Wedding Anniversary Gifts From Be Personal
The celebration of wedding anniversaries dates back to the middle ages and the Germanic tradition of a husband presenting his wife with a silver wreath on their twenty-fifth anniversary and a golden wreath on their fiftieth. At this time life expectancy meant that very few couples reached either of these occasions and so they were noteworthy. They were, however, the only anniversaries to be celebrated.
During the nineteenth century it gradually became popular to celebrate other anniversaries by the giving of gifts representing the growing value of the marriage over the years. By the early 1920s the most commonly celebrated anniversaries were the first; fifth, tenth, fifteenth and twentieth as well as the original twenty-fifth and fiftieth.
Naturally, retailers began to see the possibilities of celebrating every anniversary and in 1937 the American National Retail Jewellers’ Association published a list of the type of gifts for each year of marriage. This list became the standard one that is still referred to, although modern versions for some of the years have emerged. There are also anniversary gemstones and anniversary flowers to be considered.
The idea of the different gifts if that they mark the stages of the marriage. The first years have comparatively cheap ideas, leading up to the precious metals of the more established years, when more expensive gifts can be afforded. The early years also suggest gifts to help with the furnishing of the couple’s home; something they are thought to have achieved by the later years.
The recognised list for the United Kingdom is as follows:
1st Anniversary – paper. The idea is that the marriage is still a blank sheet and relatively fragile. When it comes to first anniversary gifts don’t limit yourself to stationery; a popular and romantic idea is a print of the lyrics from the song chosen for the first dance at the wedding the previous year. Other personalised prints would also fit the remit for this anniversary.
2nd Anniversary – cotton. The many threads of cotton, woven together, represent the more interwoven lives as the marriage grows longer and the couple are more intertwined.
3rd Anniversary – leather. This is a material that is durable and has traditionally been used to provide shelter. As the marriage matures the relationship gets stronger, making a leather item very suitable as a gift. Leather purses and wallets are popular gifts, or a leather bag. Leather could also be part of a gift for the third anniversary, such as a leather watch strap.
4th Anniversary – linen. The symbolism is much the same as for the cotton anniversary, with the interwoven threads, but the fourth anniversary recognises the better quality of the material that can now supposedly be afforded by the couple.
5th Anniversary – wood. The idea of celebrating a fifth anniversary with a gift made from wood stems from the idea that trees are strong and symbolise wisdom. By the fifth year a marriage is thought to be strong, with deep, entwined roots. Gifts for a fifth anniversary could include a wooden photo frame, personalised chopping board or cheese board.
6th Anniversary – iron. Iron represents the growing strength of the marriage with its increasing longevity. Gifts could include anything made from wrought-iron, such as garden ornaments.
7th Anniversary- copper. This metal is a very good conductor of heat, representing growing warmth in the marriage. Presents for a seventh wedding anniversary could be copper table wear.
8th Anniversary – bronze. A combination a copper and tin, bronze is very strong. An eighth anniversary gift could be a statuette or other ornament.
9th Anniversary – pottery. Popular gifts for a ninth wedding anniversary are personalised mugs and vases made from ceramics or personalised china plates.
10th Anniversary – tin. This metal is used to store and preserve and so is ideal to mark a tenth wedding anniversary. When combined with other metals, tin prevents corrosion and prolong the life of anything that is stored with in; both good sentiments for a marriage after ten years. Tins of tea or coffee, with personalised labels would make ideal gifts.
11th Anniversary – steel. Again, a strong metal to represent the continuing marriage. Eleventh anniversary gifts can cover a wide scope, from personalised cheese boards with stainless steel utensils to personalised watches made from the metal.
12th Anniversary – silk. A finer material than the earlier cotton and linen, but with the same idea behind it. Perhaps some silk flowers placed in a personalised vase would make an appropriate gift for a twelfth anniversary.
13th Anniversary – lace. The intricate patterns of lace are indicative of the increasingly complex interweaving of the two lives within the marriage.
14th Anniversary – originally ivory, but now gold jewellery. A gift of gold jewellery will always be welcome and there are many examples of personalised watches, necklaces, bracelets and cufflinks to mark a fourteenth wedding anniversary.
15th Anniversary – crystal. An expensive gift, crystal is chosen for its clarity which represents how the couple see each other clearly after fifteen years together. Appropriate gifts could be a personalised crystal vase or ornament.
20th Anniversary (also known as the China Wedding) – china. Whilst china is fragile, if looked after carefully it can stand the test of time, a positive message for a marriage after two decades. A perfect gift for a china wedding anniversary would be a personalised china plate.
25th Anniversary (also known as the Silver Wedding) – silver. Harking back to the original silver wreath, the silver anniversary is usually linked to the precious metal. No matter how old silver is, if it is treated properly and polished regularly it will continue to gleam. Personalised silver photo frames make an ideal gift for a twenty-fifth wedding anniversary.
30th Anniversary (also known as the Pearl Wedding) – pearl. The pearl is the symbol of hidden beauty, which is appropriate for a marriage that has lasted for three decades. The couple know each other well and their understanding is deep. Pearl jewellery is always a popular way to mark a pearl wedding anniversary and items can be personalised with names and initials to make them even more special.
35th Anniversary – coral. Coral was once thought to have magical properties to protect against danger and ill-health. No-one would wish to purchase anything made of coral today, and indeed it is protected, but coral coloured gifts would make and ideal choice to mark a thirtieth anniversary.
40th Anniversary (also known as the Ruby Wedding) – ruby. Red is the colour of love and so a ruby anniversary represents the enduring love of the couple after forty years together. If actual rubies are out of the question, there are many personalised gifts, such as photo frames and china, made with the red colour to represent the stones and serve as presents for ruby anniversaries.
45th Anniversary – sapphire. These beautiful stones represent loyalty, making them the ideal gift to celebrate forty five years of marriage.
50th Anniversary (also known as the Golden Wedding) – gold. The most precious of metals, gold represents prosperity and strength. Fifty years together shows that the marriage is a strong one. Golden jewellery or a watch are popular gifts, but so are photo frames, with golden lettering for the personalisation if a gold frame is out of the question, are solid alternatives.
55th Anniversary – emerald. Green is the colour of growth and after fifty-five years of marriage the couple have grown together. Again, jewellery is the favoured gift for an emerald wedding anniversary.
60th Anniversary (also known as the Diamond Wedding) – diamond. These gems are extremely hardwearing, just like a marriage after six decades. Diamonds may be out of the question, but there are many personalised diamond wedding gifts to suit all tastes.
70th Anniversary – platinum. This metal is very hard to tarnish. Being rare it is exclusive and a symbol of endurance and so perfect to represent a marriage that has lasted for seven decades.
The flowers that represent the different anniversaries have their own meanings:
1st Anniversary – carnation. This is a flower that represents young, passionate love and so the carnation is perfect for a first wedding anniversary. It perfectly captures the sweetness, passion and optimism of this occasion.
2nd Anniversary – cosmos. This is a flower with a sublime beauty that is unique and intense. This flower symbolises not what love should be, but the even more powerful love that exists uniquely in the second year of a marriage. Couples have put aside their simplistic understanding of love and replaced it with a more complex version formed from their deeper understanding of each other.
3rd Anniversary – sunflower. This is a strong, colourful and passionate flower, with its sturdy stalk representing the solid foundation upon which the marriage is based.
4th Anniversary – geranium. After four years a couple has found a wonderful combination of comforting habits and unexpected surprises. The geranium is a plant with the beauty of the recognisable whilst adding unexpected texture and colour. The intense lines of colour that radiate out from the stamens represent the ever expanding love of the couple.
5th Anniversary – daisy. The daisy has a symbolic structure. The centre represents the intense bond of the couple and all their shared experiences. The petals, radiating out from the centre, are indicative of the ways in which the couple will grow.
6th Anniversary – calla lily. Being elegant and sophisticated, this flower depicts the ways in which each partner has become more beautiful over the six years of the marriage.
7th Anniversary – freesia. The way in which the buds of the freesia are staggered up the stem makes a kind of perfumed stairway. The seventh anniversary is a time to look back on achievements and forward to all of the wonderful surprises still in store.
8th Anniversary – lilac. White lilacs represent first love and are therefore an ideal flower to represent an eighth anniversary, a time of looking back and remembering what brought the couple together. Purple lilacs are the promise of rebirth.
9th Anniversary – bird of paradise flower. Exotic and sophisticated, this flower indicates the glamorous qualities of marriage and points to the many adventures still to come.
10th Anniversary – daffodils. A bunch of daffodils radiates a light as bright as the love of the couple. The bunch of flowers represents the gathering together of all the shared memories of their life together.
11th Anniversary – tulip. A flower that marks the arrival of spring is a wonderful way to mark the beginning of a second decade together. As spring is a time of renewal, an eleventh anniversary should also be a time of renewed commitment.
12th Anniversary – peony. After twelve years of marriage there is an understanding and appreciation of the finer things in life. The peony is sophisticated, elegant and beautiful.
13th Anniversary – chrysanthemum. With its dense layer of petals, with their deep and brilliant colour, the chrysanthemum is far from being unlucky. In many cultures this flower is a symbol of royalty.
14th Anniversary – dahlia. Available in many bright colours, the dahlia is as full of energy as a firework display. The message being that there are still many adventures to come in the marriage.
15th Anniversary – roses. Synonymous with passion and romance, these are the flowers of the fifteenth anniversary because this is an important milestone. The couple have been through a lot together and have earned the sensuality and opulence of the rose.
20th Anniversary –aster. The name of this flower comes from the Greek word for star. A twentieth anniversary is a perfect time to celebrate all of the bright moments of the marriage.
25th Anniversary – iris. This is a royal flower and giving iris as a gift shows that you still hold your partner as royalty, even after a quarter of a century together.
30th Anniversary – lily. As the couple have aged and grown together the marriage has changed. Their lives may have been transformed, but their commitment to each other is unchanged. The lily comes in many shapes and sizes and is full of surprises.
40th Anniversary – gladiolas. The long, slender shape and brilliant colour of gladiolas symbolise the accumulation of the memories and experiences that have transformed the couples’ lives together.
50th Anniversary – yellow roses and violets. Yellow and purple are complimentary colours that look stunning together, just as a couple who have reached this milestone complement each other perfectly. Together they make each other more beautiful than they are on their own.
There are also specific gemstones linked to anniversaries; perfect for a gift of jewellery:
1st Anniversary – peridot
2nd Anniversary – garnet
3rd Anniversary – jade
4th Anniversary – blue topaz
5th Anniversary – pink tourmaline
6th Anniversary – amethyst
7th Anniversary – onyx
8th Anniversary – tourmaline
9th Anniversary – lapis lazuli
10th Anniversary – blue sapphire
11th Anniversary – turquoise
12th Anniversary – opal
13th Anniversary – citrine
14th Anniversary – bloodstone
15th Anniversary – alexandrite
16th Anniversary – red spinel
17th Anniversary – carnelian
18th Anniversary – aquamarine
19th Anniversary – almandine garnet
20th Anniversary – yellow or golden diamond
21st Anniversary – lolite
22nd Anniversary – spinel
23rd Anniversary – topaz
24th Anniversary – tanzanite
25th Anniversary – green garnet
30th Anniversary – pearl
40th Anniversary – ruby
45th Anniversary – sapphire
50th Anniversary – gold
55th Anniversary – emerald
60th Anniversary – diamond
70th Anniversary - quartz
You will find a large selection of personalised anniversary gifts on our site.