B’s First Year Wedding Anniversary

As of right now, Matt and I have survived 1 year, 1 week and 1 whole day of wedded bliss. But hey, who’s counting?!

Last weekend, we celebrated an amazing first year wedding anniversary in the charming town of Galena, Illinois (thanks to a very generous wedding gift from Casey & Jan that we just now had time to use).



Ever since we shared our wedding pictures here on DIY Playbook and then scenes from our East Coast Honeymoon, I haven’t really followed up with any marriage posts. But heck, I thought our anniversary was the perfect time to touch base and share just a tad about how we survived thrived in the first year.

Matt & Bridget1. The first year was full of…. well, a lot of “firsts” — FUN FIRSTS!

We moved in together, got in a routine, slowly figured out who is “in charge” of what around the house and in everyday life (not entirely there yet!), compromised on our new holiday traditions, and learned a LOT about each other (including but not limited to the good, bad and ugly). Quite honestly, all of these items took “time” and “work” and “communication” just like everyone had warned us they would, but none of the listed items were extremely hard, trying, or as scary/frustrating as I had heard. Not even close! Maybe it’s that patient & understanding husband of mine or our laid-back nature — but really, the first year was FUN, happy, full of laughs, and was waaaaaayyyy easier of a transition than others mentioned it would be. Firsts can be a little scary, but a whole lot of FUN! I focused on the fun because heck, I had a stud muffin next to me to help take care of the scary.

2. Marriage isn’t picture perfect… that’s okay!

This just in: my everyday marriage does not look anything like a romantic movie, an episode of The Bachelor or even the manicured pictures we put on the blog. Not.even.close. And guess what?! That’s okay!! I LOVE it like that because I have a charming husband that really does treat me like a queen, makes me laugh, and is my biggest cheerleader. Instead of focusing on how much our everyday life is not taken from the pages of a Nicholas Sparks bestseller, I focus on how freakin’ LUCKY I am to call such a selfless guy my better half. He makes me coffee every morning before work, warms up my car when it’s cold out, always allows me to blog or chat with Casey for hours on end without complaint, and hugs me the day after our wedding (and random days since) as I ball on his shoulder because I’m homesick and miss my family (true story). Of course there are some things that may aggravate the other, but why would we choose to focus on those few things when we have 1 million AMAZING things to focus on? Our everyday marriage isn’t picture perfect (not even close)… and that’s okay! We’re happy and healthy and grateful for a memorable year together.

3. Traditions

Starting new traditions was probably one of my fav parts of the first year. I’ll spare you all the details and leave you with a very new one that was born last week. As we were away celebrating in Galena, we started a tradition that we really hope to commit to each December 28th from here on out. That is using the frame that we had at our wedding to take a photo of us one year later. Hopefully this will be a snapshot we can look back on and add to year after year after year. And remember that marriage isn’t perfect part?! Huge Wedding Day Fail: We were able to get everyone else photographed in this adorable frame, but we didn’t ever get a picture of us TOGETHER using the frame on the wedding day. Of course it would be blogosphere perfect to have the wedding pic in the frame followed by every anniversary after… unfortunately, that ain’t happenin’. Soooo… starting with the first year, it’ll have to be. And guess what? We love it just the way it is!

4. Anniversary Gift

So the first year anniversary gift guide suggests that you give PAPER as your first wedding anniversary gift. I thought that would be so simple for a crafty lady like me. News flash – I totally over thought it and was totally stumped. #likeMattwouldevencarewhatIgave #ifanything

… Until I found this Etsy seller and used one of our favorite memories of the year as inspiration for my paper gift. For our 1st Halloween together, we dressed up as the duo from UP! for a costume party.


It sounds so silly (and simple), but we really had such a fun adventure hitting up local thrift shops and Goodwill’s together finding the most random items for this costume. We ended up winning one of the costume prizes at the party and had such a fun time overall. So as dorky as it sounds, we really loved the memories from our UP! experience. Mixing our memories from UP! with this amazing Etsy Seller, I gifted Matt this personalized paper product.

first anniversary


And he loved it! Our first home + some of our favorite memories of our 1st year = first year anniversary success! (Plus, this Etsy shop is probably the most efficient, available and accommodating seller I’ve ever worked with). She even does home portraits without the balloons, haha … if you don’t want to look like you’re a character from Pixar. I cannot speak more highly about this shop… love her! And he loved the pic. So it was definitely a WIN-WIN in my book! To make me love this shop even MORE, The Inked Leaf has offered a discount code for all DIY Playbook readers on their entire purchase throughout the month of January.

Coupon Code: DIYPLAYBOOK will get you 15% OFF your purchase at this amazing shop! But hurry up, the code ends at the very end of January.

Etsy Seller

5. To FINALLY Conclude

Alright, I’ve probably officially bored you to death! Good thing these marriage updates only come around once a year. All in all, I’m extremely grateful for the ONE-OF-A-KIND husband I have and all that he does to make our very normal life a very, very fun & happy one. As I conclude, I really am in no place to give anyone advice as a rookie wife or leave you with profound words about what to look for/watch out for/look forward to/or enjoy during your first year of marriage. Instead I’ll share a quote that I stumbled across this year that really stuck with me as I tackled my first year of marriage and every year after this.

“If the grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence, take better care of your grass.” -Unknown

To me, marriage is just like LIFE — not picture perfect and definitely not what you see in the movies… and that’s okay! It’s your story and adventure TOGETHER and if you accidentally lose track of focusing on the 1 million positives & start comparing your life together with the next adorable couple, maybe it’s time to take better care of your own marriage and make it look more like one that you look up to. Keep focusing on those positives, be grateful, show appreciation, communicate, have fun, unplug and over time I’m pretty sure you’ll have the best FREAKIN’ landscaping on the block! I know I do 😉IMG_4920



The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m a Chicago gal teaching you how to design, DIY, and maintain your home…by yourself! Learn more about me right here.