The 50th Wedding Anniversary

If you are ever invited to a 50th wedding anniversary, you should go. It’s a rare event. Many modern marriages do not last five decades. And with modern couples marrying later, they will likely be in their 80s when their 50th anniversary finally arrives.

Like any wedding anniversary, a couple can celebrate quietly or with a crowd. For many couples’ 50th wedding anniversaries, their children or grandchildren may organize a tribute to them. The key is to focus on the couple. Even if the gathering will be the first time all of their offspring and offspring’s offspring are together at one event, all hearts and minds should be centered on the celebratory couple. After all, if it wasn’t for them, the remaining participants wouldn’t be around to join the celebration.

If you are planning a 50th wedding anniversary party, here are a few ideas to consider.

Recreate the Wedding Year

Research what was popular the year your celebratory couple was married, and throw a party that throws them back in time. On party invitations, let guests know about the theme so they can opt to dress the part. Pipe in music from the wedding year, serve foods that were popular then, and perhaps even locate party favors that help guests set the mood. To help narrow down your hunt, talk with people who knew the couple 50 years ago, and ask what musicians, foods, and drinks the couple most liked around the time they were married.

50 Friends for 50 Years

Throw a 50th anniversary party for the couple and keep the guest list a secret. Locate and invite 50 friends they have not seen in years, perhaps those that have moved away. If gathering the 50 friends is difficult, consider gathering photos (then and now) of the friend as well as a brief story or letter from each friend. Then the letters and photos can be presented to the couple on their 50th wedding anniversary. This is especially nice if the couple has moved around over the years, has a small family, already sees their family often, or is not especially interested in celebrating with family.

The Golden Jubilee

The 50th wedding anniversary is often called the golden jubilee. But you don’t have to be wealthy to throw a golden jubilee bash. Whether your crowd leans toward a sit-down dinner or an ice cream social, you can celebrate in golden style by keeping the phrase “golden jubilee” in mind. For example, if you really do want an ice cream social, consider adding “cherries jubilee” or a variant of it to the menu—cherry pie and ice cream go great together! To add some golden glow, look for “gold” colored bowls and spoons at a party store—they manage to carry items in almost every color. Add a few gold colored balloons and streamers. Decorate tables with gold-foil wrapped candies.

50 Years in 50 Minutes: Preserving a Family History

In any family with children, the youngest generation might enjoy learning about the lives of their elders. Write a short family history focusing on the couple celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, and have the family’s children dress up and act out the highlights. (The couple was married. She was a teacher; he was an electrician. Her sister invited them to visit her in New York, and they loved the change of scenery. They moved from California to New York. They had three children and started a daycare business.) Encourage the children ham it up and add some humor. And, of course, record the skit for future generations to enjoy!

Passing Along the Secrets of 50 Years Together

Ask the couple celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary to share their secrets of living together for 50 years. What advice do they have for younger generations? What helped them bounce back from bad times? Did they have any traditions to pass along? They might want to write down their thoughts in book form or ask a relative to videotape them as they discuss their secrets to success.