Anniversaries are adorable, no matter how long you and your partner have been together or which milestones you choose to commemorate. You can celebrate a month of dating, 10 years since the day you first kissed, or anything and everything in between. But, what if you two started dating in an unconventional way and you’re wondering, “wait, when is my anniversary?” They’re easy to remember if you know the exact date of your first dinner together, sure, but maybe you and your S.O. were friends first. Or maybe you made out at a pal’s birthday party and didn’t get together for several more weeks. If that’s the case, how should you determine your dating anniversary? And like, how do anniversaries work?
"An anniversary is totally up to you, and that's the fun of it," Elle Huerta, CEO and founder of Mend, the breakup recovery app, tells Elite Daily. "You get to decide with your partner what you want to celebrate, and how you want to celebrate it."
The ways in which you celebrate your relationship are completely your call, and once you and your partner land on an anniversary, you can get creative with how you want to mark the occasion. There are so many lovely, important milestones in a relationship — from first dates to first kisses to the day you became “exclusive.” The beauty of anniversaries is that you and your S.O. get to select and celebrate the moments that are most important to you.
Here are four ideas for marking (and celebrating!) your anniversary, according to dating experts. And remember: there’s no such thing as too much celebration.
Commemorate Your First Date
"People often celebrate the day that they had their first date with someone if they aren't married or engaged," says Stef Safran, matchmaking and dating expert. "It comes down to the couple, but usually most people celebrate the first date."
If you weren't really feeling it on the first date, but you definitely had butterflies on date three and want to remember that night instead, that’s OK, too! Nothing is off-limits. Again, this is a personal decision that you and your partner get to make together. Enjoy it, but don’t overthink it.
Celebrate The Day You “Defined The Relationship”
"For some people, it's the first date," Huerta says. "For others, it's when they had 'the talk,’” (e.g. when you two decided to define the relationship and become exclusive).
While I fell for my boyfriend almost instantly, we consider our “anniversary” to be the day he officially asked me to be his girlfriend. (Or, more aptly, the day he said, “Do you want to go out properly?” And I said, “What, like outside?”)
"Relationships aren't so black and white these days," Safran adds. "While people might have geared toward marriage in the past, they now are more focused on exclusive, long-term relationships. Therefore, anniversaries may not be when you got engaged or married. You have to decide what type of relationship you want and what works for you and [whoever] you are with."
Mark Your Monthly Anniversaries
Some couples also celebrate their monthiversary with small, special activities or gifts on a monthly basis — whether you’re marking your first date, the day you became exclusive, or another meaningful milestone.
“It can be fun to keep a list of random things your partner says they would like to try [or] do sometime and then for a special occasion, like an anniversary, you can refer to the list,” says licensed marriage and family therapist Nicole Richardson. “I think activities are a great way to shake things up, whether that's a board game or a hike with a picnic, it is a great way to get things out of the routine and really make the anniversary special. It doesn't have to be about spending a lot of money. Most people will appreciate the time and effort put forth in something more thoughtful.”
Relive Your Favorite Moments
“Celebrating an anniversary creatively is one of the fun parts of being in a relationship!” says Alessandra Conti, celebrity matchmaker at Matchmakers In The City. “Brainstorm some of your favorite moments with your partner, and pinpoint one [or more] that you can recreate… Maybe it was going to Disney and making sure to go on your favorite ride together, so surprise your partner with tickets! Maybe it was going on a specific hike, and seeing a view that really blew you both away; bring your partner to that very spot! Maybe it is creating a new memory at a new restaurant in town. Whatever you do, plan with intention.”
No matter what your relationship looks like or how it came to be, you and your partner deserve to celebrate your love in any and every way you see fit. Logistics don’t really matter — your connection does.
"At the end of the day, the important part of an anniversary is celebrating your relationship," Huerta says. "Anniversaries, just like holidays, are an excuse to step out of the daily routine and mark the moment in a special way."
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how or when you decide on an anniversary with your partner, so long as you’re enjoying time together. Choose a moment to celebrate (or two, or three!), pick a date, and go have some fun! You’ve both earned it.
Elle Huerta, CEO and founder of Mend, the breakup recovery app
Stef Safran, matchmaking and dating expert
Nicole Richardson, licensed marriage and family therapist
Alessandra Conti, celebrity matchmaker at Matchmakers In The City
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