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A wedding anniversary should be all about celebrating your love, so how can you make it memorable, meaningful, and at the same time not break the bank over it? The problem with over-the-top gestures is that it’s usually the little things that matter most to people. Certainly, the personality of the person you’re with comes into play here, but doing a grand gesture every year is simply not sustainable financially for most people, and your partner will appreciate special little gestures as much, if not more, than a big party or getaway.

The important thing is doing something that matters to both of you, creating new memories and living in the moment. Many couples now go the route of doing something that will look good to others on social media or will appear perfect, which is not the point of a wedding anniversary. Think about who this gesture is for, and worry about how to share it with your friends later, if at all. Here are some fantastic suggestions for memorable and meaningful wedding anniversary celebrations. 

1. Recreate your first date.

If it’s at all possible, recreating your first date with your partner is a really romantic way to reconnect with how you felt about each other initially and bring back those fond memories. If you’re not in the same city as you were when you went on your first date, you don’t need to go to the same places but have a similar date, such as dinner and a movie, or a walk, or back to the same dive bar, etc. The good thing with this idea is that first dates are usually quite cheap, so you can relive this experience without spending a lot of money.

2. Do something you both love together.

If you’ve both managed to take the day off so you can spend it together, then you should do something you both love doing together, or something completely different you’ve always dreamed of doing but never did. This can include something as dramatic as getting a tattoo together; they don’t necessarily have to match but it’s the experience of going together if they’re your first tattoos. A less extreme thing would be cooking a great meal together, which could be a fun and exciting way to spend time together, or a dessert if a meal is too daunting. Terry Ritter, a lifestyle writer at Brit Student and Write My X, suggests that “you can also have a spa day together so you can pamper yourselves and enjoy each other’s company. If it’s more than you’re willing to spend, consider having a spa day at home with all sorts of different home treatments.”

3. Have a picnic.

There’s nothing more romantic than a picnic for a wedding anniversary. Pack both of your favorite foods, a bottle of wine or champagne, a big blanket, and head to a nice nature spot, either a new place or one that is meaningful to the two of you. If it’s a cold month, or the day itself is rainy, have an indoor picnic on the living room floor. Light a fire in the fireplace if you have one, and have an intimate picnic on a blanket and some cushions on the floor. You can drink as much champagne as you want without having to worry about driving later.

4. Make something crafty.

Whether or not you’re an artistic person, you can always make or build something for your significant other. Some suggestions from Christine Larkin, a relationship blogger at Australia 2 Write and Next Coursework, are that “you can go to a pottery studio together and make and decorate each other some pottery, either for a plant, or some cups and bowls. You can also do something different, like build a photo album or a scrapbook of your journey together.”

5. Plan a getaway.

You can also plan a getaway together without being too extravagant. Plan a special weekend close to your anniversary date and surprise your partner with the news. It can be as simple and easy as a camping weekend nearby or a bed and breakfast one town away. Not all getaways need to involve flying to a resort or beach! Regardless of the destination, your partner will appreciate the planning and thought that you put into the weekend away.

Michael Dehoyos, a lifestyle and relationship blogger at PhD Kingdom and Academic Brits, helps couples navigate through different moments in their lives. His in-depth analyses of relationship issues and communication problems have helped many people improve their friendly and romantic relationships. He is also a frequent contributor to the Thesis Help blog.