50th Wedding Anniversary Ideas on a Budget

50th wedding anniversary ideas

Are your parents or in-laws about to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary? Consider yourself privileged! Precious few couples get to celebrate such a milestone. The 50th anniversary, also known as a golden anniversary, calls for a grand celebration to honor the happy couple. From affordable 50th anniversary invitations to golden anniversary decoration ideas, we’ve got a ton of 50th wedding anniversary ideas to share! Let’s jump right in.

Use Old Photos in Your Invitations

50th anniversary invitation
Classic 50th Anniversary Invitation from Invite Shop

Using old photos of the couple on their wedding day is a fun way to get friends and family excited about the anniversary party. While you can certainly use old photos to decorate the party location, consider using them in your invitations too, like in the example above! Another fun idea is a then-and-now 50th anniversary invitation. Everyone loves comparison photos that show the same twinkle in the eyes of a long-time married couple as the years have gone by. Invite Shop has budget-friendly, then-and-now invitation styles, like the example below.

50th anniversary invitations
Black and Gold Classic Photo Anniversary Invitation from Invite Shop

Get Creative with Gold Decorations

Gold decorations are fitting for a golden anniversary. While you can purchase pre-packaged golden anniversary decorations at most party stores, we encourage you to add your own special touches with a little imagination and creativity. For example, you can take a selection of empty wine bottles and/or mason jars of different sizes and spray paint them gold to serve as part of a lovely golden centerpiece, like the example below.

50th Wedding Anniversary Ideas
Sara & Rocky Photography / via Wedding Chicks

If you don’t want to spend a ton of money on floral centerpieces, you can take one of the most affordable flowers —baby’s breath — and spray paint them gold to dress them up and add more golden flair to your 50th anniversary decor. Finish your centerpieces with gold ribbons from your local craft or fabric store.

50th wedding anniversary ideas
Baby’s breath spray painted gold via WeddingDiscuss.com

Play Their Song & Music from Their Era

Many long-time married couples have an official song. This may be that special song that was playing when they fell in love or simply a favorite song they danced to at their wedding all those years ago. You can make a 50th anniversary special by letting the couple re-live the romance of that song. Arrange an area in the venue where the couple can dance to their song. Friends and family may join in or simply sit back and let the couple have the spotlight.

50th wedding anniversary ideas
Alexandra Grace Photography

In keeping with the nostalgia of the event, play songs from the couple’s era throughout the anniversary party. For example, hit songs from 50 years ago (1966) included “You Can’t Hurry Love” by the Supremes, “California Dreamin’” by the Mamas and the Papas, and “Strangers in the Night” by Frank Sinatra.

Plan Desserts & Drinks with Gold Accents

A golden anniversary isn’t complete without food and drinks that fit the theme. Caramel desserts are one example that fits into a golden theme. Champagne also easily fits the bill, but you can take this a step further by adding a gold sugar rim. Dell Cove Spice Co. sells a lovely Bronze Gold Cocktail Rimming Sugar that adds a pop of gold to any anniversary champagne or cocktail.

50th wedding anniversary ideas
Bronze Gold Cocktail Rimming Sugar from Dell Cove Spice Co

Another eye-popping idea for your sweet tooth is gold glitter cake pops, like the ones pictured below. The Sprinkles for Breakfast blog has a great tutorial for making these glimmering treats on your own. If you have a talent for baking, try dressing up your favorite cake recipes with a dusting of edible gold sugar, edible gold glitter, or the same classic gold sprinkles you typically use on your holiday sugar cookies.

50th wedding anniversary ideas
Golden Glitter Cake Pops via Sprinkles for Breakfast

Give a Homemade Golden Anniversary Gift

A homemade gift from the heart often means much more to a couple celebrating their 50th anniversary than any extravagant gift you could purchase at a store. The best thing about these homemade gifts is that they can serve as 50th anniversary party decorations and later be taken home as a memento for the couple being celebrated. The example below uses white painted boards as a backdrop for beautiful, gold hand lettering. Don’t be too concerned if your handwriting isn’t so great. YouTube is full of tutorials for calligraphy and fancy hand lettering.

50th wedding anniversary ideas
via Elevate Everyday

One of those most beautiful gifts we’ve seen uses gold painted puzzle pieces paired with a meaningful quote. Framed up, handmade items like this could also serve double duty as 50th anniversary decorations and as keepsakes for the couple.

50th wedding anniversary ideas
via Pinterest

Display the Original Wedding Dress

Some long-time married couples still have the original wedding dress that the bride wore 50 years ago. You can incorporate a bit of nostalgia into the 50th anniversary party by displaying the dress on a fabric dress form. Dress forms can be purchased new online for $40-$60, but you may be able to borrow one for the day from the owner of a local clothing boutique.

50th wedding anniversary ideas
via Make Me New

If the dress has been stored away for many years, we recommend having it professionally cleaned before it is placed on display. A good dry cleaner is often able to reduce any staining or yellowing that occurred over the years.

Create a Gold Candy Buffet

A major trend for milestone wedding celebrations is a themed treat buffet. For a golden anniversary, different types of gold candies and treats can be displayed in clear glass jars and bowls of different heights and sizes, creating a beautiful display like the one below from Spoonful of Sugar Custom Candy Buffets. Many candies already come pre-packaged in gold foil, including Hershey’s Kisses, Ferrero Rocher chocolates, Rolos, and miniature Reese’s peanut butter cups. Other candies have gold shells, such as gold shimmer Sixlets and gold M&M’s, both of which can easily and affordably be bought in bulk online.

50th wedding anniversary ideas
Gold Candy Buffet via Spoonful of Sugar Custom Candy Buffets

We love how the buffet table below incorporates vintage gold frames as a backdrop for the treats. You could recreate this look by finding old gold photo frames at thrift stores or garage sales, or spraying a different colored vintage frame with a coat of gold spray paint.

50th wedding anniversary ideas
via Celebrations at Home

Create a 50th Anniversary Photo Montage

Photos of the couple are often prominent in any 50th anniversary decorations, but you can arrange them in special ways to make them pop. Our favorite idea is arranging photos of the couple, their children, and grandchildren into the shape of a 50 and placing it on a wall for party guests to admire. You can even take pictures in front of this display to create new memories!

50th wedding anniversary ideas
via Pinterest

Plan Trivia from the Couple’s Wedding Year

Add some fun and friendly competition to the 50th anniversary party by planning a little trivia game featuring facts and tidbits from the year the couple got married. Keep the game simple by offering multiple choice answers. For example, on the trivia sheet, you could write: “What was the most popular TV show in 1966? The correct answer is “Bonanza” but you could include other popular shows from the era, like “Bewitched” and “The Beverly Hillbillies” to keep the game challenging.

Have a Blast!

These are just a few ways to make a 50th wedding anniversary special. The most important part, however, is spending quality time with the honored couple. This will mean more to them than an extravagant party ever could!

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