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Wedding Anniversary Gifts

Anniversary Gift Ideas to Celebrate a Couple's Special Day

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Traditional wedding anniversary gifts are chosen from a list of materials that are designated for each year of a couple's married life. The first wedding anniversary is symbolized with paper, and from there traditional anniversary gifts become more precious or scarce to reflect the growing number of years a couple has remained together.

Wedding Anniversary Customs

No one is certain just when the traditional anniversary gift list came into existence, but it probably evolved over time. Calling years twenty-five and fifty 'Silver' and 'Gold' may have originated in medieval Europe, where wives were given a silver wreath to celebrate their twenty-fifth year of marriage and a gold wreath for their fiftieth wedding anniversary.

Diamond Wedding Anniversaries

Diamonds are traditional wedding anniversary gifts in both the sixtieth and seventh-fifth years. Year sixty probably became a part of existing traditions when Queen Victoria celebrated her Diamond Jubilee after sixty years on the British throne.

The traditional list may seem somewhat boring for the early years, but it doesn't have to be if you get creative. There are many ways you can turn each year's anniversary theme into a special gift.

Anniversary Gift Ideas for the First Years, Paper and Cotton

  • A lovely origami booklet or box folded in a shape that's special to the recipient. And, hint--hint, you can tuck a second gift into the paper.

  • Paper tickets to a movie, the theatre, a concert or another performance.

  • A first edition of a favorite book.

  • Paper flowers that will never fade.

  • Vintage or new cotton clothing or decorative items.

  • A scrapbook with a plush cotton cover, filled with memories.

  • A cotton wallhanging or quilt, or a painting on cotton.

That's the idea. There are plenty of personal and decorative gifts for each year and I'm positive you can come up with something special.

Anniversary Gifts with a Twist

You can celebrate the yearly tradition even if you want to break away from it -- make that year's theme material a carrier for your gift instead of the actual gift.

  • Tuck a ring in a leather wallet.

  • Tie a bracelet to a bouquet of roses.

  • Hide a necklace inside the pocket of a silk robe.

  • Fold a cozy woolen shawl around another gift.

When a Traditional Anniversary Gift Won't Work

  • Ivory is traditional for the fourteenth anniversary, but most new ivory cannot be imported to the US. You can find items made from vintage ivory, but if you're among those who do not want to own the material at all you might want to consier ivory alternatives, made from nuts and seeds of palm trees and other vegetation.

  • Coral isn't as protected as ivory, but it is another item that many people do not think should be removed from nature. Choose an alternative for your thirty-fifth anniversary, or take a diving trip to see the real thing!

Wedding Anniversary Gifts by Year

First: Paper

Second: Cotton

Third: Leather

Fourth: Fruit or Flowers

Fifth: Wood

Sixth: Candy or Iron

Seventh: Wool or Copper

Eight Bronze or Pottery

Ninth: Pottery

Tenth: Tin

Eleventh: Steel

Twelfth: Silk or Linen

Thirteenth: Lace

Fourteenth: Ivory

Fifteenth: Crystal

Twentieth: China

Twenty-Fifth: Silver

Thirtieth: Pearls

Thirty-Fifth: Coral

Fortieth: Ruby

Forty-Fifth: Sapphire

Fiftieth: Gold

Fifty-Fifth: Emerald

Sixtieth: Diamond

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