Author Topic: 50th anniversary for parents - what is expected?  (Read 7338 times)

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cattlekid

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50th anniversary for parents - what is expected?
« on: February 03, 2014, 10:34:48 AM »
Hello everyone!

My parents will be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary in four years.  Yes, you read that right....2018.  I hadn't even begun to think about it but every time I see my mom's older sister, she reminds me that my parent's 50th anniversary is coming up (RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER, don'tcha know?) and that my sister and I need to be on the ball with our planning. 

I've managed to stop this train of conversation so far by commenting that I'm not even sure that they would want a big event and then beandipping.  I certainly don't want to agree to any plans that I may or may not be able to follow through with, especially so early in the game and especially because I get blindsided by this comment at family events where my focus isn't such that I might accidentally agree to something that isn't what anyone really wants.

So here's my question to everyone.  What is my responsibility to my parents as far as their 50th wedding anniversary?  I obviously will check with them and my sister to see what they want and what Sis is feeling. But other than that, are we obligated to throw them a big party?  Pay for a vacation?  There is no bad feelings or animosity on any side but there's a lot of geographical distance to deal with in order to pull friends and family together.  We're talking coverage of about 1/3 of the country if we were to send out invitations to everyone who by rights should be invited to this type of milestone party.

Any other ideas on how I can head off my aunt other than continuing to beandip when she brings it up?  FWIW, she's the only one out of my mom's eight siblings that does this.


camlan

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Re: 50th anniversary for parents - what is expected?
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2014, 10:49:33 AM »
There's no rule whatsoever about this. Sometimes a couple will choose to throw themselves a party, sometimes their children do, sometimes there's just a family dinner, sometimes the kids send their parents off on a cruise or other once-in-a-lifetime vacation, sometimes there's nothing.

For your aunt, I'd just tell her that you've got it covered. That you have a plan. Your plan may be to wait until a year before the anniversary to ask your parents what they'd like to do on the Big One, but that *is* a plan. I'd go with some version of the "Toots Special," where you repeat exactly the same answer every single time Aunt asks you. "There's a plan in the works. We'll let you know the details closer to the date." "Thanks for the reminder. We'll let you know when we have the details worked out."

If your parents are in their 70s, who knows what their situation will be like in four years. As my father got older, he disliked larger crowds and was really happier with small groups of 10 people or under. I think waiting until a year or so before the anniversary is a good idea.

Maybe talk with your sister now about what type of budget the two of you will have, and toss around ideas. But don't start making actual plans for an actual event until much closer to the anniversary itself.

And then ask your parents what their thoughts are. Do they want a big party? A small one? Just a special day with their children and grand-children? A trip? Cake? No cake?
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


SPuck

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Re: 50th anniversary for parents - what is expected?
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2014, 10:52:02 AM »
You aren't obligated to plan anything. It is okay if nothing happens. If you do plan something it should be something you want to do and what your parents appreciate. An event shouldn't occur because someone else is harping on you to plan something.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2014, 10:58:07 AM by SPuck »

Marguette

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Re: 50th anniversary for parents - what is expected?
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2014, 10:56:12 AM »
As for the reply to your aunt, ”We talked to Mom and Dad, and we’re going to celebrate it just the way they want.” And stop there, I wouldn’t get into the sticky swamp of details so that she can start to weigh in and criticize.

Since it is so far ahead, and neither you nor your parents  know what they’ll be up for in four years from now, all you can do is kick around some general ideas. But if you do that, you will have a basis for telling your aunt the statement above and it can be a true statement.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2014, 12:25:50 PM by Marguette »

cattlekid

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Re: 50th anniversary for parents - what is expected?
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2014, 11:00:46 AM »
Thanks folks!  I didn't want to seem like an ungrateful child by not having something already in the works.  I appreciate the feedback and ideas.

I think what is coloring my aunt's approach to this is that my aunts and uncles planned big parties for all of my grandparents' anniversaries, every five years from 35 onwards to 60.  But of course, with nine siblings in the family most of whom were geographically close, it was a lot easier to divide and conquer.  My parents have taken a different tactic by taking cruises or other vacations on the milestones - they just got back from the Caribbean for their 45th.

I'll keep these ideas in mind the next time Aunt brings it up. 

DCGirl

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Re: 50th anniversary for parents - what is expected?
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2014, 11:06:18 AM »
I agree that you should celebrate in the way that your parents want.  I've known some couples who want a big party and others who want a quiet dinner with their immediately family (i.e., children, grandchildren, and spouses). 

I'm not sure that you need to start planning four years out (even the biggest, fanciest wedding does't take that long to plan), but you should give yourself enough time to allow others to participate (i.e., if your parents would like to see people who have to travel, give those folks enough time to make reservations, request time off from work, and manage the finances of being there).


Hmmmmm

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Re: 50th anniversary for parents - what is expected?
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2014, 11:09:51 AM »
Planning for an event 4 years out seems nutty to me. Are you sure she knows it's 2018? Could she have the wrong date?

Anyway, I don't believe you are obligated to do anything.

I'd respond to aunt

"When the date get's nearer, I'll discuss with mom and dad how they'd like to celebrate. But we won't be making any plans for at least another 3 years."

And repeat
"As I said last time you brought this up, we won't be making plans for another 3 years. It's too early to try and get mom and dad to make a commitment to anything."

auntmeegs

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Re: 50th anniversary for parents - what is expected?
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2014, 11:21:06 AM »
There really are no rules about it, its totally up to you and your family.  But if you are looking for ideas, my in-laws celebrated their 50th this summer and we did a family trip to a lake resort that they used to go to on family vacations.  Would something like that work for your family?

Lynn2000

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Re: 50th anniversary for parents - what is expected?
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2014, 11:23:44 AM »
I would probably be like, "Wow, that's four years from now, isn't it? Hasn't even been on my radar!" in a cheerful tone. I also like the response of, "We're planning to do whatever my parents want," because you are, you just have no idea what that is.

As far as your obligation, as others have said, there's not one at all. I would suggest asking your parents if they've given it any thought at all, since Aunt has asked. If it turns out they would like a fancy vacation or something, the sooner you know about it, the sooner you can start saving up, if you indeed wanted to contribute money towards it. But people have a lot of different ideas about how they want something like that celebrated, and I think the most important things are to listen to them, and then work within your means. If they don't want a big party, then don't push one on them; on the other hand, if they want an all-expense-paid trip around the world, that's nice, but you and your sister aren't obligated to provide it.

For their 40th anniversary my aunt and her husband had a big party at a church hall and invited all their friends and family, including all the members of their wedding party. For my parents' 40th anniversary, which I think was just last year, my parents went out to dinner at a new diner in their small town. Little bit more low-key. :) I've never had a tradition of doing anything for my parents' anniversary, actually. I suppose if they came to me and said they wanted me to plan something, I'd consider it as far as my resources allowed, but it would be a very, very unusual thing for all of us. Definitely a third party who expected me to do something big would get a  ??? in return.
~Lynn2000

Winterlight

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Re: 50th anniversary for parents - what is expected?
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2014, 11:28:10 AM »
I'd first talk to your parents. Mine celebrated their 50th in June and had no interest in a party or a trip.
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cattlekid

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Re: 50th anniversary for parents - what is expected?
« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2014, 11:42:04 AM »
Yep,  It's 2018.  That I know for sure - and it's December 2018 to boot so it's more like five years away than four.  This past December was their 45th anniversary.  I've told my aunt this as well but it still seems like a topic that she can't let go.

Planning for an event 4 years out seems nutty to me. Are you sure she knows it's 2018? Could she have the wrong date?

Anyway, I don't believe you are obligated to do anything.

I'd respond to aunt

"When the date get's nearer, I'll discuss with mom and dad how they'd like to celebrate. But we won't be making any plans for at least another 3 years."

And repeat
"As I said last time you brought this up, we won't be making plans for another 3 years. It's too early to try and get mom and dad to make a commitment to anything."

bopper

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Re: 50th anniversary for parents - what is expected?
« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2014, 11:43:12 AM »
I think first think about what you and your sister would be willing to do.  Nothing? Plan a party in someone's home? Plan a party at a restaurant? Send them on a cruise? Send them to a B&B?  Then start asking your parents based on that.


"Mom, Dad, Aunt Nosy was talking to me at the party the other day and was reminding me that your 50th anniversary is coming up in 4 years.   As this is four years away, I changed the subject.  But it got me to thinking, would you be interested in a party or small get together or something? (or going away for a weekend or a cruise or whatever you are comfortable with.) Obviously we wouldn't start planning anything now but just so sis and I can start talking about something."

ladyknight1

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Re: 50th anniversary for parents - what is expected?
« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2014, 11:47:18 AM »
My parents fiftieth is in two years. One of my sisters and I will be planning the party they want and we will start a year out. My parents have no interest in a big trip, and eloped when they got married, so this will be their only big party.

PastryGoddess

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Re: 50th anniversary for parents - what is expected?
« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2014, 12:11:06 PM »
I personally do not believe that it's the child's responsibility to plan celebrations for their parents.  How your parents wish to celebrate their 50th anniversary is up to them. 

I would actually get a little annoyed with the aunt and let her see it.  After all, why is she so focused on YOU planning something.  If it's so important, she can start planning something herself.

heartmug

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Re: 50th anniversary for parents - what is expected?
« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2014, 12:13:30 PM »
As for the reply to your aunt, ”We talked to Mom and Dad, and we’re going to celebrate it just the way they want.” And stop there.

POD.  My ILs wanted the big, hugh party put on by their kids.  We all did it.  My parents wanted a lifetime trip - so we each contributed whatever we could afford to help them out with that.
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