25th Anniversary Party Ideas on a Budget

by Reader Contributors

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A 25th anniversary should be a memorable event, but it does not need to leave an impression on your budget. Try some of these ideas to keep costs down while raising the fun factor.

My parents will celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary this summer. I’d like to throw them a party. But, I don’t have much money or any really good ideas. Can anyone suggest some 25th anniversary party ideas for those on a budget? I need ways to keep the cost down and still create a memorable event for them.

Keep It Casual and Relaxed

Do you have family members or friends who can help? You could ask them to bring a dish to pass and you would just provide the main dish such as BBQ or hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill. Get some poster board and put together pictures of your parents throughout their lives as well as wedding pictures and family pictures. If you can find funny ones (and who doesn’t have those!), it will be very interesting for those who attend. Have music from 25 years ago playing in the background. A sheet cake is inexpensive to purchase, or you can make one yourself. Select a color scheme and then find paper plates, napkins, balloons, etc. You can buy these a few packages at a time as you can afford. A relaxed, casual time for people to enjoy being together doesn’t have to cost a lot.

Capture Great Memories

Get a few of the instant cameras and take pictures of groups and/or individuals. Then mount the photos on a decorated bulletin board or heavy poster board. The guests can write messages to the couple next to the posted picture. Great memories that are inexpensive!

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In Lieu of Gifts…

I threw my parent a 25th anniversary party on a budget by noting on the invitations “In lieu of gifts, please bring a covered dish.” My parents have enough “stuff” and we needed help with the food. We made a turkey and a ham to go along with the food everyone brought. We also went to the bakery at our local grocery store and they made us an iced, small two-tiered cake on which we placed our parent’s original cake topper. We also decorated the cake with a few fresh flowers to dress it up. It turned out great and some even went above and beyond and brought a gift too!

Think Outside the Box on Locations

I work in a small county museum. We have hosted several anniversary parties at a small cost. To rent our building, it is a fraction of other locations in our area, and we allow people to bring in refreshments. You could ask other family members to contribute to a dessert or appetizers reception. The museum may also be willing to do a display of “remember when” for the date. It really is all about everyone visiting and enjoying the special memories from that day until now. So no matter what you do, even if it is just a photo album, they will love it!

Throw a Picnic

Have a picnic and ask the invitees to bring a dish to pass. Do some funny skits of things that really happened during the 25 years of your parents’ marriage. Make a scrapbook of special events in their lives and present it to them. The day will be fun and memorable!
Margie from Rochester, NY

Create a Keepsake

A cousin of mine had all the relatives send an anniversary card to her and she took all the cards and made a book out of it. It turned out beautifully, and it was a great idea. Her parents were very happy with their 25th wedding anniversary keepsake.

Great Party on the Cheap!

Last summer I held a celebration for my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary and did it on the cheap! I had months to plan, so I visited thrift stores and picked up every 50th wedding anniversary plate, goblet, plaque, poem, decoration, etc. that I could find. I also shopped with the “trading” company online that sells inexpensive decorations.

I photocopied tons of my parents’ earlier pictures into black and whites and framed these in cheap thrift store frames that I had spray painted gold and placed these around the rooms. I used white tablecloths but had different gold ribbons as runners. Each table was different and everyone liked mingling and looking at the different pictures/decorations throughout. All guests enjoyed seeing how things have changed in the pictures! Gold was the theme, so I was pretty handy with gold spray paint.

I served a brunch, so the guests wouldn’t be expecting tons of alcohol. Also, breakfast/lunch food is less expensive. I did all the cooking myself, serving ham, rolls, a breakfast casserole, a salad bar, and fruit salad. My mom made ambrosia. A good friend my mom worked for in catering years ago showed up and made shrimp and grits, which we served in stemware that I had gathered at thrift stores. Tea and lemonade were on hand. I also had a blow-up baby pool covered with a tablecloth that was filled with ice and bottles of water with personalized labels (again, from online “trading” company).

One little “game” I had was a crossword puzzle featuring my parents’ names, their children’s names, the names of their favorite restaurants, pet peeves, etc. I found an online site that I gave the list of words to, and they made the puzzle for me.

It was a busy day for me, but it was well worth it. Almost a year later, I’m still getting comments about the great party!
Wendy in Savannah, GA

Invite Original Wedding Party

Having recently planned and executed my parents’ 40th Anniversary party, I do have 25th anniversary party ideas for those on a budget.

The 25th is silver, so think about keeping your decor silver with a nice accent color like turquoise. Keep centerpieces and table decor simple. Maybe borrow some silver pieces from friends and family and add turquoise ribbon bows.

We put together a collage of images from my parents’ lives, both on poster board and also a computer version that played throughout the party. If having the party in a home, replace the photos on the walls with copies of photos of your parents.

If possible, invite the members of their original wedding party to sit with them at a head table.

We splurged on a live musician for the evening and he was worth every penny! He was just a guy with a guitar that we had seen before at a local pub, and we knew he could play the music that our parents enjoyed. He was the highlight of the party!

Reviewed April 2023

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