Celebrating anniversary years is something that has been around for centuries.
From birthdays to wedding anniversaries, from first steps to traditions with your best friend, we love to celebrate all the amazing achievements and events in our lives.
Celebrating wedding anniversaries as gold (50 years) or silver (25 years) is documented in Germanic countries since the 1500s.
In the twentieth century, commercialism led to the celebration of more anniversaries according to a list of predetermined gifts. In some parts of the world, couples can receive special recognition from government officials for milestones.
When it comes to wedding anniversaries, the Commonwealth realms have some stiff competition. With a few exceptions, most people don't receive a token from their government for their wedding anniversary—but if you're married in the Commonwealth realms, you can.
In fact, in the Commonwealth realms—which include Canada, Australia, New Zealand and about a dozen other countries—you can receive a message from the monarch for 60th, 65th, and 70th wedding anniversaries, and any wedding anniversary after that. This is done by applying to Buckingham Palace in the United Kingdom, or the governor-general's office in the other Commonwealth realms.
The messages are usually sent out on special paper with gold lettering; they're mailed directly to your address by royal post (not regular mail).
In Australia, one can receive a letter of congratulations from the governor-general on their 50th and all subsequent wedding anniversaries. The prime minister, the federal Opposition leader, local members of both state and federal parliaments, and state governors may also send salutations for the same anniversaries.
In Canada, one can also receive a message from the governor-general for the 50th anniversary, and every fifth anniversary after that. In addition, a special stamp is issued recognising the milestone.
In the United States, a couple can receive an anniversary greeting card from the president for the 50th and all subsequent anniversaries.
The tradition began in 1966 when President Lyndon B. Johnson sent out his first presidential card to celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary of George and Martha Washington's marriage.
Even though the tradition of anniversary celebrations has been around so long finding gift ideas can be hard. Wherever you are based, the tradition of celebrating the length of a marriage is a constant in our lives now and with each year milestone meaning something new it can be hard to know what the best ones are to celebrate and which ones you can skip. Check out these anniversary gifts by year.
Key Milestone Wedding Anniversaries
For your first wedding anniversary, paper is a traditional gift.
The threads within paper symbolize the strength and connectivity of your blossoming relationship. Paper is also a blank slate, a reference to the beginnings of a new life together. And since paper symbolizes a clean canvas to write out your own story, have your very first wedding anniversary gift speak to that with things like a cookbook for newlyweds or tickets to special events that will add to that story.
For a modern spin on the traditional gift, couples gift each other clocks to represent eternal love. Gold represents the standard first-anniversary colour; orange blossoms or pansies are the customary flowers; and gold is the one-year gemstone.
It's your fifth anniversary!
In a way, it feels like you've been together for an eternity—and yet at the same time, it's hard to believe you've only been married for five years. You've built an amazing life together and have made so many memories over the past half-decade.
So, what do you give your partner to celebrate?
For this milestone, couples traditionally gift each other wood. This reflects the strength and durability of your marriage, as well as the strong eternal roots you're putting down. Silverware represents the modern gift for fifth anniversaries. Despite sounding incredibly outdated, there's a sweet symbol behind it—all your shared meals and the bond you've formed over the past five years.
For flowers, daisies are traditional because they represent faithfulness and sincerity—a beautiful representation of the virtues of your relationship!
You've made it! You've reached the 10-year mark, and you deserve to be celebrated.
For a traditional 10th wedding anniversary gift in the UK, tin is used to represent your 10 years together. In the US, aluminium is used instead. The daffodil flower is also associated with this milestone anniversary because it symbolizes happiness and hope. Platinum is a great choice for a modern 10th wedding anniversary gift—it's not only extremely durable (just like your marriage), but it's also the rarest metal on earth.
If you're looking for an upgrade from your engagement ring, now's the time! A diamond is an excellent choice for celebrating this milestone. It's rare and precious, just like your marriage has been over these past ten years. Silver and blue are associated with this special day, too; consider using these colours in your decorating scheme as well!
It's your 20th anniversary!
That's quite an achievement. You've managed to stay together for 20 whole years! We're so proud of you, and we know that your partner is too. What better way to celebrate than with a gift that represents the beauty and delicacy of your marriage?
For the traditionalists out there, China makes for a beautiful gift. It represents the elegant nature of your relationship and serves as a reminder of everything that you've been through together—good times, bad times, and everything in between. It's also super practical: why not update those wedding registry plates from 20 years ago? Or if you're looking for something different (or just can't stand traditional gifts), why not give them a trip to see the Great Wall of China? Its beauty will inspire even more love between you two.
Nowadays, though, platinum jewellery has become more popular as a 20th-anniversary gift because it symbolizes strength and longevity in relationships like yours. Emeralds are also associated with this milestone because of their green colour (and green is associated with luck). Daylilies are often chosen as flowers because they're playful yet strong—perfect
Thirty years of marriage, and you're still one of a kind.
For the silver anniversary, pearls are the traditional gift for this milestone. Pearls symbolize purity, innocence, and honesty—qualities that everyone hopes to find in a marriage partner. And since pearls are known for their rarity and perfection (just like your SO), why not book a snorkelling or scuba expedition with your love? As the modern gift, look to the 60th anniversary—diamonds!
Pearls also unsurprisingly reflect the 30-year gemstone—they're symbolic of divinity and wisdom, so after 30 years of a blessed union you've no doubt earned some insight into marriage. Golden pearls are said to bring luck and prosperity; white ones are linked to fertility. And lilies, the poster child for purity and innocence, are traditionally associated with this anniversary.
Ruby is the name of the game for a 40th wedding anniversary.
You've got a lot to celebrate! You've been married for 40 years, and you're well on your way to half a century together. For the 40th anniversary, it's all ruby everything. From traditional and modern gifts to gemstones and colour, ruby is the name of the game to celebrate the big 40th. Symbolically rubies run the gamut from beauty, protection, wisdom, and power.
Nasturtium represents the traditional flower, which is the only non-ruby custom for this wedding anniversary—though it does come in several scarlet hues. A ruby's incendiary looks are often associated with passion and the eternal flame of love, and we couldn't think of anything more appropriate for celebrating two decades of marriage. So the redder, the better for these gifts.
Congratulations on your 50th anniversary!
This is no easy feat, and we're so proud of you. You've made it through the good times, the bad times, and everything in between—and we couldn't be happier for you.
Just like the 25th anniversary, gold represents the traditional and modern gifts and the tradition itself. It also serves as a symbol of your love for each other and your marriage. And just like with the origins of the big 25, the tradition was started when medieval Germanic wives were lavished with gifts of gilded wreaths by their husbands to commemorate the milestone. Violets—symbols of modesty, faith, and affection—serve as the 50-year flower. Your marriage has been as good as gold for the past 50 years, so make sure your gift reflects that sentiment!
It takes the existence of powerful forces to create a diamond, and a milestone of such epic proportions only deserves to be outfitted by the strongest of jewels. And, since diamonds are forever, why not make your 60th-anniversary gift one with purpose? Consider pieces that you can see becoming heirlooms for your family—possibly serving as a future engagement ring for generations to come.
60 years—60 years! —of a successful marriage is something to celebrate.
For a relationship to outlast six entire decades and still be going strong it must be invincible, your love unbreakable, and your patience indestructible. We're talking diamond strength. That's why this epic wedding anniversary is celebrated by the hardest and most coveted gem. Diamonds as traditional gifts, diamonds as modern gifts, diamonds as the commemorative gemstone, and diamond white as the colour of the year.
It doesn't matter if you're celebrating your first, fiftieth, or one-hundredth anniversary...
...there is no better way to celebrate than with a gift that shows you have been there every step of the way through thick and thin.
A gift that can be enjoyed by the whole family and passed on to future generations is one of the best ways to show how much you care.
From a simple wooden frame that holds a picture of your wedding day or a hand-crafted sundial that will be used for decades to come, these gifts show how much thought and love went into their creation.
Whether you're 19 or 90, married for a few hours, a couple of months, or a few decades, we hope your anniversary is spectacular.