First Year Anniversary Gifts That Make Paper Feel Special

Traditionally, first year anniversary gifts fall into the paper theme. Make paper feel special and valuable with our picks for the best paper first year anniversary gifts.

By McCall Minnor

bride and groom celebrate wedding day outside
Photo by Zola

The First Look ✨

  • Paper gifts for your first year of marriage symbolize starting a new chapter together with your SO.
  • Gifts that fit into the paper category include notebooks, gift cards, print art, photos, and photobooks.
  • Personalized calendars and custom photo frames can hold some of your favorite memories as a couple and make great 1st anniversary gifts.

Congratulations are in order—you’re about to celebrate your first wedding anniversary. Through thick and thin, better and worse, you’ve made it to the first of many milestones. Part of celebrating accordingly, of course, is picking the perfect gift for your partner. Sometimes this is easier said than done, especially if you’re sticking with traditional anniversary gift types. The first anniversary is the paper anniversary. Don’t worry–your gifts don’t need to feel drab or outdated. Here are some updated gift ideas for your first wedding anniversary.

Why Paper?

It’s true: Paper isn’t exactly the sexiest sounding anniversary gift. Don’t count it out yet, though. Paper is symbolic of starting a new blank slate or chapter together. In that way, it represents the newness of your marriage. Delicate and a bit fragile, paper also symbolizes the earliness of your union—it will only continue to grow stronger with time.

If you’re turned off by the antiquity of this tradition or you’re just having a hard time coming up with gifts that aren’t of the message in a bottle variety, read on.

Refillable Notebook

5bc0c1c1c268e97399efb0fd A 1600 Photo Credit // Graphic Image

It may not seem like much, but a high-quality refillable notebook is a wonderful gift—especially if your spouse has a way with words. It’s perfect for everyday note-taking, business tracking, studying, journaling, or just making grocery lists. If your partner is a writer or just prefers to handwrite reminders, this is their ideal companion. Upgrade it with a leather style that they can continue to fill for years to come. Write a heartfelt note on the first page, reflecting on how much you’ve enjoyed your initial year of wedded bliss.

Shop: Leather Refillable Notebook, $145

Gift Card

stubhub Photo Credit // Stubhub

Loophole! A gift card for tickets definitely fits into the paper anniversary theme. Gift cards are controversial in the gifting space—we get it. It doesn’t feel as personal as maybe a physical gift. Feel free to wash out that tired notion, though. Whether your spouse is a major sports fan, a movie addict, or a Broadway connoisseur, the gift of tickets will never not be cool to them. Plus, it’s an experience that takes you both out of the house for a fun out-of-the-box date—that’s the real gift.

Shop: Stubhub Gift Card, $200

Art Print

5b689161c268e952cd094250 B 1600 Photo Credit // Ashley Furniture

Creative types can fulfill the paper tradition with a standout art print. A beautiful piece of wall art can serve as not only decoration but a reminder of something within your relationship. Find a piece that harkens back to the place you met, reminds you of your first vacation together, or is a copy of a piece from your favorite museum. Select something wall-worthy that reflects your partner, as well as your taste as a couple. Hang it in an area you both pass a lot or spend ample time in. It will serve as a constant reminder of the adventures to come.

Shop: Berit Art Print, $203

Photo Prints

5787f39be4b002183c00718d D 1600 Photo Credit // Artifact Uprising

A classic for a reason, printed photos serve as a wonderful way to memoralize your big day. If you already have a lot of wedding photo prints, run through your selects again and choose ones that are a little less refined. Look for photos that feel most representative of the best moments of the day—laughing, dancing, crying, shot taking, what have you!

Pick a handful to frame and place them around your home as a sort of anniversary scavenger hunt. Your partner may find some immediately but others may continue to surprise him or her for days to come. It’s a wedding paper trail if you will.

Shop: Everyday Prints, $25

Wedding Photo Book

5787f39be4b002183c007188 C 1600 Photo Credit // Artifact Uprising

If individual photos aren’t your thing (or you already have plenty around your home), revisit the big day with a gorgeous hardcover photo book. Have your favorite wedding images (or other pictures from your relationship) printed in the style of a quality coffee table book. Write a sweet or funny message in the front cover to commemorate the occasion. Leave it out, stacked artfully in your living space for yourselves—and your guests—to marvel at regularly.

Shop: Hardcover Wedding Photo Book, $60-$180

Personalized Calendar

5d0ce3c07bd3311840c70daf A 1600 Photo Credit // Artifact Uprising

A personalized calendar is a great first-year gift for two reasons. One, it’s made of (you guessed it) paper. Given some more thought, though, it’s also a symbol of time and looks forward to your next year as a married couple. Choose a customizable calendar and fill the months with photos of you and your spouse. These could be pulled straight from your wedding day, but if you want to get extra sentimental, choose a photo from each month of your first year of marriage. That way, as this next year begins, you can fondly look back at the one before.

If this feels a little high school sweetheart to you, upgrade the mentality. Purchase a calendar with a gorgeous leather cover or a high-quality metal easel. It will feel and look more valuable than the paper relics of your teens.

Shop: Brass Easel Calendar, $60

Custom Photo Framing

framing Photo Credit // Framebridge

Nothing says ‘settled in’ like a sophisticated gallery wall. To celebrate one year married, have your favorite photos of you and your spouse custom printed and framed. These days, online services make it incredibly easy to create and purchase professional prints. Simply upload your photos, select your framing style, and order. Soon enough, your photographs will be at your door and ready to hang, framed to perfection. Place them above your sofa, down a long hallway, along a staircase, or in the master bedroom for a stunning display.

Shop: Triptych Framing, $450

Regardless of what you choose, your spouse will greatly appreciate the thought you put into their gift. Don’t let the paper theme get you down. As you can see, it’s an easy material to make into a valuable gift that your partner will love.

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