A hundred years ago, unmarried men and women were barely allowed to interact without the presence of chaperones. The popularity of period pieces such as Downton Abbey have brought new focus to these “ancient” customs, and given us a unique window into what the private lives of people used to be like. Of course, the idea of privacy is an increasingly elusive one in a society in which social media gives us all the impression of personally knowing individuals we have never even met face-to-face (and which, in all likelihood, we never will). All of the rituals pertaining to courtship are subject to change with the times, and now, they are also able to be preserved in digital format for millennia to come. This has all lead to modern couples consistently being faced with the same question: how can we make our story feel special?
For many, the abundance of websites dedicated to documenting and sharing the special moments in a relationship (engagement, marriage, your first child or home) are a godsend, places full of inspiration and opportunities. But for others, they are just a reminder that no matter what you and your significant other may choose to do, chances are, someone else has already done it. In more reserved times, each relationship milestone had its own expected form of celebration. But now, couples can literally choose to do whatever they wish, whenever! So if you are one of those souls out there searching for something other than a Pinterest board of color palettes for a party, here are some unique ways to memorialize any stage of your togetherness:
Take a trip – a popular option for any sort of celebration these days is a get-away. No longer reserved for just a honeymoon, a couples’ trip can serve as a marker for whatever you deem appropriate to observe. The simplest to plan are weekend excursions, whether to the beach, a lake, the mountains, or a suite in a bustling city! But if you have the vacation days saved, feel free to run away for as long as you like. Websites like AirBnB and HomeAway are excellent options for those who prefer an at-home feel to a hotel. And whether your locale is on the other side of the world, or simply on the opposite end of town, it is the chance to spend some quality time with your loved one that makes it truly special.
Purchase an investment piece – one of the upsides of 21st-century relationships is that living together before becoming engaged or married is increasingly the norm. And that means couples have that much more time to truly build a home for themselves, and create a space that truly reflects them. Instead of spending money on a fete to mark a promotion or pregnancy, many people prefer the option of buying something special to distinguish the occasion. Art (whether it be a painting, sculpture, photograph, etc.) is always a welcome addition to any room; sumptuous pieces of furniture are also worth consideration, as are items of daily necessity (such as kitchen appliances). While a dishwasher might not sound romantic at first thought, it will make day-to-day life easier and free up time for far more pleasant activities! And in the end, isn’t that what we all want with our chosen partners?
Make the world a better place – many couples are fortunate enough to do without things like a wedding registry or baby shower. Whether it’s because you have a million relatives and friends who are constantly offering hand-me-downs, or because you have the cashflow to buy exactly what you want for yourselves, the idea of donating to charity is no longer just for funerals (in lieu of flowers…). If either individual has a personally-compelling story linked to a certain disease, or has found a worthy cause that doesn’t seem to be getting the attention it deserves, it can give a couple great peace of mind to know that they have made an impact by spreading the message to those they know and helping others in the process. The feeling of shared achievement is an excellent bonding method, and in this case, extends beyond the couple and into the community.
At the end of the day, sharing your love with those you hold dear is the point of any celebration. If you prefer the more tried-and-true methods, like hosting a big blowout, then go for it! Each couple has the right to forge their own path, and the appropriate way to mark the milestones in a relationship will vary from liaison to liaison. If you do choose to take the road less travelled (a la our options listed above), know that you are not alone! Each love story is unique, and what will always make your story different is what you bring to the table. And if you decide that the best way to rejoice is simply by keeping it between the two of you, well… we promise we won’t tell!
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