50th Anniversary Party Ideas – Checklist and Printables

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Square photo of a tall cake tier with Cheers to 50 Years on top. Two hands cutting the top tier of cake and cupcake tiers below. White frosting with gold decorative icing.

Anniversary party ideas on a budget!

If searching for 50th Anniversary Party Ideas and straightforward planning advice, you’re in the right place.

My hubby and I just threw a wonderful 50th Anniversary ‘Surprise’ Party for his parents and I have to say, I enjoyed the planning as much as the actual party.

In this post, I share photos that our amazing photographer took just before guests arrived and lots of 50th Anniversary Party ideas for decorations, gifts, and more. There are a few free printables including an Invitation and RSVP card and a printable checklist to help you plan. So let’s get started…

When To Start Planning

As soon as possible! The earlier you start planning the more options you’ll have. Planning a 50th Anniversary Party is much like planning a wedding but without a bridal party. Venues, photographers, limo services, DJs, and florists start booking anywhere from six months in advance to two years.

Determining Cost

Before you do anything, I highly recommend that you figure out what everything will cost from the venue to the decorations so you can nail down a budget.

Cost can vary greatly depending on the number of guests you plan to invite, where you’ll have the party and if you plan to roll up your sleeves and do a few things yourself.

We started planning simply by making a list of must-haves like the venue, food, flowers, and cake. Then we added a few wish list items and tried to account for everything we could think of (right down to the decorations).

Below is an Event Planning Checklist to help you put together your own planning list and budget.

To be honest with you, at the start, we had no idea what it would cost to have a buffet-style meal vs. a sit-down meal. How much it would be to add an open bar package or even how much it would cost to hire a photographer for the evening.

To figure out the cost, I decided to just make a few phone calls and ask questions. After a few calls to vendors in our area, I had the numbers I needed to start making a budget.

Setting Up a Budget

Once you have a good idea of what everything will cost, you’ll need to compare it against what you have to spend. This is where cuts get made or wish list items get added in!

We made a few cuts but nothing too terrible. Hiring a photographer was at the top of our must-have list but we decided not to get a videographer. And since we only needed about twenty invitations, I decided to put my graphic design skills to work and make them.

Setting A Date

We picked a date two weeks before our parent’s actual anniversary day – in August on a Saturday. Saturday seemed like the best day for our party because it would give out-of-town guests more travel time.

The downside to planning a party on a Saturday during peak wedding and graduation season is that it made it more difficult to find a limo and a photographer.

Thankfully we found great vendors and were able to put a deposit down to secure everything.


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Choosing A Venue

Choosing a venue is one of the first and biggest decisions you’ll make.

We found that we had a few different options:

  1. Hire a caterer and host the party at our house
  2. Hire a caterer and host the party at a park or community center
  3. Host the party at a restaurant
  4. Host the party at a banquet hall

After making a few calls I realized that having the party at our house would be a lot more work than anticipated. We would save money but we would also need to rent a tent and figure out parking.

The caterer we called also mentioned that we could have the party at a local community center or park. Neither worked location-wise in our situation. I’m mentioning it because it is a really good option if you have a great location in mind.

A restaurant would have been great but it was by far the priciest option. We also wouldn’t be able to have a DJ or decorate.

We also looked at three different banquet facilities. A banquet hall at a nearby Golf Course & Country Club won out. They had the best package prices but they didn’t offer a sit-down dinner option (just buffet style). They did however have a great menu to choose from and scenic views. The beautiful grounds and patio made the perfect backdrop for photos.

Theme and Colors

Gold is the color for fiftieth milestone celebrations – sometimes called a Golden 50th Anniversary or Birthday. We decided to stick with a traditional gold, white and black color palette for our party. Our banquet room had lots of dark furniture and the party was in the evening, so that color palette worked well for us.

All that to say, Gold is one of those colors that goes well with almost every other color out there. If you have another color scheme or style in mind, go with it!

Related DIY’s: DIY Seed Paper Favors – Free Customizable Envelope and Glass Gem Votive Candle Holders.

Photo of the free printable 50th Anniversary Invitation and RSVP card.
Free Customizable Invitation and RSVP Card, Click here to download the files.


Etsy is a great place to find affordable invitations that you can print yourself. If you’re looking for printed invitations, check out Zazzle or Vistaprint. They both have a great selection of 50th Anniversary Invitation designs.

I designed our invitations and you’re welcome to use them. The files are Customizable (editable) PDF files. There is an invitation and an RSVP card. Click here to get the files. To use the files you will also need to download a free Google font – Lora Italic and Lora Regular. Here is the Lora Family of Fonts. In the zip file, there are detailed instructions on how to use the editable PDF files. The invitation fits into an A7 Size Envelope (here’s a link to gold foil-lined envelopes). The RSVP fits into an A2 Size Envelope.

50th Wedding Anniversary Party Event Planning Checklist

50th Anniversary Party Planning Checklist image with link to print a PDF of the checklist to download and print.
If you’d like to print the 50th Anniversary Planning Checklist, Click here to download the PDF.

More 50th Anniversary Party Ideas

Life-Sized Cardboard Cut Out

We ordered a life-sized cardboard cut out of our parents so they could take a picture with an image of their former selves. It was a bit of a challenge to sneak their wedding photo away to scan it, but we pulled it off! If you have a full-length photo of the happy couple, look into having a cardboard cutout made. This was a big hit at our party!


Overall we kept decorations simple and traditional. We had gold and pearl white balloons, tealights on the tables & plates, and napkins with gold accents. Here are a few links to the 50th Anniversary Party decorations that we found on Amazon:

50th Anniversary Gift Table from the Golden Celebration we hosted.
Our Gift Table

The Gift Table

Your guests will most likely have cards and gifts for the happy couple so don’t forget to designate a spot for them. When we were decorating I wanted to load this table with decorations because it looked so bare! Doesn’t it look empty? I’m glad I didn’t because it filled up as soon as guests arrived.

Display a Few Photos

Our banquet room had several flat-screen TVs so we decided to put them to good use. We loaded over 100 digital photos onto a thumb drive to play on four of the screens. Throughout the evening old photos and memories of family and friends cycled then looped again. Everything ran off of a laptop through Windows Media Player so there really was no technical know-how needed. If you don’t have screens you can still share family photos. You could print them out and create a photo collage or set up a table of beautifully framed photos.

Special Glasses for A Special Couple

I made personalized wine glasses for our parents for the party and later to have as a keepsake. They were fairly easy to make, I used my Cricut Maker and Cricut Gold Permanent Vinyl. On one side of a stemless wine glass, I put their names and Anniversary Date. On the other side ‘Cheers to 50 Years’. If you’d like to use the art that I designed, click here. The zipped file contains an EPS, PNG, and SVG file. We also used this same art on the tv screens. Feel free to use it on a banner, t-shirt, or anything else you dream up.


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Keepsakes and Gifts

We had a few keepsakes planned. One was the ‘Cheers to 50 Years’ wine glasses I made (mentioned above). Another one was a ‘Cheers to 50 Years’ rhinestone cake topper. This cake topper was beautiful! Very heavy though. If you choose this cake topper I recommend putting it on the cake last when your cake is in place on the cake table.

We also found a beautiful set of 50th Anniversary cake servers on Amazon. All were nice touches and reasonably inexpensive.

Limo Bus

We rented a 28-passenger Limo Bus so we could head to the casino after the dinner party. The limo bus was actually a big part of our surprise. We picked up family and friends first and then headed to our parent’s house as the final stop. They were so shocked to see this big bus pull up with everyone they love on it. A little over the top but it was a lot of fun!


Planning a 50th celebration for our parents was so much fun. I hope some of our adventures spark a few ideas for you. It seems like the actual party day just flew by but I know that the memories will last a lifetime.

If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment in the comment section below!

Happy Planning!

Vertical Pinterest Pin image of the cake table. If you found this post helpful, pin this image to your Pinterest Party Boards to share and come back to later!
If you found these 50th Anniversary ideas helpful, please Pin the image above to your Pinterest boards to come back to later!

Watch A Video

Link to the full tutorial here –> How to Make a Pretty Brooch Pin Bracelet

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. alay4d

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