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There’s no better was to celebrate your wedding anniversary than with an amazing party! However many years of marriage you’re celebrating, it’s important to make the most of the occasion. That’s why we’ve created this ultimate guide to planning a wedding anniversary party. It doesn’t matter if you’re organising it for yourself, your friends or parents, and if you’re making it a surprise. This guide will tell you everything you need to know so you can organise the perfect day.
There are plenty of things to think about when planning your wedding anniversary party. So we’ll go through each stage step by step and give you plenty of ideas to get you started. The main things you need to consider are:
- Date and time
- Guest List
- Party Supplies
- Speeches and toasts
- Order of Events
It might seem a bit overwhelming, but don’t worry! Take a look at our free printable party planning checklist to keep you on track.
Hopefully you’re thinking about planning the anniversary party quite far in advance. It’s good to start thinking about organising everything roughly 2 months before the event to make sure it’s a stress-free process. But if you’ve left things a bit later, then don’t worry! You can still go through this guide to plan everything for your anniversary party, you’ll just have to sort everything a bit faster!
Now you know what needs organising, let’s get starting with some ideas for planning an amazing wedding anniversary party!
Set your Budget
The first thing you need to think about when planning any party, is your budget. This will affect most of the things you decide to organise on this list, including the venue, number of guests, catering, entertainment, well pretty much everything really!
So get a figure in mind first. Don’t be vague either, it’s a recipe for overspending. Set an exact amount of how much you’re willing to spend on your anniversary party from the start. Don’t worry if you’re budget is tight, we’ll go through plenty of ways you can plan a great party without spending a fortune either.
Once you’ve decided on your budget, you’ll need to keep a track of your spending.
You can either be old fashioned and simply write it all down, or use the computer. We prefer tracking everything electronically on an excel document because it’s much harder to misplace, and there’s handy formulas that’ll calculate exactly how much money you’ve spent and how much you’ve got left. So it’s really hard to get carried away and overspend!
Check out our quick budget party planning tips for some great ways to organise an anniversary party without spending a fortune!
Draft the Guest List
The next thing you’ll need to consider, is the number of guests you’re inviting. This is dictated mostly by your budget, as the more guests you invite, the more space, food, drinks and the entertainment will cost.
Write down a list of your essential guests first. And then add more guests to your list as you go until you get to a realistic number. If you have no idea how many guests to invite to your party, think about how much your party will cost per person first. Consider the food and the venue size and go from there. This will give you a realistic number to base your guest list on. So if you need to, come back to the guest list a little later on, that’s fine!
If you need more help deciding, check out our guide on how many guests you should invite to your party for some more things to consider.
Think about the Date and Time
Once you’ve got your guest list sorted, you can start planning the date and time. You might already have the exact date in mind, if you’re planning to have the party on your actual anniversary date. But if it falls on a weekday you’re probably going to want the weekend before or after. Speak to your essential guests to see what date best suits them.
Saturday’s are usually easier for most people as they won’t have to rush home from work on a Friday to get ready for the party. But you may have to be a bit flexible depending on your venue.
Around 3-4 hours is a good length for an anniversary party. So try and go from a 8-9pm start if possible.
Choose the Venue
The next thing you need to consider is the venue. Once you’ve got some possible dates in mind and know the size of your guest list, you’re in a position to contact venues and confirm a date.
You don’t have to hire a venue though. You can host a really successful anniversary party at home too! If you’re on a tight budget, this is a good way of cutting back the costs. You might be a bit restricted in terms of the number of guests you can invite to your party though. But there are definitely ways around this.
Here are some tips for planning an anniversary party at home to maximise your space.
How to Plan an Anniversary Party at Home
Throw out the Clutter
The first thing you need to do to maximise your party space is get rid of all the clutter. Furniture or ornaments that don’t serve a purpose at your anniversary party need to go elsewhere. Moving clutter either upstairs or in a garage is a great way to help host a party in a small space.
Re-arrange the Furniture
Stackable chairs are a great space saver. You can have them upstairs to keep your main party space free, and bring them out if more of your guests want to sit down.
If your living room is square-shaped, rather than rectangular, it’s best to have all of your furniture on the edge of the room and your food and drinks tables in the middle to maximise the space. Your guests are likely to congregate around tables, so dot them around to spread people out. You can have a few different small tables to ensure your guests can move between them without creating a queue.
But if your space is narrower instead, it can be a good idea to have one long table in the centre with all your food and drink. Then you can place chairs around the edge. This will create a flow around the area that prevents congestion when your guests are moving about.
If you don’t have enough room for many chairs, you can always throw down some pillows and blankets. It’s a good space saver because more people can usually fit on a blanket than a bench and it’ll take up less room.
Have Plenty of Bins
Make sure there are enough bins at various places in your house. Number one, it’ll make the cleaning up process a lot quicker. Plus it’ll stop more people getting up and moving around creating congestion if there is a bin near them. Having a lot of people moving about is what makes your area seem smaller. When people are sat down and settled, you’re likely to feel the effects of a small space a lot less.
Stagger the Arrival Time
Another thing you can do that’ll help you host a baby shower in a small space, is to stagger the arrival time. Having a large window for your guests to arrive, stops a massive influx of people at one time. This will make it seem like the area is larger, because trying to cram everyone in at once will highlight a small space even more.
How to Choose a Venue for an Anniversary Party
But if you’ve decided to host a venue, there’s definitely some things you need to consider before booking anything.
The size, and ultimately the cost, of your venue will mostly depend on how many guests you’re inviting.
Try and choose a central location that’s convenient for the majority of guests. You might have your eye on a venue that’s quite far away, but some guests might be put off if they will struggle to get home after the party without paying a fortune for transport.
Inside or Outside
If you’re hosting a winter anniversary party, it’s probably best to go with the safe option and host inside. But if you want to celebrate the occasion outdoors, check that the venue has a plan B in case the weather doesn’t go your way.
Some venues offer catering, but others just leave you to it. Think about the kind of food you want to serve at your anniversary party and if the venue fits in with your plans.
Some venues offer additional services which might sway your decision, for example a bar, decorations or some entertainment. Try and consider the whole package when choosing a venue to make sure you get a good deal.
This depends on how luxurious your venue is, how many guests it caters for, and if there are any extras included. Make sure you are strict with yourself when choosing the venue and remember our advice about sticking to your budget!
Once you’ve booked the venue, you can finalise your guest list and start moving on to the fun stuff!
Anniversary Party Themes
Every party needs a theme, and anniversary parties are no exception. Before you send invitations, plan the food, get some decorations and book the entertainment, you need to decide on your theme. It’ll underpin everything else you plan for your anniversary party so it’s good to decide early on.
But what theme should you choose? You could go along the theme of the anniversary gift associated with the number of years you’re celebrating. These work best for longer anniversaries of course, but here’s a list of anniversary gift themes to help you decide if it’ll work for your party.
If you don’t want to go for a traditional theme, check out our list of the 20 best party themes for some inspiration!
So now you’re in a position to start sending your anniversary party invitations. There are a few options to consider when deciding what format to send your invites.
Handwritten invitations offer a personal touch, but can be time consuming. You can also mail invitations created using a Microsoft programme like Powerpoint or Office. If you want to create professional looking invitations easily, use Canva. It’s a website that allows you to create a range of graphic design media using a range of ready-made templates.
If you want an easy and quick way of sending your invitations, make a Facebook event. It’ll allow you to add everyone in one go, and keeps a track of everyone’s response so you know exactly who’s coming.
Whichever option you choose, there’s a few things that need including on your invitations.
- Name of the couple
- Year of the anniversary
- Date and time
- RSVP instruction
- Dress code
- Plus one policy
The next thing you need to think about is the catering. This is a big part of planning an anniversary party, and how you decide to organise the party food will mostly depend on your budget and the number of guests you are catering for.
If your budget is tight, you can organise the party food yourself. Either by buying the ingredients and cooking things yourself if you fancy yourself as a chef, or by ordering party food from a local supermarket that can be made fresh and collected on the day of the event. You can also ask for help from friends and family. Each guest could pitch in and bring a small dish so you don’t have to tackle it all yourself!
These options are better if you have a small guest list and plenty of time. But what if you’re catering for a huge number of people?
It might be best in this case to hire a caterer. There are still plenty of different options to choose from though. You first need to decide if you’re going for a buffet-style or sit-down meal. Next, consider what type of food you want to serve. Are you looking for a specific cuisine? Can you tie it in with the theme?
Then you can go ahead and look for caterers that fit the bill in your local area. It’s a good idea to book early to make sure you get the party food you want!
If you need some help, check out our complete guide to party food, for everything you need to know!
Anniversary Party Cake
If you’re planning on having a cake, you should try and get some plans in place early on to avoid having to rush later on. Hiring a professional in your area to decorate a show stopping cake is great idea to make your party special. Or if you fancy yourself as a bit of a star baker, why not make the cake yourself to keep the costs down.
If your venue has a bar, then you don’t need to worry about the party drinks! But if you need to supply the drinks, it’s a good idea to think ahead.
Of course, champagne is a classic choice for an anniversary party drink. Prosecco is a popular cheaper alternative too. It can also be a great idea to make some cocktails in batches. You’ll also need to offer some non-alcoholic alternatives. Juice and fizzy drinks are essentials to serve at any party.
But if you want to be a bit more creative, check out these recipes for non-alcoholic raspberry lemonade and mojitos! Don’t forget to take a look at the 10 best party drinks for more ideas!
Raspberry Lemonade Recipe (serves 10)
- Lemonade 5 litres
- 50g raspberries
- Sugar syrup 250ml
- Juice from 5 Lemons
Simply mix the raspberries, lemonade, lemon juice and sugar syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice, strain and serve. You could also try garnishing it with raspberries and a lemon slice.
Mojito (serves 10)
- 500ml White Rum
- Soda Water
- 500ml Sugar Syrup
- 5 Limes
- 30 Mint Leaves
Muddle the lime wedges, mint leaves and sugar syrup. Add the white rum and fill the glass with crushed ice. Top with soda and garnish with mint leaves and a lime wedge.
Anniversary Party Decorations
Decorating your venue is one of the most fun parts of planning an anniversary party! If you’ve not chosen a theme, you’ll need to at least decide on a colour scheme.
So now you’ve narrowed it down a bit, what are some good decoration ideas for an anniversary party? Here are our favourites:
- Balloon or flower garlands at the entrance
- Photographs of the happy couple
- Personalised banners
- Confetti balloons
- Gold and silver paper fans
- Floral arrangements
Anniversary Party Entertainment
Having some form of entertainment is a must at any anniversary party. But don’t worry, it doesn’t have to break the bank!
The first thing to think about is the party music. If you want a cheaper option, you can make a playlist yourself. All you’ll need is Apple Music, some speakers, an AUX lead and your mobile phone! If you want some tips for creating the perfect party playlist, check out our favourite tips!
Apple Music is the perfect way to create a party playlist. It’s intelligent recommendation feature makes it really quick to add songs to create the perfect track list and it’s cross fade feature makes seamless song transitions. It’s only $9.99/ £9.99 per month and you can get a free 3 month trial to check it out. And don’t worry, you can use it on Android devices too!
Join over 50 million subscribers and sign up for your 3 month free trial today!
If you don’t trust yourself to DJ at your party, you can always hire a professional. They’re experts at getting the party started and keeping your guests entertained all night! You can also request some of the couple’s favourite songs to make sure it’s still personal.
A live band is a slightly more expensive option, but certainly adds an authentic touch to your party. They can play chilled background music to create a sophisticated atmosphere, or be as lively as you like! You can even choose the same band that played at your wedding to bring back some great memories.
If you’re not sure what option is best for you, take a look at our ultimate party music guide to help you decide. But if you do plan on hiring someone, make sure you try and book them as soon as possible, as DJs and live bands can be quite popular and you don’t want to miss out!
There are plenty of other ways to keep your guests entertained at an anniversary party. Here are some of the best ideas that are sure to impress your guests.
- Ceilidh band
- Photo booth
- Glow shows
- Silhouette artists
- Human topiaries
- Sand artists
Speeches and Toasts
It’s usually tradition for someone to make a speech or toast to the couple at an anniversary party. It doesn’t just have to be the couple that gives a speech. If you’re organising an anniversary party for your parents or friends, it can be nice to say a few words and thank you to all the guests for coming.
If you plan on giving a speech, don’t be nervous! All it takes is a bit of preparation and practice, and you’ll be able to make an amazing speech on the day. Here are some tips to help.
- Start by introducing yourself. If you’re not a member of the couple, try to keep it brief. The focus shouldn’t be on you for too long!
- Try and include a couple of jokes. Make sure they’re tasteful though and know your audience. You don’t want to say anything cringe-worthy!
- Share a few key memories. It’ll help make the speech more meaningful and prevent it from being generic.
- Thank everyone for their attendance.
- Don’t go on too long! The best speeches are around 2-5 minutes long.
- Practice your speech in front of a mirror. It might sound a bit silly, but getting used to the sound of your own voice and the way you say things can really help with your nerves.
- Bring some notes but try not to look at them. They should only be there as a backup and you should aim not to use them at all.
- Take a few slow deep breaths before you start talking to help lower your voice and maintain composure.
- Finish with a toast to the happy couple!
How to Choose a Photographer
An anniversary party is an amazing occasion, and you should try and capture the moment with plenty of photographs. This way, you’ll be able to look back at your hard work planning and enjoy the party for even longer. There are plenty of freelance and agency photographers out there, but how do you choose the best one? Here are some of the best tips on choosing a photographer for your anniversary party.
- Narrow down your search by looking at the websites of some photographers in your local area, to see which style suits your party best.
- Arrange a phone call with a few photographers to check their availability and pricing first, to make sure they’re a suitable option.
- Ask to see a full portfolio of a recent anniversary party they’ve photographed.
- Compare the best packages for your budget and requirements.
- Check out some testimonials and reviews to make sure they’re reliable and professional.
- Ask what the back up plan is. If for any reason they’re unable to make it on the day, can they make a plan B? If they are well known in the community and experienced, they should have no problem hooking you up with another photographer that’s a suitable replacement.
How to be a Great Anniversary Party Host
As the event’s host, you have a lot of responsibility to make sure the anniversary party runs smoothly. If you’ve followed this guide to the letter, you should be in a great position to relax and enjoy the party knowing everything is in order well in advance. But we’ve still got a few tips you should keep in mind to be the best anniversary party host possible!
- Plan everything as early as possible and know exactly what the format of the night will be.
- Have a backup plan. If disaster strikes with the food or entertainment, try and have a plan B ready in your head just in case.
- Thank your guests for attending.
- Introduce guests to each other.
- Offer everyone a drink when they arrive.
- Keep their drinks topped up if you can.
- Spend a little time with every guest.
Anniversary Party Order of Events
So now you’ve got everything booked and ready for the big day, it’s time to start thinking about the order of events. It’s good to get a rough timeline in place as it’ll help you to relax on the night knowing there’s a plan in place. Here’s a rough order of events for an anniversary party.
- 0:00-1:00 Let the guests arrive and offer out some drinks.
- 1:00-2:00 Serve the food
- 2:00-2:15 Speeches
- 2:15-3:00 Party entertainment
- 3:00-4:00 Dancing time!
- 4:00 Start winding down and saying goodbyes
So that’s it! Now you have plenty of ideas to plan the perfect anniversary party. We hope you have an amazing time!
Don’t forget to take a look at our party planning timeline to make sure you’ve got everything covered. It’ll tell you everything you need to do at each stage of the party planning process so you can create an amazing party without any stress or worry about forgetting anything! It even includes a free printable party planning checklist to make sure you stay on track.