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  • Heather McDorman

Strengthen Your Foundation by Celebrating Relationship Milestones


A toast at a couple's anniversary celebration

Celebrating couple milestones is an important part of any relationship. Whether it's your first anniversary or your 50th, taking the time to acknowledge and celebrate the “big anniversaries” in your relationship can help strengthen the bond you share with your partner.

As my husband and I are just days away from celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary, I thought it would be a great time to explore some of the ways couples can celebrate these important relationship milestones.


1. Plan a romantic getaway – One of the best ways to celebrate a couple milestone is to plan a romantic getaway with your partner. Whether it's a weekend trip to a nearby city or a week-long vacation to a tropical destination, taking the time to escape from your daily routine and spend quality time together can be incredibly meaningful. For our 25th wedding anniversary, we wanted to get away – just the two of us. Work was crazy and we didn’t have two weeks for an extravagant location, but taking five days away to a part of Florida we hadn’t been to before felt indulgent. Our relaxing time in Pensacola enjoying good fun, beautiful beaches, and shopping in quaint boutiques provided us with the time to reconnect and reminisce about our years together. It was just what we needed, and it was important for us to mark 25 years as a married team.

Husband and wife celebrate their 25th anniversary in Pensacola, Fla.
Bob and I traveled to Pensacola, Fla., for our 25th anniversary. Here we enjoyed an air show.

2. Have a special dinner or cook a meal together – Another way to celebrate your couple milestone is to have a special dinner or cook a meal together. Whether you choose to go out to a fancy restaurant or create a special meal at home, taking the time to sit down and enjoy a meal together can be a great way to celebrate your relationship and reflect on how far you've come.


Husband surprises wife at special anniversary dinner.

3. Create a photo album or memory book – Another great way to celebrate your couple milestone is to create a photo album or memory book together. Gather up all the photos and mementos you've collected over the years and create a book that highlights your favorite moments together. This project can be a great way to reminisce about your relationship and the memories you've shared.


A special photo and memento album celebrating a couple's milestone anniversary.

4. Renew your vows – If you're celebrating a particularly significant couple milestone, such as your 10th or 25th wedding anniversary, you may want to consider renewing your vows. It can be a beautiful and meaningful way to reaffirm your commitment to each other and celebrate the love you share. My close friend Terri and her husband Ron recently celebrated their 50th anniversary. Her son and future daughter-in-law decided on a destination wedding the same week as Terri and Ron’s milestone anniversary. Terri and Ron jumped on the opportunity to renew their vows during the tropical wedding trip, and two days after her son’s nuptials, she and Ron renewed their wedding vows in front of close family.

“The renewal of our vows reminded us of the love we have for each other. We never imagined we would ever be married for 50 years! Having our vow renewal with our children, their spouses, and our grandchildren present was such a blessing,” Terri said.
Husband and wife celebrate 50th wedding anniversary by renewing their vows.
In September 2022, Terri and Ron celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary by renewing their vows.

5. Give a special gift – Finally, giving a special gift can be a great way to celebrate your couple milestone. Whether it's a piece of jewelry, a romantic getaway, or a thoughtful gesture, taking the time to find the perfect gift for your partner can show them how much you care and how much you value your relationship. My younger brother Sean is very sentimental and looks to the modern and traditional anniversary gift guidelines to inspire his anniversary gift selection for his wife each year. According to these traditional lists, year 15 is marked by a gift of crystal.


“I found a beautiful crystal frame for our wedding photo, and Jan loved it. It’s on our mantel in a prominent spot next to a sculpture of a man and wife I gave her for an earlier anniversary,” Sean said. “The photo is a beautiful shot of us together that brings back special memories every time I see it.”

Photo of husband and wife at their destination wedding.
My brother Sean and his wife Jan have this wedding photograph displayed in a beautiful crystal frame in their home.

New Couples Can Celebrate Too

For newer couples, like Jodi’s friend Kelsie, traditions are just developing: "Tyler and I celebrate everything! From small things to big things. We feel it’s important to celebrate big and small in our relationship (anniversaries, promotions, hitting a new goal in our savings account, buying a house or new car, etc.),” Kelsie said. “Usually for anniversaries, we like to find a gift that goes with the yearly tradition. For example, seven years was copper/wool. Eight years is bronze/pottery this year. And usually a nice dinner! Big years (every 10) we want to do a trip! We aren’t quite to 10, but we have started researching places to go. Every fifth year, we plan a weekend getaway – somewhere out of town, but a place we can drive to. It’s been a Friday-Sunday getaway."

Woman and man in wooded area
Married couple Kelsie and Tyler love to celebrate big and small milestones in their relationship.

And It’s Okay Not to Celebrate “Formally”

Other couples – who have a few more years under their belt – may not adhere to strict traditions for major milestones, which, of course, is fine, too. Such is the case for Danette and Iain, friends of Jodi’s.

“To be honest, our tradition is “not" to have traditions,” Danette said. “We started off as a military couple where holidays/birthdays/anniversaries, etc., were sometimes ‘missed’ due to our locations, and neither of us wanted the other to feel bad. So, we improvise, adapt, overcome (that’s a Marine Corps phrase we adopted), and it has worked well for us. Granted, I didn’t know we would start off that way in the beginning. There were a lot of assumptions, disappointments, etc. And we learned over 26+ years that what was more important was each of us being happy in the moment.” 

She continued, “One of my best friends uses the same champagne glasses from their wedding with the same type of champagne with almost the same pose every year! Well, that is great. Life has taught us that it’s not about the champagne glasses or even having champagne. It’s the fact that we made it! Which wasn’t always easy in between the holidays, birthdays, celebrations, and such."

Man and woman with ocean bay in the background
Despite not establishing specific milestone traditions in their marriage, Iain and Danette celebrate the longevity of their relationship together.

Celebrating couple milestones can be an important part of any relationship. Sharing specially-carved-out time with one another or exchanging meaningful gifts can add core relationship memories that will be shared for years to come. And they might help to recall those memories during more challenging times.

Taking the time to acknowledge and celebrate your relationship – anytime of the year – can help strengthen the bond you share with your partner. We’d love to hear from our readers – how do you celebrate relationship milestones?

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