Traditionally, the first wedding anniversary was represented by paper, which to us sounds like you guys would be getting off a bit too easily. The first anniversary is an incredibly important milestone and should be celebrated accordingly, not dismissed with a nice card or a roll of wallpaper.
Romance does not last the test of time all by itself, it takes work to keep it going. You might love each other deeply and forever, but if you want to keep the romance alive you need to take some regular steps to nourish it and nurture it along.
At Easy Weddings, we think that it’s never too early to start planning something, so we’ve listed some ideas below for wonderful ways to celebrate your first wedding anniversary.
Gifts are lovely of course, but we’ve left these ones up to the individual partners to get for each other. Our list talks about ways that you can make your anniversary a significant milestone event, for the first year and every year after.
Take a photo
Many wedding photographers will offer as part of their package a free first wedding anniversary photo, and we think this is a wonderful idea. You could take this a step further, and get a photo taken in the same place every year on your anniversary, adding pets and children as you move through your marriage together.
We love the idea of planting living things, because they have a lasting positive impact on the environment, as well as making the people who see it on an ongoing basis calm and happy. It is a great way to make a difference in the world and create something beautiful in the name of your marriage.
You could plant a tree such as a cherry blossom or apple, or a series of flower bushes that will make a gorgeous pattern every year when they bloom. Something like this will remind regularly what you felt in the beginning.
Re-enact your first date, or another important event
You could re-enact your first date together. Go to the same bar, restaurant or café and ask each other questions that you don’t already know the answers to, like ‘If you could be any animal what would you pick?’ or ‘If money was no object, where should we retire?’
If you can’t remember your first date, pick another important event, such as where you proposed to each other, or even where you first met. Make it feel like a first date though; get dressed up, buy each other a rose, make an effort to look at each other and rediscover each other all over again.
Write each other a letter
You could start a tradition of writing each other a letter every anniversary and then put them away without reading them until a time that you both select. You might read them on your tenth wedding anniversary, or when your first child is born, or keep them for decades if you like.
Keep them for when you need reminding of what you meant to each other. And keep writing them, keep adding new letters to the pile. We mean pen and paper here folks, you can’t put romance in an email or text, it’s just not the same.
Relive part of your wedding
You could relive one part of your wedding day, such as eating at the restaurant where your reception was held or walking together where your photos were taken or near where you said your vows. You could hire a limousine and just have it take you along the path of your wedding day while you sit in the back and drink champagne.
You could start building something in your garden on your first wedding anniversary and then add to it every year afterward. This could include a Zen garden with water features that you add to yearly, or a carved wooden seat or mosaic that you keep contributing more to. You may also want to build a cubby house and add to it each year for when your children come along.
Write each other a book
You could take advantage of one of the many online personalised book printing services and arrange for your love story to be put into print. Write one for each and swap them on your anniversary. Do this every year with a new volume to add to the collection.
You could go through the same company so the books sort of match, but write them separately so there is a wonderful surprise as to what is in each one.
Create a scrapbook of the first year
Throughout the first year of marriage collect mementos, such as photos, tickets, cards, pieces of wrapping paper, material, scraps from renovations, boxes from things you bought and much more. On your wedding anniversary create a scrapbook together with all of these things in it.
Scrapbooks can be folders that you add new pages to every year. Once your children are born, they will love looking through this scrapbook and watching how your family story unfolded over time, and how they were added to it.
Take up a new hobby, or do something neither of you has ever done before.
You could use this time every year to remind yourselves that you need to do new things together. Make a pact to start a new hobby every year, and see where this adventure takes you. You could take a cooking course or learn golf, take up beer-brewing, photography or collect something. Take up a fitness goal together such as a half-marathon. Go hot air ballooning, scuba-diving or jump out of a plane.
You don’t need to keep all of them up, and there might be a few that weren’t a resounding success, but the best part of this is discovering something new together. This is the equivalent of always having an in-joke to share, of having something that belongs to just the two of you.
When other people come in and out of your lives and you get pulled in every direction, it is these things that will remind you of what you felt on that all-important wedding day.