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Planning a Milestone Anniversary Party? Here's What to Do and What Not to Do

Planning a milestone anniversary party can sometimes seem as arduous as planning a wedding. Not only do you have to handle the logistics—from location to suitable parking, but you also have to create and manage a guest list.

You're probably thinking, "What have I gotten myself into?" right about now. But we’ve got you covered. Here are the dos and don'ts for planning a milestone anniversary party all will enjoy.

1. Do Start Early

A successful anniversary party takes time to plan. You’ll likely need months to organize amenities, activities, guest lists, etc. Create a general plan, refining it as you go along. Make to-do and checklists to keep track of your progress.

2. Don't Leave the Budget Up in the Air

Decide on a budget before signing up for a venue, pricing invitations, making a guest list or anything else. Once you've come up with a firm budget, stick to it. Find vendors and venues that fit the budget. Adjust expectations if necessary, but avoid the temptation to spend more.

3. Do Get a Gift

Yes, you’re doing all the party planning and likely covering a good portion of the costs. But it’s probably appropriate to buy the couple a suitable gift, too. Since you’ll be busy organizing the event, take advantage of a gift-by-year cheat sheet you can use to quickly choose an appropriate and affordable gift. Get the gift out of the way and move on to the major tasks at hand.

4. Do Choose the Venue that Works Best for Your Guests

If guests are coming from out of town, choose a venue that's near their accommodations. The venue you choose should have ample parking with services for the elderly and disabled if required.

Choose a venue with customized food options that include meeting dietary restrictions as well as vegan and gluten-free options.

5. Don't Invite “Problem People”

After you've put together a tentative guest list, look at it closely. Does anyone on the list have "issues" with anyone else? Is there a potential conflict if certain people on the list are thrown together with others on the list? Even if everyone seems to get along, is throwing them together at a party a good idea? Perhaps there was a divorce at some point, but the two parties remained friends. Is it wise to include the ex in the celebration? In some cases it would be just fine. In others, it could be risky. If the party is not a surprise, involve the anniversary couple as you finalize the list.

6. Do Make it About the Anniversary Couple

Sure, it's fun to plan a party. But if you plan a dance party and the anniversary couple hates to dance, you've taken the "party" out of the equation for the couple you're supposed to be honoring.

If your plan is to surprise them, make sure the party is designed around them—what they like to do, the food they like to eat and the people they enjoy. Choose a venue that suits their style, whether it's elegant, rustic or somewhere in between. The couple and their life together should have the starring roles.