anniversary gifts by year
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The Symbolism Behind Wedding Anniversary Gifts by Year

by Mae Osz on Dec 13, 2023

Imagine this: it’s your wedding anniversary, a special day to celebrate the love and commitment you share with your partner. However, you might not be aware that every year carries a traditional symbolic gift. Certainly, these wedding anniversary gifts by year hold profound significance. They mirror the evolution of your relationship and the expansion of your love. Starting with paper and culminating in diamond, each gift signifies a pivotal moment in your marriage journey. Consequently, each one contributes to your love narrative, crafting a distinctive story narrative.

Table of Contents

  1. The Origins of Wedding Anniversary Gifts
  2. Evolving Traditions and Personalised Gifts
  3. Symbolic Meanings of 1st year Anniversary Gifts for Paper
  4. Personalised Gift Ideas for an Anniversary: Gorgeous Prints of Love 

The tradition of wedding anniversary gifts has its roots in ancient times when couples would exchange tokens of love and appreciation to commemorate another year of shared experiences.

Wedding Anniversary Gifts

Over time, different materials indeed became associated with specific anniversaries, symbolising the progression and strength of the bond between two people. Whether you are celebrating your first year or your fiftieth, understanding the symbolism behind these gifts can add an extra layer of depth and sentiment to your anniversary celebrations.

But why are these materials chosen, and what do they represent? Let’s dive into the symbolism behind wedding anniversary gifts by year to uncover the hidden meanings that indeed lie behind these thoughtful presents. 

1.The Origins of Wedding Anniversary Gifts

Wedding anniversary gifts have become deeply ingrained in our modern-day celebrations, with each year representing a different symbolic material or theme. But have you ever wondered how this tradition came to be? Let’s unravel the origins of wedding anniversary gifts and explore the fascinating history behind this age-old tradition. 

The Victorian Era and the Beginnings of Symbolism

During the Victorian era, the idea of assigning specific materials to each anniversary year began to take shape. A strong appreciation for symbolic gestures and romantic traditions characterised this era. The Victorians believed that each year of marriage had its own unique meaning and symbolism, which should be celebrated accordingly.

The First Anniversaries: Paper, Cotton, and Leather

The tradition of associating specific materials with particular anniversaries started with the first few years of marriage. The gift of paper symbolised the first anniversary, representing the blank canvas of a new beginning. As the marriage progressed, cotton represented the second anniversary, indeed symbolising the intertwining of two lives becoming one. Leather was traditionally given on the third anniversary, symbolising strength and durability. 

a couple in their bed

Modern Interpretations: Wood, Crystal, and Diamonds

Additional materials were added to the anniversary gift list as the years passed. Wood came to symbolise the fifth anniversary, representing the strength and resilience needed to build a lasting marriage. Crystal was associated with the 15th anniversary, signifying the clarity and transparency necessary for a strong bond. Finally, diamonds became the iconic 60th-anniversary gift, symbolising a couple’s enduring and unbreakable love. 

2. Evolving Traditions and Personalised Gifts

While traditional materials still hold meaning, modern couples often embrace personalised interpretations of anniversary gifts. The symbolism behind these gifts can vary depending on personal preferences and individual stories. Some couples may choose to celebrate their anniversaries with experiences, such as a romantic getaway or a special dinner, emphasising the importance of creating lasting memories together. 

Personalised wedding anniversary gifts


The Power of Ritual and Meaning

Wedding anniversary gifts are more than just material expressions of love; they hold deep emotional significance. They serve as reminders of the milestones a couple has achieved, the challenges they have overcome, and the love they continue to nurture. These gifts can also strengthen the bond between partners, affirming their commitment and dedication to one another.

Wedding Anniversary gift

Preserving a Time-Honored Tradition

As we celebrate wedding anniversary milestones, it is essential to remember the roots of this beloved tradition and the symbolism behind each gift. By honouring these traditions, we can add another layer of meaning to our celebrations and profoundly express our love and appreciation for our partners.

Wedding Anniversaries Gifts and Names by Year  














Fruit or Flowers












Bronze or Pottery


















































Blue Sapphire








3. Symbolic Meanings of 1st year Anniversary Gifts for Paper

Congratulations on reaching your first wedding anniversary! This milestone is indeed a special occasion that marks the beginning of a long and meaningful journey together. As you celebrate this first year of marriage, paper is the traditional gift associated with this anniversary. Although it might seem like ordinary material, the paper holds symbolic meanings that reflect the foundation and growth of your relationship. 

Written Promises and Expressions of Love

Paper as an anniversary gift represents the act of writing and expressing your feelings for each other. It signifies the importance of communication and your promises on your wedding day. A written promises indeed serve as a reminder of the vows you made to each other and the depth of your commitment. 

First Anniversary Gift


Art and Creativity

The paper offers endless possibilities for art and creativity. Consider giving your spouse a piece of artwork, wall art prints, or even tickets to a show or concert they’ve wanted to see. These gifts can in fact inspire your partner’s creativity and provide opportunities for shared experiences and enjoyment. Moreover, they serve as a reminder of the importance of nurturing individual passions within the context of your relationship.  

First anniversary gift ideas


Growth and Fragility

Paper is delicate and can be easily torn, representing vulnerability and fragility. This symbolism speaks to the early stages of your marriage, where you are still discovering and navigating each other’s strengths, weaknesses, and vulnerabilities. Use this anniversary as an opportunity to reflect on the growth and resilience you’ve shown as a couple throughout the first year. 

In conclusion, the 1st-anniversary gift of paper holds deeper symbolic meanings that reflect the essence and growth of your relationship. It encourages communication, creativity and offers a space to build new memories together. 

4. Personalised Gift Ideas for an Anniversary: Gorgeous Prints of Love 

Anniversaries are also special occasions that celebrate the love and commitment between two individuals. It is a time to reflect on the journey of a relationship and the beautiful moments shared together. And what better way to commemorate this milestone than with a personalised gift that captures the essence of your love? Ditch the generic presents and consider surprising your partner with a gorgeous print that certainly speaks volumes about the depth of your affection. 

Customised Photo Collage

Create a stunning photo collage filled with cherished memories from your years together. Whether it’s snapshots of your wedding day, romantic vacations, or everyday moments that make you smile, a photo collage is a tangible reminder of the love you share. Choose a high-quality print and frame it elegantly to indeed make it a timeless piece of art for your home. 

Photo Collage

Love Letters Wall Art

Letters have a magical way of expressing emotions. Take all those heartfelt love letters and turn them into a work of art. Also you can find a professional calligrapher to transcribe your most treasured letters onto a beautiful wall art. The result will be an indeed stunning piece of art that tells your unique love story.  

First anniversary gifts for couples


Personalised Family Tree Art

Additionally you can celebrate the growth of your family with a personalised family tree print. This meaningful artwork incorporates the names of you and your partner and your children, representing the branches that have blossomed from your love. It’s an indeed beautiful way to showcase the bond and unity you’ve built over the years.

Moreover, these personalised gifts are not only exquisite, but they also hold sentimental value. They are a reminder of the love and memories you’ve created together, indeed making them the perfect anniversary gift. So, take the time to find the ideal print that represents the beauty of your relationship, and surprise your partner with a heartfelt gift that truly speaks to their heart.  

Family Tree anniversary gift for wife


In conclusion, the tradition of wedding anniversary gifts has evolved over the centuries, originating from ancient Roman customs and gaining symbolism during the Victorian era. These gifts hold deep meaning and represent a relationship’s journey of love and commitment. Whether opting for traditional or personalised gifts, the essence of this tradition lies in the power of love and appreciation for one’s partner. 

couple talking on the sofa


    What are the symbols for each anniversary?

     The symbols associated with each anniversary are as follows:

    • 1st Anniversary: Paper
    • 2nd Anniversary: Cotton
    • 3rd Anniversary: Leather
    • 4th Anniversary: Fruit and Flowers
    • 5th Anniversary: Wood
    • 6th Anniversary: Iron
    • 7th Anniversary: Wool or Copper
    • 8th Anniversary: Bronze
    • 9th Anniversary: Pottery or Willow
    • 10th Anniversary: Tin or Aluminum
    • 11th Anniversary: Steel
    • 12th Anniversary: Silk or Linen
    • 13th Anniversary: Lace
    • 14th Anniversary: Ivory (Note: Consider ethical alternatives due to concerns about wildlife conservation.)
    • 15th Anniversary: Crystal
    • 20th Anniversary: China
    • 25th Anniversary: Silver
    • 30th Anniversary: Pearl
    • 35th Anniversary: Coral
    • 40th Anniversary: Ruby
    • 45th Anniversary: Sapphire
    • 50th Anniversary: Gold
    • 55th Anniversary: Emerald
    • 60th Anniversary: Diamond
    • 70th Anniversary: Platinum


    Embark on a thoughtful journey through the tradition of anniversary gifts by year—a celebration of love marked by meaningful tokens. 

    Explore the rich symbolism tied to each year, from the classic first anniversary symbolising paper to the enduring gold for the fiftieth. Delve into the unique significance and sentiments attached to each milestone, discovering a heartfelt guide to expressing your love.  Click here to find more information and explore the world where anniversary gifts by year create a cherished timeline of shared memories and lasting affection.

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