If you've made it one year into a relationship, you're probably feeling rather impressed with yourself. I'm not being salty, I genuinely think you should feel proud. Maintaining intimacy is a challenge, and so is managing all of the other garbage life throws at you whether you are in a relationship or not. To celebrate this momentous occasion, you're probably thinking of picking out a gift or planning a special dinner to celebrate. It's difficult to know how much to spend on a one-year dating anniversary gift, because every one-year anniversary is different.
I personally am not a huge fan of gifts. Actually, going to call myself out on that. I obviously like getting presents and would never turn one down, but when it comes to The 5 Love Languages — "Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch" — "receiving gifts" is lowest on my list. I like Quality Time and Words of Affirmation.
I would also prefer an experience to a present. You might like a dinner plan to celebrate one year. (Same.) Or maybe just a night home with Netflix and homemade margaritas because that's what you had on your first date? (Same.) Or a trip to Iceland. (Same!!!) Or maybe you don't get each other presents at all, because you're semi anti-gift like me. But rather than continue to ruminate on all of the different amounts of money one could spend on an anniversary, I spoke to matchmaker and dating coach Karenna Alexander to get her expert opinion on how much one should spend on a first dating anniversary. Here's what she had to say.
You Should Spend Within Your Means
For some of us, "within your means" means that trip to Iceland, while for others, it means dollar wing night. While a vacation abroad would be one way to ring in one year, it's also a very expensive way to congratulate yourselves to making it through an entire year without breaking up, so don't feel pressured to overspend. "A romantic gift can be bought or made for a small amount of money," says Alexander. "Don't discount love poems, flowers picked from a garden, or art that is homemade."
Think Leslie Knope-style scavenger hunts or extreme scrapbooks — or just think about an adorable card you could write by hand. "Those gifts come from the heart and don't have to be expensive to be romantic," says Alexander. "You can also purchase inexpensive gifts. It's not about the money but about the thought and the romance behind it." You don't need to go above and beyond — it's just one year! Added reason to spend little-to-nothing and simply write a nice note or card: the traditional gift to celebrate a first anniversary is paper.
But You Should Do Something
Investing in an expensive gift or big travel plans almost feels like it would put too much pressure on a first anniversary. While it's great that you love each other and are excited to make it through a year as partners, you can celebrate the day without adding financial stress to anyone's month. That said, make sure you acknowledge it in some way.
"I think anniversaries and holidays like Valentine's Day are important times to declare one's love for one another," says Alexander. "The daily routine can be monotonous and take a toll on a relationships, so anniversaries are a time to step back and show your love for one another!" The one-year mark means that you're probably just past the honeymoon phase of dating, and have dealt with your fair share of fights and stresses together.
If it's within your budget and you're inclined to do something more elaborate than a handwritten card and homemade margs, go right ahead. There's no wrong way to celebrate this exciting milestone.