Unique Wedding Anniversary Gift Ideas for Every Year

Do you celebrate your wedding anniversary each year? Traditionally each wedding anniversary was associated with gifts made from a different material from paper for the first anniversary through to diamond for the 60th anniversary. Here's how to come up with unique wedding anniversary gift ideas that follow the traditional and modern themes.

Steve and I have been notoriously hopeless at celebrating our anniversary. I suppose because we had a baby by the time the first one rolled around and then added more babies and more cats, so our 'special day' kind of got overlooked in all that living.

But last year, our tenth wedding anniversary, he surpassed himself and put together a box of gifts with one item for each traditional gift theme over the ten years. Each item had a little note explaining how it matched the theme and why he had chosen it and I had to unwrap them in turn. Very cute.

The Traditional Wedding Anniversary Gift Themes

Men and women may have different ideas about what 'romantic' means, but both know anniversary gifts are an important way to express how much they care for each other. In fact some of the traditional themed gift ideas are believed to go back as far as Ancient Rome.

Whether you are buying a gift for your first anniversary or your 50th, unique gifts are perfect. Here are the traditional wedding anniversary themes and some ideas for unique gifts sure to delight your other half.

1st Anniversary: Paper

The first wedding anniversary is the paper anniversary, fragile but also a clean slate. You could buy a framed original edition of a newspaper, for example of your partners date of birth, a first edition of a favourite book, or tickets to a theatre show.

2nd Anniversary: Cotton

The second anniversary is the cotton anniversary, durable and versatile as the fibres of your lives get woven together. Of course you could buy underwear, but maybe gorgeous matching his and hers cotton bath robes are more your style?

3rd Anniversary: Leather

The third anniversary is the leather anniversary, representing shelter and security. This is one that may or may not be acceptable to you and your partner, but faux leather definitely counts. Anything from leather belts to a leatherette phone cover or a leather strapped watch is perfect.

4th Anniversary: Fruit and Flowers

The fourth anniversary is the fruit and flowers anniversary, indicating that your marriage has really started to blossom and ripen. Nothing says we made it to year four better than a bouquet of beautiful flowers. But if you often send flowers, how about a wine tasting experience? Those grapes were once fruit after all!

5th Anniversary: Wood

The fifth anniversary is the wood anniversary, with your marriage (hopefully) going from strength to strength. Instead of thinking about a wooden carving or piece of wooden furniture you could take a long anniversary weekend in a romantic log cabin and get away from your hectic lives for a few days.

6th Anniversary: Iron or Sugar

The symbol of the sixth anniversary is iron (metal not appliance) symbolising the strength of your marriage or sugar for how sweet your love is, dependent on where you come from. Wrought iron furniture such as this butterfly garden loveseat would be perfect, or golf clubs! If you go down the sugar route, a box of chocolates is fine, or better still a whole chocolate-making experience for two.

7th Anniversary: Copper or Wool

Obviously these two are very different but it does mean that you could buy a woollen blanket for those cold nights in or matching copper bangles. Copper is a great conductor of heat, symbolising the warmth and stability of your marriage. Copper pans or these gorgeous copper mugs perfect for celebratory drinks would be amazing. Maybe wool is for the infamous seven year itch?!

8th Anniversary: Bronze

The eighth anniversary is the bronze anniversary. An amalgam of copper for luck and tin for durability, bronze represents the blending of your two hearts, stronger together. A perfect gift for this anniversary might be a bronze sculpture  - or a holiday so you can both do some 'bronzing' in the sun, perhaps?

9th Anniversary: Pottery

The ninth anniversary is the pottery anniversary, representing the evolution of your union from raw material to something solid but beautiful. This is an easy one to buy for, with plenty of gorgeous pottery pieces like mugs, plates, plant pots and vases available. I love this beautiful handmade heart shaped bowl.

10th Anniversary: Tin or Aluminium

The tenth anniversary is the tin or aluminium anniversary, more metals that last and do not wear down. These days aluminium is used for a wealth of items but tin tends to be a little rarer. A good gift for this anniversary would be an aluminium watch or perhaps a tin keepsake box to store your memories in. This everlasting tin rose is a beautiful 10th anniversary gift.

There is then a big leap to 20 years, although there's no reason you can't cycle through the themes from years 1 to 9 again!

Flowers also have significance when celebrating a wedding anniversary with different flowers having their own particular meanings, such as daisies for the fifth anniversary, daffodils for the tenth, and roses for the fifteenth.

Iris is for the twenty fifth year, sweet pea for the thirtieth, nasturtium the fortieth, and violets for the fiftieth wedding anniversary. But if the flower for your year is out of season, you could buy a picture, a piece of pottery or even a cushion with that flower on instead.

20th Anniversary: China

To mark twenty years together the 20th anniversary gift is china, a symbol of beauty and also fragility. Don't take it for granted and treat it gently, even after two decades. A beautiful set of china is the obvious gift, or perhaps a memorable trip to China itself?

25th Anniversary: Silver

With the 25th anniversary you've made it into the big league. It's only right to celebrate with that beautiful precious metal as the value of your marriage just grows and grows. Silver jewellery is always a sure-fire way to please your other half, or perhaps they would like to make their own at a silver making workshop?

30th Anniversary: Pearl

The 30th anniversary is the pearl anniversary as this opalescent beauties take years to form, like your three decade union. Jewellery is the answer again, perhaps, although a romantic seaside trip would fit the bill too. perhaps to beautiful St Mawes with a pile of books each and some delicious dinners overlooking the sea?

40th Anniversary: Ruby

40 years of marriage together calls for something special. The ruby is the stone of love and passion, a symbol of your deep and unwavering love for one another. So a stunning blood-red ruby ring perhaps or stud earrings, or some ruby red glassware?

45th Anniversary: Sapphire

The legend of the sapphire is that, should the wearer’s love begin to diminish, the colour of the stone will gradually transition from blue into green. A sapphire ring or necklace is perfect, but anything of the deep blue sapphire colour would make an excellent gift, such as a sapphire blue ornament or even a beautiful sapphire coloured sweater.

50th Anniversary: Gold

After half a century of being married, you’ve made it to the gold standard. Gold represents the strength, wisdom, prosperity and significance of your marriage. As the most prized metal, it is a symbol of something that cannot be replaced. Gold jewellery is the only choice really!

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