The buildup to your wedding can be intense. In fact, it’s likely that your ceremony and reception will be some of the only things on your mind for months. The big day itself will be one you remember for the rest of your life, but what happens after the wedding is over? After couples spend so long planning their nuptials, the sudden change in focus is sometimes disorienting in the weeks and months that follow the wedding.
The most important thing to remember is that you’re in this together, and that means finding time to actually be together. Planning and spending intentional, quality time with your spouse is vitally important, as it helps the two of you continue to grow together as one. You don’t have to break the bank or go completely over the top to create wonderful experiences, however.
Here are 12 great date night ideas for your first year of marriage:
1. Go to a Movie
Inventive and original? Not really. Effective and fun? Yes! Going to a movie together is a simple, yet extremely enjoyable date that you and your spouse should do at least once during your first year of marriage. If you can’t decide on just one movie, then take turns choosing which movie to see. Depending on your location, movie theaters aren’t usually too expensive. If money is an issue, consider sneaking in a candy bar or two instead of paying for concession stand snacks.
2. Have a Game Night
If the two of you love playing games, planning a date night to play some games is a great idea. Whether you choose to pull out classics like Monopoly or Twister, or something new, you’re sure to enjoy the resulting evening together. Loser does the dishes!
3. Walk, Run or Bike Together
While these activities may not seem like dates, they certainly can be. Depending on your lifestyle and where you live, a walk, run, or biking adventure can be a lot of fun. Who knows? Maybe the outing will inspire the two of you to exercise together regularly. If you already do this, consider looking for a new park to explore.
4. Take a Road Trip
Road trips don’t have to be really long. In fact, the two of you can just go for an afternoon drive. Jump in the car and see where you end up! Traveling together is a great way to connect; whether you spend the time talking, singing, listening to a book, or playing car games, you’re sure to feel closer when you get back home from your drive.
5. Go Strawberry Picking
It’s fun to go pick strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries. Honestly, it doesn’t matter what kind of fruit or vegetable the two of you settle on, as long as you’re outside picking it together. You’ll have to wait for the right season and it also depends what’s available in your location. This is a great way to spend some quality time together, get some exercise, and have some fresh-picked produce to eat later.
6. Visit a Museum
Going to a museum may seem pretty basic, but a simple day out together can be refreshing. This is a particularly good idea if there’s a museum nearby that doesn’t charge an admittance fee. In fact, it’s fun to find a list of museums, historical sites, gardens, parks and arboretums that don’t charge entrance fees for future dates.
7. Volunteer Together
Another amazing date you and your spouse should plan during your first year of marriage is a volunteer day. There are many options out there, including serving at a local soup kitchen or helping at a kid’s camp. If you both like fur-babies, volunteering at an animal shelter is a great idea. Plus, you may just find a precious new member of your little family this way.
Not everyone likes singing in public, but there’s something freeing about a night of karaoke with someone who loves you regardless of how well you sing. Most karaoke bars are free, so you won’t have to worry about spending too much money on the evening out.
9. Cooking or Baking Together
Whether one or both of you cook regularly, it’s always fun to tackle the job together once in a while. You can go as simply or extravagantly as you want with the meal, so it’s easy to stick to a budget if you need to. Another option is to bake some sweet treats together! Don’t want to eat all the goodies yourselves? Consider planning a doorbell ditch. Bake some yummy treats. Leave them on a neighbor’s porch, then ring their doorbell and run away! This is fun and you’re sure to make some new neighborhood friends.
10. Backyard Spa Night
Here’s an interesting idea: buy a cheap kiddie pool, fill it with water, throw in some bubbles or a bath bomb, and play some romantic music while the two of you exchange massages and stargaze together. It doesn’t get much more romantic (or unique) than that!
11. Go Camping
If you and your spouse love the great outdoors, going on a weekend camping trip is the perfect escape. Not only can this be incredibly romantic, it’s also fairly inexpensive. While it’s certainly a cheap way to travel, your cost can be next to nothing if you choose to camp somewhere nearby, such as your backyard or a nearby park with a campground.
12. Tour Downtown with Your Camera
No matter where you live, hitting the town together with your cameras can be a good time. Whether you’ve lived there for years or just moved to the area, experiencing your surroundings together for the first time as a married couple is exciting. Consider spicing things up by asking strangers to take picture of the two of you kissing throughout the day. Then spend an evening making a collage.