vow renewal

Ah, the achievement of reaching a milestone anniversary. So special, right? Surprisingly, many couples let milestone anniversaries slide by without much fuss. But, to the contrary, I think anniversaries should be celebrated and cherished! In fact, in addition to the following, I’ve authored tons of blogs on the topic. You see, life can be hard and relationships aren’t always easy. It’s challenging to unite two totally unique people that, perhaps, have different backgrounds, experiences, values, wants and needs. So, when you make another trip around the sun with your relationship intact, that merits a celebration.

Milestones anniversaries — like year 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 for example — can be even bigger. For celebratory ideas, I’ve compiled a list that includes a traditional gift, a modern gift and the color representing each milestone, as well as unique gift ideas and date ideas that may match your anniversary needs. Go ahead: make your anniversary a big deal again… because it is!

Year ONE

Traditional gift: Paper | Modern gift: Clocks | Color: Gold/Yellow
Woohoo! You made it a whole year together. Some say the first year is the hardest (and I get that). For example, if you didn’t live together before or if you weren’t intimate before marriage. Marriage is a big adjustment and you’re getting to see a lot more of your spouse’s quirks now that you’re sharing a life together. But for some, like my husband and me, the first year is still the “honeymoon phase.” Either way, achieving 365 days together is something to be celebrated. And hopefully, after only a year, you’re truly excited to honor your love.

Gift Ideas

If you wanna go the traditional route of “paper,” you could totally go the easy yet classic route by writing a heartfelt love letter. In fact, I highly recommend you do! Sure, they say actions speak louder than words but, sometimes, the right words work wonders too. Also consider personalized stationery, books, tickets, etc. How about thinking outside the box with a collaborative paper project? Check out Date Night Guide’s blog “How to Chronicle Your Love Story with a Couple’s Journal.

couples journal
Photo credit: SetinSoul.com

Paper may seem simple but it can be big time when it comes to love. For example, my husband and I both love listening to, singing and playing all kinds of music. So, if he bought me the score of my favorite Broadway musical, I’d love him forever! Yes, I already will love him forever but you know what I mean.

Wanna raise the stakes? You probably have a deck of cards laying around which you can make into a deck of “52 Reasons Why I Love You.” I did this for my husband and found it to be a pretty simple, yet meaningful present. Just think of 52 reasons why you love your partner, print them and glue each to a card. Then, punch holes in the cards, put a binder ring through and we bet your partner will be impressed.

If you prefer to go the modern route with “clocks,” think about what makes him/her tick. We registered for and received a really cool clock with silverware sticking out of all sides for our wedding. Consider a cool watch like a Jord Wood watch, an antique pocket watch or a necklace made from a watch that’s stopped at the time you got married.

Date Ideas

Your first anniversary can spark long-lasting traditions on how you celebrate your milestone anniversaries (and all anniversaries to come). Maybe you’ll write love letters each year and not read them until the following — because who doesn’t love the build-up of anticipation?! Maybe you’ll always dine at the same special restaurant. Maybe you’ll watch your wedding video on your anniversary. Whatever it is, start on year one and make a commitment to do it each and every year. Traditions are a great way to connect because you’ll both feel a part of something unique to the two of you and that’s super important.

Another option is to take a couples getaway, especially if you didn’t have an extravagant honeymoon. A lot of couples are somewhat broke when they get married so, once you’ve saved a bit together, you’ll be ready to jet-set together. My husband and I went to New York City for our first anniversary, and the memory of exploring The Big Apple with the apple of my eye is one for the books.

Last but not least, eat the wedding cake topper that you saved from your special day. Surprisingly, our (frozen and dethawed) cake tasted fantastic a year later. It even survived a move from Georgia to Ohio. If you didn’t keep your cake topper or don’t want to risk it, many bakeries will replicate a cake. Go back to where you ordered your wedding cake to inquire.

For more ideas on “firsts,” check out Date Night Guide’s “18 Creative First Date Ideas & More” as many of these suggestions could work too.

Photo credit: Free Little Words (blog)


Traditional gift: Wood | Modern gift: Silverware | Color: Blue/Pink/Turquoise
Alright, so you’ve reached another huge milestone. Studies and statistics show that if you make it to year five, you’re in this for the long haul. Once you’ve made it through the formative years and have some collaborative experiences under your belt, you’re probably pretty committed, right? Maybe you now have young kids at home. You’re probably both settled into your careers or are at least are finished with schooling. Now is when the “boring” yet “fulfilling” part of marriage comes into play. The honeymoon phase is over but you still fall more in love on a daily basis.

Gift Ideas

Gift selection all depends, of course, on your partner’s interests. Wood gifts to consider are instruments, picture frames, serving bowls, jewelry boxes, cigar boxes, an engraved cheese board, fancy wooden pen/pencil, etc.

If you want to be playful, gift “Jenga.” You know, the game with wooden pieces where you take turns pulling out a block without letting the tower fall. Don’t be afraid to personalize this old classic with a new twist. Grab a sharpie marker and customize each block with a truth or dare challenge. Stack your Jenga tower together and, as you pull each block out, have fun following your new gaming rules. It’s your call on how tame or wild the game gets!

Another idea is to put together a 5 Senses Gift Basket. Fill a wooden basket with little things that appeal to all five senses: sight, touch, sound, taste and smell. Tip: read Date Night Guide’s blog “Awaken Your Senses with a Bedroom Date Night.”

Date Ideas

Several years have passed so this five-year milestone anniversary could be the perfect time to relive your wedding day. Dance to your wedding song in the living room, read your vows to each other, prepare the same dishes served at your reception, order a wedding cake replica again, visit your wedding venue, try on the wedding dress and reminisce about everything you felt that day.

Photo credit: Food Network

Year TEN

Traditional gift: Tin/Aluminum | Modern gift: Diamond Jewelry | Color gift: Silver/Blue
Wow, a decade of love is amazing. You’re probably in the thick of it now and, perhaps, your children are getting older. They might be in school with lots of extracurricular activities. Life may be a bit trickier because it’s time for a job change or evaluation of life’s stresses. That’s normal… so breathe. Take time to look at your life and appreciate what you’ve built together. And for goodness sake, celebrate this milestone anniversary by showing your love that he/she is still the most important thing despite the chaos of life.

Gift Ideas

Tin… hmmm, that can be a tough traditional theme to work with but you can make it fun. Take a tin jar, for example, and create a Date Night Jar. It’ll be a great way to shake up your date night routine and show your love that you still desire spontaneous fun with him/her. We’ve featured how-to steps in a Date Night Guide blog.

My husband and I have lived in three different states so we’ve had multiple license plates. I think it would be really cool to make something unique for our tenth anniversary (coming up in four years) and, since he likes music, I’m thinking of making him a guitar.

The modern gift for year ten is “diamond,” so jewelry is a no-brainer. A diamond necklace, bracelet, earrings or watch would be much appreciated.

Another unique idea is to do ten small gifts to represent your milestone years. I used this concept for my husband’s 25th birthday a few years ago.

Date Ideas

Plan to book a sitter and get out for some special twosome time but, if home is where your heart is, plan for a great at-home date night. Cook a fancy meal together, set up a sensual spa or try a date night subscription box. The goal: dedicate time to truly connecting without screens! Dream about your future together… what your kids will be like when they’re older, where you’d like to vacation in the future, what your dream home looks like (if you’re not already living in it), where you’ll retire, etc. Even though ten years seems like a long time, you have a lot of years to come as a couple.

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Photo credit: Uncommon Goods (date night jar)


Traditional gift: Silver | Modern gift: Sterling Silver | Color: Silver
You may now be empty nesters or, if not, your kids are old enough to be pretty independent. They can drive themselves to school/practice and, frankly, don’t really want you hanging around too much anyway. Use that to your advantage as a couple! Most of your recent years probably have been spent devoting your energy on the children rather than on your partner. Put the focus back on each other and your relationship. These could be the best years of your marriage!

Gift Ideas

For silver, maybe it’s time for an upgrade for items that you’ve had for, well, 25 years. Gift anything silver-plated, like drinking glasses, sugar bowl, jewelry box, money clip, etc. Date Night Guide’s blog “Mind over Matter! 9 Cool Finds to Keep Your Relationship Top of Mind” features a couple of items that align with this theme too: a message box and love tokens. If you need to stretch the theme, go with a silver-colored item versus actual silver.

Date Ideas

I’d say 25 years deserves a vacation; don’t you agree? Make it a long, relaxing one and use it to reconnect and get to know each other again in this new stage of life. Stop making excusing and finally book the couples getaway that you’ve dreamt about for so many years… glamping in nature, exploring abroad, living on island time or whatever your hearts desire.

Also, consider having a vow renewal. Invite family and beloved friends, get dressed up and walk down the aisle to say “I Do” all over again.

For more gift ideas, check out “14 Unforgettable Gifts for Couples” and “10 Keepsakes for Couples that Celebrate and Commemorate.”

Photo credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority

Disclaimer: This post contains some affiliate links. If you purchase something from these affiliate links, the author gets a small commission at no cost to you.

Feature image: Studio B. Photography via designmom.com

About the author: Charlene Maugeri is the founder of Enduring All Things, a site where she blogs about building a marriage that will endure whatever comes your way. She recently moved to the Portland, Oregon area with her husband and fur-child after spending most of her life in the southeastern united states.