10 Romantic, Memorable, and Affordable Wedding or Dating Anniversary Ideas For Couples

Cheap Anniversary DateTime flies when you are having fun – and when you are with the one you love. As the years go by, perhaps your anniversaries begin to sneak up on you, with you and your loved one seemingly always ending up going out to dinner again. Or perhaps the big day comes and goes, and you don’t do anything at all because you are on a tight budget and can’t think of something to do that is celebratory, memorable, and won’t cost a fortune. (Sure, a trip to the wine country sounds perfect; but is it worth refinancing your home and mortgage to finance this?) Well, luckily, you can be both romantic and financially smart.

Here are 10 inexpensive and exciting new ways to celebrate your anniversary:

1. Recreate Your Wedding Night Menu
Try to recreate your first married meal with your spouse. Work together to choose recipes, go shopping for the ingredients, and cook as a team. My wedding dinner included an elegant tomato salad and chicken piccata – not something I would normally take the time to make at home! Making it with my husband would certainly be a fun challenge. For those of you who are really ambitious, try recreating your wedding cake. If you are not married and celebrating a dating anniversary, try to cook what you ate on your first date. Cooking, in general, is an extremely fun and cheap dating idea that you should always consider. If you’re still not sure what to do, find a new special recipe or use an online service like E-mealz to plan out your meal. End the evening snuggling on the couch, watching the first movie you saw together.

2. Relive Your First Date
My first date with my husband was at a fast food sandwich restaurant, followed by stargazing. Since then, the restaurant has shut down, and the place where we went stargazing is no longer accessible. Perhaps the biggest obstacle is that we now live 500 miles from where we first met and dated! Still, even if we can’t exactly recreate our first date, we could go to another sandwich place and find another field from which to watch the sky. First dates are usually inexpensive ones, so you can relive those memories at a reasonable price.

3. Have Your Own Personal Photo Shoot
Make a list of some of your favorite places around town, load up your camera, and have your own photo shoot! Go to places that hold special meaning to you and your significant other. Perhaps you could stop at the place you had your first kiss or the church where you were married. Ask a passerby to take a couple shots of you. Another idea is to simply take a photo of you together each year on your anniversary. Keep an anniversary album for these special memories.

4. Make an Anniversary Mix CD
Make a CD of all the songs that have meaning in your relationship, and go somewhere special to relax and listen. Share with each other the memories you associate with the songs. Another idea is for each person to make a CD to share with the other. Then, stay home and dance!

5. Do Something New
My husband and I just celebrated our fourth anniversary. And yet again, we went out to a restaurant, which was great, but dining out is nothing new or particularly exciting. So for next year, we have decided to go for a hot air balloon ride. Yes, it’s expensive, but we are planning ahead to spend a little more next year since it will be a milestone year. Is there a romantic, cheap weekend getaway package that you and your spouse have always wanted to explore but have never gotten around to doing?

6. Get Crafty
If you are feeling a little artsy, go decorate some pottery for each other (most towns have a DIY pottery studio or two). Or make something together, like a photo album or scrapbook of the previous year’s events.

7. Watch Your Wedding Video
I don’t think I have ever watched my wedding video. Honestly, I am not even sure where it is. But what’s the point of having a video made if you are not going to watch it? Your anniversary is a great opportunity to remember that special day, so dust off that wedding DVD and watch highlights together. If you don’t have one, perhaps you have a video of a vacation you took or another memorable occasion. If not, look through your wedding album or pictures that you have taken throughout your years together.

8. Give Thoughtful Gifts
For each anniversary year, there are traditional gifts that you can give. For example, the gift for the first year is traditionally paper. Consider giving your spouse stationery you have customized, a book, a love letter, or anything else associated with paper. It doesn’t have to be expensive, just thoughtful. There is also a modern anniversary gift for each year. For example, for the fourth anniversary, the modern gift is appliances, which could be a lot cheaper than a pricey piece of technology. If you’re interested in what these gifts are, here is a handy list of traditional and modern anniversary gifts by year.

9. Match Your Gift with Your Anniversary Year
If this is your fifth anniversary, give five roses. If this is your tenth anniversary, give a ten minute massage. Be thoughtful and fun. Make a game out of it, and see who can come up with the most creative number-themed gift.

10. Just Be Together
Take the day off from work, turn off the cell phone, stop checking your email, and just spend some quality time together and save money. Keep it simple and remove yourselves from your busy everyday lives. Celebrate your life together because that is what your anniversary is all about.

What creative date ideas do you have for celebrating anniversaries?

(photo credit: nattu)

  • http://www.yourfuturedating.com John

    I think going for a nice walk in the countryside can be romantic, sometimes there is some places in your home town that you do not even know about.

    • Casey Slide

      Good idea, John. I know there are a lot of places in my town that I have not been to. And that could be a good date for any occasion!

      • Adipru10

        I like the idea of go back to the place we met, this year is my 7th year, I’m thinking of 7 roses, as well…..thanks

  • http://www.squidoo.com/keeping_flame_alive azmilsyahmi

    Reliving your first date is a good idea. I’m planning to do that on our 5th year anniversary this year. going back to the resort where we first met. We used to work there.

    • Casey Slide

      I hope you have fun! I also met my husband while working for a resort.

  • Mhossey

    Were in nashville, and thinking about coming to Atlanta actually! What are some great things to do and recommended from an “insider”?

    • Casey Slide

      If you like to be active, I suggest doing some hiking. Stone Mountain is great because you can get a view of all of Atlanta. Plus there are some fun activities at the park. There is also some great hiking north of the city at the beginning of the Appalachian Trail. In the city of Atlanta, I love getting lunch at the SunDial Restaurant! It’s on the top of the Westin hotel, and it’s best to go for lunch so you can every (plus it’s cheaper then).

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1330337268 Carol D. Durante


  • http://youngandcentsible.com/ Charlotte

    I love option number 5: Do Something New
    I’ve really found that the most perfect use for Groupon activities is for anniversary or valentine’s day presents! A friend mentioned that she’d gotten one for drag car racing for her boyfriend’s birthday and I just thought that was so creative and cute. I’ve seen really great ones since then for hydrobiking, jet skis, bikes, etc.!

    • Casey Slide

      Great idea! To be honest, I usually delete those emails every morning, but your idea gives me a reason to open them up and take a look at them. Thanks!

  • Orpah

    Thanks a million times for these ideas, our second wedding anniversary is coming on September o4, so we thought of buying new and durable finger rings, and mark the event with this, but we do not any ideas of doing this. would you please help us how we should to do it. i will be very greatful

  • Iamsam

    All of these ideas are LAME!!!

  • brittany

    my one year anniversary is tomorrow. yes last minute. i work evenings at my job and my husband comes home after i’m already gone. he told me to wake him up when i get home from work. what is something i can do than?

    • Casey Slide

      You can leave some notes around the house for when he gets home. Hope you get something figured out!

  • http://www.facebook.com/lucrecia.mendez.56 Lucrecia Mendez

    Tomorrow will be my 18th wedding anniversary and I really love idea # 3, creating our own photo shoot at some of our favorite places. Thanks for the ideas

  • Kelly Gines

    I love this idea. This company will take your wedding photo and sketch your wedding gown. They will even do the tux and bouquet. This framed piece of art is a romantic gift. I found this at My Dreamlines.

    • Lori Baker

      My husband gave me a wedding dress sketch too! He used My Dreamlines too! I give this as gifts now!!

  • RV

    What would you suggest for something fun, excited & romantic to do in Charlotte NC for 18th anniversary?

    • Steve Roberts

      White water rafting at the Olympic Center… fun, safe…

  • junemvc

    Love the article! Thanks for sharing your ideas :). Will be sharing them via our FB channel! Turn your emails into a beautiful book using Memeoirs’ web application too!

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  • KevinWasHere

    These are very romantic for couples! I wanted to add on to #8 regarding thoughtful gifts, giving her the box of luxurious underwear from “The Enclosed”. You can personalize, decide how many months you want to send, and make yourself look like a hero!

  • DSmith

    LOVE #3 idea of a photo shoot. Our 30th wedding anniversary is in 8 weeks and like most people we are living pay check to pay check. But what a great idea of revisiting the most memorable places of our 30 years together! Our children are 27 & 28 and what a great scrap book it will be to pass on to them and our grandchildren. Thanks for such a simple but GREAT idea !!!

  • samarht

    thank you for nice info about wedding anniversary ideas

  • Ray S

    What do you do on your anniversary if you think you’re headed for divorce? We’ll be celebrating our 1st year soon and things are not going well. I still want to show her I love her but don’t even know what to do …

    • mya

      maybe something simple then.like roses and a small gift . nothing to big or fancy.

      • Steve Roberts

        If it’s really relevant to the relationship, sure, but that sounds like a cop out… way too easy and requires no thought.

    • Sarah

      Do something that reminds both of you why you married and over each other in the first place- it can be simple, do you have a silly inside joke? Make a card of it. Or plan a movie night with your favorite movie. Or recreate the first date as suggested- go back to where it all started.

      Good luck!

    • Cheryl Hynds

      Did you celebrate your anniversary yet? How are things going? Maybe write her a poem or just a letter expressing your feelings for her than make her a romantic candle light dinner, maybe some wine. And dont forget to remind her why you two fell in love in the first place. This does not only have to be for anniversary.

    • Njp Thompson

      that’s your problem right there.

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  • Tanu Malik

    tomorrow is my 2nd anniversary..what should i do something creative?