Exactly one year ago today, on October 14, 2012, I married my best friend under the lamp posts and hanging Spanish moss of Jackson Square Park in New Orleans, Louisiana, and became Mrs. Jonathan Freeman.
And what a year it has been! I can’t even begin to count the ways our lives have changed – and all for the better! I cannot even wrap my head around where God has brought us, and how He has blessed us, let alone put it into words.
For our first year wedding anniversary, we visited New Orleans again, but this time with an infant in tow. It was surreal, walking the same streets, eating at the same restaurants, standing in the spot where we said “I Do”… but this time with a precious little munchkin looking around bright eyed and curious at the sights and sounds and smells.
Last year we had strangers congratulating us on our wedding, this year we had strangers congratulating us on the beautiful baby. I didn’t see that one coming.
Jonathan and I agreed months ago that we would like to incorporate the Victorian Era custom of gifting one another according to the traditional yearly “themes”, and giving the traditional anniversary flowers for our future wedding anniversary celebrations.
The tradition of giving specific anniversary gifts based on the number of years a couple has been married dates back to the Middle Ages, but the Victorian Era (1837-1901) was especially focused on creating traditions. Although no one is certain how the traditional list of symbolic anniversary gifts originated, the gifts according to year are pretty well established.
The traditional first year anniversary flower is the carnation, and the first anniversary gift theme is paper.
In the language of flowers, carnations are associated with love, distinction and fascination.
Specifically, white carnations suggest pure love and good luck. Light red symbolizes admiration. Dark red represents deep love and affection. Purple represents fascination. And pink carnations carry the greatest significance, beginning with the belief that they first appeared on earth from the Virgin Mary’s tears – making them the symbol of a mother’s undying love.
Jonathan got me a bouquet with each of these colors, and while I picked out the bouquet with him on more of an “oooh shiny” factor, rather than thinking of the symbolism behind the petals, it all seems rather fitting now that the stems are sitting in my coffee thermos vase in the kitchen. I’d say each of the meanings apply to our relationship this first anniversary.
And as for the paper theme: Jonathan and I bought each other, as a mutual gift, a large hand-bound linen photo book with all of our wedding photos. The book is gorgeous and the craftsmanship of the book itself is a work of art – not to mention the photos inside, which feature a mix of the photos our wedding photographer took, and photos that Jonathan and I took on the weekend and day of our wedding.
I am still so desperately and hopelessly in love with my husband. We’re still starry-eyed kids at heart, daydreaming about how we’ll fulfill the rest of the 75 traditional wedding anniversary gift themes. And there is no doubt in my mind that we will.
“Once in a awhile, in the middle of an ordinary life, love gives us a fairytale.”