The Best First Anniversary Paper Gift Ideas

by - Monday, March 13, 2017

first anniversary paper cut out gift
from Sarah Trumbauer
This month, I am going to celebrate celebrating, focusing especially on anniversaries (I know I am running behind- starting a new class). The best thing about anniversaries? They get themes! That change every year! That means every year, a new opportunity comes up to do something fun and memorable, because you can take a theme as simple as paper or flowers, and turn it into so many things.

To me, anniversaries get a bad rep for being obligatory, forgotten, and a burden. Phooey on all of that. After a year of marriage, you already know that sometimes life is exciting and memorable, and sometimes it is sort of banal and forgettable. Because of that, I try to really put lots of energy and thought into anniversaries, so every year together begins and ends with creativity, fun, and something unexpected.

That doesn't mean it has to be expensive or wasteful. As you stand at the very beginning of a long and wonderful life together, I know you want it to be happy too. The more we can all take care of the environment with how we spend our money, the more we can preserve the beauty around us through all of our years. Some of the more regularly used gifts are both super lame and pretty wasteful (toliet paper, really?), but I think we can do better.

Paper is the traditional first anniversary material. I read that it means strength, but I think that is only true in Rock Paper Scissors. Embracing the arbitrariness of the themes is part of the fun. Why paper? Probably that dastardly paper lobby. Who cares. Let's go for it. The "modern" alternative is clocks. Added bonus- you can find so many experience, handmade, and green gifts around the theme of paper!

So, here are a bunch of my best ideas for your first anniversary. Make it amazing, because the only way to make your marriage romantic, exciting, surprising, enthusiastic, or joyful is to actively make it that way yourself. Make it green, because you have so much future to enjoy, and it would be nice to enjoy clean air and water while you're at it. Let's do this-

Experience Gifts

Tickets- The options for this gift are basically endless, and it means you have so many options for making your partner happy AND setting yourself up for a new cool memory with them. Baseball tickets, theater tickets, movie tickets, museum tickets, tickets for a weekend away, tickets to take the train somewhere, hockey tickets, comicon tickets, whedoncon tickets, cheesefactory tour tickets. What is your partner into? What is something that they have on their bucket list that you can help them achieve?

Buying an experience gift makes so much sense. You really just finally got through all of your wedding gifts, and do you really need more stuff in your house? Plus, early in your marriage is a great time to do these things- want a life with some spontaneity and adventure? Here's your chance to get it started. In retrospect, I can't believe I bought anything else when this paper idea is just so stinking good.

Romantic Gifts

first anniversary paper cut out black tree and couple
from Zavyanne Creations

Wedding-Inspired Art- Depending on your personalities (and how your guests gifted), an art piece of one of your wedding photos might be really special. You end up with a lot of wedding pictures, but a  special piece of art might be a nice edition to your room as something just for you. Etsy, of course, has tons. Some of these might make good inspiration so you can make something yourself, or you can buy something- just poke around and you will find something good.

first anniversary gift personalized wedding couple picture
from almost noelle

first anniversary gift personalized drawing of wedding clothes
from Zoia

first anniversary gift personalized watercolor painting of wedding dress
from ArtistLydiaMakepeace

first anniversary gift personalized picture of a couple on their wedding day
from loveandwhimsypaperco

first anniversary gift personalized silhouette picture with song lyrics
from BloomingDoorDecor

Find something your style. Write a nice note. Way to go, wedded person.

A Love Letter- Really think on it, and write your partner a letter worth keeping for the rest of their lives. You can write it on a napkin- it doesn't matter! Have the courage to pour your heart out, even though you don't have to.

Finish your Paperwork- The Boy gave me an amazing first wedding gift by finishing some official business. Some people change their name, but some don't. If it is something you did or want to do, this can make for a truly romantic and bonding gift. Never thought you would hear that about paperwork, did you?

Sentimental Gifts

first anniversary gift personalized picture hearts and maps
From my little medley

A Map that marks where you have lived and traveled- Ok, this one is a much more cutesy Etsy version than what I was thinking (though you know I love it). I think if you got a big frame, matted a map and took out the glass, you could have a cool piece of art where you could chart your travels so far and for the rest of your life. I did this for my first anniversary, and I landed on these scratch off maps from Uncommon Goods. I also love these maps from Kristin Douglas Art, which are ridiculously pretty and feminine.

Photobooks- Pictures are also made of paper, so maybe getting those wedding or honeymoon pictures printed would be a great strategy. Or making a photo book of all your first year of marriage moments would be really fun. Some sites suggest digital frames, but no one ever actually uses those things, so I would do a beautiful print before I would go that route. My favorite site for this is Artifact Uprising, which does really modern photo books and prints that are printed on 100% recycled paper.

Planting a Tree with a Time Capsule- This would really only work if you were living in a house you planned on being where you are living a long time, but this is a pretty adorable idea if that is the case. If not, it may still be nice to go and plant a tree somewhere in honor of the first anniversary. Maybe somewhere you can return to? I know some people even plant a tree around their wedding, but this seems like a perfect activity for a first anniversary, because a tree is a love letter to the future (also, air).

House Gifts

first wedding anniversary gift floating bookshelf
from Salvage Repurposed

A Cool Bookshelf-
 I know one of my dreams still is to have a library in our house. If you are handy, maybe building your significant other a bookshelf would be super cool and memorable. If not, you could even refinish one from a secondhand store or find something really cool (but not necessarily cost-effective) on Etsy. Some of the floating shelves, like these from Salvage Repurposed (I love these too), are still affordable (and so useful). You can find vintage options, wall mounts, and brand new ones (these are so gorgeous).

Books- Yep, it's obvious, but it's still a good one! Check your nearby used bookstore and you can get more books for less money! You could also do cool notebooks if that is your partner's thing.

Practical Gifts

Practical gifts can be a contentious issue in a relationship- I mean, if you aren't on the same page, this is the quickest trip to a ruined anniversary. One of my favorite couples has absolutely outlawed practical gifts, but I think you can still go this route without being boring or banal.  In fact, practical gifts can be really thoughtful and cool.

first wedding anniversary gift recycled paper clock shannybeebo
From Shannybeebo
first wedding anniversary gift reclaimed wood clock shannybeebo
From shannybeeboo
Paper Clocks- I found a clock made out of paper and other beautiful ones made out of wood (its all trees, right?) I actually bought The Boy one of these, and they are even cooler looking in real life.

first wedding anniversary gift kindle
A Kindle- Some sort of reading tablet is honestly a great idea if you have a big reader. They have been great for planes, and if you are planning to spawn, nothing is better for the middle of the night than being able to read. A different route, but a good one.

Personalized Desk Calender- So cute if you put anniversaries and special holidays and stuff like that on it. Even better if you actually make it really subtle, so they can really have it there at work with no one else noticing how special it is. If you want holidays on it, Shutterfly is a good choice, if you want something cooler and more modern, check Artifact Uprising.


Ok, if you really want to go the jewelry route, you can still do on theme! Because, Etsy. Some of the Etsy stores even have paper anniversary themes. Here are a few I love-

first wedding anniversary gift paper necklace
Paper Anniversary Love
It's hard to believe these are even made from paper. Very elegant.

first wedding anniversary gift paper earrings
Rogue Theory
Rogue Theory mostly sells I-pad sleeves, but I thought their dangly earrings were fun and quirky.

first wedding anniversary gift paper necklace

These necklaces look like wearing confetti, in a good way.

first wedding anniversary gift paper necklace
This store might be my favorite. Love the colorful mixing of paper beads and other materials.

Alright, these lists, much like your wedded bliss, are just getting started. This is going to be fun!

You May Also Like