If there are two things you should know about me, the first is that I’m a perfectionist, and the second is that I love to celebrate. To put it in perspective, my birthday falls on the 25th of the month and since I turned eight, March has since been known as my birthday month.
This past weekend my husband and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary. While we’ve been together for almost seven years, we were never really big on our dating anniversary so this whole experience was fairly new to us.
We wanted to do something fun and memorable without putting a ton of pressure on ourselves – I’ve realized that going overboard tends to make things feel less genuine and sets unrealistic expectations so we kept that in mind as we made our plans. The mister and I got married on a Friday so our anniversary fell on a Saturday this year giving us plenty of time for a full weekend celebration!
I hope you find some of these ideas helpful for planning your next anniversary celebration!
Get your rehearsal on with a rehearsal-versary
Since we got married in our hometown of Chicago, we were able to easily revisit some of the places related to our wedding weekend. Friday night we had dinner at Hub 51, the restaurant where we had our rehearsal dinner exactly a year earlier. Champagne and pulled chicken nachos later, and we were on cloud nine. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the amazing key lime pie. Holy delish…
Anniversaries are a celebration for both of you; by dividing up the planning responsibilities you both have some surprises to enjoy on your anniversary. Mr. L planned an absolutely amazing surprise breakfast in bed for me, and I planned a surprise lunch for us. If you are wondering what the heavenly looking breakfast item is below, it is a German pancake with powdered sugar and homemade mixed berry compote with some fresh lemon juice on top. His culinary skills never cease to amaze me. PS: did you know that everything tastes better from a champagne flute? True story.
Find ways to enjoy every moment
As a perfectionista, showering, drying, curling, applying makeup, etc. are all things that time and needed to be done. But I didn’t want to waste an hour getting ready and missing out on key reminiscing time. So I took out my wedding playlist and got ready for our day while listening to the tunes of our wedding day. (Super cheesy, I know…but this is who I am, folks.) If you don’t already have a wedding day playlist of your own, here are some of the songs I included on ours to get you thinking:
- Songs from our rehearsal dinner slideshow
- Processional song from ceremony
- Bridesmaids’ entrance song
- Recessional song from ceremony
- Father/Daughter dance
- Mother/Son dance
- First dance
- Cake cutting song
- Fun songs from the reception (last song of the night, songs you remember everyone dancing to, etc.)
I picked out a new perfume specifically for our wedding day so that every time I wear it, my husband and I are reminded of our wedding day. Of course, that was the scent I wore all weekend (and even into Monday) You could also buy (or guys, buy for your wife) some flowers that were included in your bridal bouquet and have them around the house as you celebrate. With the first anniversary being “paper”, my husband bought me handmade paper gardenias – a special flower to me that were a key flower in my bridal bouquet.
Reminisce like a pro
Again, since we live in the same city where we were married, we were able to go to that same special spot, Café Brauer at Lincoln Park Zoo, have lunch and let the memories marinate. If you don’t have that luxury, going through your wedding album or watching clips from your wedding video are other great options to bring back those once-in-a-lifetime memories.
If you have the time and budget to get a little dressed up for your celebration, treat yourself to a makeup stylist, manicure or hair appointment. I booked a session with the same artist who did my makeup on our wedding day for that added dose of nostalgia.
Get ready for your close-up
Now, I know the women out there are usually completely on board with this one and it’s the guys who aren’t usually feeling the in-restaurant photo-shoot – but try to get a couple pictures in before you head to dinner – even if you are home with your 3 month old and haven’t showered yet today. This is your life together and every anniversary should be captured, celebrated and remembered. I decided that a chalkboard sign noting which anniversary and date it was would be a fun way to document each year.
Cherish the old but try something new
I love remembering and reminiscing, but to keep things fresh it’s always a good idea to try something new. We’ve been meaning to try Piccolo Sogno for quite some time and finally had a great reason to book an in advance reservation. The outdoor patio has a very quaint yet upscale feel and the margarita pizza was quite tasty! We had year-old wedding cake to eat at home so we didn’t go for dessert, but were surprised with some “Happy Anniversary” biscotti. Another friendly tip: it never hurts to tell restaurants that you are there for a celebration!
Let them eat cake
Whether you have your original cake from your wedding day or have your bakery create a small version of your wedding cake, indulging in some cake with a side of nostalgia is a must-do on your first anniversary. And for as long as we live in Chicago, I plan on getting a small replica of our cake every year because really, who needs an excuse for cake? We also used the same cake forks we used on our wedding day (thanks to my friend Laura who bought them for us as a shower gift!) that are thoughtfully engraved with “Mr” and “Mrs” and include our wedding date. If you aren’t married yet – here are some tips on how to preserve that top tier of your cake.
Remember the honeymoon
If you happen to have the day after your anniversary free, finding ways to look back on your honeymoon is another fun thing to do. For example, we went to Cabo for our honeymoon so we planned to go jet skiing on Lake Michigan (which didn’t happen thanks to Chicago’s unpredictable weather), listened to latin music similar to what was played at our hotel and indulged in tacos for dinner.
And finally, if nothing else seems to come together, find small ways to be sweet. Bring your love their coffee in bed, write them a love note on the mirror with a dry erase marker, talk about your favorite part of your wedding, make them a simple dinner at home. There are so many inexpensive, thoughtful ways to show the ones you love how much you care.
I wish everyone, married or not, many years of joyous, love-filled celebrations!