Budget Friendly Anniversary Party Ideas

My parents recently celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary and we threw them a party.


Here they are, aren’t they cute?!?! I took this picture a while back at a pumpkin patch.

Anyway, my sisters and I were doing the party together and our goal was to make it special without breaking the bank.

Here are a few budget-friendly tips from the anniversary party we threw:

Event Location

We had the party at restaurant that doesn’t charge for the party room. But we had to book it WAY in advance. As you would expect, free places book up really quickly.

Invitations on a Dime

At Tuesday Morning, I found a box of inexpensive New Years cards that had a place for you to affix a photo to the front. I attached the picture above to the card and cut the card in half, removing the Happy New Year message. It looked like a flat card. Then I simply typed and printed the event details and attached them to the back of the card. anniversary_invitation_idea

Party Food

This is where we spent the bulk of our budget. We wanted to have good food, so we kept it small and went to a nice restaurant that doesn’t charge for the party room. We ended up NOT doing a set menu, and that was actually a budget-friendly decision.  We had a lot of kids between us and it didn’t make sense for each of them to have one of three (expensive) adult entrees.

Picture Cupcakes

We made the cake ourselves. Actually, we did cupcakes with photos in them. I’ll take homemade cake over store-bought any day. But, while this saves money, it does take time. It would have been a lot easier to just order cupcakes from a bakery and add our own photos to them after the fact.

It’s also worth noting that cup cakes are MUCH easier to distribute than a sheet cake. In face, the kids rather enjoyed passing them out to everyone.


Credit for this idea goes to my friend, Elizabeth Rasberry, who did something similar for her mom’s birthday that I later did at my mom’s birthday.


We used photos as decorations and even the entertainment. My sister put together a slide show of photos of our parents over the years.

The Who am I? Game


Put a name tag on the back of each person and that person has to ask others “yes” or “no” questions to find out who they are. This is inexpensive – all you need is a pack of name tags and a People Magazine. And it’s fun, and a great way to help people move around the room and talk to each other. We played this once at our former neighbors (Steve and Colette’s) house and it was a blast. I have been doing it at parties ever since.

The NOT SO Newlywed Game

I thought it would be fun to ask my parents questions about each other to see how well they would match up. So we played the Not So Newlywed Game.


This was fun. I highly recommend it.


As for questions, we only did a few, but could have done WAY more. It was over pretty quickly so I wish I had prepared for about 15 questions and then just tailored the amount we used based on everyone’s attention span.

Newlywed Game Questions:

  • Where did you two meet?
  • Who is the better driver?
  • Who is more organized?
  • What is her favorite snack food?
  • What is his favorite snack food?
  • What is his dream vacation spot? (That’s the picture above)
  • What is her favorite movie?
  • What is his favorite movie?
  • Who is his favorite female actress?
  • Who is her favorite male actor?
  • What is her favorite song?
  • What is his favorite song?

We tried to avoid questions that might lead to negativity like – what does he/she do that drives you nuts – kind of thing. And we didn’t do anything even remotely romantic. I mean, they are my parents (ew!).

Silly Face

We took a real group picture and then we did a silly face picture that is so stink’n funny, I had it made into a photo gift for my parents and gave it to them for Christmas. Puzzle – 12 bucks from Shutterfly – GREAT gift idea!


Happy planning if you are working on an anniversary party. And if you know anyone who is expecting their first munchkin, please consider gifting them a copy of my book, Secrets of the Mommyhood.

9 Responses to Budget Friendly Anniversary Party Ideas

  1. Christy Parrott March 19, 2014 at 6:34 pm #

    Love your ideas! My brother and I just hosted a 50th anniversary dinner for my parents. I wish I had thought of the Newlywed Game! :) Haven’t run into you in a while – hope your spring break is going well!

    • Heather March 29, 2014 at 5:46 pm #

      Thanks, Christy! I know, for a while it seems we were in the same orbit! I’m sure we will start running into each other again now that the weather is going to improve. Finally. I’m over the cold at this point. Hope you guys are doing great -

      • Lorelai January 11, 2015 at 4:04 pm #

        O my goodness thank u!! I’m gonna host my parents anniversary party definitely going to use these ideas!

        • Heather January 22, 2015 at 11:56 am #

          I am so glad this is helpful! Hope you have a great time celebrating. PS – Have you ever seen Gentlemen Prefer Blondes? That was Marilyn Monroe’s name in the movie. I just watched it recently, it’s one of my favorite old movies.

  2. Patti April 18, 2016 at 10:59 am #

    Funny! I am in the planning stages of my parents 60th anniversary party. We had a huge one for their 50th and did The Oldiewed game… Cuz their old! It was such a HUGE hit, their friends talked about it for months afterwards!! And they still remember it! So we are planning The Oldiewed Game Part 2! I used butcher paper to cover the front of two long 8′ tables set end to end with a rectangle drawn in front of each team and the Oldiewed game logo in the center. As each team scored, (points given just like the real game) we’d tape a score (8×11″ paper) in the empty box so everyone could keep track of who was winning. We used questions like they use on the show. We had four couples playing, including my parents of course, based on years they were married. My husband will MC the game like before, joking with each team, egging on their answers and just making it more fun! This year we’re doing my parents as the oldest married, 60, and couples married 50, 30, and 25. We asked them questions with the husbands removed and brought them back to answer and then the wives. Just like the show. The game lasted about 45 minutes. Research by watching reruns or the newer syndicated show, but the negative questions and sex questions will bring laughter like you wouldn’t believe!! I videoed the game as a gift and made a memory photo album that my parents treasure. The saddest part is that as we’re planning their party now, we see that so many family and friends that were at their last party are no longer here. I’m so excited to get this party planned!!

  3. amanda February 4, 2017 at 8:27 am #

    I love the Not So Newlywed Game idea! We will definitely be playing it at my parents’ 40th party that we are currently planning! Thank you! The silly face puzzle game looks cute too!

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