Nigerian Weddings

How to Plan a Wedding Anniversary Party on any Budget (14 Simple Steps)

While every wedding anniversary calls for a special celebration, traditionally, anniversaries below 20 years are marked quietly between the couple or with a few friends and family. However, times have changed – we are now seeing many couples throwing big parties for their fifth and tenth year anniversaries. That is not surprising as fewer and fewer couples ever make it to their fifth year together in marriage. Throwing a party to celebrate your wedding anniversary is one of the best way to celebrate many years of a successful marriage, and this post will show you how to plan an affordable (or big) wedding anniversary in 9 simple steps.

Photo credit: Shola Animashaun (Nigerian wedding & party photographer)
 

Like every other kind of party, you need to plan a wedding anniversary party, if you want it to turn our fabulous – no matter whether you have a big or small budget. It is easier and less stressful to plan your wedding anniversary if have a guide on things to do and when. So, to help you out, in this post, we will guide you through the simple 9 steps for planning a glam wedding anniversary party that will wow your guests. Read on.

Checklist for Throwing a Fabulous Wedding Anniversary in Nigeria

Step 1: Fix a Date and Time for the Wedding Anniversary Party

Weekends are the usual and best time for any kind of party, and will be more comfortable for your guests. So, consider fixing your wedding anniversary party on a weekend or around a public holiday. The best time to host a wedding anniversary is a date near your actual anniversary day – either fix it on the same date as your actual wedding date, or a few weeks before or after the actual wedding date.

Some factors may cause you to move your anniversary party far away from the actual anniversary date, such as the when your most important guests (VIPs), your children or closest friends would be free to attend – I mean, those people that you can’t think of having the party without their presence, and don’t mind shifting the date in their favor.

Step 2: Fix a Spending Limit (Budget) for the Party

First decide on the type of wedding anniversary party you want to host – big or small, low-key?

Obviously, you won’t want to spend your entire life savings to throw a wedding anniversary party, so that is why you should set a spending limit by making a party budget – set aside a specific amount of money for the party.

Your party budget will determine every other detail about your party – such as the number of people you can invite, the type and size of place to use as venue; and quantity of food and drinks to buy. Basically how much you budget will determine whether the party will be a low-key or a big owambe.

To avoid overspending, once you fix the overall wedding anniversary party budget, break it down into a rough estimate as follows:

RELATED: How to Make a Wedding or Party Budget from Scratch

HINT: For a low budget wedding anniversary party, you’ll want to use what you have – your house or backyard as the venue; play music from DVDs you have at home; cook the food yourself. If you have grown-up kids, they will be thrilled if you involve them here and there – children love to be part of their parents’ anniversary celebration.

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Step 3: Determine How Many Guests to Invite

You don’t want to invite more guests than you can feed, so it’s best to determine how many people your food budget can cater for. Remember that if you invite more than you can feed, the hungry ones will abuse you – I know that you don’t want that.

A very easy way of doing this is to find out how much a plate of food will cost – easy if you plan to use a restaurant or hotel as the venue of your wedding anniversary OR if you can use the per-plate-price of your favourite restaurant to do a rough calculation. Divide your total food budget by the per-plate-price, and you will get an idea of how many people to invite.

 

Step 4: Decide on a Place for the Party

After completing steps 1 to 3 above, you should know the how much you budgeted to hire a venue (that’s if you’re not using your house); and since you now know how many guests you will host (from step 2 above), you should have a rough idea of the size of venue that will be right for your occasion.

So, it’s time to book the venue – ensure to do so early (at least 6 weeks in advance) as most good venues get booked full fast.

Where you choose to host your wedding anniversary party is your choice – your house or a rented venue. If you plan to book a venue. To give you an idea of great wedding anniversary party venues, popular choices among couples include: the couple’s house or backyard, a restaurant (you can book one or more tables, depending on how many guests you expect), a hotel meeting room or event room, a garden or park.

Step 5: Write a Guest List

Now that you know how many people you are limited to invite (based on your party budget), split up this number between you and your partner.

Some people start writing names on invitation cards without first making a guest list – the danger is that you are likely to forget to send an invitation to a very important person, and later remember when you have run out of invitation cards. Note that the more guests you have, the more you will spend on food and drinks (and sometimes, you will spend more to get a bigger venue). So, write a guest list before writing the invitation cards.

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Next, write down names of people you want to invite, as well as their address, email and/ or phone numbers (depending on the medium you want to use to send out the invites). Start from names of the most important people in your life. Some couples choose to invite the men and women who were their bridesmaids and groomsmen during their wedding – how cool is that!

The type of people to invite will depend on the type of party you plan to have. Some couples choose to have an intimate wedding anniversary party, where they invite their immediate family some of their closest friends or only their close families. But if you plan to have an ‘owambe’ (big party), your guest list will include more people. Decide upfront the type of people you want to invite.

 

When making a guest list for your wedding anniversary party, ensure not to invite more people than your budget can handle – keep in mind your food/ catering budget and the maximum number of guests your budget limits you to (see steps 2and 3 again). You also should be aware that your party venue has a limit on the number of people it can accommodate.

**NOTE: Invitation cards mailing is not the only use of the guest list. Good party hosting etiquette demands that you should send out thank you notes to guests after a party – via any medium – these days, people are using paper notes, bulk text messaging (sms) as well as emails and Facebook messaging to do this.

Step 6: Decide the Look and Feel of Your Party

How would you like the party? Will it be a formal or informal party? Will it be a small, private and intimate party or a big, owambe-style party? Do you want to throw a surprise anniversary party for your wife/ husband? Just free your creativity when deciding how your wedding anniversary party will be – there’s no right or wrong way here. It’s your party, so you should decide how you want it.

To help you out, here is a list of popular types of wedding anniversary parties in Nigeria include:

The type of anniversary party can even be as simple as a get-together with either close friends or only your immediate family members.

The reception party can be any of these types:

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How do you want your guests to dress?

Would you want them to wear whatever they feel like or would there be a dress colour code or do you want your guests to wear aso-ebi (uniforms)? If so, ensure to make that clear in the wedding anniversary invitation cards.

Step 7: Print and Send Out the Invitations

Okay, so now you have your budget, have your guest list, have decided on the venue, and have written down your guest list – that’s if you completed all the above steps for organizing a wedding anniversary party. Next thing to do is to print and send out the invitation cards to your guests.

 

RELATED: Our Answers to Readers Questions About Party and Wedding Invitations

When is the best time to send the invitation cards?

We advise that you give guests enough time to plan your party into their schedules, and six weeks to a month advance notice usually works best. Guests hate being invited at the last minute – it’s as if you didn’t respect their own schedules, and most people don’t show up because they will honour another engagement they had earlier planned for.

Invitation Options

These days, we are seeing married couples using different ways to invite their guests to their wedding anniversary party – beyond the traditional printed invitation cards.

What About Text Message Invitations?

You can use bulk sms (text messages) if you’re planning an informal or intimate, private party, and know the phone numbers of everyone you plan to invite. We’ve been seeing text message (sms) invites where the hosts end by saying something like “consider this text message your invitation” – and we think that’s so cool. We’ve even witnessed a few wedding anniversary parties where the ‘bouncers’ asked guests to show their text message sat the entrance – that’s also cool because we live in a community where ‘hearing about a party is considered an invitation to attend’.

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What About Facebook Event Invites?

We’re also seeing many couples set up events on Facebook, to notify and invite selected friends to their weddings and wedding anniversary. We love social media and think those are cool too, as only the people you invite to your event will see the invite. So, feel free to use the latest popular technology to invite your guests – only if they are also using the desired medium – there’s no point inviting someone by Facebook if that person rarely uses Facebook.

Printed Invitation Cards

However, if you plan to have an OTT (Over-the-Top), big wedding anniversary party, consider sending guests a printed invitation card – there are two choices here:

Consider Matching Your Invitation Card to the Traditional Anniversary Colour (optional):

Most milestone anniversary years have a colour, up to the 75th year.

Must-Have Invitation Card Information

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Step 8: Plan the Anniversary Party Food

Plan in advance for the type of food and drinks to serve your guests. Avoid serving what most people are not used to – stick with the popular Nigerian party food and drinks (alcoholic and/ or non-alcoholic). Popular non-alcoholic deinks in Nigerian parties include malt, juice and the good ol’ water. Wedding and anniversary food ideas include jollof rice, fried rice; side dishes include moin-moin.

Step 9: Plan for the Party Music and Entertainment

If you’re having an informal party at your house, use your home sound system and play your favorite music during the party – there are lots of great Nigerian party music – the new ones and the oldies too. BUT If you’re going to throw a big anniversary party, then we highly recommend hiring a DJ and/ or a live music band to ensure that your guest enjoy themselves at your party.

Whether you decide to hire a DJ or play the music yourself, it is a good idea to plan your music in advance – write down a list of your favourite dancing music, plus a list of the popular music that you think guests would be thrilled to dance to. And, a warning here – if you’ll hire a DJ, you have to let them know examples of music/ songs that you absolutely hate, so that they don’t accidentally play it at your party.

If you have a small budget, or just for fun: You can have a music-loving, gadget-loving family member DJ for you at your wedding anniversary party. This person can be your son if you have a grown boy. And, if you have time, ask them to make a playlist for the party and later run it by you, before the party day.

Other Entertainment Stuff to Plan in advance:

Step 10: Plan your Party Venue Decoration

Your party size and venue will determine whether you need to decorate the venue of your wedding anniversary party.

In any case, if you plan to have your party venue decorated, consider incorporating a dash of the traditional colours for your wedding anniversary year:

Venue Decor Colour Scheme Guide for Wedding Anniversary Celebration (optional):

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Step 11: Buy Party Souvenirs (Favours) for Guests

Souvenirs or party favors are a great way to say ‘thank you’ to your guests; a small ‘something else’ you want them to remember your event for. And Nigerian party guests are almost always expecting to receive take-home, ‘thank-you’ gifts from the hosts. This is not mandatory, and so you should only do it if you have extra cash. And, don’t under-feed your guests just because you want to pinch some money to buy souvenirs.

If you plan to give guests party favours (souvenirs), there’s no rules as to what it should be or how big or expensive – just be yourself. It can even be as simple as some chin-chin or cake or a non-edible present wrapped in a transparent nylon – anything you like. And, you can package the souvenirs yourself, with the help of a few friends.

Ideas for popular, small party favors in Nigeria include: serving plates/ dishes, drinking glasses, notepads with a picture of the couple printed on it

Step 12: Your Attire for Wedding Anniversary

What to wear: Wearing white may appear somehow to your guests, even if the outfit looks great. As a Nigerian, you have the option of wearing a traditional wear and a long gown/ dress. If you choose to wear a long dressy-gown, any style or colour would do. Some stylish women choose to wear a long wedding-gown-like, dinner-gown-like dress that is NOT WHITE. Men don’t have problems with a choice of vow renewal outfit, your husband can wear a suit or a Nigerian traditional menswear.

Wedding Anniversary Rings: Many couples choose to exchange new rings (anniversary bands) every year they renew their vows. While that is optional, most couples also use that time to upgrade their original wedding rings (especially if the original one has become tighter or was just a management-ring).

Flower bouquet: It’s perfectly okay to carry a bouquet on your vow renewal ceremony – I’ve seen a couple of women do this. To add some fun to it, your husband could pin a matching flower-buttonhole (aka boutoniere) on his suit.

Step 13: Final Check

A week and days up to the wedding anniversary day is when to check up on the venue and vendors (caterrs, MC, DJ, cake baker and so on) – you don’t want any last minute fails or no-show from anyone.

Step 14: The Anniversary Party Day

Go to your party with ‘the love of your life’ and be merry.

Why Every Wedding Anniversary Should be a Big Deal

At this time when millions of marriages don’t make it to their 5th or 10th year together, every single year of successful marriage is a big achievement and deserves to be celebrated – not many Nigerian couples survive it. The Bible advises us to ‘count our blessings, one by one”. Organizing a wedding anniversary party is a great way for married couples to renew their marriage vows and commitment to each other, and celebrate the the number of years they have been happily married.

Marriage Anniversary Celebration Trend: Before and Now

In the past, married couples who threw wedding anniversary parties were those who were marking anything from their 20th anniversary milestone. Traditionally, wedding anniversaries below the 20th were usually marked quietly between the couples – no parties (of course, marriages used to last forever, and so people only celebrated when their years together was considered a BIG milestone). But these days we are seeing couples celebrating their marriage anniversary from as early as their fifth year of marriage.

This article is inspired by one of our readers who is celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary this month. She emailed to ask us for a step by step guide on how to plan an affordable wedding anniversary party – we hope that will help help others too. A decade (full 10 years) in marriage is not an easy feat, and calls for a special celebration.

 

Want NaijaGlamWedding Blog to Feature Your Wedding Anniversary?

We believe that more marriages can last a lifetime if nearly-married couples learn ;the secrets’ from the wisdom of couples in long-term, successful marriages. We here at NaijaGlamWedding love hearing about marriages that have stood the test of time, and want to feature your wedding anniversary photos and love stories – to help our nearlyweds (brides and grooms-to-be) learn better about how to stay together happily ever after their wedding day, especially at this time that more and more marriages last a few days to a few teeny tiny years after the wedding day.

If you have recently celebrated your wedding anniversary, we’d love to hear from you – to publish your photos and love story.

Wedding Anniversary Party Planning Takeaway

That’s it from us on the 9 simple steps to planning an affordable wedding anniversary party, even with a small budget. As a recap, to organize a fab wedding anniversary, you need to think about answering these questions: When, where, how much and who to invite. Next is the décor, food/ drinks, entertainment/ music and party favour. And of course, you need to think about who will help you out with putting things together. Like weddings, it is best to start planning early. The best time to start planning a wedding anniversary is at least one month before your actual wedding anniversary date.

So, if you enjoyed reading this post, share it on Facebook, Twitter, email – your friends will thank you for it.

Did I miss anything in the above wedding anniversary party planning tips? Or if you just have a comment or feedback, let me hear it in the comment box down below.

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