How to Plan an Anniversary Celebration

Setting the Mood

When you’re planning your anniversary celebrations, take inspiration from your family traditions. How do you usually celebrate important events? If your family is the type that keeps to relaxed, low-key celebrations, an extravagant affair might not be the way to go, unless you’re celebrating a milestone anniversary. Similarly, if your family prefers to celebrate decadently, holding a barbeque by the beach is probably not the answer. Decide on a formal or casual tone for your party that will suit you and your family.

Decide on a Budget

As with any event, it’s important that you set a budget before you start making bookings. Your budget will determine the venue, the caterer, and the number of guests you can invite. Appoint a budget to each element of your party: decorations, catering, venue hire, and entertainment. Keep in mind, too, that the success of your anniversary celebration is not determined by how much you spend, but rather the sentiment behind it.

Write a Guest List

Once your budget has been determined, you can decide on who you would like to invite. If you’re holding a milestone celebration, your guest list will tend to be longer: you’ll want to include family, friends, and even colleagues who have been an important part of you and your spouse’s lives. If your event is a small, informal affair, keep your list to close friends and family. Your guest list will help you determine the cost of catering as well as the size of your venue.

Set the Date

Generally, couples want to set the date of their celebration as close to the date of their anniversary as possible. You may have to make your bookings early, depending on the time of year: spring is wedding season for venues and caterers, and summer is rife with Christmas parties and New Year’s celebrations. If you’re holding your party in the warmer months, make your bookings well in advance.

Book a Location

You can hold your anniversary celebrations just about anywhere. The formality of your event, as well as the number of guests you invite, will determine where your celebrations should be held. If you’re hosting a formal affair, look around for hotel function or ballrooms, or restaurant function halls. You could also search around for banquet halls. Most hired venues will include decorations and even entertainers. Search around for a hired venue that includes the services you require at an affordable cost.

If your anniversary celebrations are casual, you could hold your event in a public space or even in your own home. Local RSL clubs or churches might also have affordable functions rooms for you to hire.

Send out the Invitations

Once your venue and the date have been determined, it’s time to send out your invitations. You might choose to have custom invitations printed, buy them from a newsagent or party planning store, or you could even make your own. Make sure you include a date, time, location, and RSVP date on every invite.

Choose your Catering Service

Whether you’re catering for a formal or informal event, hiring a catering service to provide you with your menus is usually the most simple, economical way to feed your guests. Search for a local catering service with experience and the testimonies to match: browsing through caterers’ portfolios is a great way to sample the quality of presentation as well as gather ideas for your own function. The type of service will be determined by the length of your guest list as well as the level of formality of your event: if you’re keeping it casual, why not ask your caterer to organise a barbeque? If you’re catering for a large crowd, you could opt for a carvery or a buffet. If you’re holding a formal affair, opt for a sit-down meal or a cocktail menu. Your caterer will be able to assist you in deciding on the type of service, as well as your choice of food.


The type of entertainment you choose for your anniversary celebration will be determined by the type of celebration you hold. If you’re organising a formal celebration, you could hire a band or a DJ: the type of musician is dependent on your guests. Will they want to dance, or simply listen to music as they dine? You could even hire a photographer to capture snapshots of your celebration.

A casual affair is better suited to background music played through a sound-system. You could compile your own playlist of songs that mean something to you: you could even include a number of songs played at your wedding.

You might also choose to renew your vows sometime during your celebration. This in itself is a bigger part of the entertainment. You could also include a slideshow of home videos or photographs taken of you and your spouse throughout the years.

Making a Toast

No matter whether your event is formal or informal, toasts are a wonderful touch to an anniversary celebration. Your children or grandchildren, close friends or colleagues might like to propose a toast, or you might like to make your own. Keep your toasts simple and to the point, and play on the sentiment of your celebration.

Anniversary Decorations

You can keep your decorations as simple, or make them as extravagant, as you please. Flowers, streamers, candles, balloons, and confetti are all great, low-cost ways to decorate rooms and tables. You could also include photographs of you and your family on tables or strung up as garlands.

To Gift or Not to Gift?

Your guests will generally initiate the giving of gifts without being asked. If you’d prefer not to receive gifts, particularly if your anniversary is not a milestone, include a simple statement on your invitations.

Planning an anniversary celebration can be simple and enjoyable so long as you allow yourself plenty of time to plan and make bookings. With some careful attention to detail and some personal touches of sentiment, your anniversary celebration will be one that your guests, and yourself, will cherish for years to come.