Got a wedding anniversary coming up? We’ve put together the complete guide to wedding anniversary milestones explaining all the traditions behind each celebration, as well as a few wedding anniversary gift ideas to inspire you.
Get creative when celebrating your wedding anniversary milestones and don’t be afraid to think outside of the box. Hopefully this guide will help you choose something that will genuinely surprise and delight your partner.
If you’re looking for some extra romantic anniversary gift ideas, why not browse our edit of the most romantic getaways for couples.
If you’re in a hurry, you can jump to the wedding anniversary miletstone you need by using the links below:
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The History of the Wedding Anniversary
The tradition of celebrating wedding anniversary milestones began way back in the time of the Holy Roman Empire when 25 and 50 years of marriage were celebrated. A husband would crown his wife with a wreath of silver for 25 years and a crown of gold for 50 years.
We still celebrate 25 and 50 years with gold and silver respectively, but now there are lots more traditions tied to celebrating each stage of commitment, each with its own special meaning.
First Wedding Anniversary: Paper
Paper is given to celebrate the first wedding anniversary as it represents the blank pages on which you are beginning to write your story on. It’s still fairly fragile, but will last if looked after well.
You can just give your partner a lovely first anniversary card with a heartfelt message inside, but there are lots of gorgeous paper first anniversary gifts that your other half will treasure.
It is also traditional on your first anniversary to eat the (previously frozen) top tier of your wedding cake, if you’re not saving it for a christening or didn’t use it up on the big day! There are lots of other romantic ways to celebrate your first anniversary, so don’t stress if you didn’t save your cake.
The modern alternative to a paper first anniversary gift is to give a clock – to symbolise the time gone by and the time you have to come.
Here are a couple of our favourite first anniversary milestone gifts to inspire you:
Get creative with your gift – a paper voucher, presented in a lovely box, is an exciting wedding anniversary gift you’ll both benefit from. This two-night luxury break from buyagift.com is the perfect example.
If you’re the sentimental type, you’ll love this anniversary journal from Prezzy Box that the two of you can fill in together.
A great budget friendly option is this personalised certificate and coupons from Not on the High Street.
Second Anniversary: Cotton
Cotton is traditionally given to celebrate two years of marriage as it represents comfort and strength. As threads of cotton are intertwined to create something, so are your lives as you become more united.
The modern equivalent, should you choose not to go for cotton, is china.
We’ve picked a few gift ideas to inspire you.
These unisex cotton robes from The White Company are perfect for lazy Sunday mornings together.
We love this cosy cotton throw from Not on the High Street too.
Third Anniversary: Leather
Leather is flexible and durable, and has protective qualities, which makes it the perfect way to celebrate the milestone of three years of marriage.
However – leather isn’t the most practical of gifts for everyone, especially if you’re vegetarian or vegan. The modern alternative to mark three years since you said ‘I do’ is crystal or glass.
This leather key ring from Not on the High Street is a cute nod to your wedding date.
A leather hip flask like this one from The Gift Experience is sure to be used for years to come.
Fourth Anniversary: Linen or Silk
Linen or silk is traditionally given to celebrate four years of marriage. It’s durable, cool and luxurious and that is where your relationship is likely to be after four years of marriage – something you can relax into and enjoy.
The alternative is fruit or flowers, as your commitment to each other flourishes and bears fruit.
This ivory silk cami set from Boux Avenue is sure to be appreciated by both of you.
Alternatively, if you go for the modern version we recommend a flower subscription from Bloom & Wild – who wouldn’t want three months of flowers?
Fifth Anniversary: Wood
Trees are a symbol of strength, wisdom and growth, so it makes sense that to mark five years of marriage you would give a gift made from wood. The modern alternative is silverware – but there are so many great wooden anniversary gift ideas to celebrate five years together.
This wooden themed print from Not on the High Street is really cute:
Or for the cheese lover in your life, how about this personalised wooden cheese board from Getting Personal?
Sixth Anniversary: Iron
To celebrate reaching six years of marriage, you’d traditionally give a gift made from iron (note, an actual iron does not count as a gift). This requires some creativity, but there are lots of beautiful iron wedding anniversary gifts out there.
This iron pot plant and holder from Oliver Bonas is the perfect gift for a loving plant parent!
If you want the modern alternative, it’s sugar (which might be a little easier to source!). This personalised sweet hamper from Getting Personal is ideal if your partner has a sweet tooth.
Seventh Anniversary: Wool
Wool is representative of the comfort and warmth that seven years of marriage brings. There are lots of lovely, cosy gift ideas made from wool to mark seven years, however if you’d rather go for the modern option, you’d need to buy a copper gift.
This wool rose from Not on the High Street comes with a vase as well!
If you want to go for the modern alternative of copper, this copper wine cooler from Getting Personal is a great choice.
Eighth Anniversary: Bronze
Bronze is made by mixing together two metals (copper and tin) and the finished product is incredibly strong. This is the perfect way to sum up your relationship after eight years of marriage.
The modern equivalent is lace or linen, if you don’t find something in bronze that’s perfect for your partner.
This bronze photo frame from Not on the High Street is a cute idea.
If you want to treat your loved one to something truly luxurious, how about this Bronze Wood and Leather cologne from Jo Malone? It definitely counts as bronze. And there’s also a his’n’hers scent set, because those who scent together…stay together?
Ninth Anniversary: Pottery
Pottery is the result of something being moulded and shaped and the end result is something beautiful – a lot like your relationship after nine years of matrimony, right? If you’re feeling extra creative, now would be a great time to attend a pottery class together.
This pottery vase from The White Company is a lovely, timeless gift idea.
Modern alternatives to celebrate a ninth wedding anniversary are willow (flexible and durable) and copper.
Tenth Anniversary: Tin
You were probably expecting a little more after 10 years of marriage, right? But don’t be disheartened – the tradition of tin as a tenth anniversary gift comes from its practical nature. Tin is used to store and preserve items – and after 10 years of marriage, it’s likely that your relationship is well preserved.
If you want an alternative 10th wedding anniversary gift, then the modern equivalent is diamond jewellery. Just saying.
If your partner can’t resist a cocktail, this Gin in a Tin gift set from Not on the High Street is a fun way to treat them.
We also love these personalised tin mugs from Not on the High Street.
11th Anniversary: Steel
Steel is the traditional gift once you reach 11 years of marriage. It’s strong – as you both should be at the start of your second decade of marriage.
The modern alternative is jewellery.
12th Anniversary: Silk
Mark 12 years of marriage with a silk gift – lingerie for yourself totally counts as a gift for you both. The modern equivalent if that doesn’t appeal to you is pearls.
13th Anniversary: Lace
Lace is intricately made of lots of artfully woven together threads – think of your marriage the same way, especially after 13 years of commitment. It might be an unlucky number for some, but 13 years of marriage is worth celebrating.
The modern alternative to lace is to give a gift of fur or textiles.
14th Anniversary: Ivory
Ivory is traditionally given to celebrate 14 years of marriage – however the modern (and cruelty-free) alternative is gold or opal. If you want to follow tradition but not harm any elephants, you could go for something ivory-coloured.
15th Anniversary: Crystal
Crystal is given to mark the wedding anniversary milestone of 15 years of marriage – it represents your clear and sparkling love after a decade and a half together.
This glittering Swarovski crystal necklace is sure to go down a treat.
How about this personalised crystal decanter from Getting Personal?
The modern alternative to crystal is glass or watches – to represent time gone by and time yet to come.
Why not consider renewing your wedding vows as you reach this landmark anniversary milestone?
16th Anniversary: Wax
You can celebrate 16 years of marital harmony with the gift of wax. If you feel like you have enough candles and don’t have much call for a wax seal, you could opt for the modern alternative which is silver hollowware.
17th Anniversary: Furniture
Robust, comfortable and a place to rest: furniture is given to celebrate 17 years of marriage, and it makes sense. You could treat yourself to a fancy new bed or a sofa as a joint present to yourselves.
18th Anniversary: Porcelain
Porcelain is typically given to celebrate 18 years of marriage. The modern equivalent is the gemstone garnet – however if you don’t like jewellery you could always arrange a romantic trip to Prague, the home of the garnet.
19th Anniversary: Bronze
Yep, another bronze anniversary! It’s been long enough though since the last one that you should have had plenty of time to think up another lovely bronze wedding anniversary gift idea.
20th Anniversary: China
You have completed two decades of marriage! China is delicate but hardwearing, making it the perfect symbol for 20 years of marriage. The alternative, if you want to really splash out, is platinum.
This china tea pot from The Gift Experience is a good starting point if you both love relaxing with a proper cup of tea together.
21st Anniversary: Brass
Brass is given to mark 21 years of marriage. If you don’t fancy a gift made from actual brass, we’d turn a blind eye to you being ‘as bold as brass’ and doing something dare-devil worthy, such as abseiling or bungee jumping.
22nd Anniversary: Copper
Copper makes for a great gift – it’s timeless and practical. There are plenty of copper home accessories to consider, including things such as copper-bottomed saucepans and mugs (ideal for a refreshing Moscow mule!).
23rd Anniversary: Silver Plate
As in a silver-plated item, not an actual silver plate…but like with all anniversary milestone gifts, it’s open to interpretation. There are so many lovely silver-plated gift ideas to mark 23 years of marriage.
24th Anniversary: Musical Instruments
Musical instruments are definitely quite niche gifts, especially if you’re not that way inclined. You could put a twist on this tradition and get tickets for some live music?
25th Anniversary: Silver
A quarter of a century together! This merits a silver gift. You had a practise run two years ago with silver plate, but now it’s time to really celebrate. The tradition of giving silver for a 25 year anniversary dates back thousands of years, so no pressure.
You could opt for some special jewellery, or have a favourite photo displayed in a lovely silver frame.
These silver sixpence cufflinks from Not on the High Street are a great choice for him.
Or you could commission a smaller version of your wedding cake to enjoy with family and friends, and tuck into it with these beautiful personalised vintage silver cake forks from Not on the High Street.
26th Anniversary: Pictures
This should be an easy one – after 26 years together, you should have plenty of pictures to celebrate all your milestone moments. Alternatively, you could book a couple’s photo shoot together to get some lovely new pictures, or splash out on a piece of art you love.
27th Anniversary: Sculpture
You could buy a striking sculpture for your home or garden to mark 27 years of marriage, or why not attend a class together and learn to make something?
28th Anniversary: Orchids
Orchids are said to symbolise friendship and nobility, so it makes sense that they’d factor in as an anniversary milestone gift somewhere along the line. They are very low maintenance too, making them a great gift even for those who aren’t so green-fingered.
29th Anniversary: Furniture
It’s said that the line for 29 years of marriage is ‘out with the old and in with the new’ – but it’s only relating to furniture so don’t worry! Use this milestone as the perfect opportunity to upgrade something in your home.
30th Anniversary: Pearl
Pearls take time to be cultivated, they’re natural and beautiful but rare. Sounds like a couple after 30 years of marriage, right? There are lots of fabulous pearl wedding anniversary gift ideas, so you’ll be spoilt for choice.
We love this mother of pearl photo frame from The White Company.
This freshwater pearl bracelet from Not on the High Street can be customised with your initials and is a lovely, affordable way to give a pearl themed gift.
31st Anniversary: Timepieces
Mark the time gone by and prepare for the future with the gift of a timepiece. You could invest in new watches or a sundial or clock for your home.
32nd Anniversary: Conveyance
Conveyance is a means of travel or transportation. You could get a new car, or you could go on an amazing trip together!
33rd Anniversary: Amethyst
The beautiful purple-hued gemstone amethyst is the traditional gift to mark 33 years of marriage. You could go for jewellery, the gemstone itself or something purple coloured.
34th Anniversary: Opal
The dazzling opal stone is given to celebrate 34 years of matrimony. This milky gem has iridescent, rainbow colours that sparkle in the light, making it a great choice for jewellery. You could also go old-school with a gift of Starburst – they’ll forever be Opal Fruits to us.
35th Anniversary: Coral
Coral is the traditional gift for the wedding anniversary milestone of 35 years. However, there’s some controversy around coral as it’s not always harvested in the most environmentally friendly way. You could always opt for something coral coloured, or plan a trip to a coral reef to see it in its natural habitat?
The coral rose from Bloom & Wild is a lovely, thoughtful gift idea that can easily be posted!
The modern equivalent is jade, a deep green gemstone that is considered to be lucky.
36th Anniversary: Bone China
You could give some fine bone china as a gift, or you could go out for a fancy afternoon tea and have someone serve lovely things to you on bone china. Up to you!
37th Anniversary: Alabaster
This natural material is used most commonly to make sculptures or vases, so it lends itself to gifting quite nicely really.
38th Anniversary: Beryl
Beryl isn’t just the name of the woman down the street! It’s actually a gemstone. Emerald is a version of beryl – just saying…
39th Anniversary: Lace
Yep, lace again! Although, your lace gifts from your 13th wedding anniversary are probably due an upgrade now.
40th Anniversary: Ruby
40 years of marriage is a real landmark. To celebrate one of the biggest wedding anniversary milestones, you need to give a gift inspired by one of the most precious stones – the ruby. You could go for jewellery, or something jewel toned such as a beautiful red rose, ruby port or an expensive bottle of red wine.
This ruby-coloured photo album from Not on the High Street is a gorgeous way to display 40 years of memories.
Alternatively, a piece of jewellery, such as this gold and ruby studded signet ring from Not on the High Street is a great shout.
41st Anniversary: Land
How do you top a ruby? Well, for 41 years of marriage, you don’t. The gift for 41 years is land. You could invest in some land, you could revamp your garden or you could go and visit a land you’ve always wanted to go to.
42nd Anniversary: Real Estate
Not everyone has the budget to buy real estate as a gift, but you could improve your home somehow. Otherwise, settle in and get competitive with a personalised Monopoly game.
43rd Anniversary: Travel
Pack your suitcases and go off on an adventure – whether it’s a mini break in the UK, or the holiday of a lifetime.
44th Anniversary: Gourmet
Some suggest the traditional gift for 44 years of marriage is groceries, but others say gourmet. Here at Confetti, we’re coming down on the fancy side of things and saying go gourmet! Buy a luxury hamper, go to a Michelin-starred restaurant or even cook up a fancy feast at home.
45th Anniversary: Sapphire
Sapphires come in a dazzling array of shades, including pink and yellow as well as that famous blue hue. Treat your loved one to some precious sapphire jewellery, or go away somewhere and take in views of a deep blue sea.
46th Anniversary: Poetry
You could try your hand at writing some poetry, or you could by a book of poems – bonus points if you add a bookmark to the page with the poem that most reminds you of your love. You can read our favourite wedding poems to inspire you.
47th Anniversary: Books
It’s a shame it takes so long for books to be given as a gift! But you mark 47 years with the gift of literature. You could buy a record book and fill in the story of your lives together so far, or you could treat each other to a new read.
If you really love books, why not travel to a literary festival or a famous bookshop?
48th Anniversary: Optical Goods
We’re not sure who actually came up with these. Optical goods could be sunglasses, a camera, or maybe even a telescope for some romantic stargazing?
49th Anniversary: Luxuries
Who doesn’t love a bit of luxury? Treat yourselves to some silk or cashmere, or splash out on a luxury box of chocolates and champagne.
50th Anniversary: Gold
50 years of marriage is an incredible achievement and should be celebrated as such. You could buy some new jewellery, head to a golden beach or even upgrade your wedding rings and renew your vows.
55th Anniversary: Emerald
Buy emerald jewellery for your emerald wedding anniversary, or go to the Emerald Isle – Ireland – for a romantic weekend away. There’s also the Emerald Coast in Sardinia if you fancy warmer weather.
60th Anniversary: Diamond
60 years of marriage deserves a precious gift in the form of something with diamonds. The word diamond comes from the Greek word adamas, which means unconquerable – the perfect way to describe your relationship after 60 years together.
You also qualify for a royal congratulations if you reach this wedding anniversary milestone – make sure you apply for yours at least three weeks before the big day.
65th Anniversary: Blue Sapphire
It’s the perfect excuse to upgrade your sapphire gift from 20 years before, or to get something to complement your diamonds.
70th Anniversary: Platinum
Platinum is strong, precious and rare – like a marriage that spans 70 years! You could upgrade your wedding rings now, or buy some other form of platinum jewellery to mark this special occasion.
75th Anniversary: Diamond
You originally celebrate the 75th anniversary with diamonds, but the 60th was added in as a diamond anniversary too in honour of Queen Victoria reaching her Diamond Jubilee in 1897. We don’t blame her for not wanting to wait.
Of course, you don’t have to wait at all to give a gift to a loved one. Here are our favourite personalised wedding gifts to inspire you.