For all the pacing back and forth you’ve done trying to dream up the perfect present. For all the times you ran out late to pick up their gift just as the shop closed. For all the years you’ve tried to ‘level-up’ on what you did for them the year before. Getting the anniversary ‘right’ can be a lot of pressure to put on yourself.
Ultimately, it’s a sweet and a genuine testament to how steadfast you are when it comes to your one and only. You want to get it ‘right.’ You want to avoid the lame, the corny, and the overdone. You want to create a magical and memorable experience they’ll never forget.
Of course, there are a few things you can do to help make your anniversary particularly special. But, we’re here to assure you that if you get annual anniversary anxiety, there’s really nothing to worry about. Because the key to having a great anniversary is surprisingly simple.
How to make your anniversary memorable
There is no definitive ‘guide’ for how to spend your anniversary. And, every couple is different in their own, beautiful way. In this way, you and your significant other will honor your relationship in your own unique way.
So, what exactly should you do to make your anniversary special and memorable? What’s important is to plan an experience that will feel meaningful and genuine for you and your loved one. Something you can both cherish, love, and get excited about
Before diving into planning out the day or searching for the perfect gift, take a few minutes to reflect on the past year of your relationship. What did you learn and how did you grow as a couple? Knowing the answers to this question can help you understand what this particular anniversary means to you.
If you keep this in mind as well as some of the following pointers, you’ll be on your way to having a wonderful day in no time.
Rule number 1...don’t actually forget your anniversary
Now, this won’t actually result in Armageddon. But it’s one of those faux pas that’s way up there past wearing tube socks with sandals or forgetting to pick her mom up at the airport.
Logically speaking, forgetting your own anniversary is not a great way to start anniversary day, so it’s a good (correction, great) idea to set yourself a reminder well in advance. If you’re planning something a little more low-key, two to three weeks should offer plenty of time to get coordinated. If you’ve got grand plans for something wow-worthy (scuba diving, exploring the Amazon forest), then aim to be on your game six to eight weeks ahead of time. That way you can start planning out schedules, organizing finances, and everything else in between so that your plan unfolds James Bond style.
Need a little extra motivation? Create a daily countdown or an adventure map outlining the steps you’re going to take. The point is to have fun with this. Remember to take it day-by-day and trust that if you’ve given yourself enough time, everything will come together as planned.
Choosing the right flowers
There’s a reason that flowers have surfaced over and over again in relationship culture. They connect us with nature, liven up our living spaces, and offer a powerful way of expressing emotions.
Choosing the right flowers might feel a little complicated, especially since there are so many meanings and contexts behind the gesture. That being said, there are a few cues you can take from their tastes and preferences that can help you narrow down your choices. One simple strategy is to choose flowers in her favorite color or take a hint from their wedding bouquet. There are also specific meanings behind certain flowers, so if you’re feeling confident, why not choose a bouquet that evokes an emotion or value that you feel particularly moved by?
Writing the perfect love note
You would think that finding the perfect gift might be the hardest part of planning your anniversary. Often overlooked, however, is the gift card or love note. It’s tricky to come up with the right thing to say. And if you’re tempted to bail by simply googling: ‘anniversary card template,’ step away from the keyboard. Not to mention, it can be slightly nerve-wracking if you don’t consider yourself a writer.
The solution? Keep it short and sweet. Yes, really. You don’t necessarily have to write an entire opus, because often brevity is the soul of...well it’s got soul that’s for sure.
So keep to three, maybe even four, lines that convey your love and that are peppered with sweet little details or a memory from the day you met or proposed. Pretend you’re a Michelin star award-winning chef assembling a dish. Use powerful ingredients, but remember, less is more.
Here are a few more tips for writing the perfect love note.
Find the perfect gift
It’s one of the most exciting and sometimes equally nerve-inducing parts of any anniversary. Some years, finding the right anniversary gift can feel akin to a search for the holy grail. First, it’s worth remembering that every year of your relationship will be different. Some years may feel more spectacular, while others will be quieter. Some years you’ll be busier. So whatever gift or experience you come up with for this year, just know that it’s meant to be.
Five tips for buying a great gift:
- Beware of ‘gift repeating’, that is buying the same gift over and over again. Whether it’s from being forgetful of what you got them in previous years or from a stance of trying to ‘play it safe’, buying the same gift or one that is similar signals that you haven’t really put much thought or care into the gesture.
- Talk to their friends. Remember, you might actually have someone on the inside. A mutual friend or one you feel comfortable talking to that can steer you in the right direction. Often you’ll find their friends are more than happy to help you out in finding a gift for your sweetheart.
- Be receptive to hints, such as passing comments they’ve made, perhaps even clues they’ve left lying around. The answer to your gift qualm could be right under your nose.
- Keep it fresh. Anniversaries are an ideal time to try things that are new and exciting and that will keep your relationship from stagnating. Try and think of gifts or experiences they haven’t had before.
- Don’t make it all about you. While it’s nice to give them something that’s straight from your heart, make sure it’s not masking an ego boost. Think about whether or not your gift is something they’ll really love and connect with.
Remember, as long as your gift is in some way meaningful and touching, then it’s sure to go a long way. If you can find something that shows you understand, value, and feel deeply connected to your loved one, then you shouldn’t ‘go wrong’ in your choice, regardless as to whether it’s something handmade, thrifty or little more ostentatious.
Plan something you’ll both love
Anniversaries don’t simply begin and end with a specific gift or experience. They are a moment in time worth savoring and cherishing while you can. Taking a little time to plan out the entire day (or weekend or week for that matter) will help that moment become a more holistic and enriching experience.
Firstly, it’s worth deciding how much time you want to devote to ‘le anniversary.’ If it’s going to be a low-key one, perhaps staying in for the evening or planning an evening or day out is the way to go. If you’re aiming for maximum impact, try a weekend away, or anniversary trip. Just make sure that if you’re doing something a little more on the ‘grand affair’ side of the scale that you take enough time to plan things through. If you’ve decided to throw a party and invite a few close friends and relatives, remember to send out invites and ‘save the dates’ well in advance and choose a location that’s practical but also exciting.
Come up with your own traditions
There are a few anniversary traditions that have stood the test of time, mainly to do with gifting. The real fun lies in coming up with your own traditions. Whether you’re a traditionalist or not, it’s nice to think of a few ways you can stay connected over the years. It could be updating a photo album or polaroid wall, or re-visiting that neighborhood deli where you had your first date. Coming up with your own traditions is a fun and special way to celebrate your relationship for all its wonderful and unique quirks.
And...if you forget your anniversary?
Well, it never feels great when that happens, but there are ways of salvaging the situation.
An anniversary is a wonderful way to honor your relationship and your ‘couple’s life’ together. It’s a day for cherishing all the moments you’ve had together.
Yes, it might feel like there’s a lot to do to make it an extra special day. Just take a deep breath and know you’ve got this. The most important thing is to find the space to truly appreciate and be grateful for one another. Do that and you’ll pass with flying colors.