Anniversaries are a special occasion that celebrate the long-standing bond between two people. When it comes to finding the perfect anniversary gift, there are a plethora of options to choose from. If you’re looking for something extra special, nothing beats the symbolic materials used in traditional wedding anniversary gifts. Let's take a look at the history behind these materials and why they have been such an important part of wedding anniversaries for centuries.
Traditionally, each year of marriage is celebrated by gifting items made from specific materials that represent different stages in a relationship. The original list of materials dates back to the Victorian era, when husbands would give their wives items made from silver or gold to mark their 5th and 10th anniversaries respectively. Today's traditional wedding anniversary gifts is based on a list published by Emily Post in her Blue Book of Social Usage, published in 1922. In her book she mentions 8 wedding anniversary years that everyone must know: 1st, 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th, 25th, 50th and 75th anniversaries. This list was then expanded with modern suggestions in 1937 by the American National Retail Jewelers Association, which included suggestions for wedding anniversary years one through twenty and every five subsequent years following that. The modern list included many more practical gifts, such as clocks, silverware, appliances and desk sets, which we find to be way less fun for a wedding anniversary gift. As such, we will focus only on the traditional list.
Here are some traditional gift ideas for each year:
• 1st Anniversary - Paper: This symbolizes how fragile relationships can be and how careful we must be in cultivating them.
• 5th Anniversary - Wood: This celebrates how strong relationships can become over time.
• 10th Anniversary - Aluminum or Tin: This signifies flexibility and durability - two things that are essential for any successful relationship.
• 15th Anniversary - Crystal or Glass: This reflects the beauty and clarity that should exist between partners in a marriage.
• 20th Anniversary – China: This symbolizes elegance, beauty, and grace that should exist in a long-term relationship. • 25th Anniversary - Silver: Silver is known as the metal of emotion which reflects the strength of feeling shared between partners over 25 years together. • 30th Anniversary – Pearl or Diamond: These represent endurance and commitment. Over 30 years together, this is essential! • 35th Anniversary – Coral or Jade: These represent wisdom gained from many years together as well as love and loyalty to each other over time. • 40th Anniversary – Ruby : Rubies signify passion, devotion, strength, courage, and love which are all keys to a successful marriage lasting more than 40 years! • 50th Anniversary – Gold : Gold symbolizes the ultimate achievement any couple can reach in their marriage—50 years together!
The traditional list of symbolic anniversary gifts is a widely known and a sentimental way to mark a milestone of time spent together. Choosing an anniversary gift can be overwhelming, but knowing these traditional materials helps narrow down your choices. From wood to diamonds, each material carries its own unique meaning that will show your partner just how much they mean to you. Whether it’s your 5th anniversary or 50th anniversary, giving a timeless gift made from one of these traditional materials can help make your special day even more memorable.