The Ultimate Guide to Anniversary Gifts by Year

From the first to the 60th anniversary, discover modern and traditional gifts to cherish each milestone with the perfect present.

From the the first-anniversary gift of paper to the enduring bond represented by the 60th anniversary gift of diamond, each gift tells a couple's unique love story. Get ideas for your wedding anniversary gifts whether you choose the traditional or modern gift theme!

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Photo: Greg Finck

Are you marking another year of marriage and searching for the perfect gift for your wedding anniversary? Look no further – our guide details traditional and modern anniversary gifts by year, providing you with traditional gift ideas and modern anniversary gift suggestions for each celebrated anniversary year.

From first-year paper tokens to golden gifts for your 50th anniversary, we’ll help you commemorate your love with a thoughtful and suitable present based on the traditional and modern wedding anniversary gifts.

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Photo by Michael Anthony Photography; Bridal Salon: Panache Bridal of Beverly Hills; Planning & Design by Edgar Hay Events; From Real Wedding: A Luxury Wedding with Sparkling Crystals & Celestial Details in California

Traditional & Modern Wedding Anniversary Gifts: Key Takeaways

  • Wedding anniversary gifts traditionally increase in value and symbolism with each year, starting with paper for the first year, followed by materials such as cotton, leather, wood, and diamonds for subsequent milestones.
  • Modern twists on anniversary gifts complement traditional ones, with options like clocks for the first anniversary, china for the second, and so on, reflecting the evolving nature of a couple’s journey and shared experiences in lieu of or in addition to a more traditional gift.
  • Significant effort should be placed on choosing meaningful gifts that celebrate the unique bond between partners, with the type of material for both modern and traditional wedding anniversary gifts symbolizing aspects like strength, flexibility, purity, and richness, correlating to the number of years married.

Bride & Groom Portrait at Oheka Castle wedding anniversary gifts by year

Photo by Stanlo Photography; Venue: Oheka Castle; From Real Wedding: A Fairy-Tale "Black Royalty" Wedding at Oheka Castle in New York

Anniversary Gifts by Year: Celebrating Love and Commitment

The tradition of gifting based on the number of years married dates back to the Victorian era and has grown in popularity ever since. The basis for these modern interpretations is the idea that each gift should increase in value over time to reflect the couple’s growing investment in their relationship. These wedding-anniversary gifts, both traditional and modern, serve as a sentimental compass, guiding couples in the selection of the appropriate anniversary gift to honor a couple’s journey together.

Some examples of traditional anniversary gifts include:

  • Paper for the first anniversary
  • Cotton for the second anniversary
  • Leather for the third anniversary
  • Fruit or flowers for the fourth anniversary
  • Wood for the fifth anniversary

Some examples of modern anniversary gifts include:

  • Clocks for the first anniversary
  • China for the second anniversary
  • Crystal for the third anniversary
  • Appliances for the fourth anniversary
  • Silverware for the fifth anniversary

These are just a few examples leading you from years one through five, and of course, there are many more traditional and modern anniversary gift ideas for each year of marriage.

The major milestone wedding anniversaries are typically the first few years up to 10 years, and then every five and 10 years thereafter; however, we're sharing wedding anniversary gift ideas for years one through 20, as well as every five years until the 60th wedding anniversary.

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Explore the world of anniversary gifts by year and discover how these milestones can be transformed into unforgettable celebrations of love and commitment.

First Anniversary: Paper & Clocks

The first wedding anniversary is a major milestone, marking the beginning of a lifelong journey of shared experiences and precious moments, including many wedding anniversaries to come.

The traditional gift for this occasion is paper, symbolizing a blank canvas for the future ahead . Think of it as the first chapter of your unfolding love story. As you search for wedding anniversary gifts, consider the significance of this first milestone and choose something that reflects your unique bond and personalities. (For inspiration, discover these first anniversary gift ideas!)

If you’re seeking a modern twist, clocks are the way to go. They represent timeless love, signifying that like a clock, your love for each other is constant and enduring.

So, whether it’s a personalized stationery, a wedding album, or a stylish wall clock, your first anniversary gift should be as unique as your love story.

Second Anniversary: Cotton & China

Strength and flexibility, crucial to a thriving marriage, mark the essence of the second anniversary.

The traditional gift for this milestone is cotton, symbolizing the interwoven bond of the couple, reflecting strength when woven together.

The modern alternative, china, signifies both beauty and durability, but also the care and nurture required in a marriage due to its fragility.

Gifts ideas for the second anniversary can range from cozy cotton robes to decorative china plates, each representing a unique aspect of your growing relationship.

Third Anniversary: Leather & Crystal

As you celebrate your third anniversary, the traditional gift of leather highlights the strength and resilience that are now a significant part of your maturing marriage. It stands for durability and protection, just like the bond you share.

For a modern gift, crystal or glass underscores the clarity and transparency of your relationship. The reflective nature of glass suggests a luminous and hopeful future for the couple.

Consider a personalized leather card holder or a crystal ornament as an ideal gift to celebrate this milestone.

Fourth Anniversary: Fruit and Flowers & Appliances

The fourth anniversary commemorates the growth and blossoming of your relationship.

The traditional gifts for this milestone are fruit and flowers, representing the blooming and nourishment of your love.

If you’re looking for a modern take, appliances serve as practical gifts that can add comfort to your daily lives, acknowledging the pragmatic aspects of your partnership.

So, whether it’s a live Bonsai tree or a set of high-end kitchen appliances, there’s always a creative way to mark this special anniversary.

Fifth Anniversary: Wood & Silverware

Reaching the five-year mark in marriage is a notable milestone, and the chosen gifts for this anniversary mirror the significance for such an important milestone in marriage.

Wood, the traditional gift, symbolizes the strength and durability of your marriage, as well as the establishment of strong roots.

Silverware, the modern gift, signifies the elegance and refinement of the shared meals and bond formed over the past five years.

Whether it’s a personalized wooden game or a set of fine silverware, these gifts pay homage to the journey you’ve embarked on together.

Sixth Anniversary: Sugar or Iron & Wood

Combining sweetness and strength, the sixth anniversary is aptly represented by its traditional gifts. The sweetness of sugar reflects the sweetness and delight in the marriage, while iron symbolizes the strong and stable nature of the relationship by the sixth year.

If you’re leaning towards a more modern gift, wood represents the couple’s adaptability and strength.

So, whether it’s a box of gourmet sugar-coated candies, a cast-iron pan, or a handmade wooden piece, the sixth anniversary is all about celebrating the sweetness and strength of your marital bond.

Seventh Anniversary: Copper or Wool & Desk Sets or Stationery

For the seventh wedding anniversary, a gift encapsulating warmth and accomplishment is ideal.

Copper and wool are the traditional gifts, with copper – known for its conductive nature – representing warmth and wool symbolizing comfort.

If you’re more inclined towards modern gifts, a desk set or personalized stationery offer great ways to celebrate your shared accomplishments.

Consider gifting a an elegant copper cookware set or a cozy wool blanket for traditional anniversary gifts or a personalized desk organizer for a modern anniversary gift to make your seventh anniversary truly special.

Eighth Anniversary: Bronze & Linen or Lace

The eighth anniversary stands witness to the strength and delicacy inherent in your relationship.

Bronze, the traditional gift, symbolizes strength and durability, while linen and lace represent intricate beauty as the modern gift.

Whether it’s a bronze sculpture or decorative accent, linen bedding, or a lace accessory, the perfect eighth anniversary gift will combine strength and beauty, much like your enduring partnership.

Ninth Anniversary: Pottery or Willow & Leather

When celebrating your ninth anniversary, contemplate how your relationship has been molded over time.

Pottery and willow, the traditional gifts, symbolize the ability to mold, adapt, and be flexible in a relationship. Leather, the modern gift, represents durability and improvement with age.

Consider a handcrafted pottery vase or set of handcrafted ceramic plates, a willow picnic basket, or a stylish leather accessory for a ninth anniversary gift that celebrates your ability to work together in harmony.

10th Anniversary: Tin or Aluminum & Diamonds

A decade’s worth of love warrants a celebration. Tin or aluminum, the traditional 10th-anniversary gifts, represent preservation and the ability for a marriage to last through time. Diamonds, the modern gift, reflect the strength and beauty of a decade-long union, and may be more appealing to many couples celebrating 10 years of a successful marriage.

So, whether it’s a tin keepsake box, aluminum wall art or even a car, or a diamond necklace, make your 10th anniversary a celebration of your enduring love with these enduring material options.

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11th Anniversary: Steel & Fashion Jewelry

Strength and style define the essence of the eleventh anniversary. Steel, the traditional gift, symbolizes the strength and stability of your maturing marriage. In contrast, fashion jewelry, the modern gift, adds a touch of elegance and personal style.

Gift ideas include a steel watch, a custom piece of fashion jewelry, or a blend of both to make your eleventh anniversary a celebration of your strong and stylish union.

12th Anniversary: Silk or Linen & Pearls

The 12th anniversary calls for a celebration of the seamless journey you’ve traversed together. Silk or linen, the traditional gifts for this wedding-anniversary year, symbolize smoothness and purity, while pearls, the modern gift, add a touch of elegance and sophistication.

Whether it’s silk bedding, linen clothing, or pearl jewelry, make your twelfth anniversary a celebration of the smooth and pure love you share together.

13th Anniversary: Lace & Textiles or Furs

The lucky 13th anniversary revolves around intricate beauty and warmth.

Lace, the traditional 13th-anniversary gift, symbolizes the intricate beauty of your relationship. In contrast, the modern gift of textiles or furs adds a touch of warmth and comfort.

So, whether it’s a lace tablecloth, a textile wall hanging, or a faux-fur throw, ensure your 13th anniversary gift honors the celebration of beauty and warmth in your relationship.

14th Anniversary: Ivory & Gold Jewelry

The accomplishment of 14 years filled with love and togetherness merits a beautiful gift. Ivory, the traditional 14th anniversary gift, symbolizes purity and innocence, while the modern gift of gold jewelry adds a touch of elegance and sophistication.

Consider an ivory décor piece for your home or a gold necklace to honor this celebration of your love's purity and elegance.

15h Anniversary: Crystal & Watches

The grandeur of 15 years filled with shared experiences and cherished moments calls for a grand celebration. Crystal, the traditional 15th anniversary gift, symbolizes pure love and sophistication, while watches, the modern gift, represent timeless love.

From crystal vases or barware to a designer watch, these traditional and modern themes honor love and timelessness.

Rolex Gift for Groom from Bride wedding anniversary gifts by year watches

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16th Anniversary: Wax & Silver Hollowware

The 16th anniversary honors the adaptability of your relationship. Wax, the traditional gift, symbolizes the ability to adapt and mold to life’s challenges, while silver hollowware, the modern gift, represents elegance and sophistication.

Consider a set of scented candles, beautiful colored taper candles, or silver holloware (an item of tableware – such as sugar bowls, soup tureens, and jugs – that isn't flatware) to mark this special occasion.

17th Anniversary: Furniture

For this noteworthy milestone celebrating 17years of love and commitment, the modern and traditional gift is the same: furniture.

Whether it’s a cozy armchair, a stylish coffee table, or a custom-made piece of furniture, your 17th anniversary celebration is one that symbolizes comfort and stability in your maturing marriage.

18th Anniversary: Porcelain

For a loving relationship filled with laughter, challenges, and unforgettable moments, 18 years is celebrated with porcelain. Both a modern and traditional symbol, porcelain honors the beauty and durability of your relationship. Consider a porcelain vase, a set of porcelain dishes, or a unique porcelain ornament when gift giving.

19th Anniversary: Bronze

Bronze, the traditional and modern 19th anniversary gift, symbolizes the strength and resilience of your bond. Look for a bronze vase or décor piece, a bronze watch, or unique bronze bookends for this anniversary before the next milestone anniversary.

20th Anniversary: China & Platinum

Two decades married marks a milestone deserving of a joyous celebration. China, the traditional 20th anniversary gift, symbolizes the beauty and elegance of your relationship, while platinum, the modern gift idea, symbolizes the strength and durability of your bond.

So, whether it’s a fine china tea set, platinum jewelry, or a blend of both to mark this special occasion, honor the beauty, strength, and durability of your relationship.

Vow Renewal Save-the-Date Card for 30th wedding anniversary gift ideas

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25th Anniversary: Silver

A quarter of a century filled with love and commitment to one another signifies another noteworthy milestone. Silver, the traditional 25th anniversary gift, symbolizes the brightness, clarity, and durability of your relationship.

From a silver photo frame to sterling silver jewelry to a gorgeous antique silver serving set, celebrate 25 years of marriage with something truly special.

30th Anniversary: Pearl & Diamonds

A grand celebration is in order for three decades filled with laughter, challenges, and memorable moments in your marriage.

Pearls, the traditional 30th anniversary gift, symbolize the purity and beauty of your relationship, while diamonds, the modern gift (the same gift as the 10th anniversary), represent the strength and durability of your bond.

Consider pearl earrings or a pearl necklace, a diamond ring or eternity band, or a gift idea that blends diamonds and pearls, the present can even be reminiscent of your wedding day.

35th Anniversary: Coral & Jade

Coral is the traditional 35th anniversary gift symbolizing longevity and jade is the modern alternative symbolizing good fortune and love.

Whether you gift a coral necklace or an item in the bright coral hue, a jade bracelet, or a piece that blends both coral elements and the jade gemstone, this is a year to get creative for both traditional and modern gifts.

40th Anniversary: Ruby

Sharing the same traditional and modern gift once again, the 40th wedding anniversary calls for ruby to symbolize the passion and intensity of your relationship. Of course, a ruby ring, pendant, earrings make a beautiful choice, while couples also often choose pieces in a bold ruby hue for more options.

Sparkling Wedding Accessories with Veil wedding anniversary gift ideas

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45th Anniversary: Sapphire

A noteworthy milestone is achieved with 45 years of marriage. Sapphire, the traditional and modern 45th anniversary gift, symbolizes the wisdom and royalty of your relationship. Consider sapphire jewelry for this special anniversary!

50th Anniversary: Gold

Half a century together deserves a grand celebration. Gold, the traditional 50th anniversary gift, symbolizes the richness and durability of your relationship and marriage. Whether you choose a gold watch, a gold bracelet, or a golden décor accent for your home, find an anniversary gift that honors this special milestone.

55th Anniversary: Emerald

Emerald, the traditional 55th anniversary gift, symbolizes the unity and longevity of your relationship. Consider emerald earrings, an emerald bracelet, or a unique piece in an emerald green hue to honor this 55th anniversary's gemstone.

60th Anniversary: Diamond

While diamonds were the modern gift for both the 10th and 30th wedding anniversaries, diamonds mark the traditional wedding anniversary gift to celebrate six decades. Symbolizing the enduring and unbreakable bond of your relationship, consider a diamond necklace, a diamond tennis bracelet, or a diamond ring for this momentous occasion.

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Photo by Laurie Bailey Photography; Planning & Design by Linda Howard Events; From Real Event: 50th Anniversary Party + A Surprise Vow Renewal in Beverly Hills

Creative Anniversary Celebration Ideas

While traditional and modern gifts are a lovely way to commemorate your wedding anniversary, the celebration doesn’t have to stop there. There are countless ways to celebrate your special day that go beyond the traditional dinner out with your beloved.

Here are some wedding anniversary celebration ideas:

  • Go to a concert featuring your favorite band
  • Explore a new trail on an exhilarating hike
  • Surprise your partner with a getaway to an unexpected destination
  • Indulge in a beer- or wine-tasting experience
  • Host a delightful game night just the two of you or with friends and family
  • Embark on a spontaneous road trip
  • Visit the destination where you got married
  • Have a staycation
  • See a performance you've been wanting to experience
  • Make a reservation to try a tasting menu from a chef you admire
  • Celebrate your love with a vow renewal

The possibilities are endless! The most important thing is to celebrate your wedding anniversary in a way that reflects your unique relationship.

Vow Renewal Overlooking Ocean wedding anniversary gift ideas

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Wedding anniversaries are milestones that celebrate the journey of your love and commitment to one another. Each of the anniversary years has a traditional gift and modern alternatives associated with it, signifying different aspects of a relationship.

From the strength symbolized by the first-anniversary gift of paper to the enduring bond represented by the 60th anniversary gift of diamond, each gift tells a couple's unique love story. But remember, while gifts are a beautiful way to celebrate these milestone anniversaries, the most important thing is the love and commitment shared between you and your partner. Whether it’s your first anniversary or your 60th, celebrate it in a way that truly reflects your relationship.

Opening photo by Greg Finck; From Real Wedding: Luxury Outdoor Destination Wedding on Puglia's Salento Coast in Italy