A Year-by-Year Guide to Traditional Wedding Anniversary Gifts (2023)

sara sam italy wedding couple holding each other gazing at each other

A Year-by-Year Guide to Traditional Wedding Anniversary Gifts (1)

Whether you're celebrating one year of marital bliss or your first decade of matrimony, a thoughtful anniversary gift that shows how much you care is an absolute must. If you've done your research, you know that some couples choose to exchange presents based on their anniversary year. You might also know that there are two types of lists—traditional and modern. If you're sticking with the classics, your first married year calls for paper, the second for cotton, the third for leather, and so on. You know the drill!

Finding the perfect present that suits your spouse can be challenging enough and choosing one that also aligns with the traditional anniversary year gift can feel near impossible. That's where we come in. We've outlined the classic present categoriesfor the first 20 years of marriage and even added in a few gift ideas (for him and her) for each, too. With this handy guide, you won't just wonder which type of present you're supposed to exchange on year 13—you'll be ready with plenty of ideasto please your favorite person.

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Year 1: Paper

Calligraphed note

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Credit: Nirav Patel

In the grand scheme of this list, complete with more expensive themes like platinum and crystal, paper represents modest beginnings and the growth of a marriage. Start small and gift a calligraphed version of your wedding vows, or take it one step further and frame them and hang them above your bed as a surprise. If you and your spouse are trying to gift experiences over things, exchange concert or airlinetickets—they're your paper gift loophole!

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Year 2: Cotton


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Cotton Gifts for Your 2nd Wedding Anniversary

An embroidered cotton pajama set, a fresh set of his favorite sheets, a monogrammed throw blanket—your second, fabric-themed anniversary gift is all about giving comfort. A good rule of thumb? If it's cotton, makes you want to snuggle, and is conducive to cuddling, it passes the test.

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Year 3: Leather

Burgundy suit

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Leather symbolizes durability and longevity (it gets better with age!), an apt description of you and your love's marriage. A pair of rich, cognac-colored leather dress shoes will make an impression on him, as will a buttery weekender bag. For her, opt for that designer handbag she's had her eyes on forever, or a custom etched leather bracelet, complete with both your initials.

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Year 4: Linen

wedding napkins

(Video) Wedding Anniversary Gifts by Year - Names & Symbolic Meaning

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Linen Gifts for Your 4th Wedding Anniversary

On your fourth anniversary, revamp your tablescape with a new runner and napkin set, especially if your linens are looking a little worn for the weardue to all the family holidays you've been hosting. When it comes to linens, adding on a monogram is a surefire way to make the gift that more meaningful.

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Year 5: Wood

Wood may seem like an unlikely gift medium, but the material actually has a lot to offer, especially if you're working on crafting a wine and spirit cellar. Hire a professional to design a custom wine box or whiskey barrel, where you can store your most prized bottles (including your wedding wine!). For something a little more practical, opt for a butcher's block. This is an especially smart if you two spend most of your time together in the kitchen, whipping up one mid-week masterpiece after the next.

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Year 6: Iron


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Credit: Lennart Weibull

Like your marriage, iron is incredibly strong, which makes it a more-than-appropriate gift choice for your sixth wedding anniversary. Couples traditionally exchange designed-to-last kitchenware, like cast-iron skillets or Dutch ovens, but there's a way to make the sturdy, masculine medium a little bit more personal. Since this is (typically!) around the time when couples decide on a forever-home, a new set of iron house numbers signifies that you've officially established permanent residency together.

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Year 7: Wool

Chair Decor Mr. and Mrs. Blankets

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Wool Gifts for Your 7th Wedding Anniversary

Wool has long been a symbol of enduring marriage. In ancient times, Roman brides wore wool wedding dresses, since the fabric was considered lucky and repellant of evil spirits. Today, couples mark the comfort, security, and warmth of their relationships by exchanging wool on their seventh wedding anniversary. Gift each other cashmere scarves so you'll stay warm and cozy even when you're not together. Also options? Slipping new pillow covers onto the cushions on your sectional, sourcing the finest wool for the warmest winter blanket possible, or knitting a soft pair of socks (or a sweater, if you're really good!).

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Year 8: Pottery

Wedding centerpiece

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Pottery Gifts for Your 8th Wedding Anniversary

Ceramic represents earthiness and simplicity, so keep it low-key while celebrating year eight. Take a pottery wheel class together, where you'll learn to craft your own ceramic vases, bowls, and plates—you just might also discover a new favorite hobby. If you want to exchange physical gifts, try his and hers mugs, a bespoke vase, a pretty catch-all, or natural dinnerware.

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Year 9: Willow

Biodegradable Serveware

A Year-by-Year Guide to Traditional Wedding Anniversary Gifts (10)

Credit: Bryan Gardner

Willow Gifts for Your 9th Wedding Anniversary

Keep the same themes in mind for your ninth wedding anniversary. Perfect for budding gardeners, planting a willow tree outside of your home insures future shade and comfort in the next decade (or two!). A willow whicker picnic basket is the perfect companion gift—you'll be able to dine under the shade of your new tree spring after spring.

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Year 10: Aluminum

blue wedding getaway car

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Credit: Erich McVey

You've done it—one whole decade together. Celebrate your relationship's fortitude with a material that's (almost!) as solid: aluminum. Mark the landmark occasion with a luxe gift, like a set of new kitchen knivesor a pair of weather-resistant bikes, perfect for racing down your favorite trails. Planning on going even bigger? Aluminum is commonly found in cars, which means purchasing that joy-ride for your couples trip up the coast is totally justifiable.

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Year 11: Steel


A Year-by-Year Guide to Traditional Wedding Anniversary Gifts (12)

Credit: Sweet Monday Photography

Steel Gifts for Your 11th Wedding Anniversary

One more year together means your marriage is that much stronger, which is why steel follows aluminum (steel is a tougher medium than aluminum!) in the traditional gift chain. Come your 11th anniversary, look to your wrists for inspiration. A sleek stainless steel watch works for both him or her. Better yet, buy each other complementary time pieces you'll wear every day. Alternatively, replace dated household appliances—like dishwashers, refrigerators, or your washer-and-dryer combo—with steel options for a sleek, modern home refresh.

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Year 12: Silk

madelyn jon wedding brides green shoes

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Silk Gifts for Your 12th Wedding Anniversary

As the years go by, you'll notice that the traditional gifts get more and more luxe. Silk, a pricey fabric, definitely follows suit. Mediate the splurge by choosing a gift that you'll use frequently, like a pair of pretty statement pumps or a silk pillowcase for her, or a go-to work tie for him.

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Year 13: Lace


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Lace Gifts for Your 13th Wedding Anniversary

Make your 13th year of marriage that much more special with this dainty fabric—or with objects inspired by the textile. Lace-inspired jewelry, like a Filigree lace cuff or drop earrings make an unconventional but appropriate choice for your wife. Since lace is so often associated with the feminine, finding the right gift for your guy might be trickier. Get creative and consider having a piece of your lace wedding dress sewed inside his favorite work blazer. This way, he'll have a piece of your wedding day with him every time he wears it.

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Year 14: Ivory

paris wedding white bouquet

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Credit: Greg Finck

Ivory Gifts for Your 14th Wedding Anniversary

Skip the real thing and opt for an ivory-colored gift instead. A sprawling all-white bouquet withher favorite blooms will surely earn you brownie points.For him, opt for a luxurious white-plated shaving set, complete with a razor and lather brush, to help him feel like he's getting a formal shave from the comfort of his own home.

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Year 15: Crystal

berry cocktail

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Crystal Gifts for Your 15th Wedding Anniversary

Sparkly, elevated, and decidedly expensive, crystal is definitely the way to go when celebrating the big 1-5. If you've become wine connoisseurs over the years, a set of crystal goblets is our go-to pick. A vintage vase, candy dish, or decorative object are also all tried-and-true choices.

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Year 16: Hollowware

kara bridal shower centerpiece

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This category refers to any type of hollow vessel, like a pitcher, vase, or planter. Since this recommendation is so broad, hone in on your spouse's interests. For example, if your husband or wife is a beer-lover, a new growler will make their visits to a favorite brewery even better.

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Year 17: Furniture

Magenta and Gold Color Palette

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In the 17 years since you first registered for or bought furniture, trends and your personal style have likely changed. Take advantage of this classic gift type and redesign your living room (or bedroom, or bathroom!) together. If family wants to know what they can get you this year, ask for interior design services—an expert will help both your visions come to life cohesively, no matter how different they are.

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Year 18: Porcelain

hannah steve wedding california china macarons

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Porcelain Gifts for Your 18th Wedding Anniversary

You've mastered the art of hostessing, which means your dinnerware likely has a few chips here and there. Upgrade your set with something you love just as much. If you went classic years ago, try something bolder this time around. A chinoiserie set, like this one, feels traditional, but brings a welcome splash of color to your tabletop.

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Year 19: Bronze

eleanor jacques wedding table place setting

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Bronze Gifts for Your 19th Wedding Anniversary

Since bronze is created by combining copper and tin, it acts as a symbol of the marriage pact—two people pledging to live (and potentially raise a family!) as one. As you approach two decades of marriage, a metaphor like this one feels more poignant. Reaffirm your bond with a bronze gift that represents it. Reframe a favorite wedding photo in bronze, pick out a vintage metallic vase together, or peruse the work of a local artist for a garden sculpture you both love.

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Year 20: Platinum

ring ring box

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Platinum Gifts for Your 20th Wedding Anniversary

You've loved and remained committed to each other for twenty years, which means it's definitely time to celebrate. You'll likely do a lot of reflecting on this anniversary, which makes finding a gift that represents your beginnings a good place to start. Plan a vow renewal, where you'll exchange an upgraded engagement ring or wedding rings, as a couple. Placing that new-and-improved band on your hand will simultaneously bring the memories of your engagement period and wedding day rushing back and get you excited for the next 20 years to come.

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What represents each anniversary year? ›

Celebration and gifts

These gifts vary in different countries, but some anniversary years now have well-established connections common to most nations: 5th Wood, 10th Tin, 15th Crystal, 20th China, 25th Silver, 30th Pearl, 35th Jade, 40th Ruby, 45th Sapphire, 50th Gold, 60th Diamond, and 70th Platinum.

What is the theme of each wedding anniversary? ›

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Wedding Anniversary OccasionTraditional ThemeColour
1st YearPaperGold; Yellow
2nd YearCottonRed
3rd YearLeatherJade; White
4th YearLinen; Silk (UK) Fruit/Flowers (US)Blue; Green
32 more rows

Are there traditional anniversary gifts? ›

Each wedding anniversary has traditional and modern gifts, as well as traditional flowers, colors, and gemstones.

What do you get someone for a wedding gift who has everything? ›

Gifts for newly married couples who have everything should be practical and personal, like a custom decanter set or a cutting board. You could get them something that has class that will add to their home, like a personalized keepsake box to store memories from their wedding.

Do wives get husbands anniversary gifts? ›

Absolutely! In fact, that might be an even better fit for your husband–bonus points if it's something you can do together to celebrate your anniversary. Especially if you both have busy schedules and don't often get much time alone, an experiential gift for just the two of you is an excellent choice.

How do you calculate your wedding anniversary year? ›

To calculate how many years you've been married, you need to:
  1. Recall the date of the wedding.
  2. Subtract the year of the wedding from the current one.
  3. If the month and day come later than today's, subtract 1 .
  4. Enjoy knowing how many years you've been married.
28 Sept 2022

What are the most important wedding anniversaries? ›

How to Celebrate Those Big Anniversary Milestones
  • 5 Year Anniversary – Sapphire. After five years, treat your lady like a queen with a sapphire! ...
  • 10 Year Anniversary – Diamonds. Diamonds. ...
  • 25 Year Anniversary- Silver Jubilee. ...
  • 30 Year Anniversary – Pearl. ...
  • 40 Year Anniversary- Ruby. ...
  • 50 Year Anniversary- Gold Jubilee.
19 Jul 2019

What is an anniversary color? ›

1st Anniversary: Gold or Yellow. 2nd Anniversary: Red or Linen White. 3rd Anniversary: White or Jade Green. 4th Anniversary: Blue or Green.

What is a good happy anniversary message? ›

Anniversary Messages For A Couple

Wishing you the most love, laughter and happiness for years to come. Cheers to two imperfect pieces that fit perfectly together. You two weirdos are perfect for each other. Sending love to our favorite couple on their anniversary!

What flower symbolizes an anniversary? ›

The Official Anniversary Flowers:
1st AnniversaryCarnationYouthful, passionate love
2nd AnniversaryLily of the ValleyPure love, good fortune, and sweetness
3rd AnniversarySunflowerAdoration, loyalty, and longevity
4th AnniversaryHydrangeaSincere emotions, gratitude, and deep understanding
17 more rows
3 Jan 2021

What is a unique way to celebrate an anniversary? ›

Here are some ideas for fun places to go for your anniversary whether you plan to stay local or head somewhere new.
  1. Stay At A Bed And Breakfast. ...
  2. Picnic At The Park. ...
  3. Relax At The Spa. ...
  4. Revisit Your First Date Spot. ...
  5. Go Back To Your Wedding Venue. ...
  6. Book A Site At A Campground. ...
  7. Walk Around A Botanical Garden. ...
  8. Go On A Mini Road Trip.
9 Mar 2022

What kind of anniversary gifts are there? ›

Personalized items like monogrammed or engraved watches, cufflinks, jewelry boxes, leather bags, etc. are perfect for her, him, or them (for those nonbinary folks). If you can find items made from traditional or modern gift materials, even better!

How much should you spend on an anniversary gift? ›

For your own wedding anniversary, we recommend a gift budget of around $100. For giving to others on their anniversaries, such as your parents milestone anniversaries, we recommend a gift of $25-$50.

Where do the traditional wedding anniversary gifts come from? ›

The most likely guess is that the gift list made its debut during the Victorian era in the United Kingdom during the 1800s, and then jumped across the pond to the United States in the early 20th century [source: Martha Stewart].

What should you not give as a wedding gift? ›

Unless the couple has specifically told you otherwise, you'll want to avoid these 18 bad wedding gifts.
  • Off-registry linens. Credit: Stone & Beam. ...
  • Regifted items. ...
  • A half-gift… ...
  • Or an item for half the couple. ...
  • Artwork and other home decor. ...
  • Any kind of baby-related items. ...
  • Gag gifts. ...
  • Self-help or relationship books.
17 Mar 2021

How much cash should you give at a wedding? ›

Those thinking about how much money to give at a wedding will likely take their own financial situation into account. An easy rule of thumb is to stay within the average range of $75 to $200, but you can adjust the exact amount based on your personal finances, as well as your relationship with the couple.

Is $300 a good wedding gift? ›

Upon consulting the experts, a wedding gift should range from $75 to $750—but most agree that $300+ is the sweet spot.

How can I make my husband feel special on our anniversary? ›

Want to plan the perfect anniversary? Keep reading for 20 romantic ideas that are sure to impress your partner.
  1. Take a Walk Down Memory Lane. ...
  2. Plan a Thoughtful Scavenger Hunt. ...
  3. Cook a Perfect Meal. ...
  4. Surprise Them with Hearts Everywhere. ...
  5. Recreate Your First Date. ...
  6. Watch a Movie Under the Stars. ...
  7. Book a Night in a Romantic Hotel.
6 May 2021

How do couples determine their anniversary date? ›

Commemorate Your First Date

"People often celebrate the day that they had their first date with someone if they aren't married or engaged," says Stef Safran, matchmaking and dating expert. "It comes down to the couple, but usually most people celebrate the first date."

How do I calculate my marriage? ›

As per the general rule, dates 1 and 9 of every month are best dates to get married for all persons born on any date. Also, if the destiny number of the marriage date is 1 or 9 (totaling all the digits in the given date) then the date is suitable for marriage for all people.

How do you count months of anniversary? ›

An anniversary commemorates one year, as the word comes from annual (or per annum). So, a monthiversary is a more accurate term for the one-month mark. It typically references a dating or marriage relationship. If a couple's first date is August 14th, then their monthiversary is September 14th.

What is the most popular marriage month? ›

According to our 2021 Real Weddings Study, 80% of all weddings took place between May to October. To be specific, the most popular wedding months are June (13%), August (13%) and October (22%). For many couples, things like warm weather, an outdoor venue or fall foliage are important.

What is the most popular month to get married? ›

The most popular months to get married are from the months of May to October. More specifically, September takes first place at 16 percent, followed by June with 15 percent, and lastly October, at 14 percent. This means that the most popular wedding seasons are Fall/Autumn, and Summer.

What are hardest years of marriage? ›

After all, almost 50% of first marriages, 60% of second marriages, and 73% of third marriages end in divorce. While there are countless divorce studies with conflicting statistics, the data points to two periods during a marriage when divorces are most common: years 1 – 2 and years 5 – 8.

What color roses are for anniversary? ›

Red roses have become the ultimate symbol of love and are ideal for occasions such as Valentine's Day, an anniversary, or whenever we want to say “I love you.” The relationship between red roses and romance is one of the most enduring and familiar traditions in the floral community.

What is the best color for wedding anniversary? ›

Years 1 to 10
  • 1st Anniversary: Gold or Yellow.
  • 2nd Anniversary: Red or Linen White.
  • 3rd Anniversary: White or Jade Green.
  • 4th Anniversary: Blue or Green.
  • 5th Anniversary: Blue, Pink, or Turquoise.
  • 6th Anniversary: Purple, Turquoise, or White.
  • 7th Anniversary: Onyx, Yellow, or Off White.
17 Oct 2022

What are golden anniversaries? ›

Known as the Golden Anniversary, the 50th year of a marriage is traditionally associated with gold. Like what the gold colour symbolises, the 50th year mines a wealth of the couple's experiences in their marriage, and with the refining, carries an optimism of the 51st year and beyond with each other.

What is a good Bible verse for a wedding anniversary? ›

"Do everything in love." "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." "Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other." "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins."

How do you write happy anniversary in short form? ›

There is only one standard way to abbreviate anniversary. It is, Anniv.

Do you say congratulations for someone's anniversary? ›

Congratulations! Happy anniversary today and happy marriage always! Congrats to you both! Hope you both are able to celebrate a little each day!

What flower means together forever? ›

To the Victorians, dahlias meant forever thine and displayed a symbol of commitment and an everlasting bond.

What does 12 flowers mean? ›

One Rose = New Love. Two Roses = A Special Bond. Six Roses = Crazy In Love. 10 Roses = Perfection. 12 Roses = Be Mine.

What flower means endless love? ›

Purple tulips are said to represent eternal love while pink tulips signify perfect love.

How do you make someone feel special on their anniversary? ›

The Top 10 Ways To Make Them Feel Special on Your Anniversary
  1. Be the one taking charge this year.
  2. Plan a romantic game night.
  3. Make a candy jar of happiness.
  4. Time to get crafty.
  5. Go for an adventurous experience together.
  6. Pampering with a rejuvenating spa.
  7. An impromptu getaway.
  8. Show Some Social Media Love.
13 May 2022

How can I make an anniversary special with no money? ›

25 Cheap Romantic Anniversary Ideas for Couples 2022
  1. Have a Homemade Pizza Night. ...
  2. Create a Romantic Scavenger Hunt. ...
  3. Go on a Picnic. ...
  4. Attend a Free Concert. ...
  5. Find a Dinner Deal. ...
  6. Revisit Memorable Places from Your Relationship. ...
  7. Take a Dance Class Together. ...
  8. Play Board Games.
27 Dec 2021

What are meaningful anniversary gifts? ›

Take it from us; these are sure to make them feel special.
  • If your love was written in the stars: A Night Sky print. ...
  • For the one who has yet to frame their wedding photos: A framed wedding portrait. ...
  • For the ones celebrating six years: An iron wedding song plaque. ...
  • For the one who likes to try new things: A wine subscription.
29 Aug 2022

Is a $25 gift card too cheap? ›

For co-workers, casual friends and your children's teachers, stay in the $10 to $20 range. Gift cards for close friends and family members can range from $25 to $100. When you're selecting a gift card for a spouse, parent or someone else who's very special, choose a card worth $75 or more.

What are the rules for anniversary gifts? ›

Anniversary Gifts By Year
  • 1st Anniversary: Paper.
  • 2nd Anniversary: Cotton.
  • 3rd Anniversary: Leather.
  • 4th Anniversary: Fruit or Flowers.
  • 5th Anniversary: Wood.
  • 6th Anniversary: Candy or Iron.
  • 7th Anniversary: Wool or Copper.
  • 8th Anniversary: Pottery or Bronze.
18 May 2021

Is 500 a lot for a wedding gift? ›

A typical cash wedding gift could range from $50 to $500, depending on the same factors listed above. Even then, aiming for the $100 mark is generally sufficient and will be comparable to the average cost of a physical wedding gift.

Who made up traditional anniversary gifts? ›

In the 1920s, Emily Post, an American writer, attempted to solve the issue of what gift to give on the occasion of an anniversary by drawing up lists of anniversary themes in a book titled “Etiquette”, published in 1922.

Are anniversary gifts necessary? ›

While the short answer is that no, gifts aren't strictly necessary, there's more to it. Making your significant other feel special is never a bad idea. Here are our thoughts on when you should and shouldn't give anniversary gifts, and how to pick out the right one.

Who invented traditional anniversary gifts? ›

Medieval times

Some speculate it dates back to the Middle Ages in Germanic Europe, where silver or gold garlands were given by the husband to the wife to symbolize the 25th or 50th years of marriage. Others say it was fueled by the Victorian era, when oral histories and traditions were more often cataloged.

What is the 12 year traditional gift for marriage? ›

The traditional 12-year anniversary gifts are silk and fine linen—two classic home decor materials that represent the life a couple has built together. These luxurious fabrics symbolize the security and comfort felt after 12 years of wedded bliss.

What is the 7 year wedding gift? ›

The traditional gifts for a seventh anniversary are copper and wool. Copper is durable and represents love and protection. A practical gift like a copper growler can be greatly appreciated. In contrast, wool is symbolic of warmth and comfort.

What are some gift giving traditions? ›

Here are some traditions to be aware of on your travels.
  • Insist a little. China, Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan.
  • Hand it over with care. India, Africa, the Middle East, and East Asia.
  • Give gifts as a thank-you. ...
  • Leave sharp objects at home. ...
  • Avoid taboo objects. ...
  • Pick a lucky number. ...
  • Wrap it up. ...
  • No gifts, please.
7 Dec 2017

What do you buy for 7 years of marriage? ›

In the USA, copper, an icon of strength, beauty and wealth, represents the 7th anniversary. Its malleable nature perfectly reflects the love of a married couple who must yield to each other's will, while as a good conductor, copper represents the warmth between the couple.

What is the 13th wedding gift? ›

Traditionally, the 13th wedding anniversary is celebrated with a gift of lace, while the more modern iterations are (faux) fur and other textiles. While these luxe materials give plenty of gift ideas to choose from, know that you're not limited to just these themes.

What is 13 years of marriage called? ›

The name of year 13 is Lace but gifts can include other textiles such as table linen. On to year 14 and this one is called Ivory.

What do you get for 13 years married? ›

Traditionally, lace is given on the 13th anniversary, its intricate detailing reflecting the intertwining of the couple's lives through 13 years of marriage. The modern theme for the 13th anniversary is furs and textiles, reflecting the protection and warmth derived from a comforting and successful marriage.

What is the traditional anniversary gift for 8 years? ›

Traditional: Bronze and Pottery

The traditional eighth anniversary gifts are bronze and pottery. Bronze is formed by combining copper and tin, which are stronger when paired together—just like a loving couple.

Why is the 7th anniversary important? ›

Copper has long had a traditional meaning of prosperity, good luck, and good fortune. Couples who celebrate their seventh wedding anniversary can indeed celebrate their good fortune in finding one another. Wool represents the comfort, durability, security, and warmth that couples married this long give one another.

What is the 4 gift rule? ›

A trend which has gained traction over the past few years on social media is the "four gift rule". Parents pledge to give their offspring just four presents: Something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read.

What is the 5 gift rule? ›

In the 5 Gift Rule, the first four gifts are the same - something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read. But the 5th? The 5th is the real winner. It's something they need or want but don't really know it.

Is 7 years a short marriage? ›

What constitutes a short marriage? There is no definitive answer to this. Whilst the court has historically perceived a short marriage to be 5 years or less, in the landmark case on short marriages; Sharp v Sharp, the court deemed a marriage of 6 years including a prior cohabitation of 18 months to be a short marriage.

What are the eight items used for marriage? ›

This cannot be achieved without having at hand this list of items indicated below.
  • Wedding Suit or Tuxedo.
  • Shoes.
  • Wrist-watch.
  • Pocket handkerchief.
  • Cufflink.
  • Waist belt.
  • Neck Tie or Cravat.
  • Grooms glove (optional)


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