Once you get married, anniversaries and celebrations can become a little more complicated. You now have a wedding anniversary—so do you still celebrate your anniversary from when you first began dating? And if you have a day dedicated to celebrating your relationship, then what is Valentine’s Day for? If you find your first Valentine’s Day as a married couple a little weird, don’t worry—that’s totally normal. You may feel pressure to do something big and extravagant because it’s your first Valentine’s Day as a real couple, but try to let go of that. Too many couples get pulled into the pressurized atmosphere of being newlyweds, feeling that suddenly everything is different and has to be bigger and more special somehow. But it’s important to remember that you were a real couple before you got married too.
If you two both happen to adore Valentine's Day and love having big, over-the-top celebrations year after year, then that's great—whatever works for you. But if you’re not sure what to do with the first February 14th after you tied the knot, try to let yourself off the hook a little bit. If you’re still feeling like you’re in a post-wedding whirlwind, use this Valentine's Day to take stock and get back to the romance between just the two of you. Choose a way to celebrate that feels authentic to the two of you—maybe even that gives you a little throwback to your pre-wedding life.
In fact, it can be a great opportunity to play it cool and focus more on the intimacy of your relationship than the showy part. Here’s what to keep in mind, because you just had a wedding, so don't be scared to keep things small.
1. Book a Spa Day
In terms of getting to relax and spending quality time together, spa days are often the biggest bang for your buck. You can go as luxurious or as budget as you want, depending on how you’re feeling. But, most important, you’ll be able to get in some real bonding time and come out feeling refreshed—a couple’s massage can go a long way, especially during a chilly February.
2. Plan a Romantic Night In to Watch Your Wedding Video
You put so much time and energy into planning your wedding, but a lot of us will only look at the photos or videos once before putting them in the back of the closet. Take this Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to reminisce about your favorite parts of your wedding day. Cook a lovely meal (or order one in) and cue up your wedding video or flip through your photos. You’ll feel closer in no time. An added bonus? It gives your wallet a break if you're still feeling a financially stressed from your big day.
3. Make a Couple’s Bucket List
Weddings so often end up being about other people, with everyone in your life wanting a say and needing to be kept happy. So instead, focus on what you want out of your relationship—and your life. Buy a nice bottle of wine, curl up, and take some time to make a couple’s bucket list; let your imagination run wild. Where do you want to go? What do you want to accomplish? Now that you’re established as a married couple, it can be romantic to look forward to your life together.
4. Relive Your First Date
If you want to go right back to your beginning, revisiting your first date can be a fun and silly way to keep that spark alive. If you still live in the area, book the same bar or restaurant where it all began. If not, try to recreate the meal or choose another significant event to relive, like when you first said “I love you” or where you got engaged. It can help bring back that flirty feeling from early in the relationship and remind you why you fell in love in the first place.
5. Book Some Time Away
If you really want to focus on quality time, going away together is a great way to spend your first Valentine's Day as a married couple. You can book a night away or make a longer vacation out of it—as long as you embrace not having to deal with anyone else for a while. Think about heading somewhere warm for a long weekend, or maybe book into a nearby luxury hotel with a warm fire for the night. If an overnight trip doesn't fit your budget, don’t worry. Even exploring a new town or neighborhood for the afternoon is a great way to make memories together.
6. Go Off-Grid
If you really want to connect with your partner, try to go off-grid for a while this Valentine’s Day. Make an agreement that phones are for emergency use only and plan a lovely day for the two of you. It can be full of museums and restaurants or you don’t even have to leave the house (or the bed)—the choice is totally yours.
7. Host a Couple’s Potluck
A lot of people who have been together a long time find Valentine's Day a bit daunting. So if you want to keep it casual this year, spending it with friends and family is a great option. Invite some other couples who may be a bit over the champagne-and-roses experience and focus on time with the people you care about. You can cook up a feast or take the pressure off and make it a potluck or BYOB affair to ensure there’s plenty of bubbly to go around.
Keep in mind that just because you're married doesn’t mean you have to go to town on February 14th. In fact, you can do just the opposite. Focusing on quality time and intimacy is never a bad choice, so if you want to keep it small, so be it. There’s always your first wedding anniversary coming around the bend if you want to plan something big and bold. For now, just make it about the two of you. Trust your gut rather than give in to the pressure.