40-Year Wedding Anniversary Party Ideas

Written by kate carpenter
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40-Year Wedding Anniversary Party Ideas
Red wine and roses are ideal for 40th anniversaries. (anniversary image by Arpad Nagy-Bagoly from Fotolia.com)

Although not the milestone of a 50th wedding anniversary, 40 years of marriage is cause for a celebration. Traditionally, and even for modern times, a 40th wedding anniversary is the ruby anniversary, with nasturtium as the anniversary flower. From a casual styled celebrations to formal, sit-down dinner tributes, incorporate the ruby colour throughout, regardless of the theme of the party.

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Memory Lane

A favourite theme of 40th wedding anniversaries is to highlight events and special moments that occurred throughout the marriage. Contact friends and family several months before the anniversary party to ask if they can provide you with photos, slides, movies and videos of the couple and activities they participated in. Once you have received these items, create a slideshow or DVD that plays continuously in a special area of the party for guests and the anniversary couple to enjoy. Display photos artfully by framing, laying out on a display table or attaching to a large piece of poster board and placing it on an easel. Line up family members and old friends to recall memories and events shared with the celebrating couple as the main entertainment. Record and/or photograph the activities of the 40th anniversary party for the couple as a keepsake.

40 Years Ago

Turn the 40th wedding anniversary party into a flashback of 40 years ago. Research what was popular: songs, movies, sports and trends. Decorate the party venue to fit the time and have the guests dress accordingly. Serve food and drinks popular with the younger crowd 40 years ago. Find photos of the couple as they were back then, enlarge the photos and hang them on the wall. Invite members of their wedding party. Keep them hidden as each one says something to the couple, then the couple must guess who it is before the big reveal.

Spotlight the Couple

Spotlight the couple using the ruby colour theme. Request that guests restrict their outfits to black, white and grey while the anniversary couple must wear classy ruby red clothing, like a dress, tie, vest or shirt. No matter where the couple is during the party, everyone will know who the stars of the celebration are.


Many long-married couples share a particular hobby or interest. Use that interest as the theme or entertainment for their 40th wedding anniversary party. If the couple enjoy golfing, hold the party at a country club or golf course. Schedule a round of golf before or after the celebration for the couple. For an anniversary couple that like to see the world, use travel posters of their favourite vacation spots and places they dream of visiting for decor. Rent a local cruise ship for the 40th wedding anniversary party and have sail around a local lake or bay.

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