Most everyone knows of the age-old practice of giving specific anniversary gifts based on the number of years you've been wed. The idea behind it? With each anniversary that passes, you strengthen your relationship. So, while these anniversary gifts may start out simple, their substance and significance increases as your investment to each other does. Nowadays, each year is associated with anniversary gift "materials" or types, as well as different gemstones and designated colors that tie into and relate to the anniversary year's overall theme.
Once the magic of the wedding day has passed and the bliss of opening all of those gifts and enjoying those first months of marriage has dimmed ever so slightly into routine, but hopefully not mundane, wedded harmony – you continue to celebrate throughout the years (many as we all hope), your anniversary every year, to commemorate your special day. I am a terrible gift giver. No matter the holiday or occasion, so I guess had I paid more attention to a list such as the one below, early on in my marriage, I might have been a better match for my husband. He is a great gift giver. On almost every possible occasion, he puts thought into every token or memento to mark a special day. And wedding anniversaries turned out to be no exception! He must have studied up on this list and keeps a copy in his coat pocket for reference! Every year, for seven years so far – I have received, on our anniversary, a heartfelt gift representing the very things you see below – accompanied, no less, by a description of those things (like you see below), and the correlation to our marriage. Wow. I finally gave up – until this last year I scored with some copper penny cuff-links, with the year of our wedding! That should hold me over for another seven years!
Here, we break down the different traditional and modern anniversary gifts by year. Kudos to the couple that pays attention to and implements these gift traditions each year as a way to honor each passing anniversary of your commitment!
Traditional: Paper - Paper is a fitting gift for the first year because it's fragile, just like the beginning stages of marriage. But, if you take care of it properly, it'll last a lifetime.
Modern: Clocks - Time is precious and clocks represent the passing of time and the change and challenges that come with it.
Traditional: Cotton - Cotton's woven threads symbolize how you become more interconnected as time goes on and learn to be more flexible.
Modern: China - Both strong and delicate, china indicates the weaknesses and strengths of any relationship.
Traditional: Leather - Leather represents shelter and security for the third year, much like what a marriage and the home you build with each other symbolizes.
Modern: Crystal or Glass - As a gift, glass and cut crystal both signify and reflect light and beauty.
Traditional: Fruit or Flowers - Your relationship has fully bloomed by your fourth anniversary, making flowers or ripe fruit an appropriate gift.
Modern: Appliances - A more practical gift, sure, but electrical appliances also embody how settled you feel in your relationship by the fourth year.
Traditional: Wood - Your roots have sprouted much like a tree by your fifth anniversary, so together you can endure anything.
Modern: Silverware - All the meals you've enjoyed together and will continue to share are best commemorated with beautiful silverware.
Traditional: Iron - Iron marks your strength because even after six years, you can still maintain a bond.
Modern: Wood Objects - Much like the traditional five-year gift, an item made out of wood suggests the resilience of your marriage.
Traditional: Copper or Wool -The metal helps create heat, much like the warmth you give each other. And wool is just plain cozy.
Modern: Desk Sets - This may not sound romantic, but work is a huge part of modern life. Gifting a desk set brings a touch of home to their professional space.
Traditional: Bronze or Pottery - Like many of the metals, bronze symbolizes strength and indicates that your relationship is getting stronger by the eighth year, too.
Modern: Linen or Lace - Linens and lace are both delicate and refined, and just like love, they're also objects of beauty.
Traditional: Willow or Pottery - Willow is indicative of flexibility as is pottery because much like a lump of clay, marriage is formed and shaped over time into something beautiful.
Modern: Leather - Leather was used by our ancestors as a way to protect themselves. The material itself is known for how well it endures, which your marriage has also done by the time you reach the ninth year.
Traditional: Aluminum or Tin - Aluminum and tin won't rust, meaning they won't wear down. Their pliability and preservation is a symbol for how every successful marriage requires flexibility—especially by your 10th anniversary.
Modern: Diamond Jewelry (ahhhh finally!) - When you've passed one decade, your marriage is as beautiful as a piece of diamond jewelry.
Do not stop here all you romantic couples! Refer to a complete list of each year including colors and gemstones at theknot.com. Here we continue with the major milestones through the ensuing years of love.
Traditional: Crystal- Crystal may be delicate but it's also sturdy, like your marriage, which is strong enough to have lasted fifteen years but also another fifteen and beyond. It also represents clarity and transparency.
Modern: Watches - A timepiece in any form signifies the passage of time and all the years you've spent together; plus, all the ones you'll share in the future.
Traditional: China - China shows the delicate and fragile nature of being in love. It needs to be looked after and handled carefully—much like a marriage—in order not to break.
Modern: Platinum - Platinum can stick it out through thick and thin much like you both have after twenty years wed.
And now the biggies:
Traditional and Modern: Sterling Silver - Spending a quarter of a century in love is worth celebrating with such a precious and valuable metal.
No wonder a 25th anniversary celebration is called a "silver jubilee."
Traditional and Modern: Gold - Only something as desirable, classic and luxe as gold can represent such an important milestone (dubbed the "golden anniversary"). It shows the prosperity, wisdom, strength and significance of such a long-standing union.