A 25th anniversary is a milestone that precious few married couples reach. Staying together for the long haul takes commitment, a willingness to put another person’s needs before your own, and — let’s face it — a good bit of luck! If you’re planning a 25th anniversary party for yourself or a loved one, it’s easy to feel a lot of pressure to go all out to honor that kind of enduring love.
Even so, you don’t have to go broke planning a 25th anniversary party. We’ll take you through some 25th anniversary ideas that are both inexpensive and memorable, from cheap yet tasteful 25th anniversary invitations to homemade photo montages.
1.) Gather old photos for invitations & decor.
Since a 25th anniversary is all about reliving old memories, old photos from throughout the couple’s marriage will be essential. You may even decide you need them before the actual party so that you can use them in photo invitations, like the example below.
Here’s a tip: gathering photos often takes longer than you think — 25 years ago, people didn’t routinely post photos online through social media and photo sharing sites. Going through stacks of photo albums, digging through memory boxes in the attic, and contacting the couple’s family and old friends to cough up their photos of the couple could take months, so make sure you get started right away. You’ll need a large assortment of photos to create thoughtful photo montages like the one below.
2.) Send invites to the couple’s original wedding party (and arrange video messages from those who can’t attend)
Some couples stay close with their original wedding party all their lives, but all too often, they lose touch over the years. Imagine what it would mean to the couple to have that wedding party all together again for the first time in 25 years. Making this happen requires a little bit of research and calling around to verify addresses and gather interest, but it’s always worth the effort. If some or all of the wedding party or guests live out of state, it will be imperative to get the 25th anniversary invitations out as soon as possible.
Some old friends of the couple may not be able to attend in person due to finances or logistics, but that doesn’t mean they can’t attend in spirit. Request video greetings from guests who can’t attend and play them during the party so that the couple knows guests who aren’t present are still thinking of them and wishing them well.
3.) Get creative with homemade silver garlands.
The 25th anniversary has been known as the silver anniversary since antiquity, but the cost of customary silver decorations can stack up quickly. If you make them yourself, however, silver decorations can be downright thrifty. We recommend making your own silver tissue paper garlands or silver fabric garlands to drape over the walls, along staircases, or even around tables.The internet abounds with step-by-step tutorials, but here are two examples to get you started:
- DIY Fringe Tassel Garland from Camille Styles (uses tissue paper)
- DIY Tassel Garland from My Calico Skies (uses fabric)
The first tassel might take you some time to make, but once you get the hang of it, the rest should go much more quickly, especially if you enlist the help of a few crafty friends.
4.) Use silver candies in glass jars as decor.
Have a display of decorative glass jars of all shapes, sizes, and heights filled with scrumptious silver candies to commemorate the silver anniversary. Examples include: silver-foiled Hershey’s Kisses, silver Jordan almonds, silver shimmer sixlets, silver M&M’s, and silver gumballs. A wide variety of silver candies are available online or in candy stores in bulk. You can adorn these glass jars with silver ribbons to add a touch of elegance.
5.) Layer twinkle lights under white linens to create a lovely glow
Twinkling lights are a beautiful accent to silver decorations. Layered under white tablecloths, they add a subtle glow that creates a sparkling ambiance. If you are hosting the party outdoors, you can wrap twinkle lights around trees and bushes to create the same effect. You likely already have a few sets of white Christmas lights on hand, and if not, they can be easily borrowed from friends and family.
6.) Have an instant camera on hand for printed photos with the couple to be used in a special memory book.
Get your hands on an instant camera so guests can take pictures with the couple that print immediately. You can typically find Polaroid cameras used for around $40. Once the photos print, guests can add the photos to a guest book and write well wishes for the couple.
A more modern option would be a smartphone photo cube printer, which allows you to instantly print the photos you take on your phone without a computer. At $159, plus the cost of glossy photo paper to go with it, this is a far less economical option. However, you may decide the higher quality of printed photos is worth the price tag for an added layer of enjoyment at the anniversary party.
7.) Create a Special Poster Board Display Featuring “Then and Now” Photos and a “Timeline of Love”
Using three-panel poster board, tell the story of the happy couple using photos and a little creativity. Devote two panels of the poster board to a “Then and Now” display featuring photos and factoids about the year the couple got married and the year of their 25th anniversary celebration. Then and now factoids might include:
- 1991: Chicago Bulls were NBA champions / 2016: Spurs and Golden State are dominant
- 1991: Terminator 2 and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves were hit movies / 2016: Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Deadpool are hit movies.
- 1991: Full House was a hit TV show / 2016: Fuller House is a hit TV show
For the center panel of the poster board, create a Timeline of Love highlighting important dates over the years and photos to go along with the dates. Make sure you include the following dates:
- Year the couple met
- Year the couple got engaged
- Year the couple got married
- Year(s) the couple had children
- Year the couple bought their first house
- Year(s) the couple made major moves or took major trips
- Year(s) of major career changes
8.) Plan lots of fun games
What’s a party without a little entertainment? Fun games are the key to making a 25th anniversary party memorable. Here are some ideas:
- Trivia from the couple’s wedding year with prizes for guests who get the most trivia questions right.
- A newlywed game for the couple to test how well they know each other after 25 years of marriage. This can be a game that only the couple can play, or you can adapt it into a competition so that all the other couples attending can play as well.
- Karaoke featuring music from the couple’s wedding year.
We hope this list inspires you to plan a truly memorable (and affordable!) 25th anniversary party. Here’s hoping the couple gets to celebrate all over again at their 50th anniversary!