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  • anniversary
  • Must-Know Anniversary Party Etiquette

    by LifeSong Milestones December 09, 2022 6 min read

    Must-Know Anniversary Party Etiquette - LifeSong Milestones

    Anniversary parties are a great way to honor a friend or loved one whose marriage has stood the test of time. Oftentimes, the children or family of the couple will host the party, while other times the couple will throw a party themselves. With proper anniversary party etiquette and planning, anyone can throw a memorable party commemorating the anniversary of a loved one.

    Anniversary Party Traditions/Decor

    Surprise Party


    Anniversary Gifts

    Party Invitations


    If You Don’t Want A Party Held In Your Honor

    Anniversary Party Traditions/Decor

    While any anniversary is a true cause for celebration, anniversary parties are often thrown to celebrate big milestones, such as the 5th, 10th, 25th, 50th, 60th, and 70th anniversaries. Most anniversary years are associated with traditional gifts, colors, and flowers. For example, the 25th wedding anniversary is denoted with the rare metal - silver, the color silver, and the iris flower. Silver represents success, while iris flowers symbolize faith, hope, wisdom, and promise. These symbols are something worth looking into when it comes to designing the invitation or buying the perfect anniversary gift. It is especially worth considering if you plan on throwing an anniversary party so you can coordinate with the proper colors and floral arrangements associated with that milestone.

    It is worth noting that you don’t have to stick to the designated anniversary theme or flower. You can think outside the box and tailor the event to the couple. For example, if the couple is laid back and loves the beach, consider a Luau Island Theme with seashells, wave decor, palm trees, beach music, and Pina Coladas with little umbrellas in them. You can coordinate your invitations with the beach theme and even encourage guests to come in costume.

    Whether you’re celebrating a couple who got married in the ’50s, ‘80s, or ’90s, a decade-themed anniversary party can add a delightful touch of nostalgia to any celebratory event. Easily match your decorations and music to the time period to bring the couple and their party guests back a few years.

    Perhaps they have a favorite movie or met at a concert. Whatever it is, consider the couple’s wants and let your imagination run wild.

    Surprise Party

    Surprise parties are common for milestone anniversaries but first consider the couple. Do they like surprise parties? Only if they do, then you can plan a surprise party. Do it in a way that won’t inconvenience or embarrass the couple or guests. You could arrange for the couple to show up properly dressed so that you don’t put them in an awkward situation. For example, if you host the party at the restaurant, let them know what the dress code is, but don’t tell them everyone else will be there. They will be surprised but feel like they fit in because they came dressed properly.


    First set a budget and stick to it. You can then determine the formality of the party, who to invite, where to host the party, the food, etc. Usually, guests should not have to pay for any part of the party, like their own meal.

    Know that gifts are typically not required of guests and should not usually be solicited. But in some areas, money trees or collections are common practice. Know that it is considered rude to solicit money openly or ask on an invitation. If you want to build a fund for a vacation or party, spread that information via word-of-mouth.

    If you are on a tight budget, there are respectful ways of getting guests to pay for themselves. For example, host a party in a restaurant if you plan to have your guests pay for their own meal. You can word your invitation in a way that lets them know they are invited to join in the celebration. Don’t forget to include a menu card from the restaurant that includes prices that you have agreed upon.

    Anniversary Gifts 

    If You Receive Gifts At An Anniversary Party - Know that gifts should be opened after the event, or in a private manner, out of respect for any guests who don't bring one. Always record who gave what, and send timely, handwritten thank-you notes.

    If You Are Invited To An Anniversary Party - If the invitation states, “No gifts,” then it is still perfectly acceptable for guests to bring a card. Often, if the invitation states “gifts accepted” or doesn’t say “No gifts,” then you can bring gifts. Browse LifeSong Milestones online store for memorable and personalized anniversary gifts. There are anniversary gifts for all milestones with a variety of customizable pieces sure to make your gift stand out from the crowd. Wedding anniversary picture frames are great ways to honor any couple. With the ability to hold a 4x6 photo and engraved with a lovely one-of-a-kind verse, this special keepsake will be cherished for years to come. For those celebrating their tenth wedding anniversary, the 10th-anniversary wood cross would make the perfect decorative piece in any room of their home.

    30th Anniversary Photo Frame - Our Life Together

    Personalized 10th Wedding Anniversary Cherry Wall Cross - Two Hearts

    Party Invitations

    Your anniversary party invitations are one of the most critical components of planning a successful party. Once you have decided where/how to host the special anniversary gathering, there are a few things you will want to include in the invitations.

    The Date Of The Party - Just because your anniversary is on a specific date, doesn’t mean your party has to be. If your anniversary falls on a Monday, why not host the anniversary party the weekend before? Your guests will appreciate that you scheduled your party on a weekend so they don’t have to wake up bright and early for work the next morning. Plus you could start the party early as most people won’t be at work on the weekend. If you consider the attendees' schedules, you’re likely to have more people willing to attend.

    The Location Of The Party - When it comes to deciding on a location to host your anniversary party, make sure you consider what is convenient for your guests. While the event doesn’t have to be across the street from your Uncle Joe’s house, it should be hosted at a reasonable location within reach of everyone.

    Invitation Design - Your anniversary party invitations should reflect the personalities of the couple being celebrated and the formality of the party. Formal parties should ideally have formally printed or engraved invites, similar to wedding invites. Informal invitations can be fill-in-the-blank or handwritten cards, and abbreviations are acceptable. For example, if Joan and Ron have been in a bowling league their entire 35 years of marriage, consider throwing a bowling-themed party in honor of their shared hobby. So on the invitations, you could incorporate bowling and the 35th-anniversary themes (ex. coral or jade), but you don't have to incorporate everything. Just pick and choose until you have a legible, exciting card.

    Mail The Invitations Early - Invitations should be sent out about six weeks in advance. But if guests are traveling from out of town or if the weekend coincides with a holiday, consider sending your invitations even earlier or including save-the-date cards.

    Include Any Special Instructions - If the party is a surprise party, then make a special note at the bottom. If it is a big party and you’d like people to RSVP, make sure you state so on the card or provide another letter they can mail back to RSVP with.


    Never gossip or air any “dirty laundry” at the event, as the party is to celebrate the union of the couple. Don’t say anything if you have nothing nice to say.

    Don’t talk solely about yourself. Remember, the conversation should make the couple feel like the star of the show IF they like to be the center of attention.

    Remember to relax. Things won’t always work out exactly as you planned. Just take a deep breath and do your best. The couple is sure to appreciate the effort you put into it.

    If You Don’t Want A Party Held In Your Honor

    SAY SOMETHING! If your children, parents, or friends are planning an incredible event in your honor, but you feel it's too much or are uncomfortable about it, gently tell them. You could tell them you prefer a more intimate celebration or would rather have it at home. If you don’t tell them what you want, then you will not have a good time, and they might be resentful of you because you aren’t enjoying yourself. They might feel like they wasted time and effort. Avoid a miserable experience by speaking up. Who knows, maybe during the talk, you will discover that you need to learn to be okay with receiving gifts. Or maybe you can let your family know that you just want a small celebration with the few people who matter most to you. Accept however you feel then act according to your truth. You can’t go wrong. Whatever serves your highest good, serves everyone’s highest good.

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