Ideas/Activities for Parents' 50th Anniversary
August 4, 2006 11:46 AM   Subscribe

What activities should I plan for the week of my parents' 50th wedding anniversary? I'm looking for ideas for how to celebrate their anniversary that will involve the whole family, and really make this a memorable experience.

All of the extended family is coming home from across the country, and we're having a fancy dinner out already. What games, ceremonies, events or other special things should we do? I'm not looking for gift ideas, although if any of the activities result in the creation of something they can keep, that would be cool, too. I'd like ideas both for the dinner, and the days surrounding their anniversary. We will all descend upon them in about two weeks, so there's time for some homework, if need be. My parents are in their 70's, there are 5 kids (some with spouses) and grandchildren range in age from 2 to 19.
posted by mabelstreet to Human Relations (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Some ideas...

- Have everyone create a page for a scrapbook. Use a digital camera or poloroid camera to take instant photos of the day to use. Put it together and this can be a nice momento of the day for your parents. You'd need to get together some supplies and the actual scrapbook for the finished product.

- If your parents are active enough, maybe organize a trip to the bowling alley.

- If it's nice out, have a lunchtime bbq with a volleyball or badminton net set up, or croquet if you want to be old school. If it's not nice out, try & get everyone together in teams for board games (Trivial Pursuit, Cranium, Pictionary, Taboo...all fun).

- Karaoke.

- Create a slideshow of old family photos from throughout the years or dig up some old home movies to watch. It might be nice to take a walk down memory lane with the whole family.
posted by tastybrains at 11:55 AM on August 4, 2006

Man, I wish I had a slideshow at my grandparents' 50th... they would have loved it.

How about getting a family member or someone to play their favorite tunes when they were younger. Nothing reminds you of how old you are than some song they've loved but forgotten.

Make a genealogical map to show them how their family has grown.

If they had told you about the first time they met, recreate that! Use the younger of your siblings and their spouses, if they can get past that self-consciousness thing.

Congrats to your parents. 50 years is a heckuva long time to be together.
posted by i8ny3x at 12:12 PM on August 4, 2006

Hire a photographer and make sure to set time to have each family photographed separately. This is a one shot-deal, so it's best to go with a pro.
posted by ColdChef at 12:19 PM on August 4, 2006

Wow, your family sounds just like mine when my grandparents had their 50th (4 kids, bunch of grandkids). Some things that made it fun-

*Letters from family friends across the country
*Matching T-shirts with line drawings of the family(courtesy of one Aunt who is an artist)
*A video with interviews from each child and grandchild about their memories of Grammy and Grampy

One thing we should have done better: devoted time for a whole family portrait. We didn't, and one grandchild had already left the party. The whole thing was rushed, the picture was taken in a weird space, and we all look stressed out.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:24 PM on August 4, 2006 [1 favorite]

Notify the papers, their church (if they are church goers), and whatever community organizations with which they have involvement. Don't forget the papers back in their "hometown" if they've moved far away from where they were married.

Many papers will print anniversary announcements without charge, even including a photo, but even if you have to pay for it, it will be a nice way to let their casual friends know of their milestone. And, they're likely to hear from long lost friends for months afterward, from such announcements, as my parents did.
posted by paulsc at 12:48 PM on August 4, 2006

There was a slideshow at my grandparent's .. 30th maybe. Hilarity ensued. It might have helped that my grandfather is approx 4'11".
posted by shownomercy at 2:10 PM on August 4, 2006

My gf suggests that you arrange a time to "interview" each branch of your family or individual family members and ask them about a favorite memory or story about your parents. You can record it and show the film at the end of the weekend.
posted by NYCinephile at 3:12 PM on August 4, 2006

For my parents 50th I organised a "book of letters" from their family and friends and had them put into a specially created leather book with engaving. They loved it and 6 year on still refer to it. Two weeks isn't much time to organise so I'd go with the scrapbook idea. Ask all the family to bring some item and tell the story behind it. As to the actual event, any chance of arranging a surprise guest? That would be memorable. Perhaps a "This is your life" evening too. Good Luck.
posted by vac2003 at 5:22 PM on August 4, 2006

Take pictures and get quotes and make a daily flyer of them for everybody. This requires a late night for the person doing it, but it's fun, and creates a scrapbook at the end of the week.

Get the grandparents to tell stories - how they met, best dinner out together, vacation stories, anything to get them reminiscing and videotape it.

Group shots are wonderful - take lots of pictures.

One evening, at a family get-together, we strung fairy lights on the porch, played swing music, and we all danced. It was impromptu, and really fun.

Have a laptop that can burn cds and ask family members to brink scanned pictures. Everybody goes home w/ the family photo collection.

Ask your grandparents what they'd like.
posted by theora55 at 5:29 PM on August 4, 2006

Both sets of my grandparents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversaries in the last few years, and we had a great time for both. Here's some of the stuff that we did:
- Fancy dinner for friends and family.
- Hired a hall at a beach (it was the end of summer so not too hot or cold), and had a easy lunch consisting of rotisserie chickens, cold meat and salads, great for the 'day after' the boozy party =]. We also set up a volleyball net and had a grandkids volleyball tournament, girls vs boys.
- Slideshows are an awesome idea and always a crowd favorite.
- If the grandkids have any sort of musical/performing ability, get them to do something at the dinner (my grandparents loved showing off the fact that my brother could play guitar and cousin could sing). If that doesn't happen, just get them involved. When my sister and I got involved in the planning of the party, we could tell that they really appreciated it.
- Singstar on PS2 went down VERY well with people of all ages.
- If they are catholic at all, speak to their church and they can get a blessing from the vatican. My grandparents are all very religious and they thought it was extremely special.
- We also made a book of letters, photos, general junk of my nan and pop from kids, grandkids, and friends. It made my nan cry (in a good way of course).
- I'll also second the asking them what they'd like. My nan said that all she wanted was to have a photo album of the night out, with pictures of everybody in it. She still pulls it out occasionally.
posted by cholly at 1:06 AM on August 5, 2006

At the celebration, be sure to take a head-and-shoulders photo of each person, as well as group shots. Carry the camera around with a monopod (or a tripod with one leg extended) to keep it steady.

My wife and I are musicians. For her parents' 50th, we got sheet music for the #1 and #2 tunes from their marriage year and performed them. You might also ask them about "their song" and do that, too.

Her parents had kept their wedding clothes. We borrowed mannequins from a local clothing store and dressed them in the clothes, with pictures from the wedding alongside.
posted by KRS at 7:53 AM on August 6, 2006

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