50th Wedding Anniversary Etiquette

by Claire Valenty on November 22, 2010

in Gifts & Celebration Etiquette

gift 50ty anniversary etiquette

A couple making it to their 50th wedding anniversary is an amazing achievement and a precious gift, just like gold, which is why this momentous event is called “The Golden Anniversary”.   Reaching this milestone is an amazing example of a couple that knows the hard work and effort that goes into a relationship to make it a long-term success; and, hopefully, they have experienced a lot of joy and happiness together through those fifty years.  Whether you are celebrating this achievement yourself, need to know what type of gift is appropriate or are throwing a party for a couple celebrating their fiftieth wedding anniversary, these etiquette tips will help:

  • Even though this is “The Golden Anniversary”, gifts of gold are not mandatory.  However, it is a cute idea to build gold into the decorating theme, if a party is held.
  • Although gag gifts are funny for a fiftieth birthday party, a fiftieth wedding anniversary is a respectable landmark; therefore, gag gifts are not appropriate.
  • If an anniversary party is held, gifts should not be expected; it is not necessary to write “The couple requests no gifts” unless they are adamant they do not want any presents at all.  If any gifts are brought, these should be set discreetly aside and given to the couple after the celebration.
  • For the party, invite people spanning across the couple’s entire relationship (college friends, old work mates, the maid of honor, the best man, the entire family, etc.).  Invitations should be sent out three to four weeks before the event to give the guests ample notice and to receive RSVPs for planning logistics.
  • Do not plan a surprise 50th anniversary party; the couple may already have planned something on their own!
  • Whether the anniversary party is formal or informal, a few toasts should be made reminiscing on the couple’s relationship.
  • The couple should not be responsible for any of the party expenses and, if the party is held at their home, a catering and cleaning crew should be brought in so the couple is not inconvenienced in any way before, during and after the party.

Whether a formal or casual affair, this event should be filled with love and respect for the couple.  Let’s all hope we can see this achievement, ourselves!

More Sources: 50th Wedding Anniversary Party Planning Ideas

Photo: 123rf/Courtney Keating

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Peggie Lester August 29, 2011 at 9:38 pm

Is it proper to send thank you card to someone who has sent you an anniversary card?

Shelly Crider December 22, 2011 at 8:42 pm

My sisters and I are planning a 50th celebration for our parents. They would like to go out to a popular restaurant, then home for an informal reception. My sisters and I plan to pay for their meal. However, is it expected that we pay for everyone’s meal? Is there a way to state this on the invitations?

Carole Bouldt February 28, 2012 at 5:04 pm

I want to invite immediate family to the dinner that I would be hosting and paying for. The party would be for all others. How do I address this in the invitations?

kathy Rhodes September 4, 2012 at 4:02 pm

My husbandand I are planning a 50th celebration for his parents. They would like to go out to a popular restaurant. We plan to pay for their meal. However, is it expected that we pay for everyone’s meal? Is there a way to state this on the invitations?

carolyn January 17, 2013 at 3:28 am

Designing a wedding anniversary invitation with couples 50th anniversary. How do I write the name when husband has sirname james smith, jr and carrie smith or mr & mrs james smith, jr.

Sarah January 14, 2014 at 11:36 pm

My husband and I are throwing a 50th wedding anniversary party for my parents who lives with us. How should I say that my parents has no room for ‘boxed gifts’ and would appreciate gift card or cash in a most polite manner

Sarah July 2, 2014 at 1:38 am

My brothers and I are planning a small 50th anniversary dinner for our parents. We are planning to go to a popular restaurant. We plan to pay for their meal. However, is it expected that we pay for everyone’s meal? Is there a way to state this on the invitations?

Nancy October 20, 2014 at 7:13 pm

For out of town quest, are we to pay their hotel expenses?

Arlene October 17, 2015 at 8:19 pm

We are celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary. My daughter-in-law keeps asking me for a list of people I want included, but I am not sure which people I can eliminate – in my church Sunday school group of 50 people, is it OK to only include very close friends? In my former work group, the same question? In my family, is it necessary to invite every niece, nephew, great niece, great-nephew? My daughter-in-law and I wanted it keep it below 100 people, but just the basic ones total 153.

Daisy Ho March 9, 2016 at 2:17 pm

My sister invite me to join her celebration of 50 wedding anniversary. Should I bring flowers?

jenny May 20, 2016 at 6:48 pm

what is the proper time to have the 50th wedding anniversary party how long before or after the actual anniversary

Ann Adams June 7, 2016 at 7:25 pm

I attended a 50th wedding anniversary party last weekend that specified no gifts. I didn’t take an anniversary card, but I noticed that many brought them to the event. Was that a mistake on my part and is there anything I should do more than writing a thank you note since the party has already taken place?

bert Johnson September 3, 2016 at 7:50 pm

My siblings are planning a 50th anniversay for my parents in Hawaii. I do not want to spend my vacation time/money on their anniversary. Growing up we kids were drug to where they wanted us to go no say whatsoever and I dont think as an adult I should have to go. Unfortunately i will look like the turd as my siblings are all on board. How do i decline without looking like a jerk?

Brenda Holmes November 4, 2016 at 3:57 am

My sister want me; her sister ,to say remarks at her 50th wedding anniversay celebration what can I say?

Teresa January 8, 2017 at 8:13 pm

If I’m giving my parents an anniversary party do I put the actual date of the party on the cocktail napkin or the actual date of their anniversary on the napkin??

Paula June 19, 2017 at 2:11 am

Our children are giving us a 50th anniversary cake & punch party. To keep it from being so extravagant, how do we decide who to invite as guests? List has possibility of including wedding party attendants, family members (siblings, grandchildren, cousins & spouses), church friends from current & former church, employment offices, building trip friends, part-time job employees, night Bible study group. Where do you draw line on who to invite?

Phillis July 11, 2017 at 9:45 pm

We are having our 50th wedding anniversary celebration and invited about 80 guest . We are having cocktails & buffet dinner. Is it ok that we post at bar a note stating that after dinner it will be a cash bar? We have a DJ till 10pm

theonlyholger August 15, 2017 at 9:33 pm

Sounds like a fun event. My recommendation is to let your guests know in advance. Ideally on the invitation that the cash bar will open after dinner. People will be prepared at that point and not surprised.

Linda November 18, 2017 at 6:44 pm

Must invitations to a 50th-anniversary party be mailed or can they be personally handed to the guest?

Nina Lewis January 20, 2018 at 7:39 pm

We are having a 50 year formal anniversary party and do we need programs?

Teresa March 29, 2018 at 11:15 am

I am a senior who take yoga and Pilates classes with others in my age group. A husband and wife who are my classmates are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary in a few months. Some of us from the classes are being invited.

To my dismay, a couple of the women from our classes has expressed that it’s tacky to have invited those of us who are not close friends or family. Personally, I feel honored to be a part of this event, and I along with these women have been taking classes with this couple for a few years, so we’re not actually strangers, albeit, we’re not the closest of friends either. Merely acquaintances.

Does it matter who the couple invite? Should the event be limited to just close friends and family? At 50 years of marriage, I would like to think the couple can invite a space alien if they so choose. Just my opinion.

Trisha May 11, 2018 at 3:57 am

My sister-in-law and I are planning my in-laws 50th wedding anniversary, we want to have a champagne brunch at a nice restaurant. Is it inappropriate to expect guests to pay for themselves and how would we specify that on invites?

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