Wedding Planning

The Ultimate Guide to Wedding Anniversary Gifts by Year

wedding gift by years

Whether you’re celebrating 30 years of married life together or 1 year of newlywed bliss, wedding anniversaries are always a super special milestone! When it comes to wedding anniversary gifts, each year has a traditional meaning and “theme” associated with it. And over the years, some of these traditions have evolved to include more modern alternatives, too.

You and your partner might enjoy the sentimental feeling of choosing gifts that have been passed down for generations, or you might prefer to draw inspiration from the modern themes instead. Either way, we’re here to help!

If you’re currently hunting for some anniversary gift ideas, keep reading for our year-by-year anniversary gift guide to get you started.

the-ultimate-guide-to-wedding-anniversary-gifts-by-year
Photo by Em For Marvelous and Nancy Ray Photography

1st Wedding Anniversary Gift

Traditional gift: Paper. Thought to symbolise a clean slate and new beginnings, surprise your partner with something sentimental like a photo album, handwritten letter or framed print. You could also think outside the box with a practical paper gift like concert tickets or gift vouchers. 

Modern gift: Clocks. As a modern alternative to paper, gift your partner with a wristwatch or small clock to reflect the lifetime of marriage ahead!

2nd Wedding Anniversary Gift

Traditional gift: Cotton. In your 2nd year of marriage, cotton is thought to reflect how your lives are becoming intertwined. Bathrobes, towels and clothes are popular choices for this anniversary!

Modern gift: China. This modern alternative reflects your ongoing care for one another. Some great china-inspired gift ideas include dinner sets, tableware, mugs and home decor.

3rd Wedding Anniversary Gift

Traditional gift: Leather. Symbolising security and protection, gift your partner something high-quality and bespoke like a handbag, notebook, belt, jacket or wallet.

Modern gift: Crystal or glass. Thought to reflect the light and beauty of your relationship, crystal or glass is the modern alternative for anniversary number 3 – think crystal jewellery, decorative glassware, perfume or cologne. 

the-ultimate-guide-to-wedding-anniversary-gifts-by-year
Photo by Orange Photographie

4th Wedding Anniversary Gift

Traditional gift: Fruit and flowers. This gift idea traditionally represents your relationship growing and blossoming. Some popular ideas for this anniversary include fresh blooms, gardening tools, plants and scented candles.

Modern gift: Appliances. They might not sound romantic in theory, but they’re definitely a useful gift idea for year number 4! Go the modern route by gifting your partner with a fun appliance that reflects their hobbies, like a camera, espresso machine or music speakers. 

5th Wedding Anniversary Gift

Traditional gift: Wood. Thought to symbolise the strength of your marriage, a wooden anniversary gift could be anything from a cheese board to a photo frame or statement furniture item. 

Modern gift: Silverware. As a modern alternative, gifting a new set of silverware for your home reflects sharing meals and making memories together. Make this gift extra special by enjoying it with a dinner for two!

6th Wedding Anniversary Gift

Traditional gift: Sugar. This gift is thought to be a reminder to keep the romance of your relationship alive. Surprise your partner with their favourite sweet treats, or head out for a date night complete with cocktails and dessert.

Modern gift: Iron. This modern gift option symbolises your strong bond. Cast iron cookware, golf clubs and jewellery are all popular options for year number 6.  

7th Wedding Anniversary Gift

Traditional gift: Copper or Wool. Copper (representing beauty and durability) and wool (representing warmth and comfort) are both traditional options for your 7th anniversary together. Copper-inspired gift ideas could include wristwatches, jewellery, cookware or home decor. For wool, think sweaters, scarves, rugs or robes!

Modern gift: Desk sets. The modern theme for this anniversary is desk sets, which could include everything from monogrammed notepads, stationery and pens to more hi-tech office accessories.

the-ultimate-guide-to-wedding-anniversary-gifts-by-year
Photo by Ali Harper Photography

8th Wedding Anniversary Gift

Traditional gift: Bronze. After 8 years of married life, bronze is thought to represent the strength of your relationship. Think cufflinks, jewellery, vases, mirrors or other metallic decor.

Modern gift: Lace or Linen. These materials have the potential to last a lifetime when treated with care, making it a beautiful symbol for your marriage! Go for something timeless and classic like luxurious bedding, napkin sets or clothing.

9th Wedding Anniversary Gift

Traditional gift: Pottery. This is thought to symbolise how beautiful things can come from simple beginnings – just like your relationship. Gift your partner with a statement ceramic piece, or even attend a pottery class together for a unique new experience.

Modern gift: Leather. Just like the traditional theme from anniversary number 3, leather represents durability in your marriage. Treat your partner to a timeless leather item they’ll use and appreciate every day.

10th Wedding Anniversary Gift

Traditional gift: Tin or Aluminium. After 10 years together, tin and aluminium are strong, indestructible metals that are thought to reflect your ability to protect each other and overcome life’s battles. Some ideas to fit this traditional theme could include anything from cookware to garden accessories – or, simply present a thoughtful gift of your choosing in a tin or aluminium box.

Modern gift: Jewellery. Need we say more? The modern theme for a 10th wedding anniversary is all about the sparkle – from earrings, necklaces and pendants to cufflinks or eternity rings.

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Photo by Nicnillas Ink

20th Wedding Anniversary Gift 

Traditional gift: China. Symbolising ongoing care and appreciation, your 20th wedding anniversary could be the perfect time to create a family heirloom with a bespoke set of fine china. 

Modern gift: Platinum. This strong metal is designed to stand the test of time, so why not exchange engraved platinum rings to mark this milestone?

25th Wedding Anniversary Gift

For year 25, traditional and modern gifts are the same – Silver. When polished and cared for, silver can last a lifetime, making it the perfect metal to celebrate 25 years married. This is often seen as one of the most celebrated milestones, so consider gifting your partner something sentimental like bespoke jewellery or an engraved keepsake. For a more modern feel, you could also think outside the box with an appliance or gadget that’s been on the wish-list for a while!

30th Wedding Anniversary Gift:

Traditional gift: Pearl. Reflecting peace and beauty, you can interpret this traditional theme as something classic like a pearl necklace, or something less conventional – like wining and dining on oysters and champagne! 

Modern gift: Diamond. Symbolising eternity and enduring love, diamond is the modern theme for your 30th anniversary. From diamond earrings and bracelets to cufflinks and rings, the options are endless to celebrate this milestone.

40th Wedding Anniversary Gift: 

For year 40, traditional and modern gifts are the same – Ruby. Symbolising vibrancy, love and passion, gift your partner something that reflects this rich hue – from fresh red roses to a vintage bottle of red wine or port. 

50th Wedding Anniversary Gift

And finally, to mark your 50th anniversary milestone: Gold. The most prized metal in the world, we think 50 years together is definitely worthy of something special! Celebrate this amazing milestone with gold jewellery, wristwatches, or gold-framed artworks to display throughout your home.

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Photo by So Shay

Choose From the Heart

While both traditional and modern anniversary themes can definitely be a great reference point when looking for inspiration, we think the best gifts are the ones that truly reflect your partner and the things they love! 

No matter what gift you choose, your anniversary is ultimately an opportunity to reflect on your relationship and the journey you’ve shared together. So, be inspired by our year-by-year gift guide above – but don’t be afraid to buck tradition completely if that suits your relationship! As long as your gift is chosen thoughtfully from the heart, we guarantee your spouse is going to adore it.