Anniversary parties are a special kind of event, because you have both the happy love of a wedding and the happy memories you have created since the wedding. It’s joy matured and aged with the expectation of many more good times to come. Everyone can’t help but walk around smiling, laughing, and reminiscing.

When you look into anniversaries, there are a lot of do’s and don’t’s out there… and none of them matter. For instance, according to a quick web search, the colors for a 40th wedding anniversary are “ruby” (red) and white. That’s a bold combo and not for everyone. For this family anniversary we decided instead to go with purple (a family favorite) and silver (for elegance).

TIP: Even though this party was an anniversary party, you can use any of these suggestions for other party types, too!


To go with the purple and silver theme colors, we used design elements of lace, scrollwork, and filigree patterns for a touch of sophistication. We also mixed materials, such as using plastic tablecloths with lace runners and using metal vases with cutout details around the rim to echo the lace on the tables. Don’t worry about having a lot of variety; having a particular color or pattern present in multiple locations makes a bigger POW anyway.

Gifts can also double as great decorative touches! Here a monogram for the party’s guests of honor makes a beautiful sign hung from a coat tree.
While these fans cost extra to print, they were absolutely worth it on a hot day. They also found their way home with many guests as practical party favor.
For parties honoring people, framed pictures not only make sentimental decorations, they also work as conversation starters… and maybe the telling of a fun memory or two!


You’ve heard us talk about watching your budget. The good news is that you can still provide food for your guests AND stick to a budget. Depending on the amount of time you have, here are a few options to keep costs down and tummies happy:

  • Plan your event for mid-afternoon between lunch and dinner. People will feel snacky but not looking for a full entree. This makes it perfect for saving the pennies.
  • Limit your options. For drinks we offered homemade punch and water, and nobody even noticed the lack of sodas. Actually, the true soda addicts usually bring their own, ha.
  • Glam up boring in a nice dish. Don’t just throw a bag of chips on the table; display them in a pretty bowl and suddenly it’s ooo-la-la. Even putting deli meats and cheeses on a tray ups your party game.
  • Assemble your own food trays. When you buy variety trays, you’re paying for the assembly, arrangement, and container. Meats and cheeses are an easy way to buy the individual packages and then arrange them yourself on a tray or large plate. Cheeses can be fanned (don’t bend them; they’ll split and break) and meats can be rolled or folded. Fruits can be chopped and tossed together for a colorful and sweet salad.

TIP: Don’t forget to carry your theme through to the utensils, napkins, cups, etc., for consistency and impact.


No, we don’t mean team-building activities. Giving people something to do at a party keeps them interested, active, and talking to others. Eating is one activity and so is chatting, but not everyone is big on both of those. What else can you do?

Photo booths are fun for adults and kids, especially when you provide props, costume pieces, and chalkboard signs. You don’t even need a fancy camera when so many people have cameras on their cellphones. The best part? The pictures make great souvenirs!


Turning the idea of a guest book on its head can also be fun and inventive. Here we went with a popular choice of guests signing a picture mat with their name and a wish. To inspire the sharing of sentiments, we placed multiple pictures, a variety of colored pens, and a framed poster with details of the original wedding next to the signing mat.


Favors might be my favorite part of a party after the theme! They can also serve multiple purposes: souvenirs, decorations, and a conversation starter. If you go with a favor bar, it also can act as an activity, allowing guests to customize their favor with their favorite pieces. Here we set up a candy and nut bar packed with all the favorite snacks of the guests of honor: cashews and peanuts, chocolate pieces, peanut butter cups, butter mints, and M&Ms. We carried through the theme with food-safe purple favor bags and purple wrapped candies. (You can buy some popular candies in colored foil to match your theme, and you can order / make themed stickers to wrap the rest of the candies.)


This is just the surface of so many things you can do to celebrate such a wonderful part of life. What else would you do to make this even special and memorable?

Happy event-ing!