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Thursday, November 7, 2019


Last month my parents celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary.  Although they told us much earlier in the year that they did not want a party or reception, thankfully they changed their minds a few months before the day and agreed to a very small party.  We were so happy to be able to mark this milestone with a celebration!

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Originally, we planned to have the party at my home in early October, with visions of the perfect outdoor Fall evening... string lights in the yard, the patio cleared and set up with round tables, tablecloths, and china, and plenty of time for them to linger with their guests.  In true Oklahoma fashion, the forecast early in the week of the party predicted highs in the 40s that day... miserable for entertaining outdoors!  So, we quickly scrambled and thankfully a room was available at the church that would accommodate us.  We transferred our general ideas indoors and packed everything up to make it happen!  

Entertaining Tip:  When transporting dishes, decorations, etc.  I've started packing up everything I can into our suitcases, using towels or throw blankets to wrap fragile items inside.  Then, I can easily roll everything I need to set up for the party, no more lugging heavy bins back and forth!  

All three of us girls and various spouses and kids were all involved in decorating in some way or another.  We were able to get into the room a day early so it was nice to have that extra time to set things up.  Here's how we pulled off a budget friendly, elegant yet fun and festive Golden Anniversary party!

We decorated the entrance to the room a little bit, recognize the paper fans?  ;)

Although the guest list could have been hundreds and hundreds of people if we invited everyone who knows and loves them, they wanted to keep it very intimate and just invited those who had been their friends the longest over years and years, most of whom actually attended the wedding!   Mom brought their original wedding guest book and had the anniversary party guests sign it as well.

We tried to created the same atmosphere indoors that we wanted had we done the backyard party.  We used strings of white lights and oversized balloons hanging from the ceiling, and a black, white, and gold mix for the color palette.  The large balloons were supposed to be round, but by the time they're inflated enough to reach their intended size they are the tear drop shape.  :(  Hard to tell from the photos but it still was a nice effect though.  The tissue paper puffs on the light strings are disguising some of the plugs where multiple strings were connected together.

To hang the balloons and the lights, we just used small binder clips to carefully attach them to the metal grid on the ceiling.  Back in my younger days we used to shove paper clips into the ceiling for something like this... the binder clips worked so much better!

We set up a cake table with framed photos from the wedding (and their individual senior photos) as well as some wedding style nuts and mints to go with the cake!  The star of the decorations was the giant "50" that my sister fashioned out of cardboard, sprayed gold and then glued on gold glitter,  then her husband poked holes in it and threaded them with an LED light string. (similar lights here) They made the balloon garland too!  My bag full of mirrored gold and silver ornaments came in handy to scatter around the room for more sparkles.

If you look closely over on the left there's a wedding pic with their cake in it.  We ordered a similar tiered cake from Sam's Club and it was delish!  They didn't have a wedding topper on their original cake, just yellow roses and white icing roses, so we tried to mimic that a bit.  We told the bakery exactly how we wanted it decorated and then we added the roses ourselves.

Of course they had to cut it and feed the first bite to each other... ha!

As I mentioned, my sister and Brother-in-law made the large "50" sign.  Sorry, I don't have a tutorial!  Here are some great ready-made options if you'd like a similar look.  

We kept the centerpieces simple with hydrangeas from Trader Joes arranged with some lamb's ear from my yard in a glass bubble vase (here or here). Mom and all of us sisters (and a few friends!) pooled our white china, flatware, stem glasses, and gold chargers and just mixed and matched them on all of the tables.  It was cheaper to buy round tablecloths than rent them, and I know I'll use them again for various events so I'm glad to have them on hand.  We also used cute wedding "Mr. and Mrs." napkins similar to these.   

We all combined the decorations we had and picked up a few things to add to them and then figured out the best place to put everything once we got there.  This cute banner came from Five Below.

This section of wall had a large church logo on a sage green wall which we didn't want in the photos (as much as we love our church!) so I used more binder clips and hung a pair of Ikea curtains in front of it.  Then, I pinned some jute to them and used mini clothes pins to make a photo display. 

We also set up a photo booth spot in another area of the room by attaching more curtain panels to the ceiling.  My sister used strips of gold tulle layered on top and some metallic ornaments strung on fishing line.

There was a counter in the room that we used for a beverage station, and to tone down the block of dark cabinets I taped up a length of wrapping paper, then we displayed more photos on top.

Similar Tassel Garland here or here

We made two great decisions that made the evening so much smoother... First, we catered the main dish and two sides.  We brought a salad and bread ourselves, but it was so nice not to worry about the rest of it (normally we would have done that too!).

Secondly, we hired a photographer friend to take candid photos through the evening.  There is really no way I could have taken photos on top of keeping everything else moving through the evening (and just enjoying it myself!) and it was so worth it to be able to visit with guests rather than thinking about trying to capture all of the memories for the night.  Many thanks to Hannah Daffron Photography!  The images here during the party are hers, as well as many others we have for my parents to look back on, and I took most of the the decoration photos before the party.

 (My sister put together a video of family and friend photos that looped on the tvs throughout the evening.)

Working together, I think we pulled off a sweet evening to celebrate this amazing milestone!  So unbelievably grateful for my parents and their example of a loving, committed covenant marriage and all the ways they've led and supported our family through the years.

P.S.- I just came across these at the mall and bought two for my Mom and Dad.  Several of you have mentioned also having parents that celebrated their 50th Anniversary or a 50th Birthday this year, thought you might be interested in the fun memento (stocking stuffer!) too!

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Would you like to comment?

  1. What a lovely celebration to recognize a 50th wedding anniversary.

  2. Happy 50th Anniversary to your mom and dad! What a beautiful couple and I'm sure they're honored to be your parents, just as you and your siblings are honored to celebrate this season of their lives with them. You are all justly blessed!

  3. Looks like a lovely party! Congrats to your parents. What a blessing to have that kind of legacy!

  4. you have such a beautiful family.

  5. As always Jen, love the creativity and how everything looks! Awesome job!! and a great memory for all and especially your parents! =-)

  6. You are one clever and talented hostess!

  7. Marriage is not just any dream it is the most expensive dream of your dream life. CT Weding Photographer


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