Plan Your Parents' Anniversary
Donna Reynolds Boyer
them so much, these wonderful people who gave birth to you and
raised you. Now they are on the verge of a significant wedding
anniversary – be it 25th, 50th or even more. You want to
make this day really special, but at the same time, give the celebration
personal touches. Here are some tips to help ensure a successful,
Setting a Budget
can do anything to prepare for the party, you must first determine
how much you can afford to spend. If you have siblings, arrange
a meeting to discuss the plan and figure out how much each person
is able to contribute. Some may be able to pitch in more than
others, but make sure that each of your siblings feels that he
or she is an important part of the event -- no matter how much
they can afford.
If you have
no siblings or other people who might be willing to help finance
the party, you must decide for yourself how much you are willing
to spend. Set a realistic budget; one that won’t create
undo stress. “Pad” your budget by 5 or 10 percent
for unexpected expenses.
Select a Site for the Party
have set a budget, you can then determine the location of the
party. First, consider how many people you want to include. If
you have a limited budget and want to include a lot of people,
consider having the party at your (or one of your siblings’)
have banquet facilities or private rooms that you can use without
additional cost. You can then either work with the catering manager
to determine a menu, or offer your guests a choice of several
in the family is a member of a private club, such as the Elks
or VFW, you might be able to have the party there. Perhaps your
parents enjoy an informal lifestyle and love the outdoors. Consider
a cookout or barbecue at a local park.
Be sure to
solicit input from everyone who is contributing to the party before
solidifying a location for the event. Create a list of the pros
and cons of each location, and also estimate the number of people
who could be invited depending on the chosen spot. Once you have
selected a location, call and reserve that spot if necessary.
Create a Guest List
If the party
is going to be a surprise, this can be challenging. However, your
parents can be aware of the fact that you are planning a party
without knowing the details. This makes it easier to come up with
a guest list.
Be sure to
include all of your relatives. Forgetting an aunt or cousin can
lead to hard feelings down the road! If your parents are still
working, ask them if there are people from work whom they would
like to invite. Invite the members of their wedding party and
the person who married them if he or she is still living. Don’t
forget the flower girl and ring bearer! Include close family friends
and other important people in your parent’s lives. This
should be a celebration of your parents’ marriage, and the
more people who are able to attend, the more special the event.
You can create
low-cost invitations on your computer using special software.
Or, if you are creative, design your own. Purchase special paper
and envelopes at an office supply store. The invitations should
be mailed at least a month prior to the event. It is also helpful
to include a self-addressed, stamped envelope for guests to RSVP.
If you are offering menu choices, also include that information
on the RSVP card.
If you prefer
that gifts not be brought, specify this on the invitation. You
might want to have guests donate to your parent’s church
or favorite charity. This should also be noted.
Use the invitation
to ask guests to provide either a photo or special memory of your
parents. Request that they send this to you at least a week prior
to the event so that you can assemble a memory book to present
to your parents at the party. Purchase a nice photo album or scrapbook,
and then put the items into the book as they are received. Note
the contributor of each item on the page.
that guests come prepared to offer little vignettes about your
parents – a special vacation, perhaps, or a good deed. These
types of testimonies can be used in place of toasts, and will
make the day special indeed.
Food and Beverages
If you are
utilizing the services of a professional – a caterer, restaurant,
or club – determine the menu based on your budget and the
number of people in attendance. If you are on a limited budget,
consider a buffet luncheon or mid-day tea, rather than a sit-down
dinner. Older people often prefer not to be out late at night,
and having the event in the daytime event will make it easier
for them to attend.
If you are
doing the party yourself, set up a menu that you will be able
to easily manage. Remember, your parents are going to appreciate
the fact that you have done this yourself, and if you are not
a gourmet chef, your efforts will be even more meaningful.
Start preparing food that can be frozen several weeks ahead, and
put together a schedule of when things need to be done. If you
have siblings, divide the work among them. Everyone has his or
her own strengths and weaknesses, and even the most inept person
can contribute, perhaps by doing the shopping.
If you are
having the party at a restaurant, confirm the reservation and
number of people a week before the party.
and executing a party can be stressful, but remember that these
are your parents, after all, and they will be thrilled at whatever
you do. Honoring them is what it’s all about and the memory
of that will linger long after all the details are forgotten.