50 Years of Love Deserves Celebrating!
The perfect way to recognize your parents’ or grandparents’ golden anniversary is by organizing a 50th wedding anniversary vow renewal ceremony and celebration in their honor. At the ceremony, the couple reaffirms the vows spoken at their wedding or makes new vows. A renewal of vows allows the couple to look over their years together and reaffirm, before family and friends, their commitment to their marriage and enduring love for each other. The renewal of vows celebration can be either a small, intimate ceremony and reception with close family, or a large affair with extended family and friends, or anything in between. When honoring the couple’s love and commitment to one another, the perfect size for the celebration is as unique as they are.
Not sure how to organize a 50th wedding anniversary vow renewal ceremony and reception? Follow these 11 simple steps to planning an event to remember:
- Surprise or not? It is probably best to let your parents’ or grandparents’ know that you would like to organize their 50th wedding anniversary celebration with a renewal of vows. Be sure to explain what you have in mind to be sure that this is something they want to do and would enjoy. You can support their decision by explaining how special you think their marriage is and how much you would enjoy watching them renew their vows after all these years. Once you have their approval, it’s wonderful to include them in the planning! You can also throw a surprise vow renewal if you’re sure they would be delighted with the idea and not feel put on the spot.
- Guest List: Start by putting together a guest list with the help of the anniversary couple to get an idea of the size of the celebration you are planning. The number of guests is essential to selecting a location for the celebration, planning food and drinks, and setting your budget.
- Date: Next, you’ll want to create a list of possible dates for the vow renewal celebration. It helps to have a few dates in mind as you talk to officiants, caterers, and ceremony and reception locations. Chances are you will have to coordinate available dates between them.
- Officiant: Armed with your guest list and possible dates for the ceremony, it’s time to hire an officiant to lead the ceremony and select a location for the ceremony. If the couple is religious, speak with the wedding coordinator at their house of worship to see if the ceremony can be held there. Keep in mind, since a vow renewal isn’t a legal ceremony, anyone can act as officiant including friends and family members. This might open update options if you’re finding it challenging to coordinate dates with locations and the officiant.
- Location: If you opt for a ceremony at the couple’s house of worship, you’ll need to decide if you want the reception to follow at the same location or another. Nature-loving couples might enjoy renewing their vows in an outdoor ceremony at the local gardens, park, or beach. Art-loving couples might enjoy a ceremony at a local gallery or sculpture garden. A ceremony and reception at someone’s home, be it their own or yours, is also perfect for a more intimate celebration.
- Invitations: To allow guests plenty of time to attend the celebration, you’ll want to mail your invitations at least four weeks prior to the ceremony. The invitations should include details on the time, date and location of the event, as well as a phone number or email address to RSVP to.
- Photos/Video: A 50th-anniversary vow renewal is something you’ll want to have plenty of pictures of to share with generations to come! If your budget allows, be sure to arrange for an experienced photographer to capture the special moments in the ceremony and reception. At the very least, assign an amateur photographer to do the same, even if they are a member of your family or a friend. It would also be lovely to have a videographer capture the ceremony.
- Decor: A 50th wedding anniversary is the golden anniversary, so you’ll want to include gold in your color scheme. For spring celebrations, gold pairs beautifully with pink for a romantic feeling. For summer celebrations, gold shimmers perfectly with brilliant yellows, pinks, and oranges. For fall celebrations, gold pairs perfectly with the oranges, reds, bronzes, and browns of the season. For winter celebrations, gold pairs lovely with navy, red, green, burgundy, or white. You can also pair gold with crystal or glass for an elegant, sophisticated look.
- Food and Drink: Depending on the size and location of your celebration, you can opt for professional catering or do it yourself. A caterer is recommended if you want to serve guests a plated meal or large buffet. They are also helpful for preparing and serving appetizers and finger foods while guests to mingle during a cocktail hour. Be sure to discuss whether or not they want alcoholic beverages served at the reception with the couple. They may not want them at all, be happy with wine or champagne, or want a full bar. It’s also perfect to simply serve cake, mints, and nuts with coffee, tea and punch for a simple reception. You can also check with the couple’s house of worship if the ceremony and reception are held there to see if the ladies are available to assist with food and drink.
- Entertainment: Depending on the size and location of the reception, you have numerous entertainment options. A slideshow of the couple’s life projected on a big screen is wonderful for a simple cake and punch reception or can be played during dinner or while the couple dances the first dance of the night for a more elaborate reception. Be sure to ask the couple what “their song” is so you can play it for their first dance or during the reception for a special touch. It’s also a wonderful idea to open the dancing with music from the decade they were married.
- Attire: One of the reasons we suggest letting the couple know about your plans to host their 50th wedding anniversary celebration with a renewal of vows is to ensure the couple has something special to wear. After all, this a special day for them and they should have a beautiful dress and suit to wear to the ceremony.
One that note, you’ll also want to ask them if they want to write their own vows, repeat those they exchanged at the wedding, or find new ones. They might also want to exchange new rings or gifts in celebration of this special occasion. Remember, a 50th wedding anniversary vow renewal ceremony is a once in a lifetime event and should be personalized to the couple as much as possible. Including the couple in planning each of these elements will ensure the day means as much to them as it does to everyone observing this celebration of their love.