Whenever you reach a milestone in the relationship, whether that’s 5, 10 or even 50 years of marriage, your natural inclination is to celebrate. And you are correct in assuming that your closest friends, family and acquaintances would be honored to share in your anniversary celebration. Of course, these events are far too large and busy to just happen naturally.
Preparation is essential, and all the more so if you are planning to surprise your partner for this once in a lifetime night. So let’s discuss 5 steps to creating a perfect anniversary among friends and family.
1. Determine the guest list.
It makes sense to determine who’s all going to the event and how many people you believe want to be there, will definitely RSVP, and who will probably not attend. This will save you a lot of time and money in choosing the wrong venue later on.
Most couples prefer a smaller crowd rather than a huge formal gathering, as this makes it easier to have discussions among friends and a laid-back atmosphere that makes the event enjoyable.
2. Develop the theme and venue for the event.
Based on your anticipated guest list, start looking for a place that can adequately hold that number of people, and that is conducive to the theme you are planning. For instance, a tropical-style outdoor anniversary celebration is just not going to fit with a large music hall with hundreds of seats.
On the subject, is the theme appropriate for the number of people you are inviting, and for your personal love story? If the two of you rarely travel and avoid the beach, it just doesn’t make sense to have a beach themed anniversary party.
Many couples actually open their home up to their friends and family, as this not only saves money, but it also facilitates a homely, friendly ambiance that makes everyone feel at ease. Ideally, you want to create an atmosphere that lets your friends and family feel calm enough to start a conversation. If your house isn’t suitable then think about reserving a few rooms in a restaurant.
3. Create an easy menu.
It is not considered rude to assign dishes to guests, provided everyone agrees to chip in beforehand. And it’s best to organize this part of the event so that you don’t get multiple helpings of salad but no entrees or sides! This will save a lot of money and yet feel very family-oriented and community-friendly.
Keep the entrees and sides affordable, and distract everybody with some lavish desserts and some cocktails. It helps tremendously to assign a “signature drink” (one appropriate for the theme) and only serve it, rather than have an alcohol free for all. Don’t forget to bring non-alcoholic beverages for children and abstaining adults.
4. Assign some trusted friends with the task of decorating the area.
Whether it’s your house a performance hall or a rented room, decorate the area according to the theme. Think about iconic imagery that matches your theme. For instance, a female friend of mine decided last year to have a Jamaican-themed party for their 7th anniversary, since they were both feeling nostalgic for their honeymoon stay in Jamaica. He had some relatives decorate the house while his wife went out with a friend for a phony errand.
It was a classic scene! Jamaican décor colors of green, yellow and black, crepe paper, incense in the living room and some fake palm trees to welcome guests inside. He took the theme to the backyard and had his friends bring over beach chairs, beach balls and a limbo line. Dishes served included jerk chicken, curry patties, steamed cabbage, and of course, who could forget bread pudding and coconut toto? To top the theme off, he had his musician friend play some reggae-inspired music (although it’s just as easy to buy a Bob Marley CD).
5. Distract the guest of honor.
Let’s get down to business, gentlemen. If you really want to make this a lifetime memory then make it a total surprise. How can you surprise a woman who knows you so well? This is where your friends will come in handy.
Have groups of friends assigned to different tasks. Some friends are in charge of décor, others of food, and others will be distracting your wife while you manage the party. Create a list of believable excuses and use the best one to get your wife outside of the house or on the road to the rented facility.
The friend(s) “babysitting” your spouse should announce that he/she has to stop by the house or a restaurant to pick something up. (Food, a briefcase, what have you) The friend will act slightly stressed and insist that your spouse come inside. There, you and the party will be waiting with a huge “Surprise!”
And yes, the night will be even more amazing if you can manage to bring out some breathtaking gifts—like a diamond wrist watch or perhaps an improved diamond engagement or wedding ring.
One last tip! Finish the night off with an open microphone (if needed) and let everyone in attendance make a speech to the guests of honor. Before you know it, everyone sharing memories and it will make for a great night of family fun.
Benjamin Baker is a husband, a father, and a Colorado health nut. He enjoys playing guitar, camping, fishing and helping people by giving free relationship advice. While looking for inspiration for this article he came across many different websites, such as www.LoveDiamonds.net. He is currently based in Denver, CO and has three teenage children who never cease to amaze him.