Decorating for a 50th wedding anniversary, traditionally called the golden anniversary, can be great fun. Many gold-themed party supplies are available, and some are manufactured exclusively for this special celebration. Whatever your budget, you will be sure to make this a golden event. Decorations with the guests of honour at centre stage will focus the guests' attention on what they are there to celebrate. Whether you are planning it for yourselves, your parents or someone else, be sure to focus on the happy couple -- 50 years is a magnificent milestone.
Start by decorating the walls of the hall with swathes of gold tulle. Tie the swathes with gold curling ribbon and large gold fabric bows or large gold paper bells. If there are sconces already in place, use these to support the tulle and ribbon swathes. If not, create sconces out of drapery rings and attach them to the wall with removable adhesive. Add battery-powered gold-toned or clear mini lites.
Keep the gold theme for the table centrepieces. Use a small crystal bowl or a gold brandy glass and place a gold votive candle in it. Place the bowl on a gold or gold-trimmed plate and add gold-coloured confetti, glass beads, pearls, or whatever suits your taste. Finish by adding curled ribbon in a circle around the base of the glass. Place several centrepieces on the head table and add a ribbon bouquet next to the middle one, between the guests of honour.
Decorate the food tables with pictures of the guests of honour in inexpensive gold frames. Place a copy of the original wedding picture on the dessert table, and a picture of the original cake on the cake table, if there is one. Scatter pictures of the couple over their years together around the room and in the reception area.
Place a blown-up cutout of the couple, life-size if possible, at the entrance to the hall. Either a picture from the wedding, or one of them in the present is suitable. Friends can have their picture taken with "the couple" without them having to stand for hours. Supply decorated disposable cameras on each table, or hire a wedding photographer.
Use cream plates with a gold rim for the serving pieces, and gold-rimmed wine glasses for the toasts. Party stores have disposable versions of these for the at-home celebration. If the event is catered, specify your choices to the caterers.
Attach a large hanging centrepiece in the middle of the room, or directly over the head table. If there is a central light fixture, use this as the support, and embellish it with gold tulle and ribbons. If there is no central light, hang a larger version of the wall sconces from the centre of the ceiling, or over the head table. Many beautiful centrepieces with gold themes or 50 themes are also available at speciality party stores or online.
Since your guests of honour and many of their friends may be elderly, ensure that there is plenty of comfortable seating. Choose gold and cream balloons, and add a mylar balloon with a gold 50 on it to any central table. Balloons can be held down with small bags filled with sand, or gold weights available at party stores. Make copies of the pictures for framing, and avoid damage to the originals. Place a customised newspaper "front page" of the couple in the reception area.
Ensure that the votive candles are in a bowl or glass deep enough to shield the flame. Do not place confetti or ribbon inside the bowls; adding gold glass pebbles or beads is safer.