How to Celebrate Your Anniversary by Year

Ever wonder what your significant other will surprise you with when a big anniversary comes around? AskMen is giving us a little insight into what your guy will have up his sleeve for your big day.


Does your better half complain that you never celebrate your anniversary properly? Women often look to anniversaries to commemorate and appreciate your time together, so the least you can do is try to get on board (check out Anniversary Gifts for Her for specific gift ideas).
It's also important to keep in mind that anniversary milestones are different in a relationship and after marriage — not all anniversaries are created equal. While you might celebrate monthaversaries early on in a relationship, this is definitely not the norm after getting hitched. Indeed, different anniversaries call for different types of celebrations. But you don't have to plan for weeks to have a great celebration; you just have to do two things: Remember the date (yes, mark it in your calendar) and heed my advice for some fabulous tips on planning that perfect night.

1. The three-month anniversary (dating)

What it means: For most couples, the three-month mark is the time to realize that they're headed for a committed relationship. So, you can approach this celebration as your opportunity to mutually acknowledge your commitment to each other.
What you should do: You can opt for the traditional meal out. Pick a snazzy place and get yourself looking sharp. Remember: Play this celebration as a toast to the future rather than one to the past. Or as an alternative to the regular dinner, consider planning a fun event. Take her to a comedy show or a concert that she'll like; this way, you can spend time together without too much seriousness. (Note: Three months is the earliest you should celebrate. Celebrate any earlier and you may come off as a little overeager.)

2. The one-year anniversary (dating or marriage)

What it means: The one-year mark signifies that you've overcome the beginning stages of a relationship and you still want to be together beyond that. From her perspective, she'll see the day as a time to remember all your "firsts" together (first date, first kiss, etc.).
What you should do: Pull out the cheesiness and get sappy for your lady. This celebration is a pure homage to your year spent together. One good way to mark it as such is to build it around mementos of your time together — drink the same wine you had on your first date or listen to the same CD you had playing the first time you kissed. Also, show her you remember all the fun times you've spent together during the past year by taking her to a great restaurant you've been to or on a picnic somewhere memorable (cheesy, yes, but she'll love it). Or, if you want to go big, consider planning a night or a weekend out of town.

3. The two-year anniversary (dating or marriage)

What it means: You're past the point of celebrating "firsts." At the two-year mark, you should show her how much you appreciate her.
What you should do: Think of the two-year mark as her very own Valentine's Day because this anniversary is more about her. This is a time to demonstrate your gratitude for all the great things she's done for you. Package it in the form of an experience you can share together; ideally, it will be something she's been talking about for the past two years (skydiving, whitewater rafting or a short road trip). This can even be the start of a ritual activity for you to do on future anniversaries. For the two-year mark and beyond, don't forget to buy her a gift, because she won't forget to buy you an anniversary gift. This could be anything from jewelry (usually the preferred choice) to gift certificates for massages and other pampering.

4. The five-year mark and beyond (dating or marriage)

What it means: You're in it for the long haul.
What you should do: By now, you're probably in the groove of anniversaries. You probably know what she expects and you may even have your own ritual. At this point, your families may even be involved in the celebration, planning and gift buying (yes, you have to do that again). So what's the challenge after five years? It seems that remembering the date never gets easier for some.

Many anniversary celebrations have come and gone at this point, so don't let them become a routine. Try to aim for something special every year (if you're running low on creative ideas, you're allowed to recycle celebration activities from past years — just add a different twist to them). The worst thing you can do is ignore anniversaries as the years go on; they should always be acknowledged and celebrated. Even if it's not your thing, she'll appreciate that you're doing something special for her.

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