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20 Anniversary Ideas for a Truly Special Celebration

by Kate Sauble

Sure, a tasty dinner out at a swanky, fancy restaurant and maybe an evening dancing to a live band is a good way to celebrate and observe an anniversary, but that’s not the only way, and something that only comes around once a year deserves to be celebrated differently than by doing the same kind of “date night” activity that can be done on any weekend.

So why not think of an unusual, unique, untried, or unexpected anniversary idea?

Along that line, here are 8 meaningful approaches to anniversary celebrations and observations:

1. Get chilly with it.

Depending on your ages and health levels, how about a downhill ski resort weekend in the winter?

2. Or get outside somewhere else.

Not a fan of the cold? What about a hiking/kayaking/whitewater rafting outdoor getaway in the summer? Adrenaline will get her heart racing for you all over again!

3. Be kids again.

Not necessarily a great outdoors enthusiast? Well, a weekend getaway to an amusement park would combine adventure in a much more metropolitan manner. While you’re at it, think of something special at the particular theme park you choose, such as “Happy Anniversary Shelly!” prearranged to be found on a certain sign or by one of the park’s characters/staff.

4. Reach new heights.

If neither of you has a fear of heights, and aren’t too squeamish about soaring above the horizon, how about surprising her with a day-long balloon trip complete with a picnic meal, or a gondola ride?

5. Start a theme!

Be creative. Plan your getaways and observances to be synchronized with a theme, such as one year by land (train trip), the next by sea (cruise), and the following by air (balloon), and so forth. She’ll be yearning to hit the next milestone just to go on vacation!

6. Couples who race together…

Speaking of land, if you’re both fitness-conscious, how about entering a cycling event, road race, marathon or local walk. Training together will bring new togetherness and challenges as a couple, while keeping you both in shape!

7. Little surprises. 

If that’s a bit more adventure or exertion than you or your spouse crave, there are always a bunch of ways to make something tame a bit more special, such as starting a new tradition: It could be as simple as hiding several little – or one big – gift(s) around the house, borrowing from the Easter egg tradition, and making your loved one find it. These could be self-created poems dedicated to your mate or their favorite candies, or even as jaw-dropping as keys to a new car.

8. Traditional gifts.

And don’t forget the time-honored traditional anniversary gifts. The first one is paper, the second cotton, third is leather, fourth silk, fifth wood…. 10th is tin, 15th crystal… 20th china, 25th silver, and so on… find a gift that you could keep in your family room for all to see the milestones you have met, from where you started until present anniversary. By the way, it’s never too late to do this!

9. Take a Cooking Class

If you want to do something really romantic for your anniversary, try taking some cooking classes together. Just don’t try to imply that your partner can’t cook and needs the lessons! As far as romantic anniversary ideas go, choosing something that both people can do together, like a cooking class, is something that will allow you and your partner to really bond with each other. If you live in a large city, even better, because the variety of cooking classes you will have to choose from are nearly endless. 

10. Get a Vintage Wine

If you are celebrating a milestone anniversary, what better way to do it than with a bottle of wine that matches the wedding date? Of course, the exact wine is going to differ based on the year, but it’s definitely quite the sentimental idea to consider. If you want to be really romantic, you can always get a bottle of wine that matches the birthday of your significant other. On that note, if you’d like more than just a glass of wine, another great idea for any happy couple is to go on a little wine tasting tour. This way, you get out of the house, you get to spend quality time together, and you can taste some fine wines too. 

11. Breakfast in Bed

When anniversary day comes around, nobody wants to do any heavy lifting, and nor should you have to. For this reason, something super simple like breakfast in bed could be a great idea. Cook up your special somebody’s favorite breakfast foods, put it on a tray, get a nice flower, and surprise your partner with a romantic breakfast in bed. 

12. Have an Intimate Dinner

If you and your special somebody are the type of people who just want to have a special time together, then serving them a romantic meal at home could be the best anniversary gift of all. This way, you get to cook your favorite foods, surprise that special somebody, and spend some quality time at home with them too. A special meal is always romantic! 

13. Throw a Surprise Anniversary Party 

If the opposite is the case, and you’re the type of people who like to have fun and show off a little but, throwing a large anniversary party is another way to go. This way, you can invite all of your favorite friends and family to share in the joyous occasion with you. A big party with all of your relatives always makes for a special night. 

14. Create Wedding Albums 

If spending time with that special somebody is the most important thing to you, and you want to hold onto those memories forever, creating wedding albums is a great anniversary gift. This way, you can showcase your favorite memory and never forget about it again. 

15. Take a Dance Class

If your partner is big into dancing, or wants to learn how to dance, then there’s really nothing better than taking a dance class together. It might not be the first thing on your bucket list, but it’s a good way to end the night on a sweet note. Dance is art, art is emotion, and the dance floor is the perfect place to display that emotion. 

16. Take a Road Trip

If you’d like your anniversary to last for more than just a single day, a really fun activity for you and your partner is a road trip. This way, you can get out of the house, see some new sights, leave the kids at home, and hit the open road for as long as your heart desires. 

17. Go For a Hot Air Balloon Ride 

Hands down one of the best and most romantic anniversary ideas would be to take a hot air balloon ride. Of course, this means that neither of you can be afraid of heights, but if you want an awesome bird’s eye view of the world below, and you want to share that view with your partner, then a hot air balloon ride is always something to consider. 

18. Take a Trip

if you just can’t take the weather anymore, and it’s time to leave the country for a warmer destination, a perfect anniversary idea might be to go on a trip to a foreign country, somewhere warm where you can sip mojitos on the beach and see the sights. It’s a good option for adventurous couples.

19. Have a Movie Night

Some of us work all day, and whether it’s our anniversary or not, sometimes we just want to go home after a long day and relax. If this sounds like you, a cute anniversary idea might be to have an outdoor movie night. Set up some seating and blankets, get a projector, and watch some sappy movies that will remind you why you love each other. Having a movie marathon could be a great way top spend a night together. 

20. Go On a Camping Trip

If you and your partner are outdoorsy, you could always try taking a couples camping trip. Pack your tent, sleeping bags, some hot dogs and marshmallows, and spend a few nights camping out under the beautiful starts. 

There are many ways to observer a wedding anniversary, from the simple to the complex and from the sublime to the ridiculous. It really is limited only by your imaginations and/or comfort levels — and budget, to some extent. The point is, do something meaningful to make your spouse fall in love with you every year again on that day you agreed to tie the knot!

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