When you’re trying to work out how to plan an anniversary party for your parents, it can feel pretty overwhelming to look at everything you need to do before the big day. It’s important to break the planning stage down into manageable tasks so that you don’t get stuck in the details on one thing and forget about another important piece of the puzzle.
Rather than try to tackle everything at once, it’s best to start as early as you reasonably can and get things locked down bit by bit. Creating a budget and guest list right off the starting line is also a great idea as it will help keep you on track with later decisions.
When it comes to how to plan an anniversary party for your parents, a lot of the choices and details will have to come down to your knowledge of your parents and what they enjoy. Like, you probably wouldn’t pick an Italian food restaurant as a venue if your parents are health nuts who eat very lightly. The same logic applies to everything in the planning stage.
Create a Budget and Guest List
The first step to take in not getting overwhelmed is usually to list everything out. Throw all your ideas at a wall — or preferably at a sheet of paper, whether physical or digital — and see what sticks. Once you’ve gotten it all out of your head and have calmed down, it’s time to start going back through the list and organizing it.
One of the first things you should do when planning any kind of big event is to create a reasonable budget and a list of likely guests. Not only will this help keep you on track financially throughout the planning process, but it will also help make your other major decisions such as the venue a little easier.
Creating a basic budget might seem daunting, but it can look as simple as a list of ideas which you then go and price before deciding on the best option. This stage of the planning process is all about rough ideas and finding the best way forward for everyone involved. What gives you the best value? What’s more expensive than you anticipated? What’s looking more and more like the best option the more you look around?
A guest list can look as simple as a list of all your closest friends written on a napkin and kept in a folder along with the rest of your planning documents. There’s no need to over-stress about these things; just do the best you can with the information you have and work diligently. Having even a rough idea of how many people are likely to show up to the party will help you make later decisions about things like catering and location.
Choose a Venue
Once you know the basic size of the group and have a rough idea of your budget, you can narrow down your options until you’ve found the best one. Ceremony event hall venues can range from the extremely formal to the extremely laid-back, so take some time to really consider all the options you have in your local area. If your parents are the type to enjoy the symphony and ballroom dancing, look for a more elegant venue to celebrate those aspects. If they’re more apt to chill at the bar and watch hockey, a more laid-back place will probably be more comfortable.
The overall aesthetics of the venue should be a good match for not only your parents, but the size of the party you’re planning on having. If you’re looking to celebrate outside to avoid anyone feeling cramped, looking into how a place keeps up with its lawn care is a great idea.
Book a DJ or Band
Wondering how to plan an anniversary party for your parents? Music is a wonderful way to not only set a festive mood for the party guests but also bring your parents back in time to when they were younger and first fell in love. Make a playlist that fits the kind of mood you want and contains your parents’ favorite songs. This will also help you visualize other aspects of the party, like the venue and general mood, which can help you make decisions in other areas of planning.
Bands and DJs often book months in advance, so this should be one of the first things you begin looking for. You can check with your local area’s Facebook groups and ask around to find someone reliable and skilled as a DJ, but locating a live band will likely be a bit tougher. If there’s a local band you know your parents enjoy, check with them to see what their schedule is like. If this isn’t feasible, start looking into local skilled cover bands and get a feel for their sound by checking out their social media, which will often have clips available.
Hire a Caterer
What’s a party without good food? When it comes to how to plan an anniversary party for your parents, food will likely be a centerpiece. You can go a step further in the experience and contract with a favorite restaurant to provide food for the party, giving your parents one more aspect that can transport them somewhere else in time. This is especially effective if your family has a standing favorite restaurant that you’ve been going to for years.
Whether this is a local seafood restaurant, an Italian food restaurant, or even a local vegan place will be highly individual, but if you’re not sure what to do, you can also look to your guest list for inspiration. Who all is likely to be there, and what are their diets like? Are there a lot of people with a certain dietary restriction, like Celiac disease, where they will require gluten-free foods? Considerations like these can really affect your choice of caterer, so it’s a good idea to start early and get a good overview of the guest list before making a final decision.
Upgrade Your Outdoor Space for the After-Party
The after-party can sometimes be the best part of an anniversary party, as it’s often the closest friends and family that stick around for it. Make it a memorable part of the evening by upgrading your outdoor space beforehand to create a cozy environment for guests to hang out in.
Depending on the space you have available, how you decorate will vary pretty widely, but as a general rule seating and lighting are two of the biggest things you need to consider. How many people will likely come to the after-party? What are their ages and states of health? Will they be comfortable on folding chairs or do they require softer seating?
Looking at outdoor living ideas for inspiration is a great place to start on this part of how to plan an anniversary party for your parents. Pinterest and magazines can be amazing sources of inspiration when it comes to how to arrange seating and build an atmosphere, no matter the size of your outdoor space.
Before you do too much detailed work, however, it’s a good idea to make sure your outdoor space is safe to be used for the after-party. This stage of planning can include things like filling in holes in the lawn, taking better care of the grass, and hiring a tree trimming service to cut back any branches that may be unsafe.
Clean Your Home and Prepare Rooms for Familial Guests
Cleaning your space and getting ready for the inevitable flow of guests after the party is a big part of how to plan an anniversary party for your parents. While it’s nice to be out having fun, there’s nothing quite like being home or at a family’s house, just relaxing and enjoying the company. Go through and give your home a deep cleaning in order to be as ready as possible for everyone. If you have family spending the night rather than making a long drive home, make sure you prepare the guest room for them beforehand so that no one has to do it later when they’re already tired and wanting to go to bed themselves.
This part of how to plan an anniversary party for your parents may also spur you into getting some much-needed maintenance done on your home. For example, hiring an electrician to check out flickering lights or make sure you won’t blow a breaker by having too many things running at once with so many people in the house. Another thing you may want to have checked is your home’s plumbing, especially if you live in an older house with older pipes. In general, a residential plumbing service probably won’t want to do any last-minute inspections that aren’t emergencies, so it’s best to check with them early on if you feel the need to.
Arrange Childcare for Family Members With Small Children
This is an often overlooked part of how to plan an anniversary part for your parents. While it isn’t technically your responsibility to look after other people’s children, it is a nice gesture to at least vet the options they have for childcare if you’re going to ask them to a party that will likely run late.
If the children are a bit older, you can also invite them as well, especially if the family will be staying the night either at your home or in the local area before heading back themselves. If you do decide to go their route, make sure there’s nothing easily accessible in your home and nothing in your yard that could be a hazard to a young child. This includes issues with the fencing that may cause splinters or provide an easy escape. Fencing services are often relatively inexpensive unless some kind of major repair is needed, so it’s a good idea to contact them well before the party if you have any concerns about your fencing.
Decorate With Heartfelt Pictures and Family Memorabilia
This is where the personal touches really begin to stand out. One thing about how to plan an anniversary party for your parents: it should obviously be for your parents. These final touches make it clear that they’re the stars of the evening and celebrate the life they’ve built together and all the adventures they’ve had. You can make this clear by decorating the venue and a bit around your home with carefully chosen photos highlighting important moments and other bits of family memorabilia that will prompt stories and reminiscing.
Depending on your parents’ ages and how many years they’ve been married, you can choose decorations that remind them of a certain era or a certain chapter in their lives together. Just remember to keep things light overall — it’s meant to be fun!
Pamper Yourself the Day Before to De-Stress
Yes, this party should be for and about your parents, but you matter as well. Schedule an extra day just for yourself so you don’t spend the entire day before the party worrying if everything is going to go well. Do what you enjoy and what makes you feel in control of your time and circumstances — curl up with some tea and a good book, go to the spa, even go to the dentist for teeth cleaning if that’s what you want to do. The party is for your parents, but the day before is entirely yours.
So, we sincerely hope this helped you figure out how to plan an anniversary party for your parents. Everyone’s family is a little different, so take what we outlined here as just that — an outline. If your family is super into baking or sports, you can absolutely run with that as well. As long as you make a heartfelt effort to celebrate your parents, their marriage, and all the amazing things your family has done together, you’ll be just fine!