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Non-Married Couples Can (and Should) Celebrate Anniversaries Too

While wedding anniversaries are clearly for married couples to celebrate there are plenty of ways that couples who are not married can celebrate special dates too. Just because a couple didn’t say their ‘I do’s’ and exchange vows doesn’t mean that they are prohibited from creating and celebrating special moments in their lives together.

With a growing number of couples choosing to not marry there is some confusion over when their official anniversary should be. Should it be on the day of their first date, or should it be when they started living together? The consensus of opinion appears to be that the day a couple begins living together is their official anniversary. It is that date that the commitment to each other is solidified. While the choice of date is important it is not as important as having a specific date to celebrate each year. Anniversaries are milestones and should be celebrated as such.

For the most part the same traditions can be applied to a couple who are not married as a couple who has. The exchanging of gifts and going out to dinner on their anniversary is a highlight of their relationship for most couples. The same list of traditional gifts as a married couple may refer to can be used for each anniversary for couples who are not married, though non-married couples may choose to follow the more modern version than the traditional. There are no hard and fast rules about gift giving but the year-by-year anniversary gift list is certainly helpful when trying to come up with a special gift idea for a loved one.

Romance is the ‘name of the game’ when celebrating anniversaries, married or not. Dinner for two, whether at home or at a favorite restaurant, should be all about great food, great wine, great company and lots of romance. Making it a night to remember is the aim. Anniversaries are as much about celebrating the passing of the years together as they are about creating memories to enjoy in years to come.

For couples who for all intents and purposes intend to live as a married couple there is the option of holding a commitment ceremony. This is similar to a wedding ceremony but without the legalities. Rings can be exchanged if desired, and expressing vows to each other is very much an integral part of the ceremony. When a commitment ceremony has been held and the couple has declared in front of friends and family their intention to live together in a committed relationship not unlike a marriage, the date the ceremony is held is likely to be the anniversary date the couple will celebrate in years to come.

Just as a married couple may choose to renew their vows after being married for a number of years, a couple who have held a commitment ceremony may choose to do the same. Typically a renewal of vows is held after 10, 20 or 25 years but this is not set in stone. It is entirely up to the couple when they would like to renew their vows and declare their ongoing love for and commitment to each other.

Commitment ceremonies are likely to become more prevalent as couples elect to forgo the legalities of a wedding ceremony. Such celebrations can be as lavish or as simple as the couple chooses. To a couple entering into a marriage-like relationship the commitment and bond between the two people involved is every bit as strong as in a traditional marriage, and celebrating their love for each other is something that should be done every year on their anniversary.