Last December, we celebrated our fourth anniversary! It’s crazy to think we are half way to celebrating our fifth. In some ways, I feel like it was just yesterday, and in other ways, I feel like I can’t even remember life without Forrest. I’ve been so lucky to have him, and I look forward to an eternity of happiness with him. He is my perfect match.
We have a few anniversary traditions that we started at our first anniversary that we’ve kind of kept going. They are both really simple, but I look forward to them each year. Since our anniversary is so close to Christmas, it can be hard to really do too much, but we both like to make sure we remember how lucky we are to be married to each other!
The first one is something I’m sure I must have found on Pinterest. Each year, we have a picture taken of us, holding the picture from the previous year. It’s fun to see how we’ve changed over the past year, and I’m sure that after 50 years, it will be an even more special — for both us, and our posterity! You can also see how our quality of camera has gotten better each year as well.
Year one, I was pregnant! We took a couple of fun pictures that showed that off, but you really can’t tell in this picture. I think it’s the one I have looked the best in!
Nothing too notable to say about year two’s picture! Except I don’t like my hair at all. Remind me to never get it cut like that again!
And here we are this year! I think it’s funny, because Forrest’s facial hair gradually gets longer in each of these pictures. Also kind of funny about this picture — I forgot to print off a hard copy of last year’s picture, so we just pulled it up on the iPad. Oh well!
Celebrating your anniversary doesn’t have to be a huge or costly experience. However, I think it’s important to celebrate it and make that day a little extra special with fun anniversary date ideas. Here are eight inexpensive and creative ways to celebrate a wedding anniversary.
Anniversary by theme
Something else Forrest and I have done is each year, we take the anniversary theme for that year, and we each come up with a gift idea that is associated with that theme. It’s been a fun tradition we each look forward to, and it’s fun to make us think outside the box a little bit. Here is a list of anniversary themes by year.
Re-enact your first date
Take yourselves back to where the magic began! This can be a fun way to take a trip down memory lane. On our first date, we went to an El Salvadoran restaurant and bought papusas and fried plantains. We took them back to my apartment and watched a movie (that was sooo boring.) Forrest was sick and coughing the whole time we were in the restaurant (which he was totally mortified about), and I wasn’t even sure if it was a date! Still, it was a fun memory, and it’s something I wouldn’t mind re-enacting for our anniversary – minus Forrest being sick.
Make a simplified version of your wedding cake
There are a few different ways you could do this. You could order a smaller version of your wedding (or even just one layer) and eat it for dessert, or you could try and make a version of your wedding cake together. Forrest and I spent so much time deciding on all the flavors of our wedding cake, and I didn’t even get to try most of them! I’d love to do this together – especially because we both love to cook. I love these tiered mini cake pans – perfect for remaking a (small) wedding cake.
Create a Love or Memory Journal
As the years go on, it’s easy to forget some of the smaller details of your relationship. I love the idea of taking your anniversary each year to reflect on the past and write down some of the parts of your last year (or before). Wouldn’t it be so fun to have a nice collection of memory/love journals after many years of marriage?
Try something new
As you get older and are married for longer, it might be harder to try new things together. While it may be unfeasible to do some things on your bucket list on your anniversary, make it a goal to try something new together. Groupon has some amazing deals on fun activities nearby. It might be fun to allocate a certain amount of money to each person and surprise the other with which activity you want to do together on your anniversary. Another website I found recently is called
Another website I found recently is called Cloud 9 Living. It has “experience” gifts, and they have tons of different ideas in a variety of budgets. You can buy the gift now and book it later, and they have free returns and exchanges…which is awesome, and, in my opinion, better than using Groupon! They have everything from race car driving, to city tours, to learning to fly. Obviously some of the experiences are more expensive than other, but they definitely have options for those with a smaller budget as well. Here are some that are especially popular for anniversaries.
Create a video of your past year
This is similar to the memory journal, but it’s a little more interactive. I absolutely love making memory videos, and I have done quite a few of them for different reasons (parent’s birthday or anniversary, a funeral, our wedding, etc.) Each year on your anniversary, you could gather pictures from the previous year and put them in a video with music playing along with it. I always associate different songs with different years of our marriage (for instance, Danny’s Song I associate with our first year of marriage, when I found out I was pregnant with Jack!) If you have a windows computer, Windows Movie Maker is a great free option for making videos with pictures, songs, and other videos.
Re-Enact Wedding Reception
I loved planning our wedding reception, and sometimes I wish I could remember it more! In fact, I barely got anything to eat at the reception. While I don’t recommend actually throwing yourself another wedding reception on all your anniversaries, I think a fun twist on a dinner together, would be to recreate the food you had at your reception for a romantic dinner together, and to have the background music be the music that you played at your wedding reception. Here’s what we served at our wedding reception (soups, breads, and hot chocolate were the main “attractions”‘. Perfect for winter!), and here is a list of the best wedding songs in case you can’t remember the exact playlist you had.
This idea will mainly just work if you live in a place where there are a lot of meaningful locations to your relationship. For instance, if we still lived in Provo, this would be a little bit easier for me to put together, as opposed to where we live now (since there aren’t as many memories!)
Basically, you set up a treasure hunt with different clues, directing your spouse to locations that have some sort of meaning in your relationship. At each stop, you could do some kind of activity (if possible). For instance, if I were to do this, I would have one clue lead us to a Papusa restaurant, the LDS Temple in Provo, some of the places we both lived while we were dating, the hospital Jack was born at, etc. I think this would be such a fun way to remember some memorable moments in your relationship. At the end of your treasure hunt, you could have your gift for your spouse (for instance, I think this year of dates binder would be a fun way to end the treasure hunt, so you can make sure you have dates planned out – and more special memories planned – for the next year!)
Katie is a Colorado-native, BYU graduated, and most importantly, wife to one and mother to three beautiful boys. She is passionate about sharing her experiences with others – especially about pregnancy, breastfeeding, cooking, and crafts. She is currently training to be a Certified Lactation Educator. She loves spending time with her family and helping others find joy in family life.
I live in rural Utah a couple hours away from Provo. My husband and I ate an El Salvadorian restaurant in downtown Provo once when I (finally) went to do the paperwork to have my last name legally changed after we got married. I’m assuming it was the same place… the food was really great, but we were thankful that we could both speak Spanish, because the only waitress there didn’t seem to know English. It was a great memory, and it was fun to try something different!
The “going back to where it all began” date idea is a great one for us this year. He proposed to me in an alfalfa field that is literally “next door” to where we now live (it’s the view out our kitchen window). That would be a meaningful moment that would still be doable to recreate on our second anniversary this summer, when our options will be limited by me being 9 months pregnant with our second child (or having a newborn along with a very young toddler).
I’m sure that it must be the same restaurant! My husband always talks in Spanish to the server there (which is good, because I don’t know much Spanish!) I hope you can do your “going back to where it all began” date – especially because you live so close. And good luck with the rest of your pregnancy!
Jan Simpson says
These are some really GREAT ideas!!! My husband and I are leaving Dallas Sunday to go to NYC for the week to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary! I would have LOVED to have done some of these traditions. We have spent 25 yrs raising our 2 kids and focused so much on them. This is our first year that they are both away at college and we will now get to spend more time on each other. Once you start that family PLEASE remember to continue the time alone with your mate. It is very hard sometimes, but it is the only way to keep the relationship that started it all alive. Blessings to you all for many more good years to come!
It’s never too late to start! Thank you for you advice and kind words =)
Great ideas! Definitely going to mark some of those down for next year.
Forrest Clark says
Thank you! I hope you will!
Oops that was from Katie, not Forrest 🙂
Charlee @ Humble in a Heartbeat says
Our anniversary just happened at the end of May, but I will have to pin this for next year. I would love to try a treasure hunt!
I think it would be so fun too! Thanks for stopping by!
Chelsea @ Life With My Littles says
These are all such great ideas! I love your photo tradition! I saw that after we’d been married a few years, so it was too late for us to start! In April we celebrated our five-year-anniversary and we had our first night away together. What made it special was that I set up a scavenger hunt of special places and then we ended at the hotel where we had our wedding reception. I checked in early and set up a cake, rose petals, and gifts. It was such a fun night!!! A little too much for every anniversary, but five seems like a big one!
That sounds so fun! We are coming up on our five-year-anniversary, and we’ve been trying to think of something extra special we could do 🙂