Whether you’re celebrating 12 months of marital bliss or your 50th anniversary, marking the milestones as you continue your journey through life together is an annual excuse to make even more memories.
So forget presents. For travel lovers, true romance means hitting the road. Swap cufflinks for cultural connections and flowers for far-flung adventures with these wedding anniversary trip ideas inspired by traditional gifts.
1 or 2 year(s) – paper: Dublin
You’re a year or two (depending which side of the Atlantic you live on) into the new chapter of your lives and so far, so good. The perk: you’ve made it to the grand customary gift status that is ‘paper’. But instead of an embossed journal or letter-writing set, why not treat yourselves to an experience that’s really worth writing home about?
Alternative option: Go to Japan for shōji, rice-paper rolls and origami.
3 years – leather
Cowboy carousing might not be the most romantic anniversary activity but hey – this ain’t your first rodeo. Mix things up for your third anniversary and lasso your loved one on a trip to Texas. Grab your hat, leather boots and bullwhip (oo-er) and get down and dusty on a bonafide dude ranch.
Although a real working ranch, Dixie Dude Ranch in cowboy capital Bandera offers chilled-out horse rides and massage therapy – and if that still sounds like thirsty work, Hill Country’s wineries will oblige.
4 years – fruit: Sicily
Four years and things haven’t gone sour – time to reward yourselves! Put your zest foot forward on a trip to Sicily, where lemons and blood oranges grow like weeds thanks to the island’s volcanic soil and abundant sunshine. On long summer days, linger over limoncello, citrusy salads and lip-puckering granita.
Hide away in an agriturismo (farm stay) to walk among citrus and olive groves, enjoy home-cooked meals and practice charming your hosts – and each other, of course – in la dolce lingua.
Alternative option: Wine counts as one of your five-a-day... right? Keep telling yourself that as you sip a tipple while touring the vineyards of South Australia.
5 years – wood: New Zealand
By this point in your lives, you’ve most likely laid roots. You may even be adding to your family tree. Admire whakairo – the Maori artform of carving wood, jade and bone – in New Zealand, where getting back to nature couldn’t be easier, even if there are toddlers in tow.
Geothermal Rotorua makes an ideal – if a little whiffy – base; after a day wandering around Redwoods Whakarewarewa Forest or visiting Whakarewarewa Village (complete with carved wooden buildings), chill out with a soak in the area’s natural hot springs.
Alternative option: Pursue your own fairy-tale romance in Germany’s Black Forest.
7 years – wool: Peru
Feeling the seven-year itch? Not if you switch your sheep’s wool for the llama or alpaca variety. Stock up on some silky-smooth textiles in Peru – colourful socks, bobble hats and ponchos are the standard – and snuggle up with your other half as you admire the Andean landscape.
Opt for an Inca Trail tour that stops at a weaving co-op, where you can learn about traditional weaving and dyeing techniques and pick up some souvenirs to keep you warm on the trail.
Alternative option: Track the world’s finest cashmere to its source in Mongolia.
10 years – tin: the Caribbean
You may have subsisted on canned soups and tinfoil-wrapped sandwiches while saving for your wedding day, but now that you’re a whole decade in, you deserve a little indulgence.
15 years – crystal: Reims, France
A pair of matching crystal flutes makes for a nice anniversary gift – but why not swing by the home of Champagne itself? The French region is crammed with opportunities to get sozzled on the sparkly stuff.
Reims is the ideal base for a boozy tour of all the big-name producers: Moët & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot and Dom Pérignon to name but a few. But if we’re sticking with the theme, perhaps the budget can stretch to a bottle of Cristal?
20 years – china: China
Twenty years of matrimony is a quite a feat – and if it’s taken a few plate-smashing, vase-crunching screaming matches to get you here, who’s to judge? All is forgotten once you’re making up over steaming mugs of tea...
Journey to the home of porcelain (and your favourite loose leaf), China, for a cracking anniversary trip. Sip the hot stuff in Chengdu, before nipping to Jingdezhen for ceramic workshops and pottery purchases.
25 years – silver: Uganda
Chances are by this point, both you and your beau are sporting at least a few grey hairs – but it’s best not to tease Uganda’s silverbacks the way you do your partner… That’s right – why settle for a silver charm or tie clip when you can witness our wild and distant relatives in the cloud-shrouded forests of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park?
The thrill of glimpsing the alpha male or a mother and her babies is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that’s even better when shared with a loved one. If reaching middle age together means adventures like this, who needs youth?
Alternative option: Pack your glad rags and hit the strip in Nevada’s so-called Silver City, Las Vegas.
30 years – pearl: Fiji and French Polynesia
30 years in and the world’s still your oyster – so splash out on a South Pacific getaway, where turquoise waters and swaying palms make the perfect setting to reflect on your many happy years together.
Learn about pearls on a Fiji farm tour; hunt for a bargain at French Polynesia’s pearl markets – or simply soak up the iridescent sunsets from a hammock at Tikehau Pearl Beach Resort. Wedded bliss doesn’t get better than this.
Alternative option: Channel pearl-strewn Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s with some window shopping on NYC’s Fifth Avenue.
The adventure continues…
Still going strong after all these years? Make even more precious memories with these trip ideas: