50 Year Anniversary

When you hit your 40th anniversary and beyond, there’s no question about the theme, as modern and traditional gifts are the same. So, if you’re celebrating your 50 year anniversary or you’re buying a present for a couple who is, then go for the gold.

Our 50 year anniversary guide is going to help you do just that and more. We’ve got gift and party ideas, symbols of the golden celebration, and how U.S. Presidents play a role in commemorating a couple’s 50th.

50 Year Anniversary Facts

  • Anniversary Stone/Material: Golden Jubilee – an alternative of Imperial (or Golden) Topaz
  • Anniversary Flower: Yellow Roses or Violets
  • Modern U.S. Gift: Gold
  • Traditional U.S. Gift: Gold
  • Traditional U.K. Gift: Gold
Senior couple together holding hands on the street

How Many People Reach their 50 Year Anniversary?

We won’t beat around the bush when it comes to odds of reaching the 50 year anniversary mark.

If you’re celebrating your gold, you know the road isn’t entirely paved in it. Relationships are hard work. According to the U.S. census bureau, achieving 50th anniversary status has traditionally been reserved for about 6% of marriages in the United States.

Benefits of 50

Anyone celebrating a 50 year anniversary isn’t just beating the odds but enjoying the longevity and comfort that accompanies a long-lasting relationship. Yes, it’s hard work and significant commitment. However, when you look back through five decades of marriage, chances are you’ve made a lot of happy memories together. So, the occasional bumpy ride is well worth it.

Where does that leave couples on the road to 50?

Well, we’ve got some good news to share, as the divorce rate has been steadily declining since 2011. As more couples are sticking together through good times and bad, the future should reveal that more than 6% will hit that elusive 50 year anniversary milestone.  

50 Year Anniversary Gifts

You might not remember that the theme for the 5th year of marriage is wood, or crystal represents the 15th. But even singles know that gold is symbolic of the 50 year anniversary celebration. It doesn’t matter if you live in Germany, Russia, Spain, France, Italy, England, or the United States.

Golden wreaths

The tradition started hundreds of years ago during the Holy Roman Empire, although stories conflict slightly. Some documents point toward husbands gifting their wives with golden wreaths to mark the significant milestone. Other accounts mention neighbors presenting the bride with a silver wreath on the 25th anniversary and gold for the 50 year anniversary.

Regardless of who did the gift-giving, the gold wreath is consistent and holds up today.

While some anniversaries put a modern twist on conventional themes with other materials and inspiration, nothing replaces gold for the 50th. The golden premise also extends to the official gemstone and flower, which is the yellow rose.

Alternative symbols of 50 year anniversaries

You do have a little leeway with gems and floral arrangements, though. An alternative stone is the golden topaz, also known as the imperial topaz. It still fits into the general golden category, but it’s a sparkling jewel that kicks the gift up a notch. An imperial topaz within a gold setting will kill two birds with one (literal) stone.

To add a pop of color, you could opt for the alternative to the yellow rose, which is the violet. It’s the only 50 year anniversary symbol that dares to veer away from gold, gold, and more gold.

  • Yellow roses – symbolize inner light and beauty, a long and lasting friendship, and are reflective of the gold theme
  • Violets – represent faithfulness and everlasting love

You’ve got a whole wide world open to you when shopping for 50 year anniversary gifts. It’s not challenging to find something that accommodates the theme. The real task is to find the best golden gift, and that’s where we can help.

We’ve put together a 50 year anniversary gift guide with some of our personal favorites. We think you’ll like them, too!

A 50 Year Anniversary Congratulations from the White House

You can receive golden gifts, take a trip, or have a party for your 50 year anniversary. But did you know that the U.S. President is standing by to congratulate you as well?

In the United States, Presidential acknowledgments accompany the 50th, 60th, and 70th anniversaries upon request.

How do you request an anniversary card from the President?

The key to a timely acknowledgment from the White House is to plan correctly. Whether it’s for your special day or you’re requesting a card on behalf of a family member or friend, make sure you do it at least six weeks ahead of time.

1.  Gather up all of the required information

  • Name of each partner – and how each should be addressed (Mr., Dr., Ms., etc.)
  • Home address
  • Date of wedding and anniversary (include years for both)
  • Expressly state that it’s for a 50 year anniversary celebration

If you’re requesting the Presidential anniversary card for someone else, be sure to include your name and phone number. You’ll also want to add your mailing address and instructions if you want it sent to you instead of directly to the couple.

2.  Send your request to one of two places

  1. your state senator or representative – in care of “constituent services”
  2. directly to the White House – 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC 20500

Anniversary recognition around the world

The White House greeting is for U.S. citizens. However, presidents, monarchs, and other government officials worldwide are also anxious to recognize marriage longevity.

Australian and Canadian presidents have similar programs in place. Anniversary greetings come from Buckingham Palace in the U.K. but start at the 60 year celebration instead of 50.

A 50 Year Anniversary Warrants a Party

You might already have some creative ideas brewing if you’re planning a 50 year anniversary party. But if you’re looking for some inspiration, we’ve got a few suggestions to get the ball rolling.

  • Go retro with a theme coinciding with the wedding – have guests dress accordingly, and don’t forget the music of the decade
  • A honeymoon for everyone – instead of an official party, gather up family members and closest friends and plan a surprise trip to where the couple honeymooned with all of you celebrating together
  • From themed party to themed gifts – give some thought to a unique gift collection for the couple’s 50 year anniversary – perhaps every guest could gift a piece of china or glassware and build a new set to commemorate the start of another 50

Anyone can use the gold theme and go wild with creative décor. But five decades deserves something special, so think outside the box for a 50 year anniversary they’ll never forget.