Tying the Knot in a Meaningful and Memorable Way (Without Losing Our Savings or Sanity)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Wedding Anniversary Ideas

Our first wedding anniversary is coming up. Can you believe it?

We were married on Saturday, July 19, 2008.

Matt and I are trying to figure out how to celebrate our anniversaries (it's pluralized because I'm talking about all of our future wedding anniversaries, not just the first one). We're not really presents kind of people. Exchanging gifts at Christmas and birthdays (and other random times) seems sufficient.

Maybe we should start a tradition of planning a surprise excursion or experience for each other. We could alternate who does the planning each year. Some years it could be a trip. Other years, it could be more like a date night. For example, since we're going on our Annual Adventure right around our anniversary, it might make more sense to do more of a day-trip this year.

Hmm...I'm liking this idea! It seems like a great way to cultivate care and creativity in our relationship (and, once we have kids, the said kids won't be invited, so we can continue to cultivate intimacy in our lives).

I wonder if we should also write a letter to each other to encapsulate our past year together. We could keep these in a binder and look back over the old ones each year. We started this tradition at Christmas, but it might make more sense to move it to our anniversary. Or we could go through our pictures from the year, print them out, and put them in an album together.

Have you come across any cool ways to celebrate wedding anniversaries?

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polkadotcupcake said...

My boyfriend (fiance! I can't get used to saying that, though it's been a year!) and I have been together for about 4 and a half years, and we like anniversaries. Over the years, it's become a challenge to celebrate it without gifts, as we're also not really gift people.

We also tend towards experiential gifts, like theatre tickets, or weekends away. It works out well, since it's usually something we only do together, and it allows us to spend time together, in a non-pressured environment. We don't really alternate it, usually we both think of something, or make it a surprise.

I love it, and very much recommend it!

Allison said...

Hello!! Since my boyfriend and I have been dating since we were 15 (almost 8 years now) a good chuck of our anniversaries have found us both with limited funds (or on different continents given my love of travelling). Early on we decided that we wouldn't exchange gifts and rather that we would make each other cards every year. Now neither of us are the most creative people but the end results are always fun and so wonderful! (For example, last year he made for me a cardboard vase filled with 7 cardboard flowers - one for each year we had been together and one year I stood outside the Colosseum with a sign that said "I love you" in Italian and turned the picture into a card that I mailed to him). These cards will always mean more to me than any gift ever could.

Something else we do now too though is to get away for a weekend camping. For us nothing beats a couple days together filled with playing cards, going on walks, listing to music and of course, eating s’mores.

Carey Kirk said...

I love this idea! My fiance' and I celebrate each month in little ways on the day we met (the tenth of August). The annual anniversary we do a trip or a fun day excursion, and it makes everything so much more memorable.

Congrats on your upcoming anniversary!

Roxanne said...

Hey, I'm getting married July 18th of this year! I know it's a day apart, but its close..

We haven't talked about anniversaries at all, really, but I love what your saying. It sounds like much more fun than gifts!

Becca said...

we're very much of the experiential gift-giving mindset. But we also developed a tradition of reviewing our memories from the past year. We have a box where we keep ticket stubs, postcards, flyers, and photos of our favorite moments together. On our anniversary, we go through the box and get to smile and relive the joy.

Anonymous said...

I love the idea of a non gift anniversary. This is right up my alley!

There are so many things you could do-- sign up for a cooking class together and learn how to make a romantic meal, do something you never thought you'd do together (anything from skydiving to ballroom dance lessons) or, an idea I've always thought was super cute, plant a fruit tree in your yard. As your relationship grows, so does the tree and you get to enjoy it year after year. Alas, we have a condo, so no fruit trees for us (for now).

A nice vacation is always good too! I am needing one of those right around now :)


Anonymous said...

My husband hates surprises & is not a gifty person; I love surprises and perfer quality time over gifts. So far, though, we've celebrated the "traditional" cake-and-gift style... But now that we've got our first wee one on the way, we're thinking a bit deeper about these events. What are birthdays and anniversaries all about anyway? What sentiments do we want our kids to have about them? Do we really want to just follow culture's me-centered traditions of the saccharine-sweet cake, the $5 card, and gifts from family and friends??

Our answer to that was... not necessarily. Our top priority is developing a sense of family/community/partnership while at the same time letting our kid(s) and ourselves maintain our own personalities. So if the b-day person wants cake and balloons and a gift exchange... so be it. But we'd like it to be each person's preference... and have an emphasis on including *everyone* in the experience.

Ideally the b-day or anniversary would include a "group activity" -- something like camping, visiting the ocean, seeing a movie, or doing a craft, etc. But a person might also request their favorite dinner (to be made & eaten by the whole family) or request for everyone to dine at their favorite restaurant. The possiblities are as endless as the creative juices in the minds that think them up! And the principles involved will (hopefully) emphasize family, generosity, and sharing.

Autumn said...

My husband and I were just discussing this-- our anniversary is also his birthday, and we got married in a state park. He had the brilliant idea that every year we should celebrate our anniversary/ his birthday by taking a trip to a new state or national park together. I'm a big fan of the experience v. physical gifts. I like your idea of alternating who plans the "experience gift" each year.

kathy said...

Sparked by previous posts here I asked my friend who recently got married what she planned to do with her wedding dress afterwards. She replied that she wanted to wear it every year on their anniversary and have a romantic dinner at home reminiscing about the year's events. Two birds with one stone!

Julienne said...

We're not married yet but every year on the anniversary of our first date I give Alex a scrapbook filled with pictures of us from the last year. It's neat to be able to look back and see what was written in the scrap book the first year and what's there now :)

Kiana said...

Very nice ideas - we just got married, so we have almost a year to think about it, but we're both excited to start our own traditions. I really think celebrating in the ways you mentioned gives extra meaning to the marriage by sharing in the customs you make.

Rachael Eisner said...

So. Every year is a new year, so a new experience every year would be cool. On the anniversary of course. So a new experience could be trying out a new cuisine, or going as far as sky-diving. Depending on how adventurous you feel that year. I think you have some spiffy ideas though. Go Sara & Matt!!!!

Michelle said...


A great way to celebrate each year is to go somewhere you have never been on holiday for a few days. Or have a new experience, do something that you have never done before. You can always do both! I have been married for 3 years and so far we have gone somewhere new every year. This gives us something to look forward to and plan! Our first anniversary we went camping and this year we went to Europe for 2 months to celebrate our 3rd anniversary. So circumstances change - you never know what is coming up for you!

Happy 1st Anniversary!

Karen said...

No brilliant ideas here...but my husband and I were married on 7/19/08 as well! We'll probably go out for a fancy dinner...my husband is a huge Gordon Ramsay fan so I think we'll try his restaurant in NYC. But just wanted to wish you a Happy Anniversary to someone who shares our date! :-)

Unknown said...

We bought little notebooks from an artist on Etsy and wrote our vows into them. Each year, we'll write another page in the book, and as we get older, we'll have these books of vows and thoughts and love to read and re-read to our hearts content.

Suz said...

We have always loved to do something or go somewhere for our anniversaries. There is something so fun about memories and photos that you can look back years later.

This Sunday is our 12th wedding anniversary and for the first time we will be at home, playing with the children in the garden and just enjoying spending time together, aaahhh!

Have a great 1st wedding anniversary

Nicky said...

It's almost another year since you posted this! Congratulations!

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