With our spouses we want to celebrate our parents’ Fiftieth Anniversary and invite their closest friends. However, my parents’ five children are not all in the same financial position. My sister and I are willing to foot most of the bill for a Lobster Bake in their honor, but we think our siblings should pitch in and pay for themselves and their children instead of bringing boxed gifts to the party. Our parents are downsizing and don’t need anything. Celebrating with the entire family would mean more to them than material objects. How do we work this out to make all the families feel we’re on a somewhat level playing field? I might add that travel expenses will be incurred by many of us.
Make a list of all the ways that your siblings can contribute to the 50th anniversary party for parents with toasts, songs, flowers for the centerpieces, or by baking the anniversary cake. Find out who has what to offer in terms of airline miles to bring one of the family members home for the celebration. Or does someone live near the New Hampshire line and can buy inexpensive beer and wine at one of the state’s liquor stores, while someone else is assigned to making up cheese plates.
Handle this as a team effort. Look for ideas and resources as to how the other three families can contribute in a meaningful way. Maybe one of the families can write and sing a song to your parents. Put one of your siblings in charge of putting together a music track that includes your parents’ favorites. Another could be in charge of decorations and making up placards for the seating.
Yet another sibling can be keeping track of who is doing or bringing what so that you don’t end up with too much craft beer and no ice to chill it. Find a volunteer to put together a chronological assortment of family photos over the past five decades. Another creative type can design the invitation and send it out after assembling a guest list.
As the paying hosts you and your sister should figure out the cost to host each person, including guests, partners, and dates attending the Lobster Bake. Be sure to negotiate a reduced price for children under sixteen.
Let’s estimate the cost of the Lobster Bake to be $65 per adult. Then ask your siblings to pay that for their own dinners, saying you will be covering your parents and their friends. Encouraging your siblings’ families to pitch in by creating other expressive ways to celebrate your parents anniversary will assure success.
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