Celebrate your romantic milestone in style
Your first wedding anniversary can bring with it a lot of pressure. Not only can this day set a precedent for future anniversaries, but you could both be looking back on this occasion for many years to come. Fortunately, there are many ways to make your wedding anniversary a day to remember for all the right reasons, so take the stress out of your special day with our guide to planning the perfect anniversary.
Discuss your plans
Although you may have a certain idea by this stage in your relationship of what to expect from your wedding anniversary, if you have felt let down on special occasions in the past, or if you have any inkling that your spouse may not be quite as interested in anniversaries as you, it may be worth having a discussion in advance about your feelings on the subject.
Although you might not want to give away too many details, it may be wise to discuss your present-buying budget in advance, and also whether you are hoping to spend the entire day together. Different things are important to different people, and while your partner not being overly excited about this occasion is no indication of their feelings towards you, if there is any chance of one of you being disappointed on the day, it may be helpful to discuss your hopes and plans for your anniversary prior to the event.
Buy the perfect gift
While some people say that cotton is the traditional theme for first anniversary gifts in the UK, most people agree that it is paper. Although paper may not sound very inspiring, with a little bit of creativity there is actually a lot you can do with this theme. Some ideas for paper gifts include a newspaper dated from your wedding day; an anniversary announcement in the paper; tickets for a show or event; or your framed wedding vows.
Alternatively, you could create your own gift. You could try compiling an album or scrapbook filled with photos of you both; writing a poem or love letter; painting or drawing a picture; designing and sending an invitation for a special home-cooked meal that evening; compiling a paper treasure hunt with a special prize; or making a paper rose bouquet. Alternatively, if you don’t wish to go down the paper route, you could buy your spouse a bunch of carnations or pansies, which are the traditional flowers for a first anniversary, or some fresh water pearls, which are the traditional gemstone.
Enjoy your day
Make the most of your special day by doing something fun or memorable together. You could plan a romantic meal – cooked by yourself or in a nice restaurant – or, if your anniversary falls in the summer, you could embrace the paper theme by getting out the paper plates and heading for a romantic picnic, complete with strawberries and champagne.
If you want to do something even more special, you could take the entire day to treat your partner, planning to do something they have always wanted to do, or go somewhere they have always wanted to go. Book a hot air balloon ride, go wine tasting, spend the day driving Ferraris, or go on a romantic weekend away. Whatever you choose to do, just remember to take lots of photographs so that you can look back on your special day in many years to come.
Relive the memories
As well as being a special day in itself, your first wedding anniversary provides the perfect opportunity to look back on all the special times that have brought you to this moment. If you are feeling a little nostalgic, you could celebrate your first year of marriage by taking a look back at your wedding. Get out the photos, watch your wedding DVD, stock up on the food you ate that day and have your first dance all over again.
Alternatively, if you want to go further back in time, you could commemorate your relationship by reliving your first date. Try and remember where you went, what you wore and what you did, and recapture the moment by doing it all over again – including arriving separately for the date, to truly recapture that first date excitement.
Look to the future
Of course, your anniversary is as much about anticipating your future together as it is about celebrating your past, so it may be nice on your first anniversary to create some things to look forward to in your next year together. You could, for example, give your partner a personalised calendar as a gift (another paper idea), marking on some things to look forward to in the next year. These don’t have to be expensive plans but could include things like a promise to cook for your partner or a date to watch a movie together.
Many online companies allow you to order personalised calendars using your own photos and starting on the month of your anniversary, or you could make one yourself if you are feeling creative. Alternatively, if you want to dream bigger, you could give your spouse a map of the world, then spend your evening picking all the places you plan to visit throughout your lives together.