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Setting the Tone of Marital Bliss

by Stephanie Hancock

Coming up to your first anniversary, you scour the internet only to learn that the traditional first anniversary gift is paper. Yes, paper. You envision your sweetheart opening their first gift from you, ear-marking your special day, and seeing the pained look on their face to find…paper instead of diamonds or gold.

Paper is probably one of the most versatile gifts you can give. There are likely millions of possibilities that you could think of with a little imagination. I will tell you of a few that we employed on our first wedding anniversary. Mind you, mine may have been a little more imaginative than his, but hey, paper is my medium of choice for artistic expression.

The first idea is probably the simplest of them all and probably the most obvious - a love letter. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it doesn’t have to be poetic; it just has to be honest. A few lines written and given to your other half means more than anything else.

Idea number two is also simple. It can be made easily or it can be as elaborate as you want. I read an email forward a few years ago about a family that wrote SHMILY everywhere. SHMILY stands for See How Much I Love You. So, for our first anniversary, I wrote on a few pieces of perfume-scented, heart shaped paper, the simple word ‘SHMILY’, the first one explained what it meant, and from there on, we had ‘a thing’ to call our own. We still employ SHMILY in many places. Including written on the lip of a disposable cup of coffee that was brought to me at a time of intense caffeine craving.

For the more artistic, there are collages or photo montages. For a collage, you can find a few magazines or newspapers and search through them for pictures, sentences or single words that remind you of your special spouse. Find a blank piece of paper and arrange your magazine clippings on the paper. Arrangement is just as important as the clippings. For example, arrange letters of your spouse’s name that you clipped into a heart shape with a photo of them in the centre.

Photo montages are also known as a new wave hobby called scrap-booking. Take some photos of you, of them, of the two of you together, and cut them out in neat shapes around the focal points and arrange them on a scrap-booking page with stickers, stamps and cut-outs, as a few examples.

I made a mock newspaper for my wonderful other half. The lead story was our engagement, page two, our wedding, and then stories about our dates, our first Christmas together and other memorable moments. It was time consuming, but worth it in the end.

For our anniversary dinner, we ate on paper plates, with paper napkins and various other paper items on our table. I made a paper candle holder with a paper candle and paper flame.

If you are artistic, draw your spouse in pencil. After a year of marriage, you can probably draw them from memory or use a photo. Be sure to sign and date your work, it will be a fond memory for both of you in 20 years.

Depending on your style, there are many ideas you can do with paper using words, writing and artistry. Grab a sheet of paper and think of your first year of marriage and let your imagination go wild. What do you see?

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