It may seem like the plan for an anniversary dinner party is simple – come, eat, leave – but when you’re gathering to celebrate a special couple, arranging activities shows them how much you care. Keep your activity plans secret from the couple if you can so the entire night will be one surprise after another.
You’re never too old to play games and if you offer a bottle of wine as the prize, all the guests will be eager to do their very best. Quiz the couple to find out factoids like their favorite movie and most memorable vacation. Before dinner, ask guests to fill out a questionnaire to guess the couple’s responses. It’ll also be enjoyable to put the pressure on the anniversary couple. Find out one interesting, random fact about each guest and ask each member of the couple to guess who belongs to each fact.
Whether the couple married last year or 50 years ago, bringing out wedding mementos is always fun at an anniversary party, particularly if some of the guests weren’t at the wedding. Arrange for a video screen to be set up and play the couple’s wedding video before dinner starts or play the songs they danced to at the wedding between each course. Asking the couple to share their wedding day memories can also be fun. Before each course, pose a different question like “What were you thinking while you were standing at the altar?” or “What food did you most enjoy at the wedding?”
While a big party isn’t the place for a ton of speeches, at an intimate dinner party everyone should get a chance to speak. Let all the guests know in advance that you want them to share their favorite memory of the couple so they can make notes or bring props if necessary. During cocktails or dessert, go around the table and ask each person to share her favorite memory. You’ll all learn more about the couple and they’ll be touched by hearing each person’s thoughts.
The dinner party will likely be a fond memory for the couple, so recording the event will give them something to look back on. Ask guests to bring digital cameras and send you their photos. At the party, set up pieces of scrapbook paper and markers. Ask each guest to write a message on the paper and leave them for you. At the end of the party, assemble the papers in a book along with copies of any games you played, funny quotes from the evening and any pictures your guests send.
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Cooking, travel and parenting are three of Kathryn Walsh's passions. She makes chicken nuggets during days nannying, whips up vegetarian feasts at night and road trips on weekends. Her work has appeared to The Syracuse Post-Standard and insider magazine. Walsh received a master's degree in journalism from Syracuse University.