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Monday, January 23, 2012

10 Tips for Planning or Not Planning An Amazing First Anniversary

Hey All!  I hope you all had wonderful weekends!  Thank you for all of the anniversary wishes!  I was seriously overwhelmed by all of the messages; I shared them with Scott too!

So, I told you all in my last post I would share more of the highlights and learning points from our first married year today.  But after this weekend, I thought it would be more fun to share what we learned from celebrating our first anniversary.  Hence, the title of this post and this little graphic I put together!

Okay, obviously, there is no right or wrong way to celebrate a day that's special for you and your significant other; we're all different.  Also note that I didn't say every anniversary, because I'm not a subject matter expert on anything after the first.  Alright, who am I kidding??  I'm not a subject matter expert on anything related to marriage...at all! These are just fun tips based on how we celebrated this year and I'm very glad we did because we had a blast!!
10 Tips for 
or Not Planning 
an Amazing  
First Anniversary:
Tip 1:  Don't be afraid to tell people it's your first anniversary!  This tip is huge and your implementation of this tip can determine how much fun you have the rest of the day.  Okay, don't be obnoxious about it, but share it as it comes up in conversation. We weren't shy about it and we got the royal treatment and lots of free stuff (i.e. free movie tickets, money for popcorn, free adult beverages, and even legitimate job offers--seriously).  You're also bound to get sound and hilarious marriage advice from well-meaning strangers.

Tip 2:  Explore a new place or try something new.  It's always fun to get off the beaten trail and find ways spice up your marriage dating life--especially on your anniversary.  We got out to do some exploring in our city and came across this amazing wine tasting venue.  While talking with one of the guys who worked there, it came up casually that we were celebrating our first anniversary (remember Tip 1?), and we got free samples of wine! 

Tip 3:  Commemorate your special day, somehow.  It's a big day, you should try to remember it.  I, personally, enjoy taking pictures.  After the thousands of pictures I took while we were dating and continue to take now that we're married, Scott understands my desires to snap photos-- or at least he's starting to.  While I normally get a little push-back from him, I got zero push-back on our anniversary--amazing!!  So I grabbed the camera, the tripod, and the camera remote and we took off to our backyard to grab some shots to help commemorate our first anniversary. 

A "blooper" shot.  You can see the remote in my hand.
The plan is to do this every year and put our annual "anniversary photo" into an anniversary memory book that I created.  I'm not much of a scrapbooker (is that a word?) so it's a very basic-level scrapbook.  My dear friend, Jennifer, tried to get me interested in scrapping years ago; I think she'd be happy to hear that those seeds she planted all those years ago are finally sprouting..slowly.
A couple of my "basic-level scrapbook" pages. Tip 3
How we implemented Tip 4
Tip 4:  Remember the past year but look ahead to the next one(s).  Sometimes recalling your prior experiences can help you better appreciate them and prepare for what lies ahead.  If you ask me, there's nothing better than a good old fashioned After Action Review (AAR)--all of you military folks will know what I'm talking about.  In essence, it's a way to reflect on what happened and figure out what should stay the same and what should change.  I'm a huge fan of Table Topics so I created our own personal version of anniversary topics (which I think they should totally create, by the way).  It was kind of a mix between Table Topics and an AAR.  I included fun and serious questions about the past year like: What was the best date we went on? What was the worst date we went on? What was the hardest thing we faced? What would be our theme song for the year?  I also had questions about the future like:  If we could relive something next year what would it be? What would you do differently next year? What month and year do you think we'll have our first child? How many children do you think we'll have? What do you think we'll be doing in 10 years?  I think it'll be fun to reread our answers each anniversary.  Anyway, we each had our own stack of cards that we filled out separately and then we talked about our answers over dinner.  I scrapped those too!  Not scrap as in 'I threw them away,' but scrapped as in 'I added those to anniversary memory book I talked about in Tip 3.'
Tip 5:  Think outside of the traditional and modern anniversary gift boxes (pun slightly intended).  So, the traditional first anniversary gift is paper and the modern one is a clock.  But who says you're restricted to the literal translation of these.  We opted out of giving one another rolls of toilet paper or origami animals (there's nothing really wrong with those, one is pretty and the other is necessary--but they may not make for the best anniversary presents).  We also decided not to give each other clocks.  Actually, it's amazing how this worked since both of our gifts to one another were complete surprises.  As it turns out, we both gave each other items for fun/relaxing experiences we can enjoy together at another time (time = clock theme, get it? okay, maybe a stretch).  And, the way we announced the experience we'll share was on paper (I learned that from my mom)! And the best part is, our anniversary celebration will continue! 

Tip 6:  Be flexible with your plans.  Things come up and life happens.  Don't let a change of plans spoil your fun.  After dinner, we were going to see a movie and then go to one of our favorite spots to grab desserts and drinks, but the movie we wanted to see was sold out at the time, so we grabbed desserts and drinks first, went to the movie later-- and then left the theater a little early anyway. We went with the flow and kept things light. 

Tip 7:  Kiss a lot.  Why?  No, the real question should be: why not?? It's your first anniversary, you should be making out everywhere! Look, we do it too! 
Implementing Tip 7
Tip 8:  Don't limit your anniversary to just one day.  Why limit all of the fun to one day?  We got married in prime football season, and it's going to stay that way for as long as football is being played.  There was a big game being played on the actual day of our anniversary so my husband had a seriously brilliant plan to celebrate the day before and in a unique way (read: watching the football game) the day-of.  This goes along with Tip 6--stay flexible! Oh, and remember Tip 5?  Our anniversary gifts will extend this celebration even longer! 

Tip 9:  Eat that wedding cake!  If you saved your wedding cake topper to eat it again on your first anniversary, have no fear, there's a good chance that, if it tasted good on your wedding day, it will probably still taste good.  And if it didn't taste good on your wedding day, well...don't save it or eat it.  I always wondered what year-later, frozen then thawed cake would taste like; Scott and I were a little nervous.  But now I know it = yummy!

Our wedding cake before we implemented Tip 9
Tip 10:  Read Song of Songs and replicate it.  This final tip ties in with Tip 7.  I'll give you a hint: practice making babies.  Yes, I said it.  You're married, and it's a natural part of life--enjoy!

Our favorite conversation from our anniversary celebration:  

Stranger:  "Is this your first date??"  
Scott: "No, we just like to keep things fresh!"

Here's to keeping it fresh for the next 70+ years!!

Oh, and this may be the last time I can share a load of wedding pictures with everyone before it becomes just plain obnoxious so here are some more.  Our photographer was Jonathan Lawton.  He's based out of Salem, Massachusetts and traveled down for our wedding; he did an amazing job.  You can see more of his wedding photography here and more of all of his photography here.  If you leave him a note (which would be cool if you did), tell him Kirsten sent you! No, I don't get anything free or any money, I just want to pass on the good word!

Photos by Jonathan Lawton

Questions:  What did you do on your first anniversary?  What do you want to do?  What tips would you give newlyweds?

Linking Here: 


  1. Thanks for sharing! I am looking forward to our one year anniversary!

    ~Mrs. Delightful

  2. I'm so glad you enjoyed your anniversary! You had some great tips! I really like your anniversary scrapbook idea. We didn't celebrate our first anniversary too much because it was also my husband's college graduation but we did go out to dinner a few days before. We plan on making our second anniversary in April special.

  3. Happy Anniversary! Glad it was a great one. Every year I make a photobook on snapfish and we have them as coffee table books. It is so fun to see how our little marriage has grown. I cant believe Ill be making our 5th one this year!

  4. Happy anniversary! yay! The pix are really beautiful. My first anniversary my husband and I went to the wedding of one of my closest friends! She got married in Manhattan, so we made a long weekend of it. It was a lot of fun to celebrate her wedding right around our anniversary. And then we got to enjoy NYC :)

  5. Love love your pictures! Happy Anniversary to you both, and many more! Love, Loretta

  6. Awww, I loved this! These are great tips for not just a first marriage anniversary but for Valentine's day or any anniversary! I am definitely going to to snag some of these ideas for my boyfriend & I! He is in the army so we never got to celebrate our one year so now I am going to have to celebrate Valentine's Day all out & he might hate me for it but oh well!! :) I love your tidbits & tips on marriage! I definitely want to get married but I know very few couples that are older than 40 that have a happy marriage, so I love the inspiring words of wedded wisdom! haha!


  7. Awww, this is BEAUTIFUL.. I love it.. So touching and loving.. Happiest anniversary to you.. You two make such a beautiful couple.. This is awesome.. Very pretty pictures, your wedding was beautiful.. ;) )

  8. You two make a delightful couple! I LOVED the photographs! Congratulations on celebrating your first year together. I actually ended-up in the emergency room during our first year anniversary celebration, so it wasn't so romantic, obviously. :(

    -M. Wildflower from Growing Home link-up

  9. Such a cute story and you def won't regret having documented it. I'm 15 years in with my guy and wish we'd done something so wonderful. Really lovely and keep taking pics of yourself. Gorgeous.

  10. Hi Kirsten. Congratulations! Just found your blog from "Teach Me Tuesday" link-up. Love your anniversary post and the pictures! I have been married almost 9 years. I have learned a lot about being a wife, raising children, being a homemaker and a homeschooling Mom. I have four children six years old and under so days are fun and crazy. Our first Anniversary we went away for a couple of days and that was when our first child was conceived so I definitely followed tip#10! LOL! Looking forward to your response so I can send you a picture I think you will love. God Bless.

    1. Oh and not sure how you will respond to me by email since I am not on the blogger platform. Here's my email humbledliving@yahoo.com. Look forward to hearing from you. God Bless.

  11. These are some cool tips! If you don't mind, I'll be borrowing your ideas whenever I get married, haha.


  12. Thank you so much for this post! Our first wedding anniversary is coming up on 17 March 2013. I am sooo borrowing some of these ideas... the scrapbook with photos, the AAR/table topics and putting them into a scrapbook- priceless! The date is a given ;)

    It will be a great thing to look forward to each year and to look back on over the years to come. I bet it would be great to pass on to our kids to read as they grow older too! From one military wife to another, I thank you and wish you both many more years of love & happiness!


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