The Complete Guide to Wedding Anniversary Gifts
Author: Hollie Bond
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Whether you want to honour the traditional wedding anniversary gift list or the modern one, here’s everything you need to know about milestone anniversaries, with gift ideas for every year.
Celebrating another year of marriage to the love of your life? Congratulations! Whether you’re marking one year or 90 years since you said “I do”, a wedding anniversary is a truly special day where you get to remind your other half how much you love them and also to reminisce about the wonderful day that you tied the knot.
Milestone wedding anniversaries have specific gifts associated with them, with the traditional list dating all the way back the The Middle Ages. If you love a bit of history and tradition, stick to this list when it comes to choosing a gift, or for a more up-to-date take on the trend, there’s a modern list, that is more fitting with how we live today (think jewellery rather than steel!). Whichever list you choose to follow, or whether you decide to mix and match the two, when it comes to celebrating your wedding anniversaries you’ll find all the details here from year 1 to year 90 (yes it has been done!), including inspired and creative gift ideas for each year.
You’ll probably be relieved to hear that the first anniversary is something nice and affordable after paying for a wedding and honeymoon just months before! Paper also has a lovely symbolism – this is your first year as a married couple so you’re starting off with a blank sheet that you can fill in however your future pans out.
You don’t literally have to give your other half a piece of paper. A really thoughtful gift that keeps on giving throughout the year are these Date Night Cards from Not on the High Street, with fun date ideas to keep the excitement alive. How about some tickets to a concert or show? Vouchers are also printed on paper so you could give a voucher to a treat like an afternoon tea or open up the options with a voucher from somewhere like Virgin Experience Days. Feeling flush? Plane tickets for a surprise holiday are an exciting and romantic option.
Time has ticked by so quickly and you probably can’t believe it’s a whole year since you walked down the aisle! Keep a closer eye on the time that you’re married with the modern take on a first year gift with a personalised wedding clock.
This traditional gift has a lovely meaning behind it – just as the threads of cotton intertwine to make the fabric, so has your life by year two of being married. Cotton is an easy anniversary to find gorgeous gifts for. You could buy anything from a chic shirt to some sumptuous hotel-worthy cotton bed sheets like these chic Savoy sheets from The White Company.
The modern alternative is china and this could be a good time to finish off the smart china collection that you started on your wedding gift list, a cute pair of ‘I Love You’ cups or perhaps treat your other half to a beautiful ornament or vase (filled with flowers for extra bonus points!).
Back in the day humans used leather as a means of protection. So this gift symbolises the shelter and security you bring to your partner in the relationship. There are so many wonderful leather gift options including handbags, purses, belts, wallets, and hip flasks. Leather is wonderfully durable and can be monogrammed too, making it a gift that will last your entire marriage. Aspinal of London have lots of lovely pieces that can easily be monogrammed like this Travel Wallet that can symbolise all the wonderful holidays you’ll enjoy as a married couple.
Want to celebrate your 3rd year of wedded bliss with some bubbles? Good news, the modern alternative gift is crystal/ glass so give the gift of some beautiful champagne glasses like these from Vera Wang for Wedgwood and you can celebrate in style.
Traditional: Fruit & flowers
Four years! Wow doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun. Fruit and flowers represents your love blossoming and the fruit represents your partnership ripening and bearing fruit as you progress through marriage. You could keep things classic with a bunch of roses, or perhaps get even more romantic by naming a rose after your partner. There are also plenty of lovely flower subscriptions you can sign your other half up to like Freddie’s Flowers, Bloom & Wild or check if your local florist does subscriptions. And don’t forget the fruit – a basket of all their favourites is a nice idea or if they have a sweet tooth how about some fancy marzipan fruits.
Modern: Linen/ Appliances
Flowers and fruit not your thing? The modern alternative is linen or appliances. Spoil your partner with something fancy like a smart coffee machine or colourful KitchenAid. Whatever you do, don’t buy them a vacuum cleaner!
Wood comes from trees and they are the perfect symbol for this anniversary. After five years you’ll have set down deep roots and your love and relationship will have grown strong with the ability to endure any hard times. You could present any gift you like inside a pretty personalised wooden box or how about a romantic wooden sign to hang in your house? We’re rather taken by this double iPhone wooden stand from The Oak & Rope Company so even your phones can be a perfect loved-up pair!
The modern option is silverware. Buy something for the house that you can use on smart occasions like Christmas and dinner parties. How about a grand candelabra for the dining room or a silver wine basket from Culinary Concepts.
If you’ve got a sweet tooth you’ll love this anniversary – sugar, which represents how sweet life is now you’ve been married six years. Go to town on your spouse’s favourite sugary treat. How about a hamper of chocolates or cakes from leading chlorate brands like Godiva and or really spoil them with this chocolate velvitiser from Hotel Chocolat.
The modern option for the sixth year isn’t quite as tasty – iron. A gift of iron might last a bit longer than a sugary gift though. An excellent choice for an iron gift is a Le Creuset cooking pot, which come in a huge choice of colours.
Copper and wool represent the warmth of your relationship after seven years as copper conducts heat and wool keeps you toasty. If your other half is an avid cook, they’ll love these traditional copper pans from Falk Culinair. Or how about snuggling up together underneath this chic wool blanket from Nordic House.
Modern: Desk set
If you’ve got a home office how about going with the modern version of the wedding anniversary list and buying a smart desk set. This one from Ginger Rose will help make your desk an extra efficient place to work.
Bronze represents strength, as it is two metals – copper and tin – blended together to form a strong union, just like your marriage. Good bronze anniversary gifts include meaningful bronze ornaments that will have pride of place on a shelf like this romantic statue.
Modern: Linen and lace
For something a little lighter, go with the modern option of linen and lace. You could choose some linen bed sheets for summer or perhaps a lace design necklace from Braybrook & Britten.
Traditional: Pottery/ Willow
Pottery stands for the way you have moulded your relationship by hand into something beautiful over the past 9 years, while willow is a strong but flexible material that can be woven into something artistic. For a romantic take on the pottery theme, how about a pottery making class for two à la Ghost movie. Or if you want to give a gift of willow, you can’t go wrong with this willow picnic hamper with space for two bottles of wine!
The modern 9th anniversary gift is leather, so take a look at our suggestions for third anniversary gifts in leather.
Traditional: Tin/ Aluminium
Tin is a lasting material that doesn’t rust or wear down, much like your marriage after ten years. Aluminium is flexible and malleable, showing that you are able to handle any difficult obstacles that come your way. What to give as a gift that is more exciting than a tin of food? How about some lovely tin planters for your garden or a tin keepsake box full of small, yet special gifts. If your other half loves coffee, you can’t go wrong with this tin of coffee from Novello.
You’ll be delighted to hear that the modern alternative is really rather special when you hit ten years… diamond! As there are more diamonds to come down the line of special anniversaries, keep these ones small and sparkly with this beautiful and quirky ring from Alex Monroe.
Steel is known for its strength and durability, but you might have to use your imagination a bit when it comes to finding a steel gift. Perhaps a stainless steel hip flask, watch or a smart cutlery set would suit or think laterally – what is made of steel? Cars – so a super car experience day could be fun. Or maybe a steel fire pit like these ones from Not on the High Street that you can have romantic evenings around with a bottle of wine.
The modern alternative is nice and easy – jewellery. Treat your loved one to something special from their favourite jewellery brand like this gorgeous locket from Astley Clarke that you can put a picture from your wedding inside.
Silk is a luxurious material that silkworms wrap around themselves in a protective cocoon, much like the protective partnership and comfortable cocoon that is your marriage after 12 years. Lingerie for women is a classic at 12 years, but make sure it’s something special like a set from La Perla or Rigby & Peller. Silk pyjamas from Olivia Von Halle will go down a treat, while men will love the cool and unique silk pocket squares from Rampley & Co.
Pearls are the just-as-luxurious modern equivalent and are an easy one for the girls. You can get gorgeous pearl jewellery from lots of jewellers including these stylish drop earrings from Beaverbrooks. For men, how about an elegant mother of pearl inlaid shaving kit or cufflinks will a pearl inlay.
The delicate interconnecting fibres of lace represent the many bonds and connections that the couple has forged during 13 years of marriage. Lace underwear or clothing is a sure-winner for women, and these sets from Fleur of England would really show how much you appreciate your other half.
Modern: Textiles/ Faux fur
Textiles covers pretty much anything made from material so your only limit is your imagination. If you prefer to go down the fur route, make sure it is faux. You could get a cosy hygge-style rug or throw for your house or some faux fur winter clothing.
It’s time for some lateral thinking as real ivory (taken by poachers from the tusks of elephants) is thankfully banned from being sold in the UK. An altruistic take on this anniversary could be a donation to an elephant sanctuary or perhaps adopting an elephant for your other half. If you want to gift a physical gift focus on ivory as a colour like an ivory coloured personalised notebook or photo frame (complete with a favourite picture from your wedding). Feeling flush and have a music-loving spouse? Let them tickle the ivories with a smart new piano.
Modern: Gold jewellery
Gold stands for prosperity (which you’re hopefully enjoying at this stage in your marriage!), but in a more abstract way it means a wealth of love. Gold jewellery is easy to find from many jewellers including this bold gold engravable bracelet from Monica Vinader.
The saying crystal clear is the sentiment behind this anniversary, as this transparent and luxurious glass represents how clearly you see each after 15 years. You could buy Swarovski crystal jewellery for women or one of their pretty ornaments like this rose that will last an eternity. While crystal decanters for special occasions are great gift ideas for your 15th year, as are standout crystal champagne flutes from Waterford Crystal.
Once you make the 20 years mark, you really deserve some special treats so the milestone traditional anniversaries go in five year increments and the gifts are that much more valuable. The 20-year mark is honoured with a gift of china – a valuable item, but easily broken if you mishandle it, just like your marriage. A classic gift for this anniversary is a smart new set of china, after all your wedding gift list set might be looking a bit tired after 20 years’ worth of use. Choose something really special like a set from Wedgwood or something more relaxed for a countryside kitchen like these lovely designs from Sophie Allport.
The modern alternative is platinum, and there’s a huge range of special platinum jewellery pieces you can buy like this Jenny Packham Platinum Eternity Ring from Goldsmiths.
Traditional and modern: Silver
Everyone knows that 25 years means a gift of silver and both the traditional and modern gift lists agree on this fact! The metaphor for this one? Silver is a precious metal and as long as you treat it properly and polish it regularly it will continue to shine, much like your marriage. Silver is a nice broad gift theme, and could range from anything from a silver necklace or cufflinks to a photo frame or this personalised infinity keepsake box that you could have engraved with a special message for your loved one.
Pearls take many years to be created before they come out of the ocean to reveal their beauty, and so does your marriage reveal its true beauty after you’ve carefully cultivated it for 30 years. Give the gift of a string of pearls like this beautiful design from Olivia and Pearl or think outside the box and give the gift of a string of pearls plant to show you understand the hidden beauty or your relationship after so many years.
Diamond is the modern option at 30 years. Splash out here as it’ll be another 30 years before the next diamond anniversary (at 60 years). How about a diamond from one of the well-known purveyors like Tiffany & Co, De Beers or Cartier. Combine both modern and traditional anniversary gifts with this diamond and pearl pendant.
‘The stone of peace’ as coral was known back in ancient times was believed to have magical powers and it’s a pretty magical thing to make it to 35 years of happy marriage. Coral from the ocean has been excessively harvested so instead of actual coral how about a once-in-a-lifetime trip to somewhere with amazing underwater scenes like The Maldives or The Great Barrier Reef? While you’re there you can even sponsor a piece of coral to help with the regeneration of the reefs. If you’re after something a little more budget friendly, you can choose something that is coral coloured or coral shaped like this decorative bowl from Willow Bay.
Jade is the modern and much more environmentally-friendly alternative to coral. Jade jewellery looks extremely striking, and you can find lots of lovely designs on Etsy like these earrings.
Traditional and modern: Ruby
Both traditional and modern lists agree that 40 years of marriage means a gift of a ruby! Red is the colour of love, and there’s plenty of love between the two of you after 40 years together. The ruby stone symbolises love and passion so if perfect for such a milestone anniversary. The obvious choice here is a piece of jewellery containing rubies. Or perhaps you could get something custom made at your favourite jewellers. Alternatively you could splash out on a very good red/ ruby-coloured wine to celebrate or buy a Ruby Wedding Anniversary rose for your garden from David Austin.
Traditional and modern: Sapphire
Celebrate your 45th year as a married couple in true style with a sapphire. Sapphires have strong royal connections (The Duchess of Cambridge’s famous ring is a huge sapphire) and it was believed, back in the day, that a sapphire would turn from blue to green if the wearer’s love started to wane. So this stunning stone, which comes in a rainbow of gorgeous hues) represents lasting love, which is very appropriate for a 45th wedding anniversary. A sapphire ring or necklace like this one from Net-a-Porter would be the perfect gift. If jewellery is out of budget, think laterally and give your partner the gift of Bombay Sapphire or perhaps an experience day tour around the distillery in Hampshire.
Traditional and modern: Gold
Gold means many things – including being a winner. And you’ll feel like you’ve won the lottery of life if you’re still head over heels with your partner after 50 wonderful years. Gold also represents the strength, prosperity and wisdom of your marriage. Gold jewellery or a stylish gold watch like this one from Olivia Burton is the natural option for this anniversary, but you could take things a step further by designing your own piece. If you’ve got enough jewellery to be going with after 50 years worth of presents, how about a gold sculpture or gold barware like this lovely set from Oliver Bonas.
Traditional and modern: Emerald
Green has its roots in nature and so represents the huge growth your marriage has seen over the last 55 years. For this anniversary you might want to give a gift of an emerald stone within a piece of jewellery like this pendant necklace from Ruby & Oscar. A more creative look at this anniversary could see you jetting off to somewhere with the word emerald in its name. A no expenses spared weekend on The Emerald Isle perhaps, staying at Ashford Castle or how about a trip to the Emerald Maldives Resort & Spa.
Traditional and modern: Diamond
Diamonds can’t be broken or melted down and withstand the most extreme conditions, so this anniversary gift is a symbol of how your relationship has survived through thick and thin. If you can afford it, a diamond will be a wonderful surprise whether it be a necklace for her or cufflinks for him. If not, how about something really personalised like a commemorative newspaper from the year you got married or a diamond anniversary rose.
Traditional and Modern: Blue sapphire
The sublime blue sapphire is the symbol of 65 years of marriage. This is the same gift as your 45th anniversary, but this time it’s uniquely a blue sapphire. A piece of jewellery containing a blue sapphire is the ultimate gift, but you could think outside the box with something special in blue. Some cut glass in a blue shade, a watch with sapphire hands or some sapphire perfume can make for lovely gifts too.
Traditional and modern: Platinum
They don’t call records platinum selling for nothing! It takes quite something to be referred to as platinum. 75 years means you’re in a very special class of married couples and can consider yourselves truly blessed. The metal is strong, precious and rare, just like your relationship. A ‘platinum’ record piece of art featuring your wedding song lyrics is a thoughtful idea, while an eternity ring in platinum is a great choice for this anniversary. Or perhaps commission a special piece of jewellery made from platinum, which can be passed down as an heirloom through your family.
Traditional and modern: Oak
Like the mighty oak, your marriage is the tallest and most impressive tree in the forest of married couples and you should be very proud of your many years together. Swap gifts made in this durable wood, like a personalised park bench for your garden (after all you’ll need a sit down after 80 years together!) or be a bit more abstract with this ’Tree of love’ necklace from Thomas Sabo.
Traditional and modern: Wine
After 85 years you deserve to toast your incredible achievement surrounded by your many loved ones. Invest in the best bottle of wine or perhaps the same grape/region that was served at your wedding all those years ago. You can even buy ports and some rare wines from your actual wedding year in special commemorative boxes from Vintage Wine & Port.
Traditional and modern: Stone/ Granite
Well, if you’re celebrating your 90th wedding anniversary, it’s time to get in touch with the Guinness Book of Records as this is a once in a century occurrence. In fact, only one couple has been know to do it. The material that represents this is stone particularly granite, the hardest and most durable of stones. There’s a very tempting joke to be made about a gift in stone when you’ve reached this extremely ripe age, but we’re not going to go there… We’ll simply say ‘Congratulations!’.