The idea of celebrating each year of marriage is ancient (at least medieval). Victorians made lists for everything, this being one. A traditional anniversary gift guide sets expectations for the perfect gift in the correct year. The Victorians also assigned meanings to their gift choices, often with some poetic licence. Gradually the list expands to cover more years and contemporary anniversary gifts along with colours, flowers and gemstones.
You can give the nod to tradition by wrapping your chosen gift idea in an appropriate coloured gift wrap. Or go all out to find unique gifts that meet your requirements from this complete guide showing how much you care.
Marriage a personal contract between two people, You can make your own traditions. Anniversary cufflinks in the years precious gem or planting an anniversary bed with a specially chosen flowery display. You can take this traditional anniversary wedding gift list or more modernistic or mix and match between them as inspiration strikes.
1st Anniversary: Paper
Paper a traditional gift. The fragile first anniversary year has passed, or perhaps acknowledging that a young married couple cannot afford an expensive gift on their 1st wedding anniversary. Clocks the modern gift representing how fast time flies. Also, a suggestion that a relationship needs time.
Choose from mother-of-pearl or peridot for an official jewel. Mother of pearl is an inlay material in many decorative objects with its symbolic meaning of peace and harmony. Pearls are for virtue; peridot brings health and good cheer.
Pick bouquet gifts from pansy, carnation and orange blossom. Pansy was referred to as thoughts’ by Shakespeare’s Hamlet quotation, as the name sounds like the French penser-to think. They have grown carnations since ancient times, and this always represents love. Orange blossom a classic bridal headdress, and gifts of orange blossom spark memories of their wedding.
The colouring for the paper wedding day is cheerful yellows.
2nd Anniversary: Cotton
This year’s color is passionate reds, and the stone is garnet. If going with the traditional gift list, then seek items made with thread. Or, consider using a red cotton cloth to wrap your gift in a Japanese style.
A more fashionable outlook sets you searching for the perfect chinaware gift sets. Carefully chosen blossoms would include lily of the valley (perhaps as scented soap), cosmos or an old favourite, roses.
Dark red garnets symbolise love and prized since ancient times. Sweetly scented lily of the valley (also the May lily) name means a return to happiness’. There is a Dutch tradition of planting lily of the valley bulbs in the newlywed’s gardens, ensuring future happiness. Cosmos sulphureus smells like chocolate and speaks of great loving.
3rd Anniversary: Leather
After three years, they have shown staying power. Traditional wedding anniversary gift ideas are long-lived and slightly more expensive-leather. Hide suitcases for that memorable holiday or a more modest leather-covered journal. Modern couples can opt for crystal or glass. Engraved champagne flutes accompanied by the very best bubbles.
If incorporating jewels into your gift, then moonstone, pearls, quartz or jade. Moonstone can signify success, quartz is clear and true, and jade is rare and lucky.
Flowers for these occasions are bright, cheerful sunflowers, glorious fuchsia. Or for the second year, the modest lily of the valley. Sunflowers are for happiness and longevity. Fuchsia has the hidden meaning of telling your partner you love them. Lily of the Valley is innocent and hopeful.
Color theme white or jade or a mixture of the two.
4th Anniversary: Linen
The giftstraditional in the UK are linens or silk; in America, it is flowering blooms and fruit. Silks more luxurious materials than humble papers and cottons but not as functional as leathers. There is a hint that the couple is wealthier from their union.
A modern gift is still linen or an appliance, perhaps by now, the toaster is broken, or the kettle needs replacing.
The gemstone an unusual blue topaz-a peaceful, calming stone and the state gemstone of Texas. Natural pale blue is rare; most have been heat-treated to produce those intense blues.
Floral gifts of geraniums speak to the comfort of a shared home. Hydrangeas express appreciation for the gift of another’s understanding. Both represent the quiet contentment of a long relationship that blends friendship and passion.
Coloured ideas for year four is blue or green.
Customary material for this anniversary gift is wooden in all its natural elegance. The modern gift is silverware. Both gifts are strong and attractive. The gem rose quartz (for love) or sapphire (for protection and insight).
A themed celebration can incorporate turquoise, azure or pinks. The fifth year’s symbol, the virtuous daisy whose subtle beauty speaks (in flower language) of loyalty and faith. The daisy comes in many shapes, sizes; some cultivated varieties have stunning colouration.
6th Anniversary: Sweet
In the UK, we celebrate this with sugar and in the US with iron. The latest choice for an anniversary gift is an object made from iron or hardwood. You can be creative with sugar-body scrubs and a day at the spa, but woods and irons are used in plenty of novel gifts.
Amethyst was once as rare and sought after as a diamond; its purple coloring made it a favoured royal jewel. It’s a protective stone in ancient times believed to prevent drunkenness.
The colouration choices are purple, whites and turquoise. The flower is the exotic and sensual calla lily.
In the US, the traditional gift is copper, and in the UK, it is wool. In a cold, wet climate like England, fabric for warmth and waterproofing is ideal. The modern gift for year seven is something made from brass or a desk set.
Onyx is usually carved in large pieces and, when polished, makes beautiful stones. The colouration is yellow or off-white. Suppose you want to say it with flowers. In that case, you pick freesias, beautifully scented with the hidden meaning of friendship and thoughtfulness.
8th Anniversary: Salt
Salt the traditional anniversary gift in the UK, perhaps from King Lear when Cordelia says her love is like that of fresh meat for salt. US tradition is for a gift from bronze or pottery, or the modern gift guide gives linens and lace.
The colouring is bronze, with the tourmaline, another soothing and calming stone. Floral gifts include clematis and lilac. In the language of plants, clematis denotes ingenuity and lilac first love.
9th Anniversary: Copper
The modern anniversary gift is leather, and the conventional is copper (UK) or willow (US). Metals and hide items gain a soft glow with age and careful polishing. A reminder that couples work at their relationship over the years for it to shine.
The color is warm earthy terracotta. Glorious lapis lazuli used in powder form to produce an intense pigment in art masterpieces. The flora ranges from the peaceful poppy to the colourful bird of paradise.
10th Anniversary: Tin
Tin the gift for traditionalist (or Aluminium in the US), but the modern gift suggestion is diamond. Tin is durable and flexible, both excellent qualities for a long marriage. Or, like the tin man-everything is better with a loving heart.
The scheme is silver or blue; the listed gems are crystals or green tourmaline. The dancing daffodils meaning honesty and forgiveness.
11th Anniversary: Steel
A traditional gift of steel or a modern offering of jewellery. The scheme and the gemstone match turquoise. The tulip, whose message is perfect love. Red tulips are for passion, yellowish for cheerfulness, and cream is eternal.
You can send mixed signals with variegated blooms, but the hidden message is you have beautiful eyes. An alternative the short-lived Morning Glory, with its subtle prompt to treasure every moment.
12th anniversary: Silk
The traditionalists repeat the gift of year four, linen or silks, while the modernists prefer pearls. The jewel is jade and colorful oyster. The soft and lovely peony representing romance and quiet for this wedding anniversary.
Pearls need wearing to keep their lustre, and jade is lucky. Twin ingredients for a successful marriage, good fortune and close contact.
13th Anniversary: Lace
The traditional wedding anniversary gift is lace, but the modern gift giver can choose general textiles or fur. Synthetic furs can imitate real pelts or be unusual in using iridescent tints and combinations not found in the wildlife kingdom.
This gemstone is Citrine, speaking of sunshine and optimism. The colouring for year 13 is white; there are sweet violets or bold chrysanthemums.
They ban this gift tradition to protect the elephant and other species from poachers. Tagua nut carvings an excellent alternative; tagua nuts are known as vegetarian ivory. The modern gift of gold jewelry gives many options.
The year’s colour is ivory, and with opal, a beautiful stone with sparkles. Dahlia flowers symbolise elegance and dignity. Its meaning is a commitment to another person making it an excellent selection.
15th Anniversary: Crystal
Traditionalists will search for crystal objects, but modernists will pick out his and her watches. The colouring scheme must be roses of a deep, dark, velvety red.
The gemstone is rhodolite, a pink rose coloured jewel whose meaning is inspired, love’.
20th Anniversary: China
China is the gift for the twenty-year mark. Followers of the modern list will seek something made with platinum. The official gem is platinum (a metal, not a gemstone) or emeralds.
The theme being that twenty years of togetherness is worthy of celebration. The themes are emerald or the default white. For flora, choose daylilies meaning “no worries” or bright, colourful asters for pleasant surprises and contentment.
25th anniversary: Silver
One word- silver, sums up the approach to this milestone wedding anniversary. The traditionalistic and modern both shop for a silver gift, and the theme is also silver. The jewel listing is silver or tsavorite.
The iris symbolising faith, hope, wisdom. If you want to keep the silver focus going, look for Iris Sibirica or pure white roses.
30th anniversary: Pearl
Year 30 known as the pearl wedding anniversary. The anniversary gift, pearls and the official gemstones, the modern gift is diamond. Three decades of standing together through life’s trials, worthy of celebration.
This themes is green. Blooms can be colourful, sweetly scented sweet peas (perhaps a home-grown bunch) representing long-lasting bliss. The substitute is the lily with echoes of devotion and purity.
35th Anniversary: Coral
This year has no official fauna, so coral-pink roses fit this color. The traditional gift is coral, but if you prefer not to buy an animal product, then the modern gift is jade. The precious stone is emeralds.
Gift-giving can challenge but think creatively around the subject. A book with it in the title, a coloured object or a reef diving experience?
40th Anniversary: Ruby
The anniversary gift theme is ruby because this is the ruby wedding anniversary. The blossoms can be many shades. A simple nasturtium (there is a reddish variety) symbolising victory or showy. Gorgeous gladioli for strength and admiration.
Rubies are a form of sapphire, but their deep colors put them in a particular class. Red is for passion, and the ruby symbolizes passionate loving that has stood the test of time.
45th Anniversary: Sapphire
Another gemstone year, this time, the sapphire, the coloring, and the iris fits in with this. Sapphires reputation is to protect the wearer and associated with Venus. The sapphires color comes from impurities; otherwise, it would be a clear stone. The iris stands for faith and hope, painted extensively by Van Gogh.
If genuine sapphires are not suitable gifts for the happy couple, perhaps gifts wrapped in coloured wrapping are the answer. Alternatively, pick out gifts in sapphire shades or something featuring Iris spuria.
50th Anniversary: Golden
The golden year, conformist and modern anniversary gift-givers agree that the only way is gold. Gold tones, gold jewellery and yellow roses keep the theme gold.
Again, every gift doesn’t have to be solid gold; you can get creative with the wrapping and think around the topic. Fifty gold gifts perhaps or a movie night with gold orientated films.
55th Anniversary: Emerald
After 55 years, the focus is the emerald; even the chosen calla lily has tints of it. Calla lily is not a lily plant, but the name has stuck; the word calla comes from Greek and means beautiful. In the western tradition, we associate emeralds with Venus, the goddess of love.
Fifty-five years is a long time, and the gem reflects the evergreen nature of an enduring marriage.
Perhaps a trip to Ireland as an anniversary gift for the happy pair or handcrafted items in keeping with this green theme.
60th anniversary: Diamond
Full agreement between traditionalists and modernists focuses on the diamond, with dazzling white orchids. Diamonds have been found on every continent and treasured for their beauty and clarity. The magnificence of a diamond results from a combination of heat and pressure. A marriage coming through sixty years will have withstood many stresses and challenges.
In the Chinese language of flowering plants, orchids symbolise many children. Orchids are one of the most prolific blooming plants and come in a multicoloured range, but for this wedding anniversary, bright diamond whites.
Wooden rings are not new, and alternative wedding bands are gaining popularity over the traditional precious metal rings. These wood wedding rings are in tune
The pens used for comparison and images on this page starting with the primary image: Herringbone Rollerball Royal Blue European Bright Pink European Black, Orange
Some ask me how I got into selling pens while at craft shows and websites. My personal journey started as a woodworker and then progressed