Do your parents have a big anniversary coming up?
Hosting a party for them is a wonderful way to celebrate their commitment to one another — and express your love and appreciation for them.
And you have all sorts of options for making your parents’ celebration meaningful. You can weave in sweet design touches, add elements of nostalgia, or make dramatic, show-stopping gestures. Or…you can aim for all of the above!
Here are a few suggestions to get you on your way.
1. Start with a theme.
Selecting a theme gives you a great starting point for cultivating fun party ideas. You can always tie the party in with the number of years your parents have been married. The Spruce, for example, suggests a pearl-themed 30th-anniversary party, incorporating the traditional gift for three decades of marriage.
“It’s easy to go elegant with a pearl theme, with opalescent or sea blue linens, seafood, and, of course, oysters,” Spruce writer Jackie Burrell points out.
Or, if the party is commemorating 50 years of marriage, you can go gold with décor, invitations (try gold ink, but make sure it’s dark enough to be legible — if their guests are old enough to be married 50 years, too, they might have trouble seeing light-colored type), songs (“golden oldies”), golden-foil wrapped chocolates on the tables, gold-framed photos, and floral arrangements filled with yellow flowers and gold sprays.
You also can consider:
· Spotlighting the year or decade your parents were married with music, images, and videos from that era. Incorporate pop culture references — think 1960s-era tie-dyed shirts or ’70s mood rings — into centerpieces.
· Did your parents go somewhere romantic on their honeymoon? Display flowers from the Hawaiian island they visited or work with your caterer to serve the foods they enjoyed during their first trip as a married couple.
· If your parents have a shared interest they’re passionate about, from travel to golf, let that inspire your music, décor, and food choices.
2. Weave in special memories.
Photos are a powerful way to share memories of your parents’ romance, their wedding, and the life they created together. Here are just a few ways you can put vintage photos to work.
· Create photo centerpieces or photo walls for your parents and guests to enjoy.
· Assign each table a decade and display photos that help illustrate that time in your parents’ lives.
· Invite guests to sign a photo album or book that will be presented to your parents or have partygoers sign a framed photo of your parents.
· Bring in a photo booth with props that reflect the era when your parents met or married.
· Use a wedding photo of your parents to create a life-sized cardboard cutout for photo ops.
You also can capture special memories by showing home movies, if they’re available, playing music from the year your parents married (or songs from their wedding).
Or…create a display of other special items from your parents’ wedding day including your mother’s gown, wedding and shower invitations, and wedding announcement clips from their local newspaper.
Another popular option is a chalkboard displaying news, fads, average costs of gasoline, rent, and food during the year your parents married.
3. Get the president to send their regards.
If you think your parents would like it, you can arrange to get them an anniversary greeting from the White House.
Ideally, you should start this process several months in advance, but no less than six weeks before the anniversary date, and you’ll need to follow a few rules.
The honorees must be U.S. citizens, and your request must include:
· Name and home address of honoree(s)
· Couple’s name
· Form of address for the honorees: Mr., Ms., Mrs., Dr., Miss, etc.
· Exact date of occasion (month, day, year)
· Number of years of marriage
· Requestor’s name and daytime phone number
· Any specific mailing instructions if other than to honoree’s address
You have several options for submitting your request.
First, you can go through the office of your U.S. Representative or one of your U.S. Senators. Click on the “Constituents Services,” or, if you can’t find that option, email your lawmaker through their website email form. Be sure to mention that you want “Presidential Greetings.”
You also can make the request through the White House Correspondence Office’s contact form and follow up by calling the White House Comments at 202–456–1111.
Or, mail your request to:
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
Just remember, while the White House attempts to respond to as many requests as possible, there’s no guarantee you’ll get your greeting. So, I’d have more than one anniversary surprise up your sleeve.
4. You can always pay a celebrity to wish them well.
This option is more foolproof than getting a greeting from the president, but there’s also a cost involved.
Services like Cameo allow you to pay participating celebrities, from musician Dionne Warwick to actor Christopher Lloyd, to create a personalized video message. The site provides each participant’s cost and how much advance notice they require, along with a form for making your request.
In addition to actors and musicians, you can find athletes, comedians, political leaders, gamers, and more on Cameo.
5. Get them on the news.
If your parents are celebrating a big anniversary, you might be able to get an article or announcement about them, with a photo, in your community newspaper.
In Houston, for example, The Leader shares articles about local residents celebrating anniversaries. You can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Local TV news shows might be willing to help, too, even national shows. And, you always can save the coverage and share it at the party. Most venues can accommodate your audio-visual needs.
6. Enlist a creative type.
Few things say romance like poetry. So why not commission a poet to pen something special in honor of your parents’ lasting love?
Be sure to ask the writers you’re considering to provide examples of their work.
And if poetry isn’t your parents’ thing, you can hire a quilter, artist, or songwriter to create something special for them.
The general idea is to add personal touches to your parents’ party, whether it’s displaying a beloved photo, sharing a cool or touching message, or giving them a special something made just for them. Whatever you decide to do, you’ll be illustrating your love for your parents in an unforgettable way.
Roger Igo is the founder and CEO of research resource, Venues in Houston, along with Houston catering service Excellent Events and special events venue, The Bell Tower on 34th. He is the author of “Keep On Going, The History of The Bell Tower on 34th,” a former radio host, a graduate of CEO Space International, and an alumnus of The Disney Institute.