Planning a 1 Year Anniversary Party Instead of a Wedding Reception

Anniversary Party Instead of a Wedding Reception


Readers Ask: Can we nix the reception and just have a 1-year anniversary party instead?

“My husband & I got married in a private ceremony last March. I was considering throwing a “one year anniversary” party for some friends & family (some felt left out and a few have nagged me about “doing something”) but I am concerned about it looking tacky. I don’t want gifts or too much hoopla. I was thinking about a nice brunch buffet. Is this appropriate? How do I word invitations? Is there a guideline/limit as to who/how many should be invited? Are there any expectations (speech, explanation, etc.) for the party?”

Our Answer

Congratulations on your marriage and upcoming anniversary.

Firstly, this is truly all about personal preference. You could go all out and create a reception on your anniversary date or stay quaint and small by throwing a brunch celebration instead.

Just as with weddings and other life cycle celebrations, invitations are not invoices. While some of your friends and family will give you a token of their well wishes, others may not. And even those who do give a gift, the budget will be more modest compared to gifts given for a wedding. Don’t sweat it, if presents are brought just make sure you follow up with a thank you card after the event has died down.

As far as wording on your invites, you can be as simple as:

“Let’s Celebrate!”


“We’d be honored to have you celebrate our first year of marriage,” follow by the event details.

Other Expert Answers

“I too feel that it is best to plan a reception as quickly as possible. Because this is hosted so long after your wedding, it is best to skip traditional elements, such as the first dance. You two have been “dancing” for quite some time now.

Also, although there is nothing wrong with hosting a first year anniversary party, some may find it odd. Most people do not celebrate their minor anniversaries with others, opting for romantic dinners alone. Bench mark anniversaries are more common. In addition, neither of these events are gift giving events. So, it might be best to let everyone know, via word of mouth, that you two don’t expect gifts.” – Etiquette Now

“Rather than set anyone up to think this is a reception I like that you’re thinking a lunch time thing. You can have a wedding style cake that has across it “Happy Belated Wedding”. It is proper to have a family get-together and certainly everyone knows about your marriage. In terms of invitations, I would keep it simple and focus on it being a get together to celebrate a year of marriage with family and friends.” – Bride Now

“Yes absolutely you should have a celebration, even though its’ a year later. If you don’t want gifts, definitely write that right on the invitation. My sister did  this and they wrote: “Name and Name were married in a private ceremony in (place) on (date) . We invite you to join us in celebrating the happy occasion ….. then state the place and date and time, etc. and under all that they wrote “No gifts please. Your presence is present enough.” Some people may still get your gifts though just so you know. Congrats and good luck!” – The Wedding Planner

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