Hey, you made it your first wedding anniversary—congrats! And I’m quite serious when I say that; I’ve been there, and the first year can be tough. Think about it: When you say, “I do,” you’re making the HUGE decision to spend your life with someone. This doesn’t really have anything to do with gettin’ groovy on the dance floor with a hundred of your closest friends and family members. We’re talking about the realities of married life, baby.

Finances. Kids. Two families. Two careers. A shared life, essentially. And while it’s an undeniably beautiful thing to share your life with someone, it can also be incredibly hard.

I remember this time vividly. My husband and I basked in the sweet, warm afterglow of our wedding for a good three months—we spent hours scrolling through our photos and Instagram videos, revisiting our dance playlist (we’d curated it ourselves), talking about our memories of the night, and just generally reliving our whole wedding because it was so darn fun.

There will be challenges along the way

Then, one morning, reality set in. We started arguing about budgeting. We argued about pesky in-law emails. We argued about my student loan debt. Heck, we even argued about the dog’s pee schedule. In short, we acted like normal human beings in a partnership, although at the time, it felt anything but normal. But you want to know the truth? It’s stressful and at times super-challenging to build a life with someone—and the first year, post-marriage, is one of the most fraught periods a couple can go through.

So, when you make it your first anniversary, it’s time to CELEBRATE. I mean that: Get a dog-sitter, get a babysitter, whatever, and go out and do something that you both love to do. Because you’re awesome, and relationships take serious work, and you deserve a moment of celebration.

Planning to get a present for your betrothed? Finding a special, meaningful, or just plain awesome first-anniversary gift can be tricky, I know. Luckily, I’ve put some time and thought into this so that you don’t have to! Here are a few of my personal fave first-anniversary gifts ideas:

The Traditional Gift

The Traditional Gift

If you want to go the traditional route, you should know that the first anniversary is typically called “The Paper Anniversary”. And while you could interpret this in a million different ways, by gifting your partner a photo album, a journal, or a custom photo shoot for two, I have a better plan: Give the gift of experience.
Buy your sweetie tickets to see a band they love, get a gift card to your mutual fave restaurant, or better yet, book a surprise flight to a place you’ve both been dying to see.
I hear Paris is particularly beautiful this time of year…

The Pamper-Me-Silly Gift

The Pamper-Me-Silly Gift

Technically still in the paper family, sheet masks are the perfect gift for lovebirds who just want to lounge on the couch together, watch a little Game of Thrones, drink a little wine, and pamper themselves like crazy.
Don’t know what a sheet mask is? Join us in 2019, my love! A sheet mask is a facial mask (typically made of paper) that are soaked in serum, and it can help combat everything from dryness to redness to acne, and every other skin problem known to humankind. Sheet masks are also super fun to do together because you’ll both look absolutely ridiculous with them on—and you’ll both have beautiful, glowing, clear skin as a result.

The “You Bought Me WHAT?” Gift

The you Bought Me WHAT Gift

Why not get your beloved a car for your first anniversary? I guarantee they’ll never see it coming, and the look on their face will be absolutely priceless. We’ve all seen those commercials where someone gives their loved one a shiny, new (or just new to you!) car, topped with a bright red bow…so why can’t this be you? If your guy or gal is an automotive lover, I vote going big and gifting them a new car. After all, it’s not every day that you get to celebrate a first wedding anniversary.

The Sentimental Gift

The Sentimental Gift

Feeling a little on the sappy side as your anniversary looms on the horizon? I totally get it! Get the book, “Our Soppy Love Story: A Journal About Us”, a fun, interactive journal for recording all the first moments of your marriage and documenting your lives together. Each page comes with a thoughtful, cute, or laugh-out-loud prompt (for example, one of the prompts reads, “Rank your three favorite things”), and you can write or draw your answers. For the couple who likes to reflect and get a little sentimental from time to time, this book is a great gift pick.