Last weekend my sister and I had the privilege of helping our parents celebrate their 35th anniversary. We had so much fun planning and hosting this event! Other than my wedding (which was pretty simple), this was the biggest event I’ve organized. Alli’s creativity and excellent taste was a perfect match for my love of spreadsheets and details. I thought it would be fun to share the party planning process with you, along with lots of pictures from the evening!
We decided that we wanted this to be a sit-down dinner party between 20 and 30 people, with a mix of family and friends. I helped plan a church-wide event held in the fellowship hall for their 25th anniversary (my dad pastors a wonderful church in Tennessee), but we wanted this event to be much smaller and more intimate.
Here’s a look at our planning process, from start to finish!
Two Months Out:
- Decided on our guest list: this helped us know how many we needed to accommodate in a private room. We ended up with a total of 23 guests.
- Scouted restaurants: we asked local friends for recommendations, checked on the availability of a private room, evaluated menus and pricing, made sure the rooms were handicap accessible for our older guests, and Alli kindly tried our top two choices to make sure the food was good. 🙂
- Settled on a venue – we chose Giuseppes Italian Restaurant and were very pleased with the prices, food and friendliness of the staff!
- Settled on a theme – we went with coral (the suggested gift for 35th anniversary) and the phrase “I love us,” which is special to our parents.
- Created a secret Pinterest board to share our ideas
- Purchased and mailed invitations: I got mine from Hobby Lobby – if you’re ordering from Etsy, you may need a little more time.
Two Weeks Out:
- Confirmed the guest list: I waited a few days after our RSVP deadline, and then reached out to anyone that hadn’t responded. I’m glad I did, because one guest’s email confirming their attendance didn’t reach me. It’s a good idea to contact your guests, especially when you have to give an exact number to the restaurant. You don’t want someone to show up that you weren’t expecting!
- Finalized our decor and place cards
The Week Of:
- Confirmed total number and menu options with the restaurant
- Here’s something to keep in mind if you’re planning a dinner party – I had chosen 5 entrees for a select menu, but we decided to allow guests to order from the entire menu. Only one person ordered an entree from my original menu, so I’m glad people were able to choose what they wanted. However – it took a LONG time for everyone to look over the menu, choose what they wanted and place their order while also talking with everyone at their table.
- Created the seating chart: I wanted to make sure that everyone was seated near someone they knew, for easy conversation. We invited family as well as local and out-of-town friends and we wanted everyone to be comfortable.
The Day Before:
- Made the Oreo truffles that doubled as place card holders/party favors (we used the dark chocolate version of this recipe – they were simple to make, delicious and a huge hit)
- Gathered everything we were taking to the venue
- Purchased last minute items for place cards and decor
The Day Of:
- Assembled place cards: I created the image in PicMonkey (top right picture above) and printed it on card stock. Each little square was hole punched and attached to the treat bag containing a truffle. I wrote each person’s name on the top of the card.
- Purchased flowers and made the arrangements: the vases came from Hobby Lobby, flowers from Kroger.
- Decorated the room: setting out the place cards, arrangements and decorating the display table took less than 15 minutes!
Alli and I were so pleased with the evening! Our parents knew that we were giving them a party, but most of the guests were a surprise. They are loved by many – it was hard to narrow down the guest list to a small group! I went around during the meal and got pictures of everyone in attendance so that my parents can look back in later years to remember who was there to celebrate with them! I won’t share those pictures on the blog, but here are a few pictures of our family that was able to attend.
Top L to R: Jeff & Dianne (mom’s brother in law & twin sister), Papa & Nana (mom’s parents), Mom & Dad
Bottom L to R: Us :), Alli and her husband Andrew – the guys played frisbee golf all afternoon, that’s why they are a little sun-kissed 🙂
My sister and I both took a few minutes after the meal to share with everyone how our parents’ marriage has impacted and enriched our lives. We know how blessed we are to have grown up in such a loving, dedicated family and were so happy to be able to honor them with the evening.
Their actual anniversary is next Monday, June 20. Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad! ❤