Match your gifts to every meaningful milestone anniversary in your life with this quick guide to themed wedding anniversary gifts by year.
Wedding anniversary gift themes date all the way back to the Middle Ages with the silver and gold 25th and 50th milestone wedding anniversaries, respectively. And while the exact origins of this practice remain mostly unknown, it’s now a commonly accepted cultural tradition to give gifts that correspond to specific wedding anniversary themes.
Generally, as the number of years of marriage increases, so does the value and durability of the gifts or materials associated with them, representing the growth and strengthening of a relationship. That is why the first wedding anniversary theme is paper and the 60th is diamonds.
Celebrate your own and your loved ones’ milestone anniversary with the perfect combination of tradition and your own originality with personalized anniversary gifts. Check out our list of the top anniversary themes, and pair each one with personalized anniversary gifts that will give the special occasion that extra sentimental meaning.
What is a milestone anniversary?
Every wedding anniversary year should be celebrated by the married couple, but big milestone anniversaries call for special celebrations.
The meaning is quite simple: It’s a significant and important year in one’s marriage that’s bigger, or more noteworthy, than other years. So, for example, a 10th year anniversary is considered a milestone anniversary, but the years leading up to it (years seven, eight, or nine) are not. Typically, milestone anniversaries come every five or 10 years, but, of course, the first wedding anniversary is considered a milestone as well.
Here are the most important anniversary milestones not to be missed and the corresponding gift theme:
- First anniversary: Paper
- Fifth anniversary: Wood
- 10th anniversary: Tin and aluminum
- 15th anniversary: Crystal
- 20th anniversary: China
- 25th anniversary: Silver
- 30th anniversary: Pearls
- 40th anniversary: Rubies
- 50th anniversary: Gold
Find unique gift ideas below for each of these wedding anniversary milestones, whether you’re shopping for your significant other, your parents or grandparents, or another couple celebrating their wedding vows.
One-year anniversary milestone: Paper gifts
The first wedding anniversary is a significant milestone that couples celebrating will remember for years to come. When looking for one-year anniversary gifts, consider paper, clocks, and gold jewelry.
The traditional first year anniversary gift is paper, which symbolizes new beginnings and the fragile state of a new marriage. The modern first year anniversary milestone gift is clocks. The symbolic color is gold or yellow, so if you’re considering a jewelry gift, go with something gold. The traditional anniversary flowers are carnations and pansies.
If you want to stick with a traditional first year anniversary gift, consider writing a love letter or creating a set of love coupons for your spouse. Both gift ideas are creative and involve paper. Of course, you can also create a gift that looks like paper, such as a love letter blanket with your own words written on it.
If you’re on a budget, frame your wedding vows as a gift that will also become your wedding keepsake. If you’re looking for an experience gift, consider a set of tickets to a concert, sporting event, or museum, or even plane tickets for a romantic getaway.
Five-year anniversary milestone: Wood gifts
The fifth wedding anniversary calls to mind the lasting endurance of trees and their unique ability to develop deep roots and withstand the test of time. When looking for five-year anniversary gifts, consider wood, silverware, and sapphire jewelry.
The traditional fifth anniversary gift is wood, which represents the strength of your marital bond and the insight gained in your first five years as a wedded couple. The modern fifth year anniversary milestone gift is silverware. The symbolic colors are blue, pink, and turquoise, the sapphire is the preferred choice for a jewelry gift, and the anniversary flowers are daisies.
For wood anniversary gifts, look for personalized wooden picture frames and photo albums featuring functional, beautiful displays that show off the special time you or the couple you’re celebrating have spent together. Fill wooden keepsake and jewelry boxes with cherished possessions, or use wooden signs, wall art, and other decor items to infuse your home with daily reminders of your love.
If you or the couple you’re buying for love cooking together, consider custom engraved wood cutting boards, cheese boards, recipe boxes, wooden bowls, and other kitchen accessories to make each meal even more special.
10-year anniversary: Tin and aluminum
Ten-year wedding anniversary gifts traditionally feature a tin and aluminum theme, representing the durability of your marriage. When looking for 10-year milestone anniversary gifts, consider tin, aluminum and diamond jewelry.
The traditional 10th anniversary gifts are tin, aluminum, and other other metals that display similar qualities. These metals’ ability to shield against rust and corrosion suggests the preservation and longevity of your connection. Tin and aluminum also symbolize pliability, as your decade-long relationship is flexible enough to bend without breaking. The jewelry of choice, and the modern gift option, is diamond jewelry and accessories, such as a watch or tie bar. The anniversary colors are silver and blue, and the flowers are daffodils.
Shopping for gifts in this theme is simpler than you might think. One of our favorite milestone gift ideas is to design a custom aluminum home plaque to spruce up the home you’ve built together, or choose classic serving platters or photo frames made from sturdy aluminum instead. Keep the flame of romance burning strong for any couple celebrating their 10-year anniversary with customized mason jar candles featuring classic tin lids in 14 bright color options.
You can also customize stunning aluminum photo panels that will turn your favorite photos into high definition works of art printed on glossy metal.
15-year anniversary milestone: Crystal
The 15th anniversary is all about crystal, which symbolizes clarity. When looking for 15-year anniversary gifts, consider crystal, watches, and gemstone jewelry.
The traditional 15-year anniversary gift is crystal, which represents the clarity, transparency, and solidity required for a successful relationship. The modern 15-year anniversary milestone gifts are watches, and preferably a set for the both of you. If you’re looking for jewelry, consider Swarovski crystal or gemstone jewelry with ethically sourced rubies. The symbolic 15th anniversary color is ruby red, and the flowers are roses.
After 15 years of marriage, you and your partner deserve wedding anniversary gifts made of treasured crystal to symbolize the strength of your investment in your union, your sparkling love, and the clear, open communication you two share. Take your crystal anniversary gifts a step further by engraving names or initials, a heartfelt message, your wedding date, and more on crystal gifts that will last for decades. Consider a dazzling etched crystal flower vase, crystal champagne flutes, or a quality whiskey decanter and glass set. Find beautiful crystal votive candles and keepsakes you can proudly display in your home or customize as a gift for other couples celebrating their 15 years of marriage.
25-year anniversary theme: Silver
Silver, a precious metal prized for its splendor and nobility, is the ideal material to help you celebrate a quarter century of marriage. When looking for the perfect 25th anniversary gifts, consider silver and silver jewelry.
Silver is the modern and traditional 25th anniversary milestone gift, and is considered holy in some cultures. Silver symbolizes your sacred bond and enduring love. As you might have guessed, the 25th anniversary jewelry theme is also silver, as is the color. The symbolic flower is the iris, which offers a beautiful contrast to the glistening silver.
Silver has a deep history when it comes to wedding anniversary gifts. During the Middle Ages, the husband would crown his wife with a wreath of silver on their 25th wedding anniversary, and today the silver theme remains.
Mark this momentous occasion with radiant, custom silver jewelry and accessories, such as silver earrings, a bracelet, or necklace for her, and cufflinks, watch, or tie bar for him. Customize a silver picture frame to commemorate the occasion and display your most precious wedding memories.
When looking for silver gifts for couples, look for things that are made to last. Consider a silver Christmas ornament they can hang on their tree year after year or a silver photo album to fill with photos of their 25th anniversary party, renewal of vows celebration, or second honeymoon. If you’re looking for something they can use, a monogrammed silver ice bucket, wine chiller, or beverage tub are all silver gifts they can break out when entertaining.
50-year anniversary milestone: Gold
Five decades. Half a century. Fifty years. A marriage that lasts that long deserves an equally weighty theme — precious gold. When looking for the perfect 50th anniversary gifts, consider gold and gold jewelry.
Gold is the traditional and modern 50th anniversary milestone gift. Gold is not only a gorgeous material but a symbol of prosperity and wisdom. For these reasons, gold is the theme of choice to commemorate the remarkable 50-year wedding anniversary. Gold is also the jewelry of choice, although golden topaz is also an option. The symbolic flowers are yellow roses and violets, and the color, you guessed it, is gold.
Just as with the 25th anniversary theme, the golden wedding anniversary can be traced back to the Middle Ages. Husbands would crown their wives with a wreath of gold to celebrate the anniversary of their vows, and the golden tradition remains to this day.
There’s no shortage of gift options with golden details, including plenty of personalized anniversary gifts that add special meaning and personality. Commemorate this momentous occasion with engraved champagne flutes with gold hammered accents or a gold cake knife and server set. If you’re looking for a gift for your parents or grandparents, look for something they’ll enjoy, such as a custom throw with their wedding and 50th anniversary photos side by side, or a personalized family tree. One of the most popular 50th milestone gifts is an anniversary chronicle that makes an interesting and unique keepsake they’ll love and cherish for years.