The Origins of Wedding Anniversaries

Post updated: 08 February 2021

The Origins of Wedding Anniversaries

The historical origins of wedding anniversaries date back to the Roman Empire when husbands crowned their wives with a silver wreath on their twenty-fifth anniversary, and a gold wreath on the fiftieth. Commercialisation has led to the addition of more anniversaries being represented by a named gift. Here are a few to get you thinking!

1 year – Paper

A great gift idea for your first anniversary is a signed edition of your partner’s favourite book or a new trend is to have the pages of a book folded into a certain shape, for example, a heart. These can be purchased through a number of companies.

The Origins of Wedding Anniversaries
Photo: iStock

2 years – Cotton

A gift of personalised pillowcases, a handmade apron or a nice piece of clothing would be a good idea for your second year. Cotton signifies the comfort and warmth of your relationship

3 years – Leather

A leather wallet or handbag is always never-failing gifts for this anniversary as leather has come to represent the durability of marriage

4 years – Silk

How about a new silk scarf or hankies for this anniversary?

5 years – Wood

Wood is strong, long lasting and the perfect representation of your solidified marriage. An engraved jewellery box, a wooden chess set or why not plant a tree together as a special gift for this year!

6 years – Iron

This anniversary gives you the opportunity to exchange gifts as strong as your relationship, like iron bookends or a new fire pit for all those summer evenings in the garden!

7 years – Wool

Wool represents the warmth of your love and comfort in your relationship, what about gloves or a woollen blanket!

8 years – Bronze

Bronze is created by combining two different metals, copper and tin, to make something strong and beautiful, just like a marriage brings two people together into something more. A Bronze figure for your home could be a nice idea!

9 years – Pottery

The traditional gift idea here would be a piece of pottery for the home but why not try a pottery class together for a bit of fun!

10 years – Tin

Symbols of how a long, lasting marriage must be flexible yet durable, tin and aluminium are the traditional gifts for couples celebrating their ten year wedding anniversary

15 years – Crystal

Gone are the days of giving a crystal bowl for this anniversary, most couples don’t collect it in the same way as it would have been collected in earlier years. A good alternative would be crystal jewellery.

Photo: iStock

20 years- China

China symbolises your never-ending love along with the timelessness and delicacy of your marriage. A traditional gift would be a china tea set or china platter.

25 years- Silver

Congratulations! The 25th wedding anniversary is a memorable year and a joyous celebration. After a quarter of a century together your relationship is a shining example of love, making silver a fitting theme.

30 years – Pearl

Why not celebrate this amazing achievement with some pearl cufflinks or a piece of jewellery containing pearls!

40 years – Ruby

How about a piece of jewellery containing a ruby or ruby red roses.

Photo: iStock

50 years – Gold

Make your 50th wedding anniversary shine as golden and bright as your love! Throw a party for all your loved ones and let them see what 50 happy years together looks like!

60 years – Diamond

Wow! There are not many couples who make it to this anniversary, so well done!

Photo: iStock

70 years – Platinum

What can I say! Amazing – 70 years together is outstanding!

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Posted by Paul Crawford


Paul has been a full-time professional photographer since 1990. He is married to Patricia and the proud Dad to 2 fantastic sons. He photographs around 30 Weddings each year in Northern Ireland and is an experienced Photography Tutor running Photography Courses and Workshops as well as running an online photography courses platform & community