This year in August, Ryan and I have the joy of celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary. It’s crazy to think that we’ve spent the last decade together – moving countries, establishing a business, renovating a house and, more recently, raising our beautiful little boy together.
Although it’s been a while, I remember our wedding like it was yesterday!
We got married in my home country of Switzerland and Ryan’s family all arrived a week before the wedding to get to know my family and spend some time with them. One of our Swiss neighbours, in an incredibly generous act of kindness, moved out of her house for a week so that Ryan’s whole family could stay near us in the build up to the wedding (I’m still blown away by that gesture to this day).
I remember the beautiful, scorching hot August days and everyone eating outside in the garden, playing table tennis, having a laugh… and for all intents and purposes it should have been one of the happies times of our lives, leading up to THE happiest day of our lives. However, I also vividly remember moments of utter stress and overwhelm in the build-up to our wedding day. There were so many things to get done. So many lists. So many post-it notes. So many spreadsheets.
Having met with dozens of couples over the last few years, I know now that my experience in the build up to our wedding was not at all uncommon. Most brides and grooms face times of stress, busyness and overwhelm.
Looking back now, I wish I’d taken some moments in the build up to the wedding to spend some quality time with Ryan… to begin as we meant to go on. To establish that even in times of stress and pressure, time together is precious and to be treasured. Because the truth is: there will be times of stress again. And life does get mad and chaotic and busy at times.
In that spirit – we thought we’d put together some creative date ideas for you. Some are ideas for “proper” dates, some just to steal some moments together when you need it most. I hope one or the other idea will ‘speak’ to you :) Also, we tried to keep them fairly low budget… you’re paying for a wedding after all!
And finally… a good trick to actually carve out some time together is to officially add it to your calendar. Schedule it!
1. Escape for a walk
One thing we do regularly, when we feel we need to escape for a little while, is to go for a spontaneous stroll around the neighbourhood. It’s amazing how refreshing a bit of space and fresh air can be! It’s a great opportunity to check in with each other and find out how the other one’s doing too.
When we’re really busy and pressed for time, we sometimes even go for a “working walk” where we talk about what we need to do and make new plans. It’s a good way to look at current challenges with a bit of distance and get a some perspective.
And it’s a bit of exercise which is always beneficial!
2. Plan a screen-free dinner
Ditch the screens for a night and spend the time together talking, playing games, dreaming about the future…
3. Go on a “Mission” together
If you’ve got a big to do list, pick some things you can tackle together, get a large travel mug of coffee, hop in the car and off you go! Your mission is to tick as many boxes off your to do list as you can :) Use the car ride to catch up with one another, find out how you’re really doing, and have a laugh together.
* This is something Ryan has introduced into our lives. He has a gift to make even the most boring tasks into fun challenges… Other people might just be shopping at Asda – our family is on a mission!
4. Grab a drink
Go down to your local pub and grab a drink. Hold hands underneath the table, look deep into each other’s eyes…. (haha I’m going to stop here).
5. Read aloud to each other
This is one that Ryan and I absolutely love! Usually our tastes in books are quite different, but there are certain topics that we both really enjoy. A couple of years ago we made the decision to literally read books that we’re both interested in aloud, to each other. Our current read is Henry Marsh’s Do No Harm, the memoires of a brain surgeon. So good!
6. Hold your own in-house wine (whiskey/gin/ale/…) tasting session
Pick a few different types of your favourite poison and pretend to be experts for a night! Additional points for using as much jargon as possible.
7. Have a three course dinner at different places
Instead of staying at the same restaurant for the whole meal, have your starters at one place, move on to a second location for your mains, then finally grab dessert at yet another place. This also works great if you can’t agree on what kind food to get… enjoy a Lebanese-Thai-Italian fusion feast (pretty much our ideal meal)!
If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, try starting with dessert and work your way backwards towards the starters (this is by the way pretty much how Ryan and I met in New York, but more of that another time) :)