25th and 50th Anniversary Party Ideas

50th wedding anniversary celebration image

Coming up with anniversary party ideas is the fun part. There are always more details—and especially those last-minute ones—than you ever thought were possible. Even if you're already behind schedule, this information will help you organize a fabulous party that will always be cherished.

The 25th (silver) and 50th (gold) anniversaries are the usual milestone years for which big anniversary parties are planned. Other milestone anniversary years can be celebrated by a dinner party with family and close friends.

Your Party Idea Vs. Theirs

What type of party would they prefer? Let them know what your plans are for their anniversary party and find out what they really want. You may be surprised, a couple who is usually casual may be fantasizing about something more formal (as long as they don't have to plan it). Give them a few days if necessary to come up with what they want.

Read these party stories from children who threw an anniversary party for their parents for more ideas.

Jump to Party Gift Ideas | Anniversary Party Supplies

  • Anniversary party theme ideas: if they love golfing, start off the anniversary party with a short round of golf and finish off the celebration at the club restaurant. If they love cruises, host the party on a yacht or at a restaurant with a nautical theme. If possible, have the family chip in for a romantic cruise.
  • Check our romantic getaway vacation for travel gift ideas.
  • Another anniversary idea is to plan a special gift around their hobby or activity. Find out if they want a something special, such as a weekend seminar, go to a music festival or take private lessons from an expert. Give a gift that's unique to them.
  • Treat them to a favorite concert, show or sporting event. Make it a family affair! Depending on the time of the event, plan a casual pre- or post-event party at home.
  • Do they love music and dancing? Most people do, but if not, honor their wishes. If this will be a small event, a classical guitarist, a pianist or a "one-man" band can provide enough musical entertainment.
  • An anniversary party idea can be as casual as a BBQ, made special by hiring a professional chef and serving staff. Rent a tent, and combine the outdoors with an elegant sit-down dinner.
  • If you're a DIY crafts-type person and the couple has a humorous side, print out photos of them throughout the years using letter-size card stock, print a year if possible, and glue a balsa wood stick behind it. The guests hold these mini-posters up as the couple walks into the party room. Imagine their surprise looking at a room full of memories.
  • Another DIY idea is to buy plain t-shirts in bulk and iron-on transfers. Print their photo, their names, anniversary date or appropriate clip art and iron on the t-shirts. Everyone can throw on a t-shirt before the couple walks in. What a great group photo shot! These make one-of-a-kind anniversary party favors.
  • If they're the fun-loving type, consider the idea of a surprise anniversary party. Tell them they're going to someone else's birthday, bon voyage or retirement party. Then they'll already be dressed up and in a party mood.

No matter what anniversary party idea you dream up—give yourself plenty of organizing time, a minimum of 2–3 months. If you want hand-made invitations, allow at least 3–4 months in advance. If you want to book a venue or have your anniversary party catered, allow 3–5 months in advance, even more if the date falls around winter holidays or spring and early summer, when many weddings or holiday parties are planned and popular places are booked well in advance.

Create Overall Party Idea List

Write down all of your ideas and see the big party picture before worrying about the details.

  • When do I set the date? Plan your anniversary party for the nearest weekend or at least within a month of their anniversary date. Check with the couple and family before setting the final date.
  • How many people and who to invite? Make up your list and check with the couple to make that sure special friends are invited. Send out a Save the Date card so that people who need to travel have enough time to book plane flights in advance.
  • What is your budget? Are you hosting this solo or can family members or friends help out? If a family member volunteers to arrange flowers, that cost will be lowered as you can purchase flowers in bulk. However, can you count on this person to show up on time?
  • Where will the anniversary party be held? Open house at your home, a local hall or restaurant?
  • What type of anniversary party do you want to host? Formal or casual? Is there a theme? A sit down or a buffet style dinner? Do you need a caterer? Will there be a cocktail hour? Do you need entertainment? More party entertainment ideas here.
  • What type of wedding anniversary gift to give them? Traditional or unique gift ideas? Is there a big-ticket item, such as a cruise or a gift that they wouldn't splurge on themselves, a valuable collectible or art work?
  • Have guests can make a cash donation. Arrange to collect the donations, make the gift purchase and have everyone who donated sign the card (print a letter-size card on decorative paper, which has more room for signatures). No mention should be made of individual donation size.

25th, 40th & 50th Milestone Anniversary Gift Ideas

  • Couples celebrating 25th, 40th and 50th anniversary years often don't want gifts. Would they prefer a donation to their favorite charity instead? If so, state this on the invitation. A gift to your parents that commemorates their years together is appropriate, perhaps a scrapbook of family pictures customized with their names and wedding date or anniversary year on the cover.
  • Personalized gifts for couples, especially appropriate to give at an anniversary party.
  • Keepsake anniversary gifts, such as a personalized photo quilt or pillow or photo frames and albums.
  • More 25th wedding anniversary, 40th anniversary, and 50th golden anniversary gift ideas.

  • Do they love to cook? Hire a personal chef to give a lesson! Check with local schools that offer cooking courses or ask your favorite restaurant for a chef referral. Or find one in this directory of personal chefs throughout the U.S. Give them a "Recipe for a Happy Marriage" or a "Cookin' Up Love" apron set from our personalized apparel gifts.
  • Restore their wedding photo and place it in a silver or gold frame. Or have a pencil sketch, oil painting or watercolor created from their wedding photo.
  • Do they play a sport? Pay for private lessons or a VIP membership at their favorite club.
  • What hobbies do they enjoy? Give them gift certificates to their favorite crafts or hobby store or tickets to a craft event. Present it in a themed keepsake box or unique handcrafted box.

Now that you have your basic anniversary party idea, you're ready to begin your master anniversary party plan.