Use our guide to milestone wedding anniversaries, complete with wedding anniversary gift ideas, to make sure you have a really special occasion to remember. When it comes to anniversary gift buying, our advice is to apply a little creativity. For example, most people can’t afford to buy rubies for a ruby wedding anniversary, but how about a beautiful ruby-red throw cover, some bottles of fine red wine, or some coloured glass or pottery?
If you’re looking for romantic wedding anniversary gift ideas, check out these ideas for a romantic getaway.
Anniversary celebrations began in the time of the Holy Roman Empire when people celebrated 25 and 50 years of marriage. A husband would crown his wife with a wreath of silver for 25 years and a wreath of gold for 50. The tradition of gold and silver wedding anniversaries has stuck, but there’s now a long list of other named anniversaries to accompany them. Each represents a different facet of the couple’s commitment, the stage their relationship is at, and the number of years they’ve been together.
1st Anniversary: Paper
Though a lovely “Happy Anniversary!” card would be the perfect fit for a paper anniversary you don’t have to stick to stationery. Name a star after your partner and present them with the certificate, or order a personal horoscope, or offer a voucher for a gift experience such as a helicopter ride over London. Tickets are, of course, paper, so the world is your oyster! Then again, pouring your heart out in a love letter would also be a beautiful gift, and origami paper flowers look lovely.
However, 1st wedding anniversaries also have an edible tradition: if you opted for a fruit wedding cake, you can freeze the top tier and have it re-iced to eat on this day. Furthermore, a more modern 1st anniversary theme is clocks.
2nd Anniversary: Cotton
Featured above: Personalised Towel
Keep it simple on your second wedding anniversary: spend it tucked up in crisp cotton sheets. Or splash out on a second honeymoon at a relaxing spa, complete with fresh, personalised towels. On the other hand, the modern 2nd wedding anniversary theme is china, so you may want to look at a new set of kitchenware.
3rd: Anniversary: Leather
Featured above: Faux Leather Personalised Passport Covers
For your third anniversary, what about a leather-bound photo album or wallet with something to spend inside? For those who make vegan choices, there are also thousands of products on the market nowadays made of faux leather. However, while leather is the traditional 3rd wedding anniversary theme, the modern theme is crystal or glass.
4th Anniversary: Linen
Featured above: The Windermere Suites
How about some lovely new bedlinen or cushions for your bed to celebrate your 4th anniversary? Or you coukld opt for the more modern 4th anniversary theme: electrical appliances, silk, or fruit and flowers.
5th Anniversary: Wood
In Wales, elaborately carved wooden ‘lovespoons’ have been given for centuries. The term ‘spooning’—meaning ‘romancing’—originates from this Welsh tradition. An alternative gift to each other could be a romantic visit to a log cabin, or something simpler like a bottle of wine in wooden box. Alternatively, the modern 5th anniversary theme is silverware.
6th Anniversary: Iron
In his famous diary, Samuel Pepys (1633-1703) writes of going home ‘to be merry, it being my sixth wedding night’.
Featured above: Iron Rose Sixth Wedding Anniversary Gift Idea by SmeLars on Etsy
You may have to be a little more creative to give a gift of iron, but we love the idea of shaped iron ornaments like the above forged iron rose. On the other hand, the modern 6th anniversary theme is sugar or wood.
7th Anniversary: Wool
Featured above: Merino Wool Blanket by ChunkyWoolBlankets on Etsy
For your wool anniversary, you could snuggle up in new cashmere sweaters or a chunky blanket, or you and your other half can learn a new hobby like knitting. Alternatively, the modern 7th anniversary theme is something made of brass or a useful desk set.
8th Anniversary: Bronze
Featured above: Vintage Key Bottle Opener with Bronze Finish
Bronze is a wonderful material for unusual jewellery and sculpture. A modern piece of art or a distinctive ring could be just the thing. Alternative 8th anniversary themes are salt, pottery, linen, and lace.
9th Anniversary: Pottery
Featured above: Autumn Themed Pottery Mug by juliaedean on Etsy
Stylish ceramics make perfect pottery presents. On the other hand, your ninth anniversary is a good opportunity to exercise your own artistic talents—try your hand at creating your own personalised masterpiece for your beloved. On the other hand, alternative 9th anniversary themes include willow and copper.
10th Anniversary: Tin
To celebrate a decade of togetherness, tin may not sound too promising. But if you get creative you’ll see there are so many options, from pretty tin boxes that you can hide a small gift inside to a simple tin tag like the one shown above. Alternative 10 year anniversary themes include aluminium and diamonds.
11th Anniversary: Steel
Steel is a good test of your imagination when it comes to gift buying. But actually lots of things are made of steel, from jewellery and watches to mobile phones or car accessories.
12th Anniversary: Silk
Featured above: Silk and Lace Strapless Balcony Bra Set by M&S
When it comes to silk, why not invest in some beautiful silk lingerie for yourself! Alternatively, the modern 12th wedding anniversary theme is pearls.
Furthermore, in Denmark, it’s also traditional to make a big fuss of the 12-and-a-half-year anniversary. Called a copper wedding, friends and family build the couple half an arch made from spruce (you get the other half when you reach your 25th) and the arch is decorated with flowers and lights and positioned at the door of your home.
13th Anniversary: Lace
Romantic lace is often associated with weddings. The veil made for Queen Elizabeth’s 1923 wedding to George VI required 12,000 hours of work and 12million stitches. For your 13th anniversary, why not surprise your partner with a weekend trip to Bruges, home of lace-making, or a beautiful lace dressing gown?
14th Anniversary: Ivory
Featured above: Opal Dragonfly Pendant Necklace by Silverbird1Jewelry on Etsy
Ivory comes from elephants, so if you want to follow tradition in cruelty-free style, choose the modern alternatives of opal or gold gifts instead.
15th Anniversary: Crystal
Anniversary symbols vary worldwide. In some cultures, your 15th wedding anniversary is called a ‘glass’ wedding. Time to get that conservatory you always wanted? A greenhouse? Or just go simple and sweet by toasting each other with champagne in new crystal glasses. An alternative 15th anniversary theme is watches.
Furthermore, if renewing your wedding vows appeals to you, your 15th anniversary—one of the first ‘big’ ones—could be the time to do it. You can make the service as formal or informal as you like, have a civil or religious ceremony, or fly to an exotic location to say ‘I do’ all over again.
16th Anniversary: Topaz
To celebrate your 16th anniversary, consider a beautiful piece of topaz-inspired jewellery. Another 16th wedding anniversary theme however is silverware.
17th Anniversary: Carnelian
Celebrate your 17th wedding anniversary with the traditional gift of furniture, or look for inspiration in one of the precious stones associated with this anniversary, such as a beautiful carnelian.
18th Anniversary: Garnet
You might not fancy buying each other garnets, but there’s nothing wrong with taking a weekend break in the home of these red gems—Prague. If you love the idea of a city filled with gothic architecture and romance, this is the place to go. Other 18th wedding anniversary themes include porcelain and opals.
19th Anniversary: Aquamarine
Featured above: Aquamarine Charm Necklace by IrinSkye on Etsy
Aquamarines are the colour of the sea, so what about a quick trip to the coast to celebrate your 19th anniversary? A stroll on the promenade, a quick paddle, and a champagne picnic on the beach can be a real tonic. As the poet ee cummings wrote, ‘It’s always ourselves that we find at the sea.’ An alternative could be a visit to a relaxing spa for the weekend. Continuing the water theme, fit out your bathroom with some beautiful new accessories?
On the other hand, an alternative 19th wedding anniversary theme is bronze.
20th Anniversary: China
To mark your 20th anniversary, you can always add another piece to your wedding china, as it’s fun to collect things over time. For example, Prince Albert gave Queen Victoria a set of gold and porcelain jewellery bit by bit—a brooch before their wedding, a brooch and earrings for Christmas, and a wreath on their fifth wedding anniversary in 1845. A modern 20th wedding anniversary theme is platinum.
21st Anniversary: Brass
If you want to do more than gift your other half a brass sculpture or accessory, be ‘bold as brass’ and take your beloved for an extreme sports experience such as bungee jumping or whitewater rafting.
22nd Anniversary: Copper
Brass and copper are not necessarily the most romantic of metals but use your imagination and you could make something of them. Copper-bottomed saucepans are prized by celebrity chefs, and there are so many gorgeous copper cups on the market nowadays.
23rd Anniversary: Silver Plate
Featured above: Silver Plated Calla Lily Champagne Glasses
Silver things are classy and elegant, and in many people’s eyes silver is much more stylish than gold. As any jeweller will tell you, there are plenty of things made in silver plate, so you have so many options for your 23rd anniversary gift.
24th Anniversary: Musical Instruments
Featured above: Iyanna Monique – Solo Violinist for Weddings
If you’re musically inclined this is the perfect opportunity to write your beloved a song or to compmose a piece of music dedicated to them. But, instead of an instrument, how about tickets to a concert or a new CD for the collection? Alternatively, other 24th anniversary themes include opals and lavender.
25th Anniversary: Silver
Featured above: Antique Style Silver Cake Serving Set
Silver weddings have a long tradition. In medieval Germany, husbands gave their wives a wreath of silver when they had been married for 25 years. ‘Sylver brydells’ are mentioned in an English church record of 1624, and the term ‘silver feast’ is attributed to the Germans in a letter to Dr Samuel Johnson in 1806.
Couples may want to buy something to special to commemorate this major milestone. Choose from a huge range of silver items to celebrate your 25 years together, whether that’s a lovely silver frame for one of your wedding photographs or even a piece of jewellery for each of you.
26th Anniversary: Pictures
How about having your portrait painted as a special anniversary gift? A less costly option is to enlarge and frame a favourite (wedding?) photo. Otherwise, keep an eye out in local galleries and choose something that you both love.
27th Anniversary: Sculpture
This anniversary gives you a great opportunity to buy a lovely sculpture, either for inside your home or for your garden. You might even decide to take a class and make something yourself!
28th Anniversary: Orchids
In China, orchids symbolise nobility, friendship, elegance and perfection, making these exotic, mysterious blooms an ideal anniversary present. Bouquets of orchids or potted orchid plants are breathtaking. If you feel like splashing out, many orchids originate from Asia so perhaps it’s time for a holiday?
29th Anniversary: New Furniture
How about a new piece of garden furniture—somewhere to sit together and remember your big day? Or maybe it’s time to redecorate your living room?
30th Anniversary: Pearl
In Indian mythology, pearls are said to be dewdrops from heaven that fell into the sea. These jewels represent peace, nobility and beauty, and would make a wonderful gift. But if you can’t stretch to pearls, use their colour as an inspiration for a beautiful white gift, or be inspired by beautiful mother-of-pearl cutlery. Alternatively, modern 30th wedding anniversary themes include diamonds.
31st Anniversary: Timepieces
Consider a beautiful carriage clock or a watch for your 31st anniversary gift, or maybe something more timeless like a sundial?
32nd Anniversary: Conveyances (Vehicles)
Featured above: The Montague On The Gardens Hotel
You could always purchase that long-coveted Porsche for your anniversary, but if a car isn’t quite the right thing, why not just convey your partner to a posh hotel to enjoy a weekend of luxury as a 32nd celebration? Or hire a limo for the night and enjoy the celebrity lifestyle?
33rd Anniversary: Amethyst
Celebrate your 33rd wedding anniversary with a gift that inlcudes a stunning violet amethyst. Perhaps you’ll take inspiration from the Victorians, who were fond of making rings with a message conveyed in the first initial of each jewel. For example, a ring with a Diamond, Emerald, Amethyst, Ruby, Emerald, Sapphire and Topaz on it spelt ‘dearest’.
34th Anniversary: Opal
Featured above: Opal Pendant by Bihls on Etsy
Opals come in such a vast range of colours that you’ll be spoilt for choice.
35th Anniversary: Coral
Featured above: Sandals Resorts Caribbean Honeymoons
Jewellery is the natural choice for this anniversary gift, as coral is a beautiful material (red coral is the most valuable kind). However there are some issues surrounding the excessive or illegal harvesting of coral, so ensure you research thoroughly before you buy anything. As a safer and perhaps even more memorable 35th anniversary gift, you could head to one of the world’s great coral reefs and go for a dive together instead?
Alternatively, the modern 35th anniversary theme is jade, which was once used as currency in China and is considered to be lucky.
36th Anniversary: Bone China
Featured above: Vera Wang, Jardin, Wedgewood Tableware Collection
Say no more. You can’t argue with Wedgewood.
37th Anniversary: Alabaster
Although, generally speaking, it’s five- and ten-year anniversaries that are the most widely celebrated, there’s no reason not to mark the date of your wedding every year. So if you want to have a big bash on your 37th or 38th—go ahead! Try an alabaster carving or sculpture as a gift.
38th Anniversary: Beryl
Beryl is a little known, colourless gemstone in it’s pure form. Aquamarine is its blue version and its green version is one of the most precious gems of all—emerald.
39th Anniversary: Lace
There is no traditional material for the 39th wedding anniversary but the modern lists state lace, which also marks the 13th. 26 years on, it may be time to replace that tablecloth.
40th Anniversary: Ruby
The 40th wedding anniversary is considered to be one of the most important after the 25th, so, unsurprisingly, it’s been attached to one of the world’s most precious gems. Rubies are said to be rarer than diamonds—they symbolise health, wealth and wisdom and, of course, passion. Since the classic ruby is a beautiful red colour, why not plant a red rose in your garden as testament to your love? Or buy some vintage bottles and invite your party guests to toast the future and the past with vintage ruby port or red wine.
41st Anniversary: Land
In 1659, John Evelyn wrote in his diary about going to a ‘forty-first wedding day feast’, one of the earliest references to wedding anniversaries in English literature.
Featured above: The Woodland Trust
You don’t have to buy a piece of land for your 41st anniversary (unless you want to)—you could simply do some work in your garden together, plant some trees, go for a walk in a local place of natural beauty, or go on holiday to somewhere you’ve both always wanted to go.
42nd Anniversary: Real Estate
Could be a tough one, if taken literally. Why not splash out on a home improvement, however big or small, that you know your partner’s been dying to get done for years? Or how about a game of candlelit Monopoly?
43rd Anniversary: Travel
Featured above: Sandals Resorts Caribbean Honeymoons
This couldn’t be easier. Enjoy a day or weekend away, or head off on the holiday of your dreams! Find more anniversary trip ideas here.
44th Anniversary: Groceries
Featured above: Large Woven Picnic Basket, 250ml Swing Top Square Glass Bottles with Antique Chic “Something Sweet” Sticker, Mason Jar Drinking Glasses, Mini Mason Jar, Mason Jar “Love” Personalised Napkins, Wooden Cutlery, Mini Favour Bag, Mr and Mrs Canvas Ribbon, and Antique Chic Thank You Tag
Groceries don’t sound too exciting, but they can make a great present. Just remember to avoid standard supermarket fare and go for a luxury hamper or picnic basket instead.
45th Anniversary: Sapphire
Sapphires come in an array of colours—pink, yellow, white, green, and red as well as blue—but you don’t have to shell out for a pretty gemstone. Perhaos get the shaker out and celebrate your 45th with a multi-coloured cocktail drinks party? Alternatively, use the Victorian language of flowers to let your partner know how you feel with a colourful bouquet. You could try freesias for faithfulness, alstromeria for desire, or just a classic red rose for love.
46th Anniversary: Poetry
Featured above: Glass Dip Pen Writing Set
This is the perfect opportunity to be romantic—buy a poetry book, go to a poetry reading, or even put pen to paper yourself.
47th Anniversary: Books
Hay-on-Wye, home of the famous book festival, is the perfect place to visit for a 47th anniversary, especially if you and/or your partner are/ is a book lover. It’s a charming, picturesque place, packed with bookshops where you’ll be sure to find a volume of romantic poetry for your partner. Alternatively, there are books available for pretty much everything. If your other half loves to bake there are thousands of recipe books, and if your other half is a sports fan there are probably books dedicated to their favorite team.
48th Anniversary: Optical goods
Featured above: GetFilm
Consider a new camera or video camera for your other half, or you could even buy a telescope and spend your anniversary stargazing together.
49th Anniversary: Luxuries
Featured above: Sweet Occasions
Luxuries can be as big or small as you want, from a new cosy sweater or a luxury box of chocolates to a bottle of expensive wine.
50th Anniversary: Gold
Featured above: Matte Gold Toggle Charm Bracelet With Gemstone Charm
You’ve spent half a century together—what better cause for a celebration? Golden weddings have been marked for many years. In medieval Germany, men would present their wives with a golden wreath on their 50th anniversary. This was said to symbolise harmony.
Going for gold is the obvious choice for a 50th wedding gift and you may want to use the opportunity to buy each other new wedding rings to add to your old ones. You could even have special inscriptions made inside the rings to mark the occasion.
55th Anniversary: Emerald
Featured above: Emerald Acrylic – Distinguished Handmade Pen by OrtmannWoodcraft on Etsy
These precious stones symbolise love and rebirth and make beautiful jewellery. You can also use green as a basis for your anniversary party and give it a Celtic theme with some traditional Irish music. Or ‘go green’ and give your loved one a present with an ecological slant, so the gift endures for future generations too.
On the other hand, now’s your chance to take a dream trip to Ireland, the Emerald Isle, in celebration of your anniversary. You could even stay in a romantic castle. If you fancy somewhere a little warmer then consider try Sardinia’s Emerald Coast.
60th Anniversary: Diamond
The word ‘diamond’ originates from the Greek adamas, meaning ‘unconquerable’—which, if you’ve lasted 60 years, is the perfect epithet for your own marriage. Splash out in celebration of this fantastic event and buy a beautiful piece of diamond jewellery.
Furthermore, the Queen sends out congratulatory messages to British citizens at home and abroad on their 60th, 65th and 70th anniversaries, and each one thereafter. To receive yours, you need to complete a form and send it no sooner than three weeks prior to the anniversary date.
65th Anniversary: Blue Sapphire
70th Anniversary: Platinum
After 70 years together, you’ve earned your own platinum record. And like the metal, your marriage is strong, precious, and quite rare. Eternity rings are a popular anniversary present. Of course, you can buy one whenever you feel like it, but it might be an ideal gift to mark a special anniversary like the 70th.
75th Anniversary: Diamond
Although the 75th is the second diamond wedding in the anniversary calendar, it was actually the first to exist—the 60th was added in 1897 when Queen Victoria celebrated her Diamond Jubilee.
Featured above: Diamond Shaped Tealight Candle Holders
Diamonds form under extreme heat and pressure over a long, long time. While you may not have the wealth to afford actual diamonds for your 75th anniversary, some diamond wedding anniversary gift ideas include diamond motifs on a piece of wall art or as part of an ornament, or even pretty diamond shaped boxes.
Seventy-five years is a long time, but not as long as the 86-year marriage of one Taiwanese couple, which ended when wife Liu Yang-wan died aged 103. Their union made it into the Guinness Book of World Records but, of course, new records are being set all the time.
Or take a couple of minutes to look over these funny, romantic, and meaningful marriage quotes and let the memories of your wedding day wash over you.