Wedding Anniversaries and Themes


This time of year I get especially excited because Jordan's and my wedding anniversary is right around the corner (September 17). I have more fun with anniversaries than I do for just about any other gift-giving time and that is because I love celebrating with the traditional themes! Having a theme laid out each year gives us a challenge to be creative! It makes us think outside the box and have fun coming up with ideas that the other will love that we may not have thought of initially.

Jordan and I have gotten into the pattern with celebrating each anniversary with a themed gift and a day or weekend trip somewhere. Half the fun (for me at least) is the brain storming and the amount of thinking and planning that leads up to the big day. I believe strongly that wedding anniversaries should be celebrated and infused with joy! It's not always easy to get through another year and each year is a milestone to every couple. It's exciting and time should be taken to celebrate all that you've gone through and experienced together. 

Here's the breakdown of some of the things we've done on our anniversaries:

1. The theme for the first anniversary is PAPER. That year we were living in Madison, WI and it had been a really difficult year for us. We were ready to celebrate getting through it! I had cleaned and decorated the house to surprise Jordan when he got home from work. I made paper confetti and bought the same cake we used as our wedding cake (a $9 red velvet cake from Costco! ha!). I had our wedding knife set out and set the whole apartment up to celebrate. We had wine and cut the cake, looked through our wedding photos and gave our gifts. I gave him a few books of sheet music for his banjo and he gave me a book (about blogging actually!), a magazine subscription, and a paper box that he had decorated with words that he thought described me. On a whim, we decided to drive to Geneva, WI for a day trip. We had absolutely no money and ate our dinner at Culvers. We splurged on a "cocktail cruise" that gave you one drink in a plastic cup while floating through the lake. It was kinda terrible which made the whole day that much better.

2. The theme for the second anniversary is COTTON. Our second year was maybe even more difficult than our first had been. We were finishing out our miserable existence in Madison and were a couple of weeks away from moving to Iowa when our anniversary hit. We had no money and very little joy. We couldn't splurge on gifts and so decided to buy each other some essentials...underwear. We ate out at a local restaurant and tried to enjoy the evening with some Pear Cider, which was delicious, but couldn't quite take the edge off of a hard time. 

3. LEATHER is the third anniversary theme. Jordan and I were having a MUCH better time in Iowa and felt freer and really ready to celebrate getting through such a hard phase. This was when we were seriously thinking about tiny house living. We looked on Air BnB to find the closest tiny house we could rent to see if we liked staying in one. The nearest one was in Omaha so we headed there for a weekend. We had a blast at the Omaha zoo and seeing first-hand what tiny life was like. I gave Jordan a leather wrist watch and he gave me these kick-ass leather earrings from etsy!

4. FRUIT AND FLOWERS. Our personal theme for anniversaries is to just have fun! Our fourth anniversary was probably one of the most fun ones we've had. We exchanged gifts at home before we left for Kansas City for the weekend. Jordan got me fruity scented candles and really beautiful stationary and notebooks from Rifle Paper Co. I got him an essential oil diffuser to use in his office with lemon and orange oils. In Kansas City we relaxed, went to the art museum, ate out, and had the most fun ever at Worlds of Fun! The amusement park happened to be debuting their Halloween season events the day we went which was a great surprise. There were spooky parades and dozens of haunted houses all over the park. We rode rollercoasters until we got sick and stayed from morning til night enjoying all the festivities and rides. It was awesome!

5. This year is our fifth anniversary (!!!!!) and the theme is WOOD. Originally we planned on staying in a wood cabin but then as we started looking up places to rent, we realized it's a bit too close to our lives right now. No running water in a cabin? Nope! That's already our daily struggle. We need a break and we want a little more luxury! So, we're now planning on staying in a hotel in Dubuque, IA. There are caves that we can explore nearby, be on the Mississippi River, go shopping and out to eat, and just have fun exploring our own state. This is our first year not surprising each other with a gift though. Instead, we decided to have a dresser custom built for our tiny house closet because our closet system is a mess! (more on that in a future post once we have the dresser). I'm still holding out to find a wood shop class that we can take together too!

In our minimalist lifestyle, I'm not one to have too many keepsakes or a lot of sentimental items. But since anniversaries are so important to me, I decided to come up with a way to commemorate how we celebrate them and remember what we did each year. I started out by just simply writing out a memory of the gifts exchanged and the way we celebrated on index cards, with the year and theme as the header. Then I decided to collage the backs of each index card with images that represent that theme which I cut out of magazines. I glued the magazine pictures to the backs of the index cards and cut them down to size so that all the cards fit inside the paper box Jordan made for me on our first anniversary. I had so much fun making the cards and it's such a simple craft that I will do it each year and add it with a small memento (like the paper tickets from our ridiculous cocktail cruise our first year) to the box.

If you're interested in making something like this for yourself, I'd suggest using cardstock instead of index cards. The index cards are a little flimsy.

If you're interested in seeing the different themes for each year, you can check that out here. There's a traditional theme--which is what we follow--and a modern theme for each year. It only goes up to 15 years and then skips to every 5 years after that. I think it could be fun to start each year with the traditional themes and then fill in the years that don't have themes with the modern ones. For example, the modern theme for the 1st anniversary is clocks but we could do that for the 16th year instead.

How about you? Do you like to celebrate with themes? What gifts and creative ideas have you come up with?