Author Topic: 50th anniversary for parents - what is expected?  (Read 6398 times)

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DianeRN

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Re: 50th anniversary for parents - what is expected?
« Reply #30 on: February 03, 2014, 04:12:21 PM »
My parents had a big party for their 50th, every bit of it planned by my mother (to my dad's great relief). All of their siblings have planned their own parties. All the kids were expected to do was show up and assist where asked.

cattlekid

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Re: 50th anniversary for parents - what is expected?
« Reply #31 on: February 03, 2014, 04:28:16 PM »
This might just be the mode that my parents want to operate in as well.  My dad just had his 70th birthday party.  He and my mom planned the whole thing.  I was unable to attend as I had a recent kidney transplant and could not fly, which they totally understood.  I did make a CD of music from all 70 decades and sent it to them to use at the party as background music. 

My parents had a big party for their 50th, every bit of it planned by my mother (to my dad's great relief). All of their siblings have planned their own parties. All the kids were expected to do was show up and assist where asked.

lowspark

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Re: 50th anniversary for parents - what is expected?
« Reply #32 on: February 03, 2014, 04:55:42 PM »
About a year before my in-laws' 50th my SIL (husband's sister) decided we needed to do the big blowout celebration for them. She gave them a choice between a big party and a cruise. Personally I didn't feel the compunction to do either, for various reasons. Well, the ILs chose a big party.

I don't know what the parents wanted but I do know that SIL hung the moon as far as they are concerned so whatever she decided was definitely the perfect thing. What she felt was obligatory was a huge party in a hotel (along the lines of a wedding reception) with all the out of town relatives and a huge invitation list.

I was absolutely not on board with throwing literally thousands of dollars at this party which, for a lot of reasons, felt less than genuine to me. One of which was that the reason we had to do it up all fancy was, what would all the relatives from out of town think if we didn't? (who cares!) I gave SIL a figure of my budget and told her that I would give her a check for that exact amount on the day of the party so whatever she wanted to plan and spend was up to her but that was the limit of our commitment.

Anyway, save-the-dates were mailed and deposits were put down (not by me) when MIL found out that some of those out of town relatives they were so bent on impressing had had some of their own life-cycle celebrations to which MIL & FIL had not been invited.

Suddenly the party lost its allure and they decided to cancel. I don't know if SIL got her deposits back but they decided that all of us (immediate family) would go on a cruise together instead. I declined as I have never wanted to go on a cruise and didn't want to get involved in a cruise with my husband's family. They are fine for a couple of hours but for a week... well, probably not so much.

Honestly, I don't see any obligation on the part of the offspring to do anything elaborate like this. If they want to because they want to, great! Get with the parents and discuss it. But honestly four+ years in advance is overkill.

I like the "we've got it covered" or "we'll let you know of our plans at the appropriate time" types of response to the Aunt. Sort of a polite way of saying, "none of your business and quit asking."

PastryGoddess

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Re: 50th anniversary for parents - what is expected?
« Reply #33 on: February 03, 2014, 04:59:43 PM »
Can I also just encourage you, whatever you decide on, to avoid a surprise party?

When my ILs were due to celebrate their 50th, MIL requested a small celebration (her, FIL, their three sons, and the one spouse -- me).  Younger BIL was insistent that we had to do more than that, because other families of our acquaintance had done bigger shindigs, so he planned a surprise party in a reserved room at a local Italian restaurant and invited all of the ILs' siblings and their families.  FIL's brother had eight children, for example, so with all of them, spouses, and children, it turned out to be a quite a crowd, probably 100 people. 

Well, MIL was quite annoyed.  She thought she was just going out for the dinner she'd requested and wasn't as dressed up as the guests, some of whom were in sparkly cocktail attire while MIL was in slacks and a sweater.  She sulked, pouted, refused to let pictures be taken.... and then proceeded to over-imbibe because she was so peeved.

FIL, on the other hand, felt the need to make a big, important speech when he saw the crowd.  The problem was that he tends to ramble and digress -- a lot -- if he speaks off the cuff.  So, the speech turned into a lengthy disquisition on his military service (he was in the Navy when he met MIL) that didn't include a single mention of MIL, the woman to whom he was married and his fellow guest of honor. 

This did not improve MIL's mood one bit, and she proceeded to imbibe some more and started crying.  YBIL ended up having to drive two quarreling parents home while the rest of us had dessert. 

It wasn't the warm family gathering YBIL intended. 

This was less about the type of party and more about not listening to the IL's wishes.  They wanted and asked for A and then got B instead. 

It could have been the opposite, IL's wanted at surprise party with all 500 of their closest friends and got a quiet dinner party with 10 ppl instead. 

Arila

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Re: 50th anniversary for parents - what is expected?
« Reply #34 on: February 03, 2014, 05:14:54 PM »
Another thought occurred to me -- is Aunt's big milestone coming up soon? I wonder if the hint train is actually going in another direction -- maybe OP is supposed to tell her COUSINS to get on something...



Anyway on to the strictly etiquette stuff -- I thought that it was frowned upon to throw a party where you are the host AND the guest of honor. So, for a big event like this, isn't it sort of on the kids (or someone) to step up and offer to host something?

If we are going to go by that, then I think it would be good to just have an open discussion about it.

Lynn2000

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Re: 50th anniversary for parents - what is expected?
« Reply #35 on: February 03, 2014, 05:29:54 PM »
Anyway on to the strictly etiquette stuff -- I thought that it was frowned upon to throw a party where you are the host AND the guest of honor. So, for a big event like this, isn't it sort of on the kids (or someone) to step up and offer to host something?

If we are going to go by that, then I think it would be good to just have an open discussion about it.

My understanding is, it's frowned upon to throw a party as both host and GOH when you expect people to give you gifts. Like, "It's Tuesday! Come to my BBQ and bring me a present!" I think it's fine to just "throw a party in celebration of X" without having any gift expectation, and IME people who are invited to anniversary parties don't bring gifts, or anything more than a hostess gift. Except there are those lists of "appropriate" gifts for different anniversaries, like gold for 50th or silver for 25th, so I'm not sure how that fits in. And, weddings are becoming a bit muddled as traditionally it was the parents of the HC who hosted, while the HC received gifts; but now many times it's the HC themselves who are hosting. Yet weddings are pretty firmly a gift-giving event.  :P

Anyway, IMO, I think it would be fine for a couple to organize an anniversary party for themselves, as long as the emphasis was on hospitality towards their guests. Setting it up like a redo of a wedding shower--with a dedicated gift-opening time or a registry, for example--would I think be tacky.
~Lynn2000

Tea Drinker

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Re: 50th anniversary for parents - what is expected?
« Reply #36 on: February 03, 2014, 07:34:13 PM »
i'd say the only obligation is not to throw a party you know your parents wouldn't want/like. that includes the huge party for two introverts; the big surprise for people who hate surprises; fireworks for someone who hates loud noises; an event that would require them to be at home at the time of year that you know they want to be in florida; or a gathering of all the relatives for someone who isn't on speaking terms with their siblings. beyond that, it depends on your family, and your budget; there is never a social obligation to bankrupt yourself to impress a random relative with the size of the party you can throw for someone else.
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cattlekid

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Re: 50th anniversary for parents - what is expected?
« Reply #37 on: February 03, 2014, 08:17:55 PM »
No kids in that family....Aunt is a confirmed bachelorette. 

Another thought occurred to me -- is Aunt's big milestone coming up soon? I wonder if the hint train is actually going in another direction -- maybe OP is supposed to tell her COUSINS to get on something...

blarg314

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Re: 50th anniversary for parents - what is expected?
« Reply #38 on: February 03, 2014, 08:45:29 PM »

There's definitely no rule about what is expected or required.

If the kids are willing and able to host a big party (and that's *host*, not arrange a pay your own way extravaganza) and the parents would like such a party, it's great.

If the parents don't want a party, there shouldn't be one.

It also depends a lot on circumstance. There's a big difference between booking the church hall and having the extended family (who is all local) make food, and having to arrange a catered, rented venue event from across the country, when the guest list is spread across multiple countries.

When my grandparents hit 50, the local family (in one case) and family and church friends (in another) arranged a community hall type affair, and the local siblings chipped in for the cross country airfare for my parents (who lived across the country) so they could be there. I know my parents couldn't have afforded a share in a big catered event, or to help send them on an expensive vacation.

gramma dishes

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Re: 50th anniversary for parents - what is expected?
« Reply #39 on: February 03, 2014, 08:58:49 PM »
Most of you are talking about your parents.  (Why do I suddenly feel very, very old?)   :-\ 

My husband and I will be having our own 50th anniversary in about four years too.  We haven't even THOUGHT about it yet.  A lot of things can happen in four years.  I think it's too soon for the Aunt to be insisting that planning should start right now.

We will not want a party, but if we did it would be very small and we'd want to plan it (and of course pay for it) ourselves.

EmmaJ.

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Re: 50th anniversary for parents - what is expected?
« Reply #40 on: February 03, 2014, 09:26:17 PM »
My parents recently celebrated their golden anniversary. All they wanted was a nice dinner with their children and grandchildren. And they emphasized "no presents!" and "we have everything we always wanted, please no presents!".

Well, we really couldn't have a celebration without a present, so we planned a cute gift. I bought a big basket, sprayed it gold and decorated it with gold ribbons. All the kids and grandkids had to buy something with the word "gold" in it, wrap in gold paper, and put in the basket.

There was a bag of Gold Medal flour, a bottle of gold fingernail polish, a Golden Treasury child's book, a bottle of Goldschlager, a pair of gold-toe socks, a postcard of the Golden Gate Bridge, a tube of gold glitter, a little net bag of chocolate gold coins, a book on how to raise goldfish, a bag of Yukon gold potatoes, gold nugget bubble gum...... I can't remember all the crazy things we came up with.

It was hilarious to watch my parents unwrap these odd presents and say things like "thank you, i always wanted a bag of flour".  It wasn't until they unwrapped the fifth or sixth item when my mom said "GOLD! everything is gold!

It was a golden anniversary to remember :-).


gramma dishes

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Re: 50th anniversary for parents - what is expected?
« Reply #41 on: February 03, 2014, 09:57:37 PM »
^^^  What a cute idea!!   :D

gmatoy

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Re: 50th anniversary for parents - what is expected?
« Reply #42 on: February 03, 2014, 10:11:00 PM »
Most of you are talking about your parents.  (Why do I suddenly feel very, very old?)   :-\ 

My husband and I will be having our own 50th anniversary in about four years too.  We haven't even THOUGHT about it yet.  A lot of things can happen in four years.  I think it's too soon for the Aunt to be insisting that planning should start right now.

We will not want a party, but if we did it would be very small and we'd want to plan it (and of course pay for it) ourselves.

DH and I are about 8 years out from our 50th. I'd love to do something, but DH is fearful that people would expect us to "renew" our vows and he is adamant that: "We said them for eternity and we aren't going to break them, so why 'renew' them?"
Reading all of these posts and none are renewing vows, so maybe I can convince him!

Kiara

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Re: 50th anniversary for parents - what is expected?
« Reply #43 on: February 04, 2014, 08:17:51 AM »
Nth-ing the idea to ask your parents.  My mom and dad have flatly told me NO PARTY.  (Theirs is 5 years away) I want to do something, so I asked if I could take them out to dinner, my treat (and NOT to McDonalds - my parents have a hard time with me spending money on them.)  They agreed.    There's a lovely restaurant in Little Italy we always go to, so I have a feeling we'll go there.  They're thinking of taking a cruise for their 50th, and I might call the cruise line to pay for a special dinner or something.

Easy, simple, and everyone's happy.  :)   (And if they'd wanted a party, I'd call my party planner friend and do my best!)

o_gal

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Re: 50th anniversary for parents - what is expected?
« Reply #44 on: February 04, 2014, 09:01:41 AM »
Can I also just encourage you, whatever you decide on, to avoid a surprise party?

...

It wasn't the warm family gathering YBIL intended. 

This was less about the type of party and more about not listening to the IL's wishes.  They wanted and asked for A and then got B instead. 

POD to PastryGoddess. You  need to find out what your parents would like to do. I have a feeling that since Aunt has no kids, she's more wanting this party so she can have something to celebrate.

We had to do a surprise party for my grandparents' 50th or there would have been no party. Grandma had a social anxiety disorder that meant that she was uncomfortable in crowds of people she knew (groups of strangers was OK). However, that was only if she knew it was going to happen and would psych herself up so that the anxiety kicked in. She had no problem if she was dropped in to something she had no idea was going on.

So Mom planned the whole thing in secret and made sure that all guests knew not to spoil it. For all that Grandpa and Grandma knew, they were coming to our house for dinner. They knew that their other son and his family were coming up from Florida, and she was fine with that. It was just going to be them, our family of 4, and Aunt, Uncle, and Cousin.

The first hint that something was up was when they were driving up the street to our house and thought that the car in front of them looked really familiar. By the time they figured it out, they were at the house and Grandma didn't have any time to ramp up the anxiety. It was a fabulous party.

So don't necessarily discard the option of a surprise party - go with what works best for all of you.