How to ensure you have the perfect wedding anniversary
Today is B’s and my 9th wedding anniversary. On the 2nd August 2003 we said “I do” and “oui” in a civil ceremony at the “hôtel de ville” in Cagnes sur mer (near Nice) first of all, and then at an English church in Cannes, before heading inland to Vence to party under the stars until gone 4am. Here we are in our youthful glory:
It was the most amazing day of my life and I think I’m right in saying neither of us would change a thing about it, and every year we celebrate the fact that we’re still crazily in love with each other despite the for worses and thanks to the for betters.
Our first wedding anniversaries were modest affairs, what with it all being new to us and they were fairly shambolic, as it wasn’t clear who was supposed to be organising the celebration. Presents and cards were a bit hit and miss (the French don’t really do cards and it used to drive me loopy that B never got me a card….he’s since realised that a quick trip to a card shop is a relatively painless way to make me happy!)
After several years of up and down wedding anniversary celebrations we hit upon an idea that has worked for us ever since, and that numerous friends have copied too in order to have a successful wedding anniversary. It’s fairly simple, and some of you may already do this – we take it in turns to organise a surprise celebration. So every year you are either organising the surprise or being surprised, both of which are great fun.
We have been to see top London musicals, stayed at lovely hotels, supped at fab restaurants and just generally had some lovely one-on-one time together.
Our rules are simple (you might want to change these slightly depending on your situation):
- The celebration itself is paid for from our joint account and we tend to fix an approximate budget for this at the start of the year when we work out our finances for the year.
- We set a budget for presents (something usually quite modest – this year it was £40 each) and this comes from our personal bank accounts.
- We usually aim to do a daytime thing, an evening thing and stay away in a hotel overnight to avoid being faced with dealing with a child the next morning.
(We have to say a HUGE thanks to my parents who have dealt with L for us many a time on our anniversary weekend so we can make like newly-weds again!)
Here are some things we’ve done in the past to celebrate:
2012 – Organiser: B (last weekend)
Daytime: Camden Market for mooching around, lunch outside and a spot of shopping. (He had planned a trip down the river from central London to Greenwich until I pointed out that during the Olympics this was probably best avoided.)
Evening: A burlesque show called Wam Bam at the Café de Paris in the West End. I’m not sure that B realised exactly what was in store for us, but it was all good fun, although we did refrain from buying any nipple tassles.
Night: L was staying at my parents’ and for the first time in around 3 years we had the house to ourselves so decided to come home rather than go to a hotel.
2011 – Organiser: me
Daytime: The London Dungeons (in my defence I gave B a selection of places to choose from and this is what he went for!)
Evening: The final Harry Potter at the cinema in Leicester Square. Not quite a West End musical but we are both huge fans.
Night: A cheap deal on a hotel near Marble Arch.
Next day: As we were free the whole of the next day too and the weather was gorgeous we had a glorious picnic in Hyde Park, dozing, reading and chatting.
2010 – Organiser: B
Daytime: Strolling around Kensington Gardens.
Evening: Les Misérables in the West End.
Night: A lovely hotel overlooking Kensington Gardens.
We have been able to participate in such great anniversary weekends since we moved to the UK and got decent jobs with good salaries, however when we were living in France and running our own business it was a different story, so we had to make do with a more basic version. One year we really had no money to be able to celebrate at all, we only had the evening and we hadn’t been out for weeks, so we had a toned down celebration.
We bought some lovely food from the deli counter at Carrefour, a nice bottle of wine and we went and sat on the beach in Nice and had a romantic beach picnic. After which we went to the cinema to see….the latest Harry Potter – in English (this is a big deal when living in France and all films are subtitled!).
This cost us next to nothing and as we hadn’t had any social life it felt amazing.
When you are busy, tired and skint it’s easy to overlook your anniversary and not do much for it, but making the effort to be together as a couple and celebrate saying I do is well worth putting time and effort into. And I officially give you the right to use our little system. Happy wedding anniversary!