This August, Simon and I celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary. For me, an anniversary is a time to celebrate all the love, trust, tenacity and intimacy that you have shared with your partner over the past year. In the month leading up to the anniversary date, I like to look through our photos, watch our wedding video, re-read our vows (tips on writing your own vows can be found here). This trip down memory lane always makes me feel more loving and appreciative not only of my husband but also of the family & friends that really helped us along the way.
Many of our loved ones were kind enought to take part in our wedding website request for 'wedding advice' video submissions. We had those video clips made into videos that we can watch during good times yes, but they are most needed during the tough ones. The advice was delivered in a variety of ways from fun & silly to heartfelt and sage. It has all proven useful, uplifting and a good reminder that we have a network of people around us - even when in the course of our busy lives, its easy to feel like we don't get enough quality time with our quality people!
After the absolute emotional high of a wedding, the 1st anniversary of a marriage often comes with an overwhelming sense of pressure to get 'the perfect gift' for your spouse. And if you buy into the idea that it isn't the money you spend but the thought that counts, then you are feeling even more stress, yeah? Because making or finding your spouse the right gift, one that says simultaneously 'I love you' and 'Wow, we made it' and 'You are my sunshine,' etc., without spending a lot, well that is tricky too.
Giving a gift from the heart means you've got to be able to tap into the heart and translate that into a gift. No small feat. Spending time reflecting on the wedding day and vows helps, but you still need a translator right? Right about now, some people give up. They talk about it with their spouse and decide, 'we dont' do gifts' and the day passes like any other. The couple don't feel stressed out, true, but I think its a shame that the day doesn't feel special either. A heartfelt 'gift' can be a kind gesture, heartfelt words, a special something, even a walk together with no distractions, anything out of the ordinary routine.
Someone more experienced than I in the marriage game once explained 'love languages' to me. How each of us send and receive love in very different ways. One person's heartfelt hug is another's big bouquet of flowers. Thinking about (or even just asking) what your partner's love language is serves as a good jumping off point for deciding what type of gift to give your spouse. Do they love hearing sweet words? Spending quality time together? Receiving thoughtful gifts?
On my first anniversary to my husband, I had just started Clipsake, so it was just a given that I would have an anniversary keepsake video made. We have over a decade of photo and videos proving our love for travel, the visual arts and yes, eachother, so a video gift that showed all the countries we'd travelled over the past 10 years made the perfect gift (if I do say so ;) Now I only have a few decades or so more worth of anniversary gifts to think of right?! And no, I don't think the letter from the Governor General on our 50th will suffice.
This year again we bucked tradition and didn't exchange gifts of cotton or china but celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary with a family trip instead. So here we are in Germany along with our 8 month old son. As you can see, we love video so much that if we are restricted to taking photos, our favourites type to take are action shots.
I doubt we'll be able to keep the travel up for every anniversary and so we will have to get creative with our gift giving. The list of traditional and modern suggestions for anniversary gifts by year is a great place to start the brainstorming session for finding unique gift ideas for your spouse. On your first anniversary, you might discover 'paper' is the traditional gift.
Your next stop? Pinterest. Yes, it is frustrating when so many of the pins are for items in the US or not available for purchase, but this is a great place to get ideas before you head to Etsy (where I add a location filter, 'British Columbia'). Or look for a local craft market near you - fall is a great time for maker markets. They are warm, dry and full of creative handmade gifts!
These are the results from a quick search I conducted online turning up some great local makers who make creative custom anniversary gifts:
1st year anniversary gift - Paper
Some unique 1st year handmade anniversary gift ideas from shops in BC to check out here, here & here!
MiniiMoments - Vancouver BC - Custom paper portraits
2nd year anniversary gift - Cotton
Some unique 1st year handmade anniversary gift ideas from shops in BC to check out here & here!
Celtic Moon Jewelry - Kamloops BC - custom cotton & alluminium roman numeral bracelet
All this thinking about anniversaries, gift giving and memory making got me thinking. What are other people up to? How are other couples declaring their appreciation and love for another year of friendship, love, commitment and down right hard work? So, I reached out to a few rad people in New Westminster and asked them to tell us about their favourite anniversary gifts.
Jen Arbo - Hyack Interactive - Travel
"Ross and I just celebrated our ten year anniversary July 28. We're not really gift givers, but the traditional gift for a decade is tin or aluminum. So this year we're buying each other (and our son!) a ticket on an aluminum plane to Portugal."
Erin Jeffrey - Massey Theatre & Uptown New West - Baby
Her and Martin have been married 10 years but their favourite anniversary gift happened on their 2nd wedding anniversary. Says Erin, "We were induced on our 2nd anniversary and our son was born the next day!"
Jin Kim - Banana Lab - Special Soup
Jin and her husband Wonduk have been married seven years and Jin says her favourite so far has been a blender (yes, turns out appliances can be a great gift ;). According to Jin, it was the thought behind the gift because this blender allowed her an Wonduk to make and eat 'birthday soup', which according to the pair is a "Korean seaweed soup is typical soup Koreans eat every year".
Sadly, these two had a computer hard drive malfunction which meant all the didgital files of their wedding photos were lost. This has happened to us and we lost travel photos for ever. It's devastating. We actually wrote a blog post about organizing digital files and cloud storage here. Seems a good time to read it!
Kendra Johnston - Feast on the Fraser - Beach-side massages
Kendra and her husband Aaron are newlyweds. With 2 months of marriage under their belts, they are fresh in the game. When we got to talking about gifts, the pair revealed that they asked their wedding guests for no gifts. When people insisted, they signed up for gift registry with Flight Centre. Kendra says this was their 'best decision ever! It allowed us to book a swishy holiday at an all inclusive in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico this November. My husband has even arranged for us to get massages on the beach – can’t wait!"
Well there you have it. Love, commitment and friendship celebrated in all kinds of ways. Most importantly, these couples are doing what they love with and for eachother. That's a seriously winning combination for a special anniversary!
p.s. - Jin & Wonduk may have lost their wedding photo files but they have not lost their sense of humour!