Dear Dr. Dave and Dr. Dee,
My parents will be celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary. My brother and I want to give them a big party with family, friends, neighbors, and church members, but they don't want one. Should we honor their request, or give them a "surprise"? Also, what would be a good gift? My brother and I want to give a joint gift from both our families. My husband and I can afford to send them on a two-week cruise, but my brother cannot contribute that much. My brother wants us to pay equally. What should we do?
The 60th wedding anniversary is very special indeed. However, you should honor your parents' request to not have a party, and honor your brother's request to share in a gift for them equally. Instead, have a family celebration or dinner with just the immediate families.
Although the 60th wedding anniversary is diamonds, you do not have to get them a gift of diamonds. Any gift ideas for a special birthday are also appropriate for wedding anniversaries.
One of the most often cited cherished gifts is a memory photo album composed of photos and special remembrances of their marriage. For example, the photo album could have crystal rhinestones glued on the front to simulate diamonds, and contain some items below.
Photo Album Contents for Wedding Anniversary Gift
1. Photographs of the highlights of their 60 years together. Enlist the help of other family and friends to get copies of photos. Include their wedding photo, photos of children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, friends, vacations, and other special moments over the 60 years.
2. Written tributes: Close family members and friends write a short tribute to your parents and include a funny or touching anecdote. Intersperse these tributes throughout the album. For friends, ask them to include information such as how long they've known one or both of your parents, how they met, and their first impression.
3. You can request a special congratulatory note be sent to your parents from the President of the United States (if a U.S. citizen). Be sure and request this well in advance (at least 6 weeks).
4. Historic news headlines, popular songs, and movies on the day of their wedding. Greeting card shops often have these "time capsule" sheets that can be printed out. Or, you can design your own using info from the Internet or from websites. Some helpful websites are:
In addition to the album, or if you've already given them something similar recently, then other suggestions for a gift are a weekend trip to a special place they've always wanted to visit, a nice dinner to their special restaurant, or gift basket full of their favorite things or special items that they feel is too extravagant to buy.
Depending on your parents' interests and limitations, other gift ideas could be an amplified, large button telephone or a computer so that they could email all family members.