5 Meaningful Ways to Celebrate Your Love Without Getting Married

A young man and woman standing in a field close together and laughing.

It may have been a few months or years since you started getting serious with your partner. At some point, one or both of you may raise the point that you don’t really want to get married, ever. It’s becoming more and more common to recognize that marriage is not the only way to commemorate and celebrate romantic love, including bonds that last a lifetime. Here are some ways to celebrate your love and declare your affection without specifically choosing to create a wedding ceremony. There are many more options than just the traditional notion of a marriage; find what works best for you!

1. Go on a Big Trip

A young couple in Europe looking up at a colorful seaside village.

One popular way to celebrate that you love each other for the long haul is to go on a long trip together. After all, vacation memories tend to stick with you, and when that big fight happens or the tough tragedy hits, you two can hold each other close with the memories of this beach or that mountain. Longer trips and ones that go somewhere exotic are certainly fun, but a trip can be adaptable: if you choose camping for a long weekend, you can work your choices so that it costs barely more than staying home. Make sure that there is plenty of time for the two of you, especially if others come on your trip with you (friends and family do love the idea of tagging along to Hawaii).

Rather than making it all about a wedding ceremony or signing some legal paperwork, make the trip about what you love best about each other. If you are adventurous souls, make sure there’s something to stretch you in the trip; if you are both homebodies at heart, find somewhere you can curl up with good books and a majestic view out the window. Make the trip, ultimately, about you two and the love you share.

2. Throw a Big Party

Who says that you have to get married to throw a giant fiesta for your friends and family? No one! If you don’t want a wedding or a marriage, you can still save up and throw a big party for your nearest and dearest. It may be a good idea to think about how to defray costs for anyone travelling from far away; even if it is unfair, there is a decent chance that some people will fly in for a wedding but not for a party, so know who you want to be there and make them a priority. Conversely, your party can be local, with only those who can easily drive in. Throwing a party can be quite the rush, so it’s a nice way to cement your memories of love for each other.

3. Have Your Nearest and Dearest Over for Dinner

A fancy family dinner with candles in the middle of the table.

One more simple and intimate way to commemorate your love is to have the closest people in your life over for a home-cooked meal. You can get sappy if you want to, talking about how their kindness and friendship has nurtured you and your partner’s relationship. Or, you know, you can just eat a lot of pasta—both work great! In a bustling life, it can be hard to find time to just linger over the table with your friends, swapping stories and laughing. Making time for that is a great way to celebrate love.

4. Write Commitment Letters to Each Other

For the die hard romantics among us, there are plenty of non-marriage ways to say “I love you”! Rather than vows, signatures, notaries, and courthouses, consider writing a simple letter to your partner about what they mean to you and why your love is important and special. These letters can be amazing artifacts that capture a moment in time, even if your love will always change and grow. Set aside some time to write, separately or together, and make sure you keep the resulting letters somewhere safe where you can find them again.

5. Plant a Tree or Garden Together

A man and woman planting a young tree in the middle of a grassy yard.

If you love getting into the soil, planting a garden or a tree can be a great way to encapsulate the way love grows. By tending something together, you can see how the roots you are putting down now will continue to sustain you both over time, all without the binding or combining metaphors that often accompany more marriage-centric ceremonies. Best of all, if you plant a garden, you get to taste the sweet victory of having grown a fruit or vegetable yourself, giving you yet another fun and meaningful memory.

No matter how you choose to celebrate, make sure there are conscious moments of joy along the road of your relationship. These memories are comforting to you and your partner and help your friends and family join you in excitement and hope for the future of your time together.

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