If you’ve been following along on our bride blogger series, you know that Renee is actually already married! She’s been reflecting on the wedding planning experience and sharing insight for brides-to-be as they plan. Renee and hubby Scott recently celebrated their 1 year anniversary and chose to take an AMAZING trip to honor the occasion. As you’ll read below, they took a short honeymoon so this trip was their first major trip together as a couple.
In today’s article Renee is sharing 4 things she learned during her first year of marriage!
We recently celebrated our 1 year wedding anniversary so I thought it would be the perfect time to reflect on things I learned in my first year of marriage. Even though it doesn’t seem all that different than dating/being engaged there are definitely a couple things that stand out!
1. Changing Your Last Name
There are so many things to plan for your wedding and after you’re married you think you can relax. That’s not the case when you want to change your last name. There are several steps involved and they can be a bit tricky. If you plan to honeymoon soon after your wedding I recommend booking your trip in your maiden name. Changing your last name takes some time – especially when getting a new passport – and you don’t want to be stuck without correct identification for your trip. Here are steps to change your last name.
Once your last name is legally changed, go through your everyday activities to determine what else needs to be updated: work information, credit cards, insurance, health club, pharmacy, energy bill, cable bill, etc. You won’t be able to change everything at once so get the most important things first and the other stuff you can change as your schedule allows.
2. Sharing Chores
Three months after getting married we bought our first house together. Before that we were renting an apartment and there’s not as many chores compared to owning a home. We like to do the “fun” outside chores together such as gardening, watering plants and cleaning gutters. But for the not-so-fun chores we had to create a plan to divide and conquer.
I take care of the laundry because I’m picky about what clothes go in the dryer and my husband takes care of the trash. Those were easy chores to share. Where we really had to create a plan was for before and after entertaining guests. We have a lot more people over now that we have our own home. Before guests arrive, my husband vacuums and sweeps, while I clean and pick up the house. This strategy has worked well for us this year but we’ll continue to make changes as we need to.
3. Combining Finances
Money is always a tricky conversation to have but it needs to be discussed. We had been living together before we got engaged and it was frustrating figuring out who owed who. Knowing we wanted to buy a house soon after getting married we thought it would be easiest to combine finances.
For us it was a fairly easy discussion as we were both in similar places in life with our jobs, savings and debt that we felt combining our accounts as is was fair. There are different ways you can combine your finances so it’s important to sit down and talk about how each other feels. We just combined everything together and have one checking and savings account, and so far this has worked for us. I have friends who have separate checking accounts that they use for items and activities for themselves. You can always wait until you feel comfortable to combine everything, there is no right or wrong time.
4. Take an Anniversary Trip
After we got married, we went on a low-key honeymoon to our cottage in Door County. My great-grandparents, grandparents, and parents all honeymooned at the cottage so it felt really special to follow the tradition. But since we didn’t travel too far for our honeymoon I knew I wanted to do something really cool for our 1 year anniversary.
You may not have the time or ability to plan a long trip and that’s okay, getting a way for the weekend or night can be just as perfect. But try not to let the anniversary slip by without taking some time to reflect on your year together or share memories for your special day.
If you’re a planner like me you will probably have planning withdrawals after your wedding. Which makes it a perfect time to plan your 1 year anniversary trip! We spent 10 days in Vancouver and Whistler, where we hiked mountains, swam with seals, soared in gondolas, and treated ourselves to delicious meals.
On the day of our anniversary Scott told me he already had dinner plans. What I didn’t know is before we left for our trip he made reservations at a fabulous restaurant and requested to have champagne on the table when we arrived. I was so surprised and we sat outside on the water looking at the mountains reminiscing on our wedding. We looked back at pictures from the wedding and told a lot of stories. It was great to take some time to remember our special day in such a beautiful setting.
We spent a couple days in Vancouver walking around Stanley Park and through Olympic village. We then rented a car and drove up to Whistler. For this trip we decided we were going to step out of our comfort zones together and do activities that were a little frightening. Our first challenge was the Peak to Peak Gondola which took you from the top of one mountain peak to another. Scott handled this a little better than I did.
Our next stop was in Squamish. We took the Sea to Sky Gondola up to the very top of the mountain where there were several hiking trails. We ventured out on a trail that happened to have a lot of bear scat, which was quite alarming. So what we decided to do in order to stay calm and not potentially startle any bears was sing our first dance song – You Are My Song by David Archuleta. It just happened to pop into my head when I was trying to think of what to sing.
The next adventure was hiking The Chief. This hike was straight up a cliff where you had to use a chain at points to pull you up. But once you got to the top the views were breathtaking of the mountains and the Howe Sound. Our final stop was in Horseshoe Bay where we got to swim with seals. We took a chartered boat 40 minutes up the Howe Sound where we got to jump in and swim by rocks that had sun bathing seals on them. They jumped in the water and were curious about their visitors, swimming under our feet and poking their heads up.
Our anniversary trip was simply amazing. The first year of marriage goes by so quick and you get into the routine of life that it was an absolute must for us to get away and enjoy each other’s company.
TELL US! How do you plan to celebrate your anniversary (or how did you, if already married)? If you plan to take a trip, be sure to connect with one of the LMW Featured Travel Agents, Plans in Paradise and Vacation Designers.