Can We Throw an Anniversary Party That's Bigger Than Our Wedding Was?

Short answer: Yes!

Photo: Lindsey Ocker Photography

Whether you're celebrating one, five, ten, twenty, or fifty years of marriage, there are no strict etiquette guidelines stating that your anniversary party should be smaller, or less extravagant, than your wedding was. Over the course of any marriage, your network and family grow, allowing for a larger social circle to develop around you. It would be unreasonable to suspect that your wedding was the largest party you'll ever host. And when you think about weddings in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, you can absolutely understand why an anniversary party would be larger than the original wedding; so many couples tied the knot privately on their original wedding date, then postponed the large celebration for a year or so later when it was safer for guests to join.

Here, some of the many reasons why it's absolutely fine to plan a larger anniversary party (or post-wedding celebration) down the line.

You may be in a more fortunate position now than you were when you first got married.

Many couples wait until a big anniversary to really celebrate their wedding in a way that feels more significant than when they first exchanged vows, and a big reason for that is budget. When younger couples are first starting out, they may not have the financial success that comes after a decade or more. As a couple may be living a more comfortable lifestyle after years of marriage, it might feel like good timing to host the wedding they would have had if they'd been able to afford it initially.

Your family dynamics might have changed over time.

When you married, you may have had an elopement or small wedding due to complicated logistics, like family living very far away or strained family relationships. Years later, your anniversary might feel like a time to celebrate without such constraints, and your guest list may be even larger as a result. It's often the case that as couples age, their networks and their families grow.

Anniversaries may feel more celebratory to you.

Simply put, you might be more excited about hosting a large anniversary party. Weddings are fraught with big emotions, and many couples feel like their weddings were a result of a lot of compromise with their parents and families. For a couple that has been married for any number of years, an anniversary might feel like a bigger accomplishment, or at least a less emotional, and less stressful, milestone.

Extenuating circumstances made it impossible to have the wedding you really wanted.

While COVID-19 is a big reason why so many couples had to tie the knot in small, intimate celebrations, then plan bigger parties down the line, there are other circumstances in which doing this might make sense. The couple or a close family member might have experienced serious illness, a death in the family could have made celebrating impossible, a natural disaster (like a hurricane or wildfire) may have closed a venue, or a job loss or change may have forced a change in plans; whatever the case may be, if circumstances beyond your control prohibited you from having the wedding of your dreams the first time around, you should feel empowered to celebrate the way you want a year (or more!) later.

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