1st Wedding Anniversary

There are 2 things to remember when planning your 1st wedding anniversary:

The anniversary must involve paper and it must involve “firsts.”

(You can substitute clocks for paper if you want to go with the modern trend, but the traditional symbol for the 1st wedding anniversary has always been paper. Most people choose paper.)

Now why “firsts,” you ask?

Because your journey through life together as a couple has just begun.   You’ve experienced so many new things and shared so many moments together for the first time. 

Your 1st wedding anniversary is a time to look back and reflect on all of these firsts: your first kiss, your first date, your first dance, and, yes, even your first fight.

You will never have these moments back.  They are flashes in time.  Once lived, they are gone forever.  That’s why it is so important that on your first anniversary you take the time to celebrate and remember these events.

NOW BE WARNED: What follows is not for those who want weak, half-hearted ideas.

No siree! If you want everyday, run-of-the-mill ideas you will need to go elsewhere. 

These 1st wedding anniversary ideas take time and effort to put together and are designed to amaze your spouse, showing him/her just how much you love and care for your sweetheart.

But don’t feel overwhelmed or pressured to do all of the things we suggest.

If you don’t have the time or money to try all of these ideas, that’s okay.  You can simply take snippets here or there, craft them in your own way, and your spouse will still be left speechless by the end of your anniversary.


Now you can be like every other yahoo and start your anniversary in the evening, but we suggest making it an all-day event... or even beginning days earlier with a romantic prelude to the Big Day.

Our pastor once bluntly told the men in our congregation, If you want to have sex with your wife in the evening, fellas, it begins with taking the trash out in the morning.

So what do you do? 

There are a number of ways to set the stage for your anniversary.  Try one or more of the following:

Pink Rose
  • Begin 12 days before the Big Day. Give your spouse a different color flower every day up until your anniversary, one for each month you have been married (make sure to add a paper note expressing your love).

Handwritten Note

  • Send your spouse a card or a handwritten note for 12 days or for any number of days that is special to the two of you.

Message In a Bottle
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  • Put a message in a bottle on the night stand next to your bed for your spouse to discover on the morning of your anniversary.


Presents on the Hour

On the day of your anniversary, if you really want to WOW your spouse, how about giving wrapped presents to open every hour on the hour?

Anniversary Presents Every Hour
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(The wrapping goes with the traditional paper theme and the hour goes with the modern clock theme.)

Now, you don't have to go broke buying pricey or luxurious presents. 

Instead, be creative and purchase or make inexpensive and sentimental gifts that are meaningful to you and/or your spouse.

For instance... a menu from the restaurant where you had your first date... a video of the first movie you saw together... a photo from a special time together... something from the place where the proposal took place.

You also don't have to have a present for every hour.  Instead, you can choose a few times that have significance for the two of you. 

For example, perhaps you remember the exact time you met, the day of your first date, or the time of your proposal.  Use some of these important numbers instead.

Balloons Galore

In addition to (or instead of) giving presents every hour throughout the day, here's another idea.  We call this one Balloons Galore.

Buy a disposable helium tank.  You can get one at Walmart for about $20
that will fill 50 balloons (party stores cost at least $10 more). Then get balloons in the color or colors of your choice (hint: your wedding colors are ideal!)

Fill as many balloons as you like, tie strings or ribbons around the ends and tie pictures and love notes to the other end of the ribbons.

Anniversary Balloons Above Bed
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You can get really creative with the balloons if you want.  Put a message inside each balloon before you blow them up and let your spouse pop each one to find the "secret" message hidden inside.

Or put confetti or glow sticks inside the balloons for great effect. You could even "bling" the string!

Now, where do you put the balloons with your paper love attached?

Balloon Surprise at Door
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How about placing them over the bed before your sweetheart wakes up in the morning or before he or she returns home from work? 

If the bed is already made up, you could spread rose petals (real or fake) and decorative faux ice (found at craft stores) across it.

Or you could place the balloons in the entryway to your home, ready to greet them when they walk through the front door.

Imagine their surprise when they open the door and see how much you love them; especially after a hard day at work.

Or put the balloons inside a pantry or closet you know your spouse will open up and let the balloons engulf them when they open the door.

Ballons Popping Out of Closet
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This is a great one for a morning surprise.  They go to the pantry to get breakfast or to the closet to get their coat as they are about to leave for the day and WHAM! Balloons surround them. 

A neat little added touch would be to have one balloon that is a different color from all the rest and says something like:

"In every bunch there is one that stands out, and that one is you!"  A black sharpie will do the trick.

Another great place is inside their car (just make sure not to overdo it on this one as they will need to see while driving). 

Anniversary Balloons in Car
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Or, if you decide to put paper notes inside the balloons, you could hang the balloons over your

dining table and have fun popping them together after dinner to discover what's inside.

The balloons will create great ambiance for your meal and your spouse will look forward to popping them after dinner.

Balloon Table Setting
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If you choose to hang pictures on the ribbons, make sure that they include many of your "firsts." Then reminisce over dinner about all of the things you did together for the first time.

The pictures will also provide great conversation topics with others if you decide to celebrate your anniversary with friends and family (Don't forget to use paper plates and napkins!).


Treasure Hunt Riddles and Clues
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Treasure Hunt/Paper Trail

So you tried some of our ideas and, perhaps, some of your own. Your honeymuffin nearly fainted from all the excitement and romance you've shown. 

You grabbed his/her attention - now is the time to go for the gold!

Take your spouse on an adventerous trip around your home, through the city, or to some special place with a paper treasure hunt. Leave a trail of clues and riddles that lead to fun and romantic places or things to do. The last clue should lead to a big surprise!


Treasure Hunt
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Here is an example:

Purchase some miniature toy treasure chests. Legos and children's tooth boxes are great for this.

Type or hand-write clues/riddles on pretty stationery, fold/roll, and place each in a box.

Treasure Chests
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For some fancy packaging of your note, try an origami fold. You can find our origami tutorial here. Or cut the paper into simple heart shapes or other fancy design.

Now place the first clue in a spot where you know your spouse will go. Perhaps where he/she sets down keys, wallet, or purse.

The first clue could read something like this:

You've had a hard day, it's time to unwind

Enjoy a sparkling treat and the next clue you will find

Romantic Ambience

Set out a bottle of champagne or sparkling cider and two champagne flutes in a conspicuous spot for your spouse to find.

No doubt you will have piqued your sweetheart's curiosity about the mystery that is about to begin.

If he/she really had a long day (or even if not) this is a good way to kick off the adventure. Make sure to have the next treasure chest with its clue waiting next to the champagne flutes.

The next clue could read:

The fire is ready, like our love smoking hot

Sit down and relax in your favorite spot

If you have a fireplace, use it to create a romantic atmosphere. Dim the lights and light candles. The next clue should be ready on a table by the living room sofa or favorite chair.

Our wedding day was a special time for you and me

Inside a movie case you will find a fond memory

Viewing your wedding video or photo album together is a great way to celebrate your anniversary. Remember, your 1st wedding anniversary should be centered around memories and "firsts."

Now that you have your spouse in a nostalgic mood, step up the romance with this next clue:

Now turn this on and you will hear

Memories of us in music, my dear

I cherish our love, the passion and romance

And will never forget the time we first danced

Treasure Hunt Clue
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Have your stereo or CD/DVD player ready to go with a song that is special to the two of you. Maybe a song you danced to at your wedding or one that was popular at the time you were dating.

Near the stereo should be the next clue... to open after enjoying an intimate moment together. Perhaps it could lead to a home-cooked meal by candlelight or your favorite restaurant. It could say something like this:

It's time to go, let's not be late

We have reservations at the place of our first date

If you go to a restaurant for dinner, a nice twist would be to have the waiter give your spouse the next clue (the waiter could read it aloud). Otherwise put it next to your spouse's place setting.

The night is still young, so here's the plan

We'll go to the place where it all began

Beach at Sunset

Take your spouse to the place where you met and remember how you found each other and think about how far you've come. Depending on the place. it might be the perfect spot to have dessert.

You might need to set up a make-shift table using a TV tray and tablecloth. Add a candle and vase with flowers for an extra touch.

If it was outside, you could even hang pictures on a tree showing the two of you at different stages in your relationship.

The hour is late, now we must go

At home a surprise is waiting in candlelit glow.

The surprise could be an anniversary present, a steamy hot tub or lavender-scented bath adorned with candles and rose petals, a bed of roses with a poetry book, or all three.

As far as what happens next, we'll let you take it from here...

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