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Wedding Anniversary Gifts by Year: Traditions, History & Gift Guide

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Wedding anniversary gifts are a strange, quaint tradition with routes in the Holy Roman Empire. Originally people celebrated only their 25th and 50th anniversaries by crowning their wives in wreaths of silver and gold respectively. However, over the years these traditions have expanded to cover 75 years of marriage.

While you do not need to stick to these traditions by any means, the individual meanings behind them are really rather beautiful. Read on to discover the symbolism behind these gift traditions, and for some gift buying ideas.

The First 5 Years

1st Anniversary: Paper

This tradition originates in the Victorian era. Paper symbolises new beginnings and the first page of the book of your love story.

wedding anniversary gifts paper

You do not need to spend lots to make a romantic gesture, so you could celebrate your one year with a gift of a beloved book, an art print, or a hand written love letter.

2nd Anniversary: Cotton

Cotton is adaptable and reliable, so makes the perfect symbol of the second year of marriage. Mark the occasion with gifts of cotton bedsheets, fine towels or clothing.

3rd Anniversary: Leather

Leather is strong, durable, and malleable. Therefore it is a wonderful symbol of a couple in their third year of marriage.

wedding anniversary gifts

Honour this anniversary with a pair of new shoes to symbolise the steps you have taken together, or a chic leather jacket so your lover can be enveloped in the symbol of your affection.

4th Anniversary: Silk

Silk is fluid, airy, and valuable. The four year mark is a huge milestone for young couples! Thus, treat your spouse to a silk robe, matching silk pillowcases, or a silk tie.

5th Anniversary: Wood

The momentous 5th anniversary is celebrated with gifts of wood. Wood symbolizes the enduring strength of trees, their steadfast and unending nature. Celebrate this occasion with gifts of hand carved ornaments, furniture, or rings with wooden inlays.

wedding anniversary gifts wooden inlay
Wide ring with wooden inlay

Up to 10 Years

6th Anniversary: Sugar

Sugar has replaced the more traditional gift of iron in recent years. We think it is a much more exciting gift with plenty of possibilities. Try gifts of chocolates, dessert making classes, or even a simple tray of chocolate covered strawberries to start off your day.

7th Anniversary: Wool

Wool is a staple material that keeps us warm when we are cold and insulates us from harm, so it is a beautiful symbol for seven years of marriage! Signify this occasion with a hand knitted sweater, a beautiful woollen blanket, or a decorative tapestry.

8th Anniversary: Salt

Salt is an everyday household item which enhances everything we cook. It can often be forgotten about despite offering us so much, so it serves as a poetic reminder to value your spouse on your eighth anniversary. Celebrate this milestone with gifts of ornaments made from salt, a calming salt lamp, or a trip to the seaside.

9th Anniversary: Copper

Copper is a highly beautiful, conductive metal. Because it carries and holds heat, it serves as a lovely reminder of the enduring fire of your love. Copper cooking pots make a beautiful ninth anniversary gift, as does jewellery with copper accents.

10th Anniversary: Tin

Tins are used to preserve something precious, and keep it safe from the elements. So while it sounds mundane, this is a beautiful metaphor for the momentous ten year wedding anniversary!

wedding anniversary gifts tin
Get creative with some silly tin toys!

Get creative with your gifts for this one. Why not choose a fun tongue in cheek Warhol soup tin print, or a plant potted in a repurposed tin.

From the 11th - 25th Years

11th-14th Anniversary: Silk and Fine Linen

The tradition of wedding anniversary gifts gets somewhat less specific during the mid era of marriage, but still remains drenched in symbolism. Silks and fine linens are  symbolic of these middle years because they are essentials for a well-kept household. Gifts during this time can range from beautiful bedsheets, to clothing, to oil paintings on linen cloth.

15th Anniversary: Crystal

Crystal represents the clarity and investment of 15 years of marriage. Choose an enduring, classic gift, such as crystal candlesticks or a chic crystal decanter. Perhaps you could even choose a crystal frame for a beloved wedding photo.

20th Anniversary: Porcelain

Porcelain represents the care taken to nurture a marriage through all of life's knocks and pitfalls because it is delicate, fragile, and beautiful. Celebrate your 20th anniversary with a classic dinner service, or jewellery with ceramic accents.

wedding anniversary gifts porcelain
Steel and ceramic diamond ring

25th Anniversary: Silver

Silver is precious, with a mythical shine that endures. Gift your spouse some beautiful silver jewellery to mark your 25th anniversary.

wedding anniversary gifts silver
Silver and 9 karat gold engagement ring

For a unique and personal gift, why not choose a wedding photo to have laser engraved onto a pendant for them to keep.

wedding anniversary gifts
Laser engraved pendant

From 30 Years to 60

30th Anniversary: Pearl

Pearl symbolises the shared, internalised beauty of a relationship because they originate in the depths of a mollusc deep within the ocean.. After being married for 3 decades, the pearl repents something beautiful and precious that has taken years to form.

wedding anniversary gifts

The obvious gift for this occasion is pearl jewellery, necklaces, rings, and even cufflinks or a tie pin. Alternatively you could choose a mother of pearl inlaid ornament.

35th Anniversary: Coral

Coral symbolises the life force, and was long believed to protect you from sickness and harm. Choose a gift appropriate to your spouse, be it a piece of coral jewellery, a coral ornament or a trip to the great barrier reef. In fact, you could even choose to donate to a reef preservation charity in the name of your anniversary.

40th Anniversary: Ruby

Due to their signature blood red hue, rubies signify love and passion. Corundum is one of the hardest minerals, so rubies are an enduring symbol of your love and fire.

wedding anniversary gifts
Bespoke wedding ring set with rubies

Due to their hardiness, rubies can adorn almost anything you like. A ruby eternity ring, or ruby set cigar case are perfect 40th wedding anniversary gifts.

wedding anniversary gifts
Channel set ruby eternity ring

45th Anniversary: Sapphire

Sapphires, much like rubies are strong and durable. Due to their rich colour and longevity they are considered the stone of royalty, and thus represent the lofty achievement of 45 years of marriage.

wedding anniversary gifts
Bespoke sapphire engagement ring

Choose a blue sapphire ring as a gift for this occasion to continue the royal theme, or a rare coloured sapphire to symbolise the rarity of your love.

50th Anniversary: Gold

Gold represents the strength, wisdom, prosperity and significance of 50 years of marriage. Indeed, it is highly regarded as the benchmark of preciousness. Gold is a rare and beautiful metal. Why not celebrate 50 years by renewing your vows with new gold wedding rings.

wedding anniversary gifts Gold baguette diamond ring
Gold baguette diamond ring

60th Anniversary: Diamond

Diamond is the strongest mineral known to man. Furthermore, the beauty, rarity and fire of a diamond signifies the nature of your enduring love. The only gift appropriate for such a milestone is diamond jewellery. You could buy a new ring, or necklace, or even have an old stone reset into a new piece of jewellery.

half eternity rings
Brilliant cut diamond half eternity ring with five HSi1 graded brilliant cut diamonds