I think it's wonderful that you want to do something special to mark such a (frankly) remarkable accomplishment. I think a 50th anniversary should definately be celebrated! As for the dinner controversy, I agree that I would try to find a different site if possible. Our neighborhood has a clubhouse that you can rent for special occassions. Or yeah, a church hall is an option. My old standby that I do for nearly everything is renting a park---it's affordable, it's big enough for everyone, and it's more on YOUR terms. A lot of the parks these days provide free extra tables/folding chairs, the place is clean (trash empty etc) and there's restrooms available. Then you could put down some tablecloths from Walmart (vinyl, the right size, for like $3) so that it looks and feels clean and festive. You could make a CD or use an iPod to play music from their era as background while everyone visits. A nice cake, and don't forget to make a toast for them (nonalcoholic or alcoholic, doesn't matter). That way people can get up and say something if they'd like, your parents could share some thoughts or funny story, whatever. If you want to have food (I'm from Louisiana so I can't see a party without food), have you thought of something like a jambalaya? A good jambalaya, some white beans, french bread, and making your own veggie tray: you should be able to feed about 40 people for about $60-75. Another option is a cookout-right now, until May 13 Tom Thumb is selling packs of Oscar Mayer weiners for fifty cents!!! Throw some hotdogs and burgers on the grill and then just let everyone visit. But have fun, whatever you decide. And if it does have to be at El Fenix, then maybe make the guest list a bit smaller and keep it to close family/friends. "Rules" are a little different when people are closer---they should be able to understand. What kind of jerk would get pissy about having to pay for their dinner, if it's a party for their grandma, ya know?