Eight Couples Share Their Wedding Anniversary Traditions

Get inspired by the sweet ways these happily married twosomes celebrate each milestone.

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Photo: Kir Tuben

As exciting and momentous as your wedding day is, the icing on the cake is that you can relive those special moments year after year on your anniversary. How you choose to mark the occasion is up to you and your spouse, and your anniversary celebration could be as extravagant as taking a trip to a sun-soaked island or as simple as enjoying a nice dinner at home. And how you honor the day can change with each passing year, or you can make a tradition and stick with it, doing the same thing on your wedding date. To inspire you to toast to your special day in a creative way, we asked eight couples to share their anniversary traditions.

"We take a trip down memory lane."

Eleven years after tying the knot, Sharene W., a New York City resident, says she and her husband spend their anniversary looking back on their entire relationship—not just the wedding day. "Every year on our anniversary, my husband and I look at old pictures and videos of ourselves and the family. Reliving and reminiscing about all those great, funny, life-changing, and sometimes embarrassing stories and moments shows us how interconnected and important we all are to each other," she says.

"We drink out of wine glasses from our wedding day."

Just because your wedding is over doesn't mean your DIY projects need to be tossed in the trash. Keisha B., a Tampa, Florida, resident who was married three years ago, says she celebrates her marriage—and all the hard work that went into planning the wedding—each year on her anniversary by drinking out of custom-made wine glasses that she and her husband used during the reception. "I made us these custom, oversized, blinged out wine glasses, which we carried when we were introduced into the reception. Each year, we get a bottle of Champagne and toast with those same glasses," she says. And that's not all they do: "We dance to our wedding song and sit and share what we we've learned over the past year, and then we share what we love about each other and our marriage."

"I put on my wedding dress!"

Even after 15 years, Betsy. H., who resides in Northbrook, Illinois, says she loves her wedding dress just as much as the day she first tried it on. That's why she marks every anniversary by putting on her beloved white gown. " This was the very first wedding dress I ever tried on and it was love at first sight! I felt so amazing in it and it perfectly captured the feeling I wanted for our wedding," she explains. "After that night, I couldn't imagine sealing it in a box and never seeing it again. What would I be saving it for? Certainly my daughter would want to choose her own one day. On our first anniversary I thought, why not? It's the perfect excuse to put it back on. It immediately brought me back to our wedding night and all of those wonderful memories. I have put it on every year since except on our third anniversary—our twins, Nate and Jordan, were born exactly one week later. I will continue to do it every year as long as it still zips!"

"We exchange gifts from the traditional or modern anniversary gift lists."

Lake Forest, California, resident Carole F. says she and her husband have been marking their wedding anniversary for the past nine years by surprising their significant other with a gift that matches up with the theme on either the traditional or modern anniversary gift list. "We adopted this tradition because it compels both of us to be very creative in gift-giving. For example, for our 'copper' anniversary, I gifted Dave with a jar of pennies for him to use on a surprise trip to a casino-resort in Palm Springs, while he gifted me with a beautiful copper menorah," she says. "For our 'fruit/flowers' anniversary, I gave Dave red flowers for planting (he was a landscape architect in his home country of England) as red was the accent color at our wedding. Each of our 'traditional list' gifts are incredibly personal and meaningful and as the years pass, it is always lovely to look back at the different gifts we have amassed that mean so much."

"We spend time reflecting."

Though it's been 24 years since Amy S., a Fayetteville, North Carolina, resident, was married, she says that she and her husband still spend each anniversary reflecting on how far they've come. "We have had so much change in our life together over the last 24 years. Looking back to the early years and talking through life's challenges and celebrations builds healthy prospective. It's not about gifts, it's about life and what we've accomplished and supported each other through together as a couple," she explains.

"We sail to one of the many islands in Maine"

For Kristan V., a Portland, Maine, resident who has been married for two years, there's no better way to celebrate her wedding anniversary than with a thrilling trip. "Both my husband and I are sailors and love to go on adventures. We go to islands we have never been to before, enjoy the beautiful coast of Maine, and enjoy each others company on the open water," she says. "My father-in-law owns a catamaran business so he lends us one of his top-notch sailing yachts for our anniversary. It's been an ongoing anniversary tradition and it will continue for many many years."

"We have a quiet, romantic dinner together"

After 20 years and five kids, Nancy L., who resides in Frisco, Texas, says she and her husband like to mark their wedding anniversary with a quiet, romantic dinner enjoyed by just the two of them. "We raised five kids, so having a special night out once a year was necessary to reconnect as a couple. During that dinner, we share a love letter that we've written to each other. This helps us reaffirm our marriage vows and it's nice to see your spouse put on a paper how he or she feels about you."

"We invite all our friends and family to join us in Vegas."

Crystal W., who lives in Olathe, Kansas, and her husband have spent every anniversary over the course of their 13 year marriage celebrating with any loved ones who can join them in Las Vegas. "We got engaged in the Paris Hotel and Casino in Vegas and, a year later, we went back and got married in the Catholic church on the strip. Every year we return to our happy place (sometimes with friends, sometimes alone) to spend time for ourselves reconnecting with each other," she says. "I tell people it's the best gift we could get for each other, and ourselves."

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