I have to admit that the first few anniversaries my husband and I celebrated were duds. Neither of us cares very much about extravagant gifts for that type of occasion, but one of us cares very much about celebrating milestones like birthdays and anniversaries in a meaningful, special way. For the first few years, we felt pressure to find a gift for each other, but trying to figure out what that gift would be was stressful. We realized after a few mediocre anniversary celebrations that it was important for us to be reminded of the memories of our wedding day in some way. It's amazing how tasting a piece of your wedding cake or staying in the same place you got married jogs so many memories you don't have time to remember throughout the busy year. One of the easiest ways to take the stress out of anniversary gift giving is to have a tradition you and your spouse do every year. You may add or subtract different elements depending on circumstances, but if you're starting with the same romantic tradition every year, you're setting yourselves up for success. So now, each year, my husband and I look through our wedding album, watch our wedding video, and celebrate by doing one of these traditions. I'll let you read below to find out which one works for us!
Spend the Night at Your Wedding Venue
If we lived anywhere near where we got married, I would love to do this every year. It's a nice little getaway for you and your spouse to spend a night or two at the same place you got married. You can stroll around to all the places you had photos taken or had different events and be reminded of the memories of your wedding day.
Recreate Your Wedding Meal
Not everyone lives close enough to their wedding venue (or has the budget) to return every year. Here's another option - spend the night in with your spouse recreating your wedding meal. Stock up on really nice ingredients, and set the table with your wedding colors or even a few of your wedding gifts. If you manage to create some of the same flavours as the meal you shared on your wedding day, it will bring back a flood of memories.
Open a Bottle of Your Wedding Wine
We live in Ireland now, but we got married back in the States. Since we don't always visit on our anniversary, each time we're there we try to pick up a bottle of our wedding wine to share. This would be even more fun had we gotten married in a vineyard, but it's still fun to say we're drinking our wedding wine!
Split a Piece of Your Wedding Cake
We have friends who recreate a mini version of their wedding cake each year on their anniversary and I just love that idea. They ask the same baker to make a mini version of their wedding cake and make sure to slice into it together, remembering the day they did the same in front of all their family and friends. This might be the most delicious and stress free way to mark your anniversary!
Book an Anniversary Photo Shoot
This idea is becoming more and more popular, especially as couples make stronger connections with their wedding photographers. If you just loved your wedding photographer, what better way to celebrate your anniversary than by getting the special treatment from them on your anniversary! But you don't have to dish out big bucks for an anniversary shoot with a professional to have a special memento from your anniversary. It's just as easy to get dressed up with your spouse and have a friend snap a few photos before you head off to dinner. But here's one tip that can help you get glowy photos without a professional - wait until the hour before sunset when the light is the softest.
Invest in a Piece of Art
This is actually the tradition my husband and I have started just this year and we're already feeling relieved! We decided that each year, instead of worrying about finding each other a gift, we're going to invest in a piece of art for our home. We'll choose it together, which is a fun process, and then we'll slowly build an art collection of pieces we might one day pass on to our children. It has taken all of the stress out of our anniversary, but we still feel like we're celebrating with a special treat.
Or Make a Piece of Art!
I absolutely love seeing visual reminders of our wedding day around our house. When I made over our bedroom last year, I decided to turn a quote from our wedding ceremony into a piece of artwork. It's not fancy - just a canvas, a little paint and my best handwriting, but I love waking up to this reminder every morning. Another year, I also created a few prints from pieces of our wedding song and the song I danced to with my father. Just a few more sweet, visual reminders of our wedding day that make me smile throughout the year.
Customize a Wedding Gift
Here's another sweet idea you could try - have a gift made from a piece of fabric or flowers from your wedding day. If you have a swatch of extra fabric from your dress, your husband might have a necklace made to celebrate your anniversary. Likewise, you might have a pocket square made for him! A few months ago, I wrote about these five ways to save a piece of your wedding day that might give you some anniversary inspiration! Do you have any anniversary traditions or ways you celebrate every year? We'd love to hear your ideas in the comments!
Emily Westbrooks is an American-born writer and blogger based in Dublin, Ireland. She is the Online Editor for Confetti Magazine, one of Ireland's top bridal magazines. She also writes her own lifestyle blog, From China Village, where she chronicles her adventures in Dublin, travels around Europe, DIY projects and Irish design. She shares her home with her husband, one cat, and four sassy chickens!