You spend yonks planning a wedding together, have the wedding and then lie on the sofa for a bit to recover…and all of a sudden your first anniversary comes around!
As the seasons change, whether it’s the clocks changing, daffodils appearing or the weather getting cooler, something will remind you that this time last year you were in the few hectic weeks before your wedding. Congratulations on your first year of marriage! It’s traditionally a time of newly wedded bliss, or tough and difficult adjustment, depending on who you ask. Either way, your first wedding is a particularly special one, and an important one to mark. It’s also traditionally your paper anniversary, so I’ve put together a collection of ideas for your first wedding present.
If you’ve been following for a while, you’ll know I blummin’ love a course. I do. I love to learn something new and stretch my brain new and unusual ways. I’m also really excited about experiences as gifts, rather than just objects, so I’m starting today’s list with a couple of workshops to do together. Then you get to spend time together, learning how to do stuff, and you get a paper-y wedding anniversary memento too.
The idea of a workshop together might be full of horror for some couples, so do scroll down for some other ideas.
1. Make a Personal Print
There are a huge number of exciting and romantic prints you could buy one another for your wedding anniversary, but if you’re creative, or just have a thing about painty overalls (doesn’t everyone?), then how about printing your own. A day’s workshop is enough to produce a brilliant screen print of your very own, and usually a few more copies for good measure. It’s a really interesting and absorbing activity, and a great chance to produce your own piece of art. You could buy a voucher for the workshop for your other half, two and go together, or go beforehand to produce a print that’s truly personal to give on your anniversary.
Try Print Club London. They have a great beginner’s workshop, with easy explanation and a lovely atmosphere. And plenty of amazing Turkish food nearby for your lunch break.
2. Print Your Own Wallpaper
Having set up home together, what better way to mark your first anniversary that designing and printing something special to go on the walls of your home. Feature walls and expensive hand-printed wall paper is all over the place…well Pinterest mostly, but think of the loveliness of having something designed and made by you there, instead of a bit of B&Q. Build a home together in this excellent paper-y way. Once again, you could buy a voucher for the workshop for your other half, two and go together, or go beforehand to produce something amazing to handover on the day of your anniversary.
3. An Envelope Book
This might be a good option for those with a few crafty bones and some writing skills. There are several ‘How To’ posts about putting a book together, including this one from Martha Stuart. They suggest using the envelope book for day to day organisation, but I saw and thought of it as a good place for a series of letters, probably because I spent my childhood coveting The Jolly Postman. If you’ve written to each other a lot, even by email, you could use this book as a place to find, print off and collate those early emails and Valentine’s Day cards, along with a letter from you on your anniversary. Alternatively, you could write a series of letters and notes, to be read over the next year, or few years. Using a variety of old envelopes and different papers – do you have stamps from countries you’ve visited? – can make this idea and present really personal and a very special gift.
4. A Jar of Memories
If you’re incredibly organised, you could decide to this one throughout the year. When you have a particularly brilliant day, even if it’s mostly unexciting napping, chatting and drinking tea, make a note of it. When some happening on another day makes you both laugh so much that the tea spurts out of your nose, make a note of it. Collect these notes together in a jar, and once the anniversary hits, spending the morning in bed, drinking wine from the bottle, pulling notes from the jar and remembering the times mentioned, hopefully laughing all over again. If you’re not as organised, then you can recreate it yourself. Have a look through your calendar and photos and remind yourself of those good times, and fill up the jar over a couple of hours.
5. Make a Personalised Map
This would be a good gift if you’re both of an itchy-feet disposition, and have had the chance to travel together. Mount a world map on board, or have it framed (without glass), ready to be hung up. Then take some of the loveliest pins you can find, pin the different places you’ve been. If you’ve been on an extended trip, you can use string or twine to join the pins together and show your route. Use mini luggage tags with dates on to identify when you travelled to each spot, and even any key words that sum up your time there.
6. A Bespoke Illustration Print
A lovely present to watch being unwrapped, as your partner realises what it is, and you can both lean over different bit of the illustration, searching out the private jokes, favourite flowers and important life events.
The Story House has always focused on bespoke illustrations for couples like you. Whether it tells the story of your relationship from meeting and first date, to engagement and wedding, or focuses on the lyrics of your first dance, a bespoke illustration is a really lovely personal present. You can chose from a variety of sizes and therefore prices too. I love putting together personal designs, with all the touching details, a little humour. I can include the details that are important to you – your wedding flowers, your favourite films or music, your meeting place or your wedding venue. It’s a very easy process, and can all be done by email. If you’d like more information then click here. If you have any other questions about the illustrations, then do contact me.
7. Paper Flowers
I used to make paper flowers myself – the photo above is an example of a vintage map bouquet. However, once I’ve completed my current orders for this years’ weddings, I’m afraid I’ll be putting the paper punch down. However, there are many other paper flowers available online, and they’re a perfect present if you want to celebrate with something elegant, beautiful and really celebratory. Think of the ways that you can make them relevant to you – by colour, by theme, by the type of flowers themselves.
Some of my favourite paper flowers available to buy online are by Suzi McLaughlin. They’re gorgeous, and so delicate.
8. A Special Place in Paper
Did you get engaged at the top of the Eiffel Tower? Or at the bottom of the steps of St Paul’s? Or perhaps you first kissed at the Sacre Coeur, or had a date on the London Eye. Then have a look at Paper Tango. It some beautiful origami cards of some very special places. These simple white, delicate paper pieces will make a beautiful card for your first anniversary. They’re also perfect if you prefer to go for small tokens rather than big gestures for your gifts – probably best to check your partner feels the same though, eh?!
Remember, if you’d like any more information about a bespoke illustration, have a look here.