Planning a 50th Anniversary Party

Planning a 50th wedding anniversary celebration is an exciting undertaking. This event marks a milestone commitment between two people—the “golden anniversary” of a couple’s marriage. Though there is much to keep in mind throughout the 50th anniversary party planning process, there’s no need to feel overwhelmed. Make planning a 50th anniversary party easy by following these helpful tips. Remember that as long as you focus on the couple’s happiness, you’ll have a great time planning a 50th wedding anniversary.

Read on for the average cost, 50th wedding anniversary party tips, entertainment ideas, and more.

  • Plan ahead: The key to 50th anniversary party planning is to clear your head and get organized. Give yourself time to plan all the details. Start thinking about when it’s going to be, what the budget is, etc. well in advance. This way, you can remain organized throughout the 50th anniversary party planning process.

  • Average cost: 50th anniversary party planners should take into account the number of people likely to attend, the party location, the type of food served, and entertainment  when coming up with a budget. In general, catering a party for 50 guests or more is approximately $20-$40 per person. Don't want to host at home? While convenient, restaurants will likely cost more when you take into account venue rental rates of $100 to $500 per hour and inflated liquor prices. Entertainment such as a DJ will cost on average $400 for four hours

  • Get organized: Go to your local office supply or convenience store and grab a couple of folders (or a multi-pocket folder) to maintain order while planning a 50th anniversary party. You’ll likely get many packets and information sheets when meeting with venue coordinators, vendors, etc. Get a folder for each component of your party (i.e. “entertainment”) to help you stay prepared.

  • Make decisions: Big or small, surprise or not—the first thing you should do is envision the kind of 50th anniversary party that you plan to have. This way, you can estimate approximately how much time will be involved in planning it. Don’t try to figure out all of the details right away—that is unnecessary and far too overwhelming. However, it is a good idea to come up with an initial checklist of things to do and get (that you can conveniently file away in your folder). As you figure out the details, you can add to or subtract from this list.

  • Draft a guest list: Be sure to invite family and close friends as well as friends whom you haven’t seen in a long time or who live far away. When planning someone else’s party, make sure to invite whoever they would want to be there. If you are planning a sit-down dinner, it’s a good idea to assign seats. This way, people who have not seen each other for a long time will have the opportunity to catch up. It’s also a good idea to determine who you want to invite far in advance so that you can fix a date that works for as many guests as possible. Of course, you won’t have to send out invitations until later, but you should begin to spread the word or send out save-the-dates.

  • Determine a date: You might think that the date should be on the actual anniversary, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, if you are planning someone else’s 50th anniversary party, keep in mind that the couple will probably make their own plans for the actual day. So, if you are trying to keep the celebration a surprise, the day of the anniversary is probably not a good idea. What’s more important is that the date is convenient for guests, because the more guests attend, the more fun the event will be. Weekends are usually better for people, especially if they will have to travel in order to attend. Stay away from holiday weekends, though, as people usually plan vacations far in advance on these days.

  • Pick a venue: This should be somewhere important to the couple. This could be the park where they first met, a restaurant they frequent, or the place they got married. Wherever you choose, just make sure that it accommodates your guest list. Find out what kinds of services the venue offers. Many times, venues will be able to make or suggest places to buy food, book entertainment, etc. which can make your job much easier.

  • Entertainment: Musical entertainment is definitely a good idea and you should decide whether you want to hire a DJ or a band. If you hire a DJ, make sure he or she has a good selection of music. It would be a good idea to brainstorm a list of songs ahead of time that you will definitely want to have played, like the couple’s wedding song. Send this to the DJ before the event to make sure he or she is prepared to play those songs. If you hire a band, think to book one that can play many songs. Usually, it’s a good idea to hire a band that will take requests rather than one that only plays its own songs, unless the band is a favorite of the couple’s. Other than music, feel free to hire other entertainers like photographers, caricature artists, etc.

  • Vendors: You’ll need to find vendors for things like cake, decorations, favors, etc. The key here is reliability, as you want to make sure everything will be ready in time for the day. It’s a good idea to work off of referrals. To do this, browse local vendors on Punchbowl, then reach out to vendors and ask for references you can contact.

  • Invitations: Make sure you plan your invitations well in advance of the date of the celebration. If you want to save time and paper, opt for online anniversary invitations you can send via text or email.
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This list will get you started in your 50th anniversary party planning and will hopefully help make the preparation as smooth as possible.
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