What Does It Mean? The Significance Behind Wedding Anniversary Gifts

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An anniversary is a special time to reminisce and celebrate the memories and adventures another year of marriage has brought to a couple. It is a time to reflect on the past and look forward to the future.  

Of course, another chance for gifts is not a bad addition either. Did you know every wedding anniversary has a traditional meaning and gift behind it? If you are struggling to find the best anniversary gifts for your parents or your partner, we got you covered. You can fall back on the traditional gift route and give them something with meaning and love behind it. 

What are the Anniversary Gifts by Year? 

We like to use two options when it comes to wedding anniversary gifts. We have both the traditional gifts and the modern alternatives you can look into as well. This list might vary by country but remains surprisingly consistent for the most part. 

Here are some of the major milestones – keep in mind most lists go up to 90 years of marriage, and we stopped at 50: 

Anniversary Years – Traditional Gifts 

This is a condensed list of traditional gift themes for different anniversaries. We highlighted some of the major milestones, but some lists go all the way up to 90 years of marriage – definitely something worth celebrating!

1st Paper/Stationery

2nd Cotton

3rd Leather 

4th Fruit and Flowers

5th Timber/Wood

6th Sugar

7th Copper/Wool

8th Pottery/Bronze

9th Copper/Willow

10th Aluminum/Tin 

15th Crystal/Quartz

20th China

25th Silver

30th Ivory/Pearl

35th Coral 

40th Ruby 

45th Sapphire 

50th Gold

What are the Major Milestones? 

As the chart indicates, the first decade of marriage is worth celebrating. They are all major anniversary landmarks. After the ten-year mark, the big celebrations tend to be every 5 to 10 years. This does not mean you can’t continue to celebrate in-between those marks – you certainly should!  

The 25th anniversary is one of the biggest milestones for anniversary gifts. It is often marked with silver and deserves a big celebration. Ruby is the 40th anniversary mark, gold the 50th, and diamond on the 60th. Platinum marks the significant milestone of 70 years of marriage. 

These gems also correspond to anniversary colors. If you can’t swing real silver on your 25th anniversary or sapphire on the 45th, simply incorporate that color into the gift. 

Gift Ideas for Year One 

The first anniversary might seem overwhelming as you struggle to find the perfect gift to encapsulate that first year. Fortunately, the first anniversary is typically marked by an inexpensive gift of paper. Paper shows your marriage as a fresh slate that is still relatively fragile. You are still writing your story, and paper gives a place to do that. 

A fun gift idea for the paper anniversary is a ticket to an experience – something you can do together. Once you print them out, it counts as a paper gift. You could do painting lessons, a vacation getaway, or a concert. 

Gift Ideas for Year Five 

The fifth anniversary is marked with wood. Unlike the fragility of paper in year one, you now have a solid foundation and wisdom on how marriage works for you, just like wood. You celebrate this by showcasing your solid relationships and deep, intertwined roots. 

A cute gift idea is a whimsical wooden signpost that marks the major moments in the past few years. It can include everything from when you met to buying a home – whatever covers the highlights of your story. 

Gifts Ideas for Year Twenty-Five

As the Silver anniversary, this is a big one to celebrate. By this time, you may have kids looking to help mark the occasion as well, so do not be afraid to share this, so they get the best anniversary gifts for you. Silver is a precious metal that stands the test of time when treated properly – just like your relationship. As long as it is polished and cared for, it will gleam brightly. There is no modern alternative because this continues to be a timeless gift.

An easy option would be silver jewelry, watch, or cufflinks. You could also go the sentimental route with a silver photo frame to capture a family memory or throwback wedding photo. 

Every wedding anniversary is special – but the right gift makes it just a little bit better. 

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