Like all parties, 50th anniversary parties require careful planning. You only have one chance to celebrate a once-in-a-lifetime event like a golden anniversary, so it is important that the party goes as planned. Because anniversary parties are held less frequently than weddings, hosts often have questions about the etiquette rules regarding invitations.
Who to Invite
With anniversary parties, there aren't necessarily rules about whom you have to invite. Family and close friends are natural choices, but the guest list should be dictated by how lavish the affair will be and how many people you can afford to invite. For a smaller party, it is fine not to invite extended family or children. If you opt not to include children, only list the names of the adults on the invitation but prepare for questions about including kids from some guests. It is not proper etiquette to request outright that children not attend.
When to Invite
Invitations for a formal party such as an anniversary party are usually mailed six to eight weeks in advance. This will give your guests plenty of time to respond and make the appropriate travel arrangements. For an informal party, three to four weeks is a sufficient window of time, especially if most or all of your guests live locally or within driving distance of the venue.
How to Invite
Invitations are a necessity and there are many options, from a simple paper printout mailed to the residence to a personalized, high-quality cotton fiber invitation with a reply card. Either way, make sure that you include all of the appropriate information such as where the event will be, the time and date. If a particular style of dress is appreciated, it is a good idea to mention that as well to prevent your guests from being embarrassed by under- or over-dressing.
What About Gifts?
It is not polite to mention gifts for an anniversary party because traditionally people only bring gifts if they choose to. However, it is fine to mention that you do not want gifts or that gifts are not expected but if the guests would like to make a gesture, a small donation to a charity in lieu of a gift would be appreciated.
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