diy gift ideas

A Year of Dates (wedding present edition)

October 21, 2014

The Lovely Things © Zambonin Photography

I have this friend who genuinely loves spending time getting to know people, she is so kind, always makes an effort to keep up relationships with people in her life, and gives amazingly thoughtful cards and gifts. I could go on and on, but the point of this post is that this friend of mine got married this fall so when it came time to get them a wedding gift I wanted it to be something really special and unique.
(PS Melissa, if you’re reading this stop now! I don’t want to spoil the surprise ;))

I had randomly seen posts like this on Pinterest before for pre-planning a years worth of dates. It seemed like a cool idea, but I highly doubt I would ever get around to doing it for myself. Making it for someone else however, seemed like a lot more fun! Lucky for me my mom came to visit for a few days before the wedding so we tackled this together and got the entire thing finished in about 2 days!

Our goal was to come up with 12 different dates (1 for each month of their first year), and include some little things that fit with each one. We kept locations a little more generic since they live in a town that we’re not familiar with, so that way they could adapt it to wherever they wanted to go.

We also kept it really simple with hand-written, hand-cut cards and notes – mostly because I don’t have all the fancy scrapbooking tools and toys. If we were at my mom’s house I’m sure everything would’ve looked a lot fancier in the end! But I don’t mind our personal touches since it was for a good friend and I knew she would like that too.

The Lovely Things © Zambonin Photography

What we used:
– 12 envelopes
– 12 blank cards (plain cardstock that we cut down to fit in the envelopes)
– Paper or cardstock for additional notes
– Pens/markers
– Wrapping paper and ribbons
– List of dates and accompanying items and/or gift cards
– Disposable camera
– Scrapbook
– Large box to put everything in

The Lovely Things © Zambonin Photography The Lovely Things © Zambonin Photography

Okay, so the hardest part about this is actually coming up with 12 dates. It doesn’t’ seem like very many to think of, but for some reason it can be tricky! If you’re stuck I suggest going on Pinterest and searching for “date ideas”… there are tons of ideas and lists out there.

Anyway, here is what we came up with: (they got married in October so we started the year in November and ended it on their 1 year anniversary)

November
Date: Spa Night at Home
Items included: Sugar scrub, candles, chocolate
Card: Welcome to your first date night! After the busyness that weddings bring, and all your honeymoon travelling, it’s time to relax, breathe, and enjoy some quiet time together. Pick a night this month for you to pamper each other with an at-home spa experience. 
Don’t forget to use the camera and take a couple photos together!

December
Date: Twinkle Tours
Items included: individual hot chocolate mixes, christmas music CD
Card: Merry Christmas! Make some hot chocolate to go and take a twinkle tour around town looking at all the pretty Christmas lights and decorations. While you’re out and about talk about what kind of traditions you each have and come up with some new ones to start together. 
Don’t forget to bring the camera (make sure you turn the flash on the camera on!)

The Lovely Things © Zambonin Photography

January
Date: New year, new traditions
Items included: leather envelope and stationary
Card: Happy first New Year as married couple! Take some time to sit down together and write out a bucket list of things that you would like to accomplish together one day. If you’re still in the writing mood, write letters to your future-selves and put them in a “time capsule” envelope to open in 10 years (or whenever you’d like). 
Don’t forget to take some photos! 

February
Date: Skating & Warmth
Items included: $5 cash for coffee, hand warmers
Card: Grab your mittens and go skating hand in hand! Warm yourselves up afterwards by finding a local coffee shop and enjoying some hot drinks together. Don’t forget to bring the camera!

March
Date: Dessert Night Out
Items included: money for dessert, list of questions
Card: Dessert night out! Choose a place together that has delicious dessert and head out for a sweet treat. Bring along the list of questions to find out more about each other and maybe learn something new! Don’t forget to bring the camera.

April
Date: International Cooking Night In
Items included: Spanish flash cards
Card: Time to tour the world through food! Pick a country and make a meal that reflects that place’s cuisine and flavours. Use the flash cards to teach each other some spanish while you’re at it! Don’t forget to take some photos! 

May
Date: Ice cream and cards
Items included: DQ gift card, playing cards
Card: Summer is (hopefully) here, so what better time for an ice cream date! Head over to Dairy Queen for your treat, find a park, and play some favourite card games together. Don’t forget to bring the camera!

June
Date: Road Trip!
Items included: map, highlighter, road trip mix CD
Card: Who’s ready for a road trip? Pick a destination that neither of you have been to before, and have fun along the way stopping wherever you feel like it! Use the map and highlighter to mark your path as you go, and just enjoy experiencing new places together. Don’t forget to bring the camera!

July
Date: Picnic & Hike
Items included: water bottle, individual drink crystal packs
Card: Pack a up a picnic and find a new place to go for a hike together. Don’t forget to bring the camera! 

August
Date: Host a Dinner Party
Items included: dinner party ideas, two sets of (disposable) utensils and napkins
Card: Time to include your friends! Host a themed dinner party at your place. If you need some help coming up with a theme use the cards included to find one you like. Don’t forget to take some photos!

The Lovely Things © Zambonin Photography

September
Date: Night Under the Stars
Items included: mini flashlight, constellation guide
Card: Twinkle, twinkle little star….. Grab a blanket and the stuff included, and find somewhere to star gaze. Don’t forget to bring the camera! (although you might have to take photos inside just before you head out into the night)

October
Date: Happy 1st Anniversary!
Items included: money for camera developing, scrapbook for the year’s date photos, blank month cards
Card: Happy 1st Anniversary!!! We hope you’re first year together has been amazing, and that all the years to come with get even better and better. Just because you’ve come to the end of these planned date nights doesn’t mean you should stop! Use the cards included to come up with your own date night ideas for the year to come. 
Use up the rest of the shots on your camera, get it developed, and put them in the scrapbook. Hopefully they turned out so you can look back at your first year together!

The Lovely Things © Zambonin Photography

We also made an “open me first” envelope with this card:
This box holds 12 envelopes (some with matching boxes), each labeled with a month of the year. Each month’s envelope contains a date idea – some will take place at home and some take you out on adventures together! All 12 dates are different, and hopefully things that you will enjoy together and will make wonderful memories doing.
Open an envelope together at the beginning of each month, look at the calendar and decide on a date.  That way right from the beginning of the month you’ll have a fun date on the calendar to look forward to!

The Lovely Things © Zambonin Photography

The Lovely Things © Zambonin Photography

Lastly, we put each date’s items together in boxes and wrapped them on with the cards on top so they can open one every month.

The Lovely Things © Zambonin Photography

The Lovely Things © Zambonin Photography

For more ideas and tips check out this post on Find Joy in the Journey

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