A program is a printed list of the events and prominent players in your celebration activities. For a formal party, it is not necessary to have a program printed; however, if you have a number of events within the celebration, it can help the flow of the party. The program could have a photo of the couple on their original wedding day printed upon it. In addition to the listing of the events, the program can also contain the history of the couple’s marriage (makes for a unique favor). You could also include the couple’s children (and grandchildren) and their birth dates as a useful keepsake. As an alternative if available, you could include a list of the original attendees at the wedding.
To decorate for a wedding anniversary, choose a color scheme that works well for your setting or your theme. You could decorate with big numbers—made of paper, cardboard or other materials—for whatever the year of celebration is. You could display mementos and photos from the year the honorees got married. Old bikes, toys, and clothing are just examples. If you can find a car manufactured that year, that is an excellent focal point either inside or parked outside the building. Blow up photos of the couple or of news events or celebrities from that year to display. Personalize your table decorations to your guests of honor. For example, one table could display the bride’s cheerleading pom-poms from when they met, and another table could have the groom’s baseball glove from his college years.
Create place cards for your tables. If the group is small and well connected, make copies of old photos of each guest with the honorees. Adhere them to a heavy cardboard “tent. ” Let the guests find their seats by locating the old photos of them. Use items that are appropriate to the traditional theme for that anniversary year. For example, decorate with wooden items for the fifth anniversary or crystal centerpieces and serving pieces for the fifteenth.
Decorations need not be elaborate, but the twenty-fifth anniversary party usually feature white and silver ornaments and flowers, and the fiftieth, gold (or yellow) and white. Flowers make the loveliest decoration of all, and the “bride” should always be presented with a corsage.
One of the distinguishing features of an anniversary party is the receiving line. The couple usually stands near the door and greets the guests. Their children may join them in the line, and if the party is given by someone else, that person always heads the line as hostess. Older couples who tire easily, or who may not be well, may be seated in a central spot—in front of the fireplace, for example. The guests, after greeting the hostess near the door, move on to find the honorees to offer their congratulations.
The dining table can be as much like the bridal table at the couple’s wedding reception as possible. The “bride and groom” sit together at the center of a long table or in the places facing the guests if the table is a round one. The bridesmaids and ushers, if any are present, are seated next to them; their husbands or wives are also included at the table. The couple’s children are seated with them, the oldest son on the “bride’s” right and the oldest daughter on the “groom’s” left. Their husbands and wives, their older children, and brothers and sisters of the couple are arranged as desired. When the party is given by a married son or daughter of the anniversary couple, the host and hostess sit at either end of the table, or at a round table, opposite the bride and groom. But the couple always sits together, rather than having the bride sit on the host’s right and the groom on the hostess’s right as would other guests of honor.
Your food options for an anniversary party are limitless! You can have an extravagant, sit-down dinner, or simple appetizers and drinks. The choice is really up to you and your budget. The refreshments also depend on the type of party being given. If it is a meal—a luncheon or a dinner—the hostess simply chooses whatever menu she thinks will please the couple and the guests most. Since some later anniversaries attempt to recreate the wedding day to a degree, the food might be the same as was served as the original reception.
If you are going with a theme party, choose foods that fit that theme. For instance, if you are throwing a western party, make ribs, burgers, beans, coleslaw, and other “cook-out” foods. If the party is a cocktail party, hors d’oeuvres are served, and a wedding cake may be cut and passed with a round of champagne for toasting the couple before the guests leave. You may want to consider replicating the couple’s original wedding cake. Many brides keep their cake toppers, so be sure to ask if you can borrow that.
At an afternoon reception or an open house, the menu varies according to the formality of the party and the pocketbook of the host and the hostess. The refreshments may consist of sandwiches, snacks and punch, or a complete buffet—cold ham, turkey, sliced fillet of beef, and chafing dishes filled with hot snacks or hors d’oeuvres. Whatever the other food, as close a replica of the couple’s wedding cake as can be made is often a feature of the menu.
Drinks may range from tea and coffee at an afternoon reception to wine, champagne or mixed drinks at any evening affair. Soft drinks should always be available for those who prefer them. Punch made with or without liquor is often served at open houses or other daytime parties. When the family does not object to alcoholic beverages, a glass of champagne is the traditional drink for toasts—at any hour of the afternoon or evening. Otherwise, the toasts may be made with punch or whatever drinks are available.
If you would like to give out keepsakes to your guests, these items might be appropriate: a CD containing music from the decade of the honorees’ marriage or their favorites; a small champagne bottle or champagne bubbles tied with a thank-you label from the couple, or a framed photo/ photo CD/ photo booklet or album with a special picture of the couple or those that show them through the years.
Your anniversary party for those two special people should be memorable for them as well as all the guests who care about them. Enjoy!
Check out the ideas in Anniversary Party Planning Part 1 so you will be thoroughly prepared to make your party a great one!