Wedding anniversary is one moment worth celebrating, even since the ancient Roman days! Back then, husbands crowned their wives with a silver wreath on their twenty-fifth anniversary, and a gold wreath on the fiftieth, thus making those milestones known as silver and golden anniversary respectively. Later on, in the twentieth century, more anniversaries are being represented by a named gift, following that historical tradition. The number of symbols expanded, and it is getting more and more common for couples to exchange anniversary gifts that had connections with each stage of married life, to be treasured for the years to come. So, if your wedding anniversary is coming up and you haven't got the idea of what to give your spouse as a token of your appreciation, you can see a list below to find what item symbolizes the age of your marriage and go from there.
There are two theories as why paper symbolizes the first year of a marriage. First, the earliest year of married life is like a blank paper, ready to be written and colored by the couple’s love story. The other idea is a piece of paper reflects the fragile and easily-torn nature of a new marriage. Therefore, the couple have to work together to make sure their trusts and commitment aren’t getting wrinkled or ripped up.
Gift ideas: Book from your spouse’s favorite author, yearly journal or planner, handwritten love letter, paper flower bouquet, printed artwork or letter-pressed wedding vows, personalized sketches, framed copy of a musical sheet from your wedding song or favorite poem, stationery set.
Modest, yet versatile and durable. Cotton represents the qualities needed for a happy marriage. Just like cotton fibers that are stronger when being woven together, a married couple need to stick together and be able to adapt to changes if they want to have a long-lasting love journey. It also signifies the comforts you feel around each other as the adjustment period in the early days has passed.
Gift ideas: An organic cotton house-robe, crisp white cotton shirt, custom pillowcase with both of your initials, luxurious Egyptian cotton bedsheets, a vase of cotton flower stems, set of pajamas, fragrance with clean cotton scent, cozy blanket, canvas bag, tie or scarf.
Entering the third year, a marriage should be firmer, stronger yet flexible, and more resilient. Just like leather, that is suppler and more stable than the delicate paper and cotton. The material is also known for providing warmth and coverage against poor weather or harsh condition, so it is a perfect representation of the love between a couple who provide shelter and protection for each other during hard times.
Gift ideas: A pair of leather shoes, loafers, or boots, monogrammed wallet or pouches, soft suede handbag, leather passport cover and luggage tag, leather-strapped watch, leather belt, biker-styled jacket, personalized leather tray, or leather-covered furniture like sofa and stools.
In the fourth year, a marriage will be in a growth period. Therefore, it is symbolized with ripe fruits and blossoming flowers. Some couple might have been blessed with children and expanded their family, while some might still nurture the seeds of their blooming love. Having a more stable ground than the previous years, this is a suitable time for a married couple to grow their partnership into a prosperous state.
Gift ideas: A bouquet of fresh flowers, floral-inspired jewelries, a bottle of wine from your wedding year, flower vase, fragrances, cosmetics and skincare with floral or fruity scents, a box of chocolate, gardening tools, trip to a vineyard or botanical garden, picnic in your favorite park, coffee beans, coffee maker or espresso machine, fruity desserts and cakes, or houseplants.
Reaching the fifth year, you and your spouse will no longer be considered as newlyweds. You will have the strength, wisdom and knowledge to navigate through married life, also a solidified bond and commitment that is as strong as a deep-rooted tree or a wooden piece. The fifth year is indeed a special mark in your marriage milestone, as you might have worked hard to plant the seed of your marriage foundation, now you’re harvesting the confidence and courage to prep you for the years to come.
Gift ideas: Wooden jewelry box with engraved initials or quote, wooden chess set or bookends, carved cutting boards or trays, wood bowls, photos or artwork in wood-finish frame, tree seed to be planted together, block-stacking games like Jenga, guitar set, skateboards, furniture like wood stump side table or outdoor patio chairs, or wooden-themed accessories like bracelet, sunglasses, or watches.
Couples who have been married for 6 year usually already know the drill; how to handle the differences and overcome problems, how to talk or end a fight with their spouses and to solve other marital challenges. This strengthened bond is being symbolized with iron, the tough and long-lasting material. Aside from its durability, iron is also known for its malleability. Therefore, couples are expected to be flexible when facing an obstacle, without having to sever their established relationship.
Gift ideas: Iron skillet or cast iron dutch oven, a set of golf club, fondue set, artisanal iron bowls or sculpture, waffle iron, jewelry stand, handy tools or toolbox, action figure (bonus point if his favorite character is Iron Man), wrought iron home decoration, iron dumbbell, hair iron or curler.
According to Greek mythology, Venus, the goddess of love and beauty, was known for favoring copper jewelries. Relating to that, people have been associating the reddish-orange metal as material that gives protection against evil and attracts love. Copper is also an excellent conductor of heat and electricity, so it’s only natural if it signifies the hope for a couple to maintain their spark between each other and spread the warmth of their love to the family in the seventh year of marriage.
Gift ideas: Copper mule mugs, rose gold-colored jewelry, gadgets or home decor items, industrial-styled copper desk lamp, hammered copper tray, copper cookware, musical instrument like drum set or saxophone, copper tie pin or cuff links, engraved copper box filled with love letters, photos of the two of you, or other memorable stuff, a bottle of rose wine or pink champagne.
Bronze is a mixture of two metals, copper and tin, that resulted in a strong combined element. Just like two individuals that brought together in marriage and created an unbreakable connection. Apart from its toughness, bronze is also resistant to corrosion and once thought to have healing power. Thus, it is said that bronze material could bring good health for the couple, also inspire them to protect their marriage from deterioration and work together to overcome difficulties.
Gift ideas: Bronze home items, like bar cart, door knocker, flower pots, bookends and candle holder, bronze ornaments such as wind chimes, sculptures, or figurines, engraved bronze plaque with favorite quotes or poems, money clip carved with your anniversary date, bronze-colored watches or sunglasses, bronzing makeup or tickets to tropical island to bronze yourself.
To make a desired shape of a pottery, you have to mold a piece of clay for quite some time. The amount of patience, focus, and love that being put into the work then created a personalized work of art. The same goes with a marriage that have been going strong for almost a decade. Each curves, lines and pattern are being personally formed by the experience the couple shared together, with the determination to create a properly functional and beautiful support system.
Gift ideas: Glazed ceramic vase, tea set, jugs, jars, pitchers, dinnerware, flower pots, ceramic jewelries, pottery-making class for two, ring holders, nightstand lamps, ceramic guitar pick, porcelain jewelry box, cake stand, big-sized mugs, ceramic oil diffuser or burner, spa day to enjoy clay mask and mud bath.
Congratulations, you made it to the first-decade mark! This is a major milestone that most couple look forward to as for the last 10 years you might have been through numerous ups and downs, yet the two of you are still holding on each other, maybe even stronger than before. That’s why the tenth anniversary is traditionally associated with aluminum; soft and pliable, but impermeable. It symbolizes a marriage’s ability to adjust to changes and outside influences but maintain its solidity for the long haul.
Gift ideas: Bicycle, cocktail mixer set, aluminum briefcase or luggage, cookware, fishing rod, sport equipment like tennis racket or baseball bat, iPods, smartphones, laptop or tablets with aluminum case, 3D printers, camera and tripods, drones, engraved aluminum pens, personalized mailbox for your house.
The eleventh year is the perfect moment to refresh and rekindle the romance between the two of you. You have been walking hand-in-hand through the long journey of raising your children, supporting each other’s career, or facing other life challenges, so it’s okay to unwind and spend quality time together. Appreciate each other’s effort in building such a strong and durable relationship, that resembles this year’s traditional symbol, steel.
Gift ideas: Stainless steel kitchen appliances like mixers, slow cooker, toaster, latte machine, fridge or pressure cooker, knife sets, pots and pans, steel furniture such as bar stool, dining chairs or coffee table, cutleries, coffee pot, Swiss Army knife, camera lens, stainless steel water bottle, shaving kit, stainless steel watch, record player or audio speakers, astronomical telescope, gym equipment.
Why silk for twelfth anniversary? Apparently, it is to illustrate the couple’s ability to smooth out the rough parts of their marriage, also to represent a period where you can indulge in some new level of luxury or comfort in your life together. Looking at how raw silk comes from the cocoons created by the silkworms, who use it as a layer of protection and security, we figured that this reflects how you and your spouse would always take care of each other and try to protect one another.
Gift ideas: Silk sweaters, shirts, ties, scarves, kimono-styled robes, pajamas set, undergarment, monogrammed silk handkerchief, silk bedding sheet, pillowcases, or blankets, silk rug or carpets, photo albums with silk covers, silk-lined watch box, silk satin shoes or evening clutch, excursion to explore the Silk Road routes.
Intricate yet beautifully refined, lace fabric also needs a detailed care to be able to last, just like a marriage after 13 years of togetherness. Aside from that, the elegance of the delicate material also mirrors the charm and grace of the intertwined lives of the couple. While the number 13 is usually being consider as an unlucky number, we think it’s very fortunate of you to have a partner in marriage for such a long period of time.
Gift ideas: Lace clothing or attire like lingerie, undergarment, dresses, or blouses, lacy high-heeled shoes or ballerina flats, lace embroidered tablecloth, table runner, blanket, or cushion cover, bedding set, hand-knitted sweater, beanie or shawl with lacy patterns, handkerchief, crocheted hammock, a trip to the lace producing places like Chantilly, France or Nottingham, England.
In Hindu mythology, elephants represent strength, luck and protection. In some cultures, they even being referred as wise deities. Their ivory tusks are sturdy, rare, and extremely valuable which embody a couple’s integrity and precious relationship. But due to the unethical and cruelty of ivory sourcing and trade, we do not recommend buying a real (even illegal) ivory gifts for your spouse. You can still honor the tradition and support the elephant population with faux-ivory or elephant-shaped gifts.
Gift ideas: Home decor items and figurines with elephant shapes or carvings, ivory-colored clothing, attire or accessories, grand piano set or simply a night out to a piano bar, a donation or contribution to elephant sanctuary in your spouse’s name, elephant-shaped charm bracelet or pendant, ivory-colored porcelain dishes, jewelry box, or tea set, Jumanji board game, trip to a wildlife park or an African safari trip to see the elephants in their natural habitat.
For this particular milestone, the traditional symbol is crystal and we think it’s perfectly befitting. Clear, sparkling and reflecting lights in a dazzling way, it represents the glimmer of the couple’s everlasting love. Most crystals are translucent, so it also symbolizes clarity and transparency that have been built by the husband and wife after 15 years of marriage. Some crystals like quartz or agate are known for its healing properties and ability to bring positive energy to the surroundings, consider this a good luck charm for your health and good fortune!
Gift ideas: A jar of Himalayan pink salt, champagne flutes and wine glasses, crystal decanter and cocktail set, vase, candelabra or chandelier, raw crystal jewelries like pendant, ring or cuff bracelet, quartz face roller, Swarovski-studded clutches or brooches, geode bookend, paperweight or ornaments.
After being married for 20 years, the romance between the couple has matured and bloomed into a long-term partnership, but there are still more years to look forward to in the future. This stage is commonly signified with the beautiful yet fragile fine china. Just like the classic porcelains, you have to treat your marriage with proper care, so it could stand the test of time. Usually being presented during dinner parties or social gathering, elegant fine china and porcelain goods can also be a reminder for the couple the importance of maintaining the connection with friends and family.
Gift ideas: Dinnerware set, porcelain home items like platter, vase, jugs, bowls, ornaments and figurines, tea set, upgrade a room in your house with Chinoiseries-patterned wallpaper, antique China porcelains, a then-and-now photo in a porcelain frame, an intimate family dinner in a Chinese fine-dining restaurant, a visit to the Great Wall of China.
Welcome to the silver jubilee! The two of you have truly shown a shining example of commitment and love by sticking together through thick and thin for a quarter of century. As we all know, the token of this year is silver. Precious, radiant, and brilliantly glowing, these are the silver characteristics that hopefully match the dynamic of the couple’s relationship. Because it also has the symbolic meaning of lucidity and vision for the future, keep on polishing the companionship between you and your spouse.
Gift ideas: Luxurious silver watch, cuff links, brooch, silver hairpin, sterling silver jewelries and accessories, engraved silver pen, monogrammed business card holder, silverware, personalized silver tray, keepsake box, handwritten letter or poem in silver ink, silver locket with loved one’s photos inside, silver-themed party.
When you approach 30 years of marriage, the two of you might not look the same as you did on your wedding day, but the true love, wisdom, honesty and integrity within your relationship are what matters. Just like an exquisite and treasured pearl inside an oyster shell, the beauty of the gem must be cultivated over time. It’s also a reminder that you can create something beautiful even from the smallest debris that at first felt like an irritant, same as a grain of sand that sneak into an oyster and come out as a lovely pearl.
Gift ideas: A string of pearl necklace or other pearl jewelries, black pearl prayer beads or rosary, watch, cuff links or tie pin with mother-of-pearl surface, cardigans or shirt with pearl buttons, romantic dinner with oyster on the menu, oyster knife set, shell-shaped home decor, teeth-whitening treatment for a pearly white smile, cruise trip, a visit to the famous ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ painting in the Netherlands.
Corals are believed to have magical power to attract success, be an emotional healer, and promote a stable family life. It takes a long time for coral to form in the bottom of the sea, much like the union that started from the beginning and has been evolved for more than three decades. While the bold colors are representing passionate love, in some eastern cultures coral also means a long and prosperous life.
Gift ideas: Coral-colored furniture like an armchair, rugs, or couch, jewelry adorned with coral gemstone, makeup in coral shades, tie, scarf, or shirt, seafood dinner for two, ethically sourced or artificial coral-shaped ornaments, saltwater aquarium, corals or sea-life artwork donation to coral reef conservation, a trip to tropical island where you can scuba dive to see the natural habitat of coral reef, stay at a seaside resort.
Throughout history, ruby has been considered as the stone of romance, devotion, and passion. Some believe there’s a burning eternal flame inside the deep red gem, which is perfect to express how the passion in the marriage is very much alive and getting even stronger after 40 years together. Other positive meanings behind this gemstone are vitality and energetic force, so hopefully even though it’s been four decades since their wedding day, the couple can still maintain their youthfulness and enjoy their life to the fullest.
Gift ideas: Bouquet of 40 red roses, ruby or other red stones (opal, garnet, topaz) necklace, rings or brooches, a bottle of red wine, red velvet cake, a basket of pomegranate, a pair of digital fitness tracker in red color, sunglasses or reading glasses with red frames, glittery ruby slippers like the ones from ‘The Wizard of Oz’.
The reason why sapphire is chosen as the symbol of 45 years of marriage is because it’s indicating successful love. Aside from that, the gorgeous blue stone favored by royal kings and queens is associated with joy, serenity, and fulfilment of dreams. Well, being happily married to the love of your life for almost half a century is definitely a dream come true!
Gift ideas: Sapphire or other blue stones (lapis lazuli, aquamarine, turquoise) jewelries, watch with blue dial, a pair of comfy loafers or sneakers in dark blue, vintage crystal vase, blue-colored clothing, like cardigans or tweed jacket, a set of suits in navy blue, framed family tree, furniture or bedding set in luxurious blue velvet, indigo-dyed attire.
Being united in a marriage for fifty years is a priceless gift and really something to be proud of, just like the valuable and wealthy precious metal that signifies this anniversary. This is truly an essential milestone in a love journey and would be the perfect moment to celebrate with dearest family and friends. That way, the younger generation could see how they should always learn to master the art of compromising, being faithful, and stand close together even in the darkest time, to achieve such long-lasting and resilient marriage.
Gift ideas: Gold or gold-plated jewelry or watches, a bottle of champagne, gold-themed dinner party, golden trophy engraved with ‘world’s best husband/wife/couple’, photo journal highlighting the 50-year love journey, vow renewing ceremony, new gold wedding rings, a box of chocolate or cake with edible gold-leaf, a visit to San Francisco’s Golden Gate or a trip to the Gold Coast, Australia.
Note that we compiled this list simply to inspire you based on the most commonly known and traditional symbols, not to dictate or enforce any rule. The theme and gift ideas could also vary between country, cultures, and era, so feel free to adjust and mix it up based on your personal preferences. Have fun and we wish you a happy anniversary!