainment

Anniversaries are a time to celebrate! Pick a DJ or band that reflects your tastes, but that can be appreciated by the majority of your guests. Include a personalized playlist of those songs that mean the most to you and have the entertainer use that as a guideline to play off of.  This is your event, and with digital technology making every song available, there’s no reason you can’t include all of your favorite jams. 

Pick a personal photographer
Unlike weddings that can bring together families who maybe didn’t know each other well, an anniversary event often feels more intimate. Thus, the special relationships being celebrated may be best captured by someone who knows both the happy couple and their loved ones. While a professional photographer is recommended, choosing one that you know personally will likely make them more comfortable interacting with guests and capturing more of those candid moments that come from being part of the guest list and not just a third-party vendor. 

Toast to the future
Unlike your wedding, you don’t need to allow for friends and relatives to give their hot take on your partnership. Settle on a short and sweet speech from each member of the happy partnership to talk about their relationship journey and thank the attendees. The most important rule for an anniversary celebration is that it represents your union. It’s your celebration, and — just like with your wedding — it matters that your plans reflect your values and the life you share together.