I pulled off my anniversary celebration last week, and it involved a bit of insanity, so I must share, although I neglected to get pictures of much of anything.
This year being our 10th anniversary, I had grandiose visions of tropical vacations, diamond anniversary bands, and all sorts of wonderful surprises. As the anniversary drew near, it became clear that this year, with this economy, was not the time for our family to go all out on a celebration or gifts for each other. Being the practical parents that we have become, we were about ready to buy ourselves a sander (we need one) for our gift and just lay low. I initially was trying to come-up with something special without spending any money, but as my plans evolved and my husband agreed that 10 years was worth a bit of celebration, I found a deal at the hotel where we had spent our wedding night. By going the sentimental route, I was able to do everything else, for almost no money.
Making it Fun For Your Man
I’m afraid I know where your minds are going with that title, but that is a subject for a different kind of blog. I mean the creative date, sentimental stuff.
Here’s what I did: My husband got a basic GPS system on clearance a Target a few years back. It isn’t very fancy, but you can input coordinates and it will lead you to your destination. I made sure he took the GPS with him to work on Friday, and before he left, I emailed him the coordinates of our first destination with the time I wanted to meet him there.
How did I get the coordinates? Glad you asked. I asked my husband for a GPS tutorial the other night, and among other things, he showed me how you can get coordinates from Google Earth!
See this screen capture? Let’s pretend your special meeting place was the Bright Angel Bar/Lodge at the Grand Canyon. If you hover your mouse over that spot on google earth, the coordinates show up in the bottom left-hand side of the image. Cool! Huh? (NOTE: If the Grand Canyon is your destination, you might want to make sure your GPS and coordinates are very accurate, so your loved one doesn’t end up on the wrong side of the rim.)
You can download Google Earth for free, here!
So I had printed up coordinates with the other destinations, like this, and had them ready in cards (one had to be carefully positioned before-hand). I think he loved getting to use his gear! It helps justify its existence in our home.
Down Memory Lane
So our first stop was the Mesa Arizona Temple where we were married 10 years before. I met him at the visitors center with the shirt and tie he would need to go inside. It was a great way to start the evening.
I really wanted to take some pictures of the two of us in front of the temple (like we had 10 years before), but had to walk a ways to the car, and we were a little behind schedule. We tried to get this self portrait in the street with the temple in the background, but our big heads covered the entire thing! (Feel free, not to enlarge the photo. I look tired. I probably was.)
Last shot of our mini-photo session before the adventure continued. After our pictures, I dropped BSB off at his car and gave him the envelope with the next clue and coordinates. I quickly drove away, just to make sure he didn’t follow me.
Those coordinates led him to the church building (his Uncle’s) where we had had our wedding dinner immediately following our wedding ceremony. Initially, I thought I would set up a gorgeous picnic here (like something Jordan @ O Happy Day would do), but it’s just too ridiculously hot here, there wasn’t anywhere inconspicuous to set up, and I didn’t have access to go inside the building. So I just hid the envelope by a door, and used this as the stall tactic I needed to get back to the hotel and set things up there.
I made an easy and inexpensive, but sentimental dinner (Chicken Salad with grapes on pita bread), and it worked because that’s was what was served at the wedding dinner. Earlier in the day, I had taken the salad, sparkling cider, Izzes, a cheese platter from Fresh & Easy, and their Chocolate Hazelnut Gelato (We had had a Chocolate Hazelnut cake at the original dinner), and put them in the small hotel fridge. I brought a table cloth, some pretty plates, and champagne flutes and made an impromptu table out of the nightstand. I decorated the room with some of our framed wedding pictures and had his gift set on his plate. I gave the envelope with the last clue in it to the lady at the front desk to give to him when he found the hotel. It had the room number inside. We did use cell phones through out the adventure, in case he was lost or confused.
Thanks to this great site, he was able to get his anniversary band. Tungsten!–manly, huh? (maybe mine will come on the 15th…or 20th…or...). The card I gave him said something to the effect that the wild goose chase down memory lane and the anniversary band were my way of telling him that “I would marry him all over again!” He was pretty impressed with the whole thing, and pulled out a beautiful bracelet he is working on making for me, using stones left from other projects. How many wives get excited about their husbands not spending money on them? Me! I was just impressed that he found a way to do something nice with out a big investment that we can’t really afford, right now.
We had a great evening (thanks also, to my neighbor, Nicole, for keeping the kids.)! And that is where this G-rated story ends.
Other Versions of the Story
For those of you wanting to cook-up some of your own romantic adventures, here are some ideas of how to make it special with out breaking the bank.
A treasure hunt always adds to the excitement and anticipation of an event. No GPS? Leave clues around town. Even send him on a scavenger hunt for sentimental trinkets. Look at our Amazing Race–Valentines Edition for more ideas.
Where to send him?
- Places from the wedding day (like we did).
- Memorable places you went on dates while you were still dating.
- Some place to represent each year of your marriage. You might have to go symbolic if you have moved around during your marriage.
- Romantic landmarks or places with special titles. Do you have a fountain in your city? Or the LOVE sculpture in Philly (right?). Maybe you went to Cancun on your honeymoon. Is there a restaurant with Cancun in the title?
- Any place special for you!
DINNER ON A DIME:
- Places like Restaurant.com, can help you get discounted gift certificates for favorite restaurants.
- Nothing wrong with a home cooked meal! His favorite dish? What you ate the night he proposed? What did you serve at your reception?
- Location, location, location. You can serve almost anything, if you do it in the right setting. I once had Subway sandwiches for a formal dance at BYU, but we ate them on top of Y mountain looking down at the lights below. Even a favorite fast food meal, could be fun, if served in the right setting.
- Initially, my plan was to lead him back to our home where I would have our room fixed up ever so nicely and a candlelit dinner there. I did something similar last year, and didn’t have the time to get the room as nice as it would have needed to be this time, so I was glad for the hotel option. But you can make your room look like a resort! Just be sure to clear out clutter that will remind you of phone calls that need to be made, laundry that needs to be done, etc. It needs to be an escape (and make sure the children are spending the night elsewhere, if possible!).
- Watch for deals! In years past, we have gotten some great deals on resorts in the Phoenix area in August, because….let’s face it, who really wants to be in Phoenix in August? One of my favorites was a nice resort in Scottsdale that offered a room for something like $120/night, but included in that was a $100 food credit for use at their yummy (and expensive restaurants). If you are off-season, there are usually good deals to be found.
- You might also look at VRBO (house rentals) for something small and nice that feels like an escape.
- Maybe I’m just sentimental, but homemade gifts, or gifts that have a special meaning, go a lot further with me than stuff that costs lots of money. (Before I was married, it was great when a man wanted to spend lots of money on me, but now that we share that money, and I know what bills there are to be paid, it just isn’t as fun). Barry made me a turquoise ring while we were dating, and a jewelry box after we were married, and it means a lot that he would take the time to do that kind of thing for me.
- Go on a date to the thrift store or the dollar store, give each other a dollar limit and time limit and see what you can come up with for the other person.
- Maybe you want to make a large purchase and count that as your gift for each other. You might still want to exchange hand made cards or even poetry. (Extra points for corniness and humor!)
OK. This post is getting far too wordy and not nearly as visual as I usually like to be. Just know that celebrating means whatever you do to make it a special day. And there are countless ways to do that!
(Next year is your turn, hon! No pressure! )