First Anniversary Celebration Ideas You Will Remember Forever

First Anniversary Celebration Ideas

Wow, well done you’ve made it this far! It’s been a whole year and now it’s time to celebrate so let’s look at some 1st anniversary celebration ideas.

Here’s the quick version for skim readers (click to view):

1 – Food of love – cook your way to each others hearts
2 –
Write a love letter and mean it
3 –
Film a message for the one you love
4 –
Take a picture of yourselves – then repeat it each year holding last years picture
5 –
Start a scrapbook or time capsule
6 –
Do something crazy or different that stands out
7 –
Fire on the beach at night
8 –
Plan your life – start a language class
9 –
Give the gift of paper
10 –
Watch your wedding video / flip through photographs
11 –
Take a day off work and spend it together
12 –
Relive your first date

Prefer to watch a video instead?

We’ve been married for 17 years now so we’ve had some time to get this right and we’d love to pass on our experience to you too.

But more than that we want to be a bit different to all of the other advice that you’ll find on the internet, after all this is YOU and you’re not the same as everyone else you’re a couple – your own people and what you do should be personal to you and more than anything MEANINGFUL AND MEMORABLE.

We can’t stress that last point enough!


Are you planning to throw a party? Here’s our recommended list of MUST HAVE accessories.

To see more of our recommendations see our:

Recommended anniversary gifts for couples

wedding anniversary gifts for couples - surprise
Recommended anniversary gifts for couples (click image)

Recommended anniversary gifts for him

wedding anniversary gifts for him - surprise
Recommended anniversary gifts for him (click image)

Recommended anniversary gifts for her

wedding anniversary gifts for her - surprise
Recommended anniversary gifts for her (click image)

By the way did you know that this is the most sold gift on Amazon for ANY anniversary event? We were surprised! What do you think? Leave a comment below.


We’re going to get philosophical with you for a minute (sorry), but in our opinion life is a series of moments and when you think back over your time together it’s the moments that stand out which you remember; you won’t remember watching the TV together or the same meal that ate last Friday, it’s the moments that stand out.

Make each occasion count including your anniversaries, in years to come you won’t regret it, trust us.

celebrate your 1st anniversary image

Your first wedding anniversary

We wrote a blog post about the 1st wedding anniversary here where we talk about the meaning and symbols behind your first wedding anniversary in some depth but to keep it short and to the point your first wedding anniversary is traditionally called your paper anniversary.

There is a modern equivalent in which the theme are clocks. Also, the colours/colors (depending where you are from and we’re from the UK) are gold/yellow with the flowers represented by the Orange Blossom and Pansy. There is also a gemstone which is gold jewellery/jewelry, Pearl or Peridot.

Now armed with that information you might be thinking about incorporating some of that stuff into your wedding anniversary plans, we’ve listed a whole raft of idea below but try and stick to the theme of paper and other traditions where you are able to.

By the way, where the colour is Gold this doesn’t mean you have to buy gold it just means it’s symbolic of gold in other words as long as you are representing gold in someway such as tying a gift in a gold ribbon you are effectively sticking with the traditions.

The usual stuff to do on your wedding anniversary

Ok, let’s get some of the obvious stuff out the way. Most people choose to do a gift, cinema, meal out and drinks. This is traditional stuff and we’re not knocking it all but if you have read our paragraph above you will have read what we said about making memories and creating special moments that you’ll remember for the rest of your life.

If you are able to incorporate some of the ideas below into your day even if you do the usual meal/cinema thing you’ll get the best out of the day and make some really fantastic and beautiful memories.

1 – Food of love. Cook your way to each others hearts.

If you’ve been married for a year or more there’s a chance you may have children and if you do then you have to consider them if you’re planning to go out for the evening. On the other hand you could actually incorporate them into your day or evening, we wrote a post about wedding anniversary ideas on a budget in which we talk about some ideas that can include your kids.

So instead of heading out and spending money on a meal why not cook for yourselves. You could try and make this a surprise for your other half but that might be a tricky to keep it a secret. If you do have kids and want to include them then all the better – make it a messy one!

But with or without the family in tow plan a meal that you will both love. Teach yourself some new recipe ideas and make a special effort. We wanted to link to a recommended internet resource that would help you find a good starter, main and dessert but we couldn’t find anything that we recommend because of the way a lot of recipe sites are laid out – they’re just a bit…awkward. So instead we recommend you should Google for ideas – there’s plenty out there.

But bottom line, pull out all of the stops; set the table, set the mood and cook the best meal of your life. Put some romantic music on, pour the wine and if you read the rest of the post below you can incorporate some of these ideas during the meal too, such as…

2 – Write a love letter (and mean it)

It seems with the creation of WhatsApp, emails, Skype and other electronic messaging systems the art of letter writing has or is dying a death. But you know what? It’s incredibly romantic, it’s personal and something that you put thought, time and effort into creating.

So our second suggestion for your first anniversary is to write each other a love letter.

You could read it to each other over a meal. Most importantly – keep it safe. One of the best piece of advice we think can be given to a couple is to every year to create something which can be carried forward to the following year and then repeated every year thereafter. We’ve got a few suggestions below but to give you an idea, imagine when you’re both old and looking back at the time you’ve spent together you will have plenty of keepsakes and tangible memories that will span all of those years including those yearly love letters that you can pen to each other.

Talk about your past, your future, your aspirations and how you feel about your loved one. Keep going year on year and each year read them back to each other. It will create a very special memory that even when you celebrate your 50th wedding anniversary you’ve collected memories since the start.

3 – Film a message just for the one you love

This is similar to the love letter except that it is on film. It’s easy to do just use your phone to record a heartfelt message to your partner, you can include all of the past years ups and downs, pains and happy moments as well as everything that you aspire for in the future.

You can give this (plus the love letter if you like) wrapped as a gift. The 1st wedding anniversary is paper (see above) so to wrap this up in paper is a perfect traditional celebration symbol.

Aim to keep this somewhere safe, if you just leave it on your phone or send it as a video message then it could get lost. You could put it onto a DVD or portable hard drive and keep this safe until next year. It’s a bit like your wedding video, it’s something that you don’t want to lose so best to keep it safe by treasuring it and breaking it out the following year to record your next message.

In years to come break this out along with your love letter and wedding video (if you have one) and make a real night of it celebrating your marriage to your best friend for life.

4 – Take a picture of yourselves – then repeat it each year holding last years picture

This is a great idea and one which we both wish we had done years earlier. The idea is that you start with a picture of you both on your wedding day and have this printed onto A4 size or bigger. You then hold this picture in the same pose as a couple and have someone take a new picture of you both holding the picture.

The following year hold last years picture and then each subsequent year hold it again.

Each year you continue to hold up last years picture until eventually you have a picture that shows you both progress over the years.

As a suggestion you could keep last years original picture in a photo album or in a frame but the main picture always shows how you age together. It really does make for a really interesting conversation point not only between yourselves but also for any guests that see it.

picture within a picture of yourselves as a couple
Source: Drippler.com

5 – Start a scrapbook or time capsule

A year is a long time and as you get older that year seems to fly past even quicker than the one before! Creating memories is important but just as important is capturing them. We’ve suggested ways above on how you can do this by writing a love letter in which you can talk about the ups and downs over the last year, you can record a video message too, you can also put together an interesting picture collage.

Putting this altogether along with other memories from the past year why not create a memory book

In this memory book you can scrap together everything that remind you of the last year together. This could actually be anything you want including things like a payslip (which may sound daft at first but if you’re still fairly young you have a lifetime of pay increases and career moves ahead of you, trust us one this one the smallest things can trigger all sorts of memories).

You can also use a “time capsule” like this one to store your memories in. This is a bit more convenient than a scrapbook because it allows you to safely store your letters, DVD’s and other physical items in rather than sticking with a 2D scrapbook – you can even put the scrapbook in there too.

time capsule image for 1st wedding anniversary

6 – Do something crazy or different that stands out

Your memories will be made up of the things that are different to the norm. What’s different than your normal routine will really depend on what type of a person or couple you are, but some suggestions are:

  • get a tattoo to mark the occasion
  • take a trip of a life time (we went to Las Vegas)
  • do a bungee jump together
  • jump out of a plane together
  • take some cooking classes together and work up to creating your anniversary meal together
  • go swimming in the sea together (skinny dipping?)

These are just suggestions from our imagination, put yours to the test and think “what can we do that will stand out in a years time or 50 years time?” everyone’s idea of something that stands out is unique to them but these are our suggestions.

7 – Fire on the beach at night

We first did this on holiday in Ibiza a few years ago and it’s a great memory. Pick your spot away from anyone else and make sure that the tide isn’t coming in!

Remember not to leave a mess or any charred wood that would be a problem for other people afterward too.

Take chairs, wine or your fave tipple (remember glasses), a bit of food, blankets to keep warm and a way to make a fire (a disposable BBQ is a good idea but take some kindling too). Make sure you’ve got a way to light the fire and keep it going including any additional matches or a lighter and firelighters.

Imagine just the two of you sat at the waters edge with the sound of the sea, wrapped in a blanket and a glass of wine and each others company. The effects are priceless and will stand out in your memory for a long time to come.

romantic fire on the beach

8 – Plan your life – start a language class

Use the time together on your first anniversary to plan the rest of your lives together. You’re a year in so you will have already probably talked about this in the past but after a years worth of life together your perspective may have changed. So use this time to go over old ground and make any new plans together.

The reason we suggest starting a language class is because it applies to us personally as a couple so it may apply to you too. We’ve been talking about buying a villa or holiday apartment in Ibiza (our favourite holiday spot) with the intention of spending more time there and possibly even spending our retirement years there.

To make the most of this we’ve been talking about taking Spanish classes together so we can converse to each other and people in Spain in their native language.

But this could be anything that makes sense for you, it doesn’t have to be a language class. For example, you may decide that you want to start a new business using craft skills. If you plan to take lessons then why not attend them together. It’s time well spent and you’ll be planning your future together as one.

9 – Give the gift of paper

Paper is the first wedding anniversary symbol (well, the traditional one anyway) so to keep up with traditions give the gift of paper. You could write a poem or grab a great one from Etsy or NotOntheHighStreet or similar that will come in a frame.

There are lots of ways to give the gift of paper which has a lot of meaning behind it and it’s another thing that you can put into your time capsule mentioned above too.

10 – Watch your wedding video / flip through photographs

If the memories of the big day are starting to fade then what better way to make it feel like it all happened yesterday than to reminisce over your wedding day. Start by watching the wedding video and browsing through your photographs. Do it with family and friends and spark great chats about who did what and when, everyone has plenty of memories of that day and you may even learn a thing or two!

11 – Take a day off work and spend it together

This is YOUR day. What a shame it is if you have to be Mr & Mrs Normal and go to work – yawn.

Life is too short to spend it only on the same carpet tiles as your work colleagues, your husband or wife arguably is your best friend for life, soul mate and life partner who shares all of the ups and downs so spend this special day with that special person. Go create some memories of the moments that you spend together and be selfish, go one you deserve it.

12 -Relive your first date

Can you remember what it was? Can you remember where is was and who said what?

We can’t do that ourselves because we met at 18 years old at college and at 43 we probably wouldn’t be allowed back without security clearance haha. But a first date is something that most people remember, it’s not always something that you can do again for various reasons but if you are able to re-live your early days as a couple by re-creating those special days then it’s not a bad idea really.

People also ask:

What advice do I give the bride?

We answered this in our blog post “Marriage advice for the bride” where we give you a complete and honest answer from investigating what advice people who have been married for many years would give.

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