On the day I married my husband, my Uncle gave me some good advice – ‘you have to work at a marriage to make it successful’. I suppose I didn’t quite know what he meant that day, but it has become more apparent and important to me every year and as my marriage turns 26 this year and my Uncle’s marriage turns 59, we’ve both proved it is certainly something worth working at!
After the excitement of the wedding day and honeymoon a marriage becomes the day to day companionship, a chaotic keeping everything going, building on each other’s strengths, it is compromise and trying to understand each other’s needs, accepting (and ignoring) each other’s failings by embracing them as they make your spouse unique.
So every anniversary isn’t just a celebration and remembrance of your special wedding day, but a celebration of getting through all the ups and downs with that same love and looking forward to your future together. To celebrate we have some really great Traditional Anniversary Gifts at Totally Irish Gifts and we know people like to give a gift according to their Anniversary year, here is a guide:
Gifts by Year
|1st Anniversary||Paper||Clock||1st Anniversary Gifts|
|2nd Anniversary||Cotton||Cotton||2nd Anniversary Gifts|
|3rd Anniversary||Leather||Leather||3rd Anniversary Gifts|
|4th Anniversary||Fruit or Flowers||Linen or Silk||4th Anniversary Gifts|
|5th Anniversary||Wood||Wood||5th Anniversary Gifts|
|6th Anniversary||Sweets||Iron||6th Anniversary Gifts|
|7th Anniversary||Cooper or Wool||Brass||7th Anniversary Gifts|
|8th Anniversary||Bronze||Pottery||8th Anniversary Gifts|
|9th Anniversary||Pottery||Willow||9th Anniversary Gifts|
|10th Anniversary||Tin||Aluminum||10th Anniversary Gifts|
|11th Anniversary||Steel||Steel||11th Anniversary Gifts|
|12th Anniversary||Silk||Linen||12th Anniversary Gifts|
|13th Anniversary||Lace||Lace||13th Anniversary Gifts|
|14th Anniversary||Ivory||Ivory||14th Anniversary Gifts|
|15th Anniversary||Crystal||Glass||15th Anniversary Gifts|
|16th Anniversary||Wax||Silver Holloware||16th Anniversary Gifts|
|17th Anniversary||Shells||Furniture||17th Anniversary Gifts|
|18th Anniversary||Feathers||Porcelain||18th Anniversary Gifts|
|19th Anniversary||Bronze||Bronze||19th Anniversary Gifts|
|20th Anniversary||China||Emerald||20th Anniversary Gifts|
|21st Anniversary||None||Brass or Nickle||21st Anniversary Gifts|
|22nd Anniversary||None||Copper||22nd Anniversary Gifts|
|23rd Anniversary||None||Silver Plate||23rd Anniversary Gifts|
|24th Anniversary||None||Musical Instruments||24th Anniversary Gifts|
|25th Anniversary||Silver||Silver||25th Anniversary Gifts|
|30th Anniversary||Pearl||Pearl||30th Anniversary Gifts|
|35th Anniversary||Coral||Coral or Jade||35th Anniversary Gifts|
|40th Anniversary||Ruby||Garnet||40th Anniversary Gifts|
|45th Anniversary||Sapphire||Sapphire||45th Anniversary Gifts|
|50th Anniversary||Gold||Gold||50th Anniversary Gifts|
But what do all these traditional symbols of the years of marriage mean?
1st Anniversary Gift – Paper
The traditional gift for a first wedding anniversary is paper, strange type of gift, no romance in that, I hear you say! The meaning of paper as a gift is that the first year of your marriage is like a ‘clean sheet of paper’, representing the new beginning of the couple. Also like paper, a new marriage can be fragile, do not to rip that paper (your marriage) while in this fragile state. Paper gifts often include journals or writing sets; prints and photos also qualify. The modern gift for a first wedding anniversary is a clock, it is said the tick-tock of a clock symbolises the good times in your marital relationship!
2nd Anniversary Gift – Cotton
The traditional and modern gift for a second wedding anniversary is cotton. The fibers of cotton are interwoven to make the fabric, representing the couple coming closer as their lives intertwine. Although soft, cotton is strong as the couple become flexible to each other. Examples of cotton gifts include cotton clothing or cotton embroideries.
3rd Anniversary Gift – Leather
The traditional and modern gift for a third wedding anniversary is leather. Leather has traditionally been used as a protection against the elements, as the marriage grows and becomes stable it is the fundamental shelter and security as the couple protect each other. Suggestions for leather gifts are leather wristbands, leather journals and notebooks.
4th Anniversary Gift – Fruit or Flowers
The traditional gift for a fourth wedding anniversary is flowers or fruit (or a combination). Flowers and fruit represent the blossoming and ripening of the marriage. The nourishment of the fruit and the fragrance of the flowers are akin to the refreshing commitment and nurturing of the couple. Gifts for this anniversary often include hampers of fruit, bouquets of flowers, paintings and drawings of fruit or flowers, potpourri and fragrances of fruit or flowers such as candles or oils. The modern gift for a fourth wedding anniversary is linen or silk.
5th Anniversary Gift – Wood
The traditional and modern gift for a fifth wedding anniversary is wood. The fifth wedding anniversary is actually a very important milestone in the married couple’s psyche, by now the couple have gone through quite a bit together, gaining wisdom and overcoming things together gaining strength. Mirroring the ancient symbol of trees being strength and wisdom, a strong deep rooted bond has now formed between the couple, hence the celebration is marked by wood. Suggestions for wooden gifts include pens and letter-openers, wooden sculptures, bowls, candle holders and wooden jewellery.
6th Anniversary Gift – Sugary Sweets or Iron
The sixth wedding anniversary gift is something sweet such as candy. Candy represents the sweetness of the love of the marriage and as an encouragement for the couple to embrace their original love and romance. While the modern gift for a sixth wedding anniversary is Iron, representing the strength of the marriage and is also thought to bring good luck.
7th Anniversary Gift – Copper or Wool
The seventh wedding anniversary gift is copper or wool. Both copper and wool generate heat and they represent the warmth and comfort of a 7 year marriage, by which stage the couple feel completely safe and secure with each other. However, there is the saying of the ‘seven year itch’ – caution is required not to get so comfortable together that the marriage is taken for granted – so generate some romance! The modern gift for a seventh wedding anniversary is brass.
8th Anniversary – Bronze
The traditional eighth wedding anniversary gift is bronze. Bronze is a strong metal mixture of copper and tin. It represents the combined strength of the couple and that their marriage has grown stronger over the years. Gifts can include bronze wall plaques or ornaments. The modern gift for an eighth wedding anniversary is pottery (which is actually also the traditional gift for a 9th Anniversary – just in case you were thinking of building on a theme for a gift!).
9th Anniversary Gift – Pottery
The traditional ninth wedding anniversary gift is pottery. As a potter molds clay to make something beautiful, so too pottery represents the molding of the beautiful relationship of the couple from the experiences of their marriage. Pottery gifts can include homeware such as mugs or teacups, bowls and vases and also ceramic wall art. The modern gift for a ninth wedding anniversary is willow.
10th Anniversary Gift – Tin
The traditional tenth wedding anniversary gift is tin. The 10th wedding anniversary is particularly celebrated – now into double digits and a proven longevity, tin, which is the metal used to preserve food for a long time, represents the couple’s preservation and the longevity of the marriage. Pewter is 90% made of tin (with a small amount of copper and antimony) and can be used as a 10th wedding anniversary gift and examples of gifts are whiskey flasks and jewellery boxes. The modern gift for a tenth wedding anniversary is aluminum.
11th Anniversary Gift – Steel
The traditional and modern eleventh wedding anniversary gift is steel. Steel being one of the most durable metals represents the ongoing strengthening of the 11 year old marriage. Steel gifts can include stainless steel cutlery, such as our Connemara Marble Range and also some products from our Mullingar Pewter range contain some stainless steel.
12th Anniversary Gift – Silk or Linen
The traditional twelfth wedding anniversary gift is silk. By the 12th Anniversary the couple have been through such a lot together and may be now have learned how to overcome difficulties with more ease – representing a plain sailing as ‘smooth as silk’, ready to relax slightly and enjoy some luxury. Silk gifts can include silk scarves, silk lingerie or bed linen. The modern twelfth wedding anniversary gift is linen.
13th Anniversary Gift – Lace
The traditional and modern 13th wedding anniversary gift is lace. At the 13th Wedding Anniversary the couple are near to perfection and have grown into a beautiful couple, as represented by beautiful lace, but still the intricacies of the delicate lace warn not to take each other for granted and that a successful marriage needs to be continuously worked on. Lace gifts can include lace clothing, tablecloths, lace wall hangings or lace jewellery.
14th Anniversary – Ivory
The traditional and modern fourteenth wedding anniversary gift is ivory. Ivory represents the purity of the couple’s love and commitment to make their marriage great. Note: endangered elephants make ivory an unethical choice of gift and the sale of real ivory is illegal in many countries, instead consider a gift with the colour ivory, elephant theme or even a gift to an elephant sanctuary.
15th Anniversary Gift – Crystal
The traditional fifteenth wedding anniversary gift is crystal. Crystal represents the transparency and clarity of the couple’s relationship as they grow to know each other so well. Crystal gifts can include tumblers, drinking glasses, bowls, lamps and crystal jewellery. The modern fifteenth wedding anniversary gift is glass.
16th Anniversary Gift – Wax
The traditional sixteenth wedding anniversary gift is wax. A wax gift for a 16th wedding anniversary is often given in the form of candles, representing the burning love for each other, the warmth for each other and the light showing the way forward for the continuance of a happy and successful marriage. The modern gift for a sixteenth wedding anniversary is silver holloware.
17th Anniversary Gift – Shells
The traditional seventeenth wedding anniversary gift is shells. Shells are a protection and represent the protection and comfort a marriage can bring to a couple, who are happy in the stability and security of their 17 married years together. Shells also symbolises good fortune. Shell gifts can include wall art made from shell, shell prints and shell jewellery. The modern gift for a seventeenth wedding anniversary is furniture.
18th Anniversary Gift – Feathers
The traditional eighteenth wedding anniversary gift is feathers. Feathers are light and float without a care, but they are essential to the survival of a bird, so to at 18 years of marriage the feathers represent an easiness within your relationship, a smooth and carefree time, yet symbolising the importance of the survival of your marriage and again the constant need to work on your relationship. Gifts can include wall art, prints of birds, feather jewellery and feather bags. The modern gift for a eighteenth wedding anniversary is porcelain.
19th Anniversary – Bronze
The traditional and modern nineteenth wedding anniversary gift is bronze. Bronze is an enduring metal and it is said to possess natural healing powers. A 19th wedding anniversary gift of bronze symbolises the endurance and health of the marriage. Gift suggestions include ornaments and bronze wall art.
20th Anniversary Gift – China
The traditional twentieth wedding anniversary is china. Another big Wedding Anniversary – now two decades, something to definitely celebrate. China represents your marriage as beautiful, elegant, durable and long-lasting, yet fragile without care. Again it is a reminder that you must work at your marriage, continue to care and love your spouse to keep your marriage happy and successful. Your marriage has lasted two decards, now is not the time to become complacent but to continue to nourish each other. China gifts can include china tea-sets, poreclain jewellery, ornaments. The modern gift for a 20th wedding anniversary is Emerald.
21st Anniversary Gift – Nickel or Brass
There is no traditional twenty-first wedding anniversary gift, however the modern gift is brass or nickel. There’s something special about the number 21 and a 21st Wedding Anniversary is very special. Nickel represents quantity, tendency and consequence. Nickel is resistant to corrosion, showing the strength of the marriage and as a bright metal it represents the future ahead for the couple. Brass is a softer metal, decorative, low friction and musical. Brass represents the beauty, natural goodness and soft nature of a 21 year old marriage. Brass gifts could include ornaments or wall plaques.
22nd Anniversary Gift – Copper
There is no traditional gift for a twenty-second wedding anniversary, however the modern gift is copper. Copper represents prosperity, perfection and good fortune as all bowls well for a couple who have stayed married for 22 years. Copper gifts could include jewellery, ornaments or wall art.
23rd Anniversary Gift – Silver Plate
There is no traditional gift for a twenty-third wedding anniversary, however the modern gift is silver plate. The colour silver symbolises beauty, silver plate can mean either silver plated or an actual silver plate – for the meals you have shared and the continuance of sharing of meals and your lives together.
24th Anniversary – Musical Instruments
There is no traditional gift for a twenty-fourth wedding anniversary, however the modern gift is musical instruments. Music touches the heart, soul and mind, often couples share the same taste in music and certain songs will bring back loving memories and evoke emotions. Gifts can include actual musical instruments or music, photos of favourite musicians, musical box, ornament or jewellery.
25th Anniversary Gift – Silver
The traditional and modern gift for a twenty-fifth wedding anniversary is silver. The 25th wedding anniversary, known as the ‘Silver Wedding Anniversary’, is a huge milestone and was the first of the anniversaries to be ever celebrated, originating as a custom in medieval Germany, the husband would give his wife a silver wreath in the presence of family and friends. Silver represents the harmony required for a marriage to survive a quarter of a century. Silver being one of the most precious metals also represents the high esteem each hold the other in. However, silver easily tarnishes and is yet another warning to keep working on your marriage to keep the years together ahead bright.
30th Anniversary Gift – Pearl
The traditional and modern gift for a thirtieth wedding anniversary is pearl. The 30th wedding anniversary is known as the ‘Pearl Wedding Anniversary’ or more unusually as the ‘Tricentennial Anniversary’. Pearls are one of the most exquisite gems, symbolising hidden beauty, purity, wisdom, honesty and integrity – the hidden beauty within the shell, as of a mature marriage and from all the shared experiences, the couple know so well that real beauty comes from within and recognise the hidden beauty of each other.
40th Anniversary Gift – Ruby
The traditional fortieth wedding anniversary gift is ruby. Ruby red symbolises the love and passion, like the eternal flame of the heart of a ruby stone, the love of a 40 year old marriage still burns as brightly and deeply as ever. The modern gift for a fortieth wedding anniversary is garnet.
45th Anniversary Gift – Sapphire
The traditional and modern forty-fifth wedding anniversary is sapphire. The Sapphire represents wisdom, virtue, good fortune, faithfulness and sincerity, it is a fitting symbol to celebrate a 45 year marriage as all these are good descriptions of all that is required to sustain a couple for 45 years together.
50th Anniversary Gift – Gold
The traditional and modern fiftieth wedding anniversary gift is gold. As with the 25th Silver Wedding Anniversary, the 50th Golden Wedding Anniversary was one of the original wedding anniversaries to be celebrated. Dating back to medieval Germany, same as a wreath of silver was presented to a wife on her 25th wedding anniversary, so a wreath of gold was presented to her on her 50th wedding anniversary. Gold symbolises prosperity, strength and wisdom and a golden wedding anniversary is such an achievement to a couple who have prospered, who have had the strength to look after one another and exceed in all sorts of circumstances and who have had the wisdom to overcome challenges – indeed this couple had the wisdom 50 years previous to choose each other and their marriage is testimony to this.
To all those couples who are celebrating their wedding anniversary, we wish you a very happy anniversary and many more years of wedded bliss!
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