So where to begin? First and foremost, you need to decide whether you are hosting a big get-together or a small intimate gathering. This decision should be based upon what your parents are most adapted to and what they prefer. If you do not know, do some sneaky investigative work and find out. Secondly, you need to decide whether or not to have a traditional or contemporary anniversary party.
A traditional anniversary party usually adheres to the annual material used for how long a couple has been married. In this case, the material is silver for 25 wonderful years of marriage. Most, tend to be more formal and are viewed as a second wedding reception. A contemporary wedding anniversary party is usually not as formal and incorporates other themes within the traditional silver motif.
If you are going the traditional route, and have decided to host a large gathering, preparation and planning is a must. First, you need to decide who you are inviting and how many. Next, you need to pick a facility that can accommodate the amount of people anticipated. Although a person's home can be used, most people tend to have parties at banquet or reception halls for easy parking and accessibility.
Creating invitations is where you can let your creativity shine. If you have extra cash, opt for professionally made ones. This will add a touch of elegance and class, and be a great scrapbook memento. Decide whether this is a black tie event or casual, and make sure to include in your invitation that this is a surprise party. You do NOT want to be getting a call from your parents asking how they can help!
Next, you need to decide how you will use your theme of silver in your decorations. There are many resources out there and party planning companies that can assist with these nit-picky details. As a rule of thumb, stick with silver as your primary color for decorating. Accent colors should complement the silver, not detract. For floral arrangements, the flower for the 25th is the iris which is a beautiful touch for center pieces.
Beside the decorating and invitations, food is very important. Depending on your budget you could provide a buffet for everyone, or go the economic route and provide shrimp cocktails and appetizers. Just make sure you have enough for all of your guests! As for dessert, it is nice to have another wedding cake. If your parents had a small wedding cake before, really go all out on this one by having a bigger and better cake.
As an added touch during their party, many prefer to show some sort of memorabilia for their parents, whether this be a slide show, movie, or specially made composite CD that highlights their loving and lasting relationship. It is also nice to find out what song they have danced to at their wedding and have them dance to it once more.
Next is the toast. Since you are hosting the party it is expected of you to give them a warm and heartfelt speech. Once again, spend plenty of time on this to show them how much you have appreciated them through the years.
Last but not least, is the gift. Since this is like a second wedding reception, if you can, splurge on getting them a second honeymoon. If you can not afford it, tactfully include in the invitation that you are trying to help them go on a fabulous second honeymoon and see if you can raise the money. Try to top their first honeymoon and make it one they will never forget! If you are really tapped out, be creative and give them a gift that is related to the theme of silver. This does not necessarily mean jewelry or silverware, you could give them a gift basket filled with various items they would really enjoy. Let it be imaginative and come from the heart.
As for a contemporary or smaller wedding anniversary party, a back-yard barbecue may be completely acceptable. You could also have a themed party, like mardi-gras, disco, costume, and so forth. A themed party may be formal if you choose, but remember to make it classier if you can. Even if you are having a smaller or less formal get-together, a dedication to your parents should still be made to show them your love.
For the surprise element of the party, tell your parents weeks in advance that as a present for their anniversary, you have reserved them a table at some chic restaurant. If
it is not a fancy party you are having, tell them you have tickets to an event like a concert or play. Do not tell them who or what it is so they do not get their hopes up. After all, you want them to be surprised and happier that their having a party not going to see their favorite singer perform!
And as always, there are certain things that should not be done at a party. Although it may be amusing to belabor how long they have been married, it is not appropriate or funny to make your parents feel old. They already know!
No matter what route you end up choosing for a party, make sure it comes from the heart and will be a day they will cherish for the rest of their lives.