So you’re celebrating your first wedding anniversary. Congratulations! You’ve made it through what many deem the hardest year of marriage.
Year one of marriage can be tough for couples for many reasons — even if you’ve been living together before your wedding, you’re likely still experiencing growing pains when it comes to combining finances, intertwining families, and more. Not to mention, the first year of marriage can feel a bit anticlimactic in comparison to the stress and excitement of planning your wedding and honeymoon. Plus, every fight seems like a bigger deal now that you’ve pledged this level of commitment to each other.
So, no matter what, your first wedding anniversary is a major milestone. Celebrate it with a special gift and a surprise your spouse will never forget. It can be difficult to pull off a surprise now that you’re married and know each other more intimately than anyone else on earth, but that’s the beauty of finding the perfect first anniversary present.
The first wedding anniversary is traditionally celebrated with paper. Options are endless from painting or drawing a homemade portrait of you and your spouse if you have artistic skills to making/buying paper flowers that have the benefit of lasting longer and being better for the environment. Here are some ways to surprise your spouse on your first wedding anniversary:
What’s a better form of paper than a photo album? Create a custom photo book for your spouse full of images of your relationship, maybe even commemorating the highlights of your first year of married life. It’ll be a treasured way to remember everything you’ve experienced while championing your love over and over. If you don’t want to do a book, use the photos for something more practical like a calendar — then your sweetie can think about you every time they look at it.
Write Down Your Love Story
Pick up a pen and some paper and write down your love story for a one-of-a-kind gift for your spouse. The options here range from “What I Love About You” book where you fill in the blanks to actually creating a customized, printed book that’s all about the story of your relationship together. For something even more simple and effective, have your custom vows made into a custom letterpress print to hang on the wall. Celebrate your anniversary by renewing the promises you made to each other and hanging them on the wall to serve as a daily reminder.
Email and text messages have sort of killed the art of a good old-fashioned love letter, so surprise your spouse with this tried and true way of professing your enduring affection. You can just write them a ream of love letters for them to open on your anniversary or over the course of the next year, but there’s also some more creative approaches, including buying a letter book with prompts like Letters to Open When… or filling a jar with love notes for them to open individually. You could put 365 notes in a jar, ranging from lengthier expressions of your feelings to little nods of affection to take them through the whole next year. Or, if you really think ahead, write a letter to your spouse every day from your wedding day through your anniversary and surprise them with your 365 love thoughts on your first anniversary.
What’s a better piece of paper than a ticket to something you can enjoy together? Depending on your budget, you could surprise them with airplane tickets to a destination you’re both dying to visit, a ticket to a sporting event, play or concert that you’ll both love, or even something smaller like a ticket for a state fair or a hot air balloon ride. Use them to show them how much you’ve been paying attention to the little things — if there’s somewhere they’re dying to go, surprise them with a ticket to their wildest dreams. Or maybe you met at a sporting event or did something wacky on your first date? Those are also great things to get a ticket to revisit that memorable first time together.
Are you looking for a gift with longevity? Present your spouse with a custom-made time capsule for you both to fill with romantic keepsakes from your first year of marriage. Bury it in the backyard together and agree on a time to open it, whether it’s on your second anniversary or way down the line on your 50th.
Open communication is key to a successful marriage, but if you prefer to write your feelings down (at least some of the time), consider surprising your spouse with a love journal for your anniversary. This could be as simple as keeping a journal during your first year of marriage, focusing on the high points, and sharing it with your spouse on your anniversary. Or gift them a journal you can do together, whether it’s simply blank pages for you to fill or something more structured like a Q&A a Day journal, which requires you both write a few sentences in answer to a question each day. Your relationship has likely grown and evolved a great deal in just one year, but this can be a wonderful way to track those changes moving forward.
Whether it’s through a photo, a ticket to somewhere fun, or a handwritten memory, there are countless ways to surprise your spouse on your first year wedding anniversary.