Nov 15, 2021

A Simple Guide To Wedding Anniversary Names and Ideas on What Gifts to Send to Celebrate Milestones

by Verena Hallam

One of the best things about being married is having someone to spoil for the rest of your life. Over the years, married couples have developed distinct gift-giving traditions based on the number of years they’ve been married.

It’s a wonderful tradition to start, and you don’t have to do it from the first anniversary. You can start using this list anytime, even if you’ve been married for many years.

We’ll go through the traditional anniversary gifts for each year of marriage, as well as ideas for what to get your special someone. There are materials for each year for the first fifteen years, but they’re reserved for significant milestones after that.

But don’t worry, we’ll finish with some ideas that will work at any time. Remember, it doesn’t even have to be your anniversary to spoil the person you love!

Years One through Nine

These are your honeymoon years! For many couples, these first few years of wedded bliss bring lots of challenges and a great deal of joy. It’s an opportunity to connect and learn about each other, especially if you have a few years without children.

Your First Anniversary: Paper

As the years go on, the gifts become more elaborate, but you start simply with paper. For a paper present, we love handmade gifts. A love letter or scrapbook are great options. If you’re not crafty, try personalised stationery or a meaningful book.

Another meaningful option is to have your wedding invitation mounted and framed, along with a picture from your big day. Or, go with the classic idea of writing a poem or a love letter to your spouse.

Year Two: Cotton

There are lots of ways you can go with cotton. For men, a nice custom dress shirt is a favourite. For women, a designer piece of clothing works well. Also, consider luxurious new bedding.

Even simple cotton items can make a big difference. Consider high-end cotton underwear. It might seem like a bit of an odd gift, but imagine wearing that luxurious material next to your skin every day.

You can also take it in a creative direction. Manchester was the centre of the cotton-trading industry, is packed full of history and makes for a great place for a romantic weekend city break. Plan a getaway if it’s feasible.

Year Three: Leather

Leather is a very versatile fabric that can take you in several different directions. Shoes are an obvious choice for men or women, especially if your partner has to get dressed up for work. Also, purses or wallets make lovely leather gifts. If your sweetheart doesn’t like animal products, there are many good faux leather options. Alternatively, donate in their name to an animal rights organisation, or plan an outing to an ethical zoo or animal rescue centre.

Year Four: Linen

Linen might be a little less exciting than some other materials, but there are still many options. You can find soft and comfortable linen sheet sets or buy cloth napkins for an eco-friendly home upgrade.

If you want to think outside of the box, buy your spouse another gift they’ve been wanting and wrap it in linen instead.

Your Fifth Anniversary: Wood

The obvious option for wood is new furniture, which is especially good if you’ve recently bought your first home. Consider going in together on this one and getting a piece of heirloom furniture, like an ornate bed frame or a dining room table.

If your loved one prefers experiences rather than gifts, consider a camping trip in a beautiful forest. Or look for a rope-climbing course with zip lines for a bit of excitement.

Year Six: Iron

It might be hard to think of an iron gift off the top of your head, but many decorative items are made from iron. Get a solid, practical serving platter made from iron or a plaque with your family name or address to hang outside.

If you like puns, you can get your spouse an actual iron for smoothing out wrinkles. Just make sure it’s a nice one!

Year Seven: Copper

There are lots of unique gift options in copper. One of the most meaningful is a copper replica of your wedding invitation. Alternatively, try a copper money clip or copper luggage tags for your next adventure.

There is also a very tiny town in a beautiful region of Michigan called Copper City, if you’re looking for a truly special trip.

Year Eight: Bronze

There are many little nick-nacks made of bronze that make lovely anniversary gifts. If your spouse is a reader, go with bronze bookends. Also, look for bronze necklaces or belt buckles, a beverage tub, or find an antique to decorate your home.

Year Nine: Pottery

For your ninth anniversary, try to find some handmade pottery to use as a decoration or serving piece. Visit a local market to look for artisans selling local, handmade pottery pieces. They are usually stunning.

If you need a good date night, you can enrol in a pottery class together or paint pottery at a local studio. Many of them allow you to bring in your own bottles of wine in the evening to make it a little bit more adult.

Finally, try visiting a place where pottery was very common. Parts of Mexico come to mind if you’re after a real treat, and you’re likely to see a lot of pottery featured in the decor.

Years 10 through 19

Many couples find these years to be more hectic, and it’s a little bit harder to get time to themselves with the busyness of careers, kids, and more. That’s why it’s even more important to mark your anniversaries with meaningful gifts.

Your 10th Anniversary: Tin

Tin might seem like an odd material to mark a milestone anniversary. Still, tin is a versatile and durable metal, and it allows you to go in a lot of different directions. Cocktail tools are great if your partner fancies themselves a mixologist. Tin is a good material for imprinting, so you can get a customised ring, guitar pick, or even have a favourite photo (wedding picture!) printed on tin to hang in your home.

If you’re struggling to come up with a tin gift, the alternative is aluminium, and lots of fantastic items are made from aluminium. One of our favourites is bicycle frames. If your sweetie is outdoorsy, that might work.

Year 11: Steel

It’s time for new cookware! Undoubtedly, the pots and pans you got for your wedding 11 years ago have seen better days. Invest in a new set or buy a fancy new piece of cookware for your culinarily-inclined sweetheart. Of course, there are lots of other items made from steel to choose from, including custom decor items.

Steel is also very durable and strong, designed to withstand all kinds of conditions and events. You can use that as a theme to compare to your marriage itself.

Year 12: Silk or Fine Linen

Silk is a majestic material. If your spouse works in an office, splurge on a custom silk suit, tie, or scarf to complete their professional look. Alternatively, go with bedsheets or a custom pillow. One creative idea is to have a silk wedding dress framed and hung on the wall. FYI: if your partner is vegan, silk is off-limits, so stick with another fine linen gift.

Year 13: Lace

Lace is beautiful, delicate, and usually handmade. It’s a gorgeous material to use for curtains or other decor items. There are other ways to incorporate lace if the actual material isn’t your thing. Look for a serving platter with a lace design or even a throw blanket adorned with lace on the edges.

Lace was first developed in Europe and particularly popularised in Italy in the sixteenth century. You can take a trip to Italy to visit some of its oldest cities, especially if you haven’t been there yet together.

Year 14: Ivory or Gold Jewelry

The traditional gift for a fourteenth anniversary is ivory, but many people consider ivory to be unethical. You certainly have the option of buying antique ivory or faux ivory, but gold jewellery is a more modern favourite. Options for males are a bit more limited, but many men like wearing gold chains. Money clips and other small accessories work well, too.

Be aware that gold is usually reserved for 50th anniversaries. If you’re at year 14, that’s still quite a distance away, so if you go with gold now, it’s probably okay. You probably already feel golden!

Your 15th Anniversary: Crystal

There are many options to choose from with crystal. Many people believe strongly in the healing or energetic properties of different types of crystals. If your spouse needs something in a particular area of their life, it can be very meaningful to go with that. Alternatively, buy a crystal-growing kit. Especially if you have children, it can become a fun and educational family activity.

In addition, there are places throughout the world where you can mine for crystals yourself, including Jade Cove (California), Emerald Hollow Mine (North Carolina), and Wegner Mine (Arkansas).

Unfortunately, after your fifteenth anniversary, the traditional material gifts are reserved for milestone anniversaries only. But be sure to see our final section on unique and meaningful couples’ gifts at any time. After all, love is always worth celebrating!

Your 20th Anniversary: China or Porcelain

Modern couples often forego traditional wedding china, but a 20th anniversary is a great time to invest in a beautiful setting. For many couples, kids are older by their 20th year of marriage, so it’s time to replace the old, beat-up plates and cups anyway. It’s a luxury item, but one that you’ll enjoy every day for years to come.

If you like to think outside of the box, go for a fine bone china picture frame with a picture of the two of you. Chances are, a lot of your pictures have been replaced by those of children. Get yourselves back centre-stage.

If you want to splurge, consider a bathroom update and go with porcelain (the same thing as china) fixtures. While bathroom renovations can be expensive, they will add significant value to your home. More importantly, consider how much time you spend there every day; it might be a major upgrade to your quality of life.

Your 25th Anniversary: Silver

Silver is a ubiquitous precious metal, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding something that works. The issue might be that there are too many options!

You can find beautiful silver picture frames, which can be engraved. You can find many artisans on sites such as Etsy using silver to make unique gifts. A single, solid silver rose is just one option. You can also find a silver commemorative sundial, an etching of your first home, a wedding location or where you met, and an engraved silver serving platter.

Tiffany & Co. is well-known for its beautiful silver jewellery if you want to go with a name brand. They have traditional, signature, and unique jewellery items and accessories like money clips, tie clasps, cufflinks, collar stays, and more. Most of them can be engraved with your names, wedding date, or a special message for an extra touch.

There are so many other uses for silver and items made from silver. High-quality audio wires are made from silver, as are solar panels. That would be a major upgrade to your home and a way to make a green change in your lifestyle. Or consider a dining upgrade with beautiful silver silverware.

Finally, silver is most commonly mined in Mexico and Peru. Be creative and plan an exciting holiday to one of those destinations. Or, if you prefer something a little different, one of Nevada’s nicknames is the silver state.

Your 30th Anniversary: Pearl

Pearls are an especially beautiful material. They’re made by oysters and mussels, which coat minor irritants like pieces of sand in protective layers, forming these breathtaking stones. Each one is unique, too, which makes them even more special.

There are several directions you can take pearl gifts. The most obvious is in jewellery. If your spouse wears it, there is nothing quite like a genuine pearl necklace. It’s classic and elegant and goes with just about any outfit, casual and dressy. There are also pearl bracelets, rings, earrings, and more. For men, try pearl cufflinks.

If you want to do something non-traditional, you still have some options. Mother of pearl bowls is perfect for holding jewellery or as a decorative piece. You can also take a pearl-themed vacation by journeying to places where pearls are frequently found, including coastal areas of Japan, Australia, and French Polynesia. It’s a perfect excuse to travel to an exotic destination.

Lastly, some people don’t want pearls because harvesting them often means fishing and sacrificing the animals themselves. Pearls can be cultivated artificially, but there are also great alternatives, even beyond faux pearls. Try something in a pearl colour. Or stay in a hotel named after pearls. There’s one in New York City, San Diego, Waikiki, and other cities.

Your 35th Anniversary: Coral

Coral is a perfect symbolic gift for a 35th anniversary. Like a strong marriage, coral takes a long time to form and is not easily broken or destroyed. It can weather many storms, just like your marriage.

The best way to find natural coral is by looking in antique shops. Nowadays, most places don’t allow people to harvest coral because so much of the oceans’ natural coral has been dying.

Once again, some people stay away from gifts made from actual coral because of questions surrounding how it was harvested. If that’s you or your partner, take a look at our list of alternative ideas below. Or, give another type of nautical or ocean-themed gift. Several organisations sell gifts that make an impact by saving coral reefs.

Coral is also a gorgeous colour. You can get coral roses, decor in a coral pattern, a coral collared shirt or dress, wallets and other leather goods, or even small kitchen appliances.

Finally, like so many of the ideas above, you can also design an unforgettable coral-themed vacation. Some of the best places for scuba diving or snorkelling around live coral reefs include Fiji, the Philippines, the Red Sea, Bonaire (in the Caribbean), Grand Cayman, and the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia. All of these locales are perfect for adventurous globe-trotters!

Your 40th Anniversary: Ruby

Rubies are perfect for your 40th anniversary; the deep, vibrant, passionate colour reflects the profundity and affection of your love.

With rubies, the obvious choice is jewellery, and it’s admittedly more accessible to buy for women than men. Rubies can make stunning statement pieces in necklaces and rings, particularly if they’re accompanied by diamonds, gold, or other precious metals and stones. That being said, upgraded wedding bands with rubies in them can make a beautiful his and hers gift. For men, ruby cufflinks can also be fantastic luxury items.

As with coral, another option is to stick with the ruby colour, and there are so many beautiful options. For example, Kitchenaid makes a stand mixer and other small appliances in ruby red. Ruby red roses are classic. You can do an embroidered red throw blanket, red Swarovski crystals (in various options), wine glasses, and hundreds of other options.

Your 50th Anniversary: Gold

Your 50th anniversary is genuinely your golden anniversary. You’ve spent the better part of a lifetime together, and it’s time to celebrate and splurge. With gold, there are so many options from which to choose.

If you haven’t traded in your old wedding bands, now is undoubtedly the time. Have them blessed or otherwise endowed in a recommitment ceremony. Have your original rings mounted and framed in a shadowbox? You can also take them to a custom jeweller to melt them down and remade them into new rings.

As you might expect, there are so many other jewellery options for gold gifts, and you can choose from yellow or white gold—rings, earrings, necklaces, chains, bracelets, charms, cufflinks, and many more. Many of the finest watchmakers make exquisite gold watches as well. Pick out something yourself, or take your spouse along with you to choose something that speaks to them.

You can buy gold etchings of your wedding photo or another meaningful photo. Other options include a gold family tree with the names of your children and grandchildren as well as parents and grandparents, a golden preserved rose, a gold plate with your wedding vows on it, and so many more options.

Once again, you can get creative with it and set off for a “golden” destination. Visit the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco or the Gold Coast region of Australia (located on the eastern coast).

Your 60th Anniversary: Diamond

The chances are good that you have already bought your loved one a diamond or two in your time together, but if you’ve made it to your 60th anniversary, it is an especially fitting stone. Diamonds are one of the most indestructible and durable stones in the world, just like your marriage and your bond with your spouse.

The most obvious gift is jewellery when it comes to diamonds, and honestly, you’ll be hard-pressed to find diamonds in anything else. Diamonds are just too rare and precious to be used in most other items.

Still, if jewellery isn’t your spouse’s thing, you have some options. Swarovski makes beautiful crystal items of all kinds that are sparkly and shiny like diamonds themselves. Anything that shines is fitting, as are things shaped like diamonds. If shopping for a couple celebrating this milestone, try a decanter or planter in the shape of a diamond.

It might also be an excellent opportunity to make a diamond-sized investment for your family’s future if you’re in a position to do so. After all, if you have children and grandchildren, you probably want to incorporate them into your celebration.

Finally, don’t forget to toast champagne; its bubbles sparkle and catch the light like a natural diamond. Drink it out of crystal champagne flutes.

Your 65th Anniversary: Blue Sapphire

We have another precious gem for the 65th anniversary. Blue sapphires are both rare and stunningly beautiful, making them perfect in rings and other statement pieces.

The colour of blue sapphire is breathtaking, and some people think it looks like the waters of the Caribbean Sea, which is another option: plan a cruise or tropical vacation.

Your 70th Anniversary: Platinum

Making it to your 70th anniversary is an accomplishment, indeed. Platinum is one of the most precious metals globally, so it fits for such a monumental occasion. Again, jewellery is one of the most appropriate platinum items. As with diamonds, it can be challenging to find other items made from platinum because of how precious it is.

Other Unique and Meaningful Gifts for Couples

If you read through our ideas and still feel stuck, don’t worry. You’re never obligated to stick to tradition, and one of the best things about marriage is being able to make your own customs. If you don’t like the ideas above, we’ve got some alternatives next.

  • Items from the year or even the day you were married also make great anniversary gifts
  • Look for a newspaper and have the front page mounted and framed
  • Get a blu-ray of the Oscar-winning movie from the year you were married
  • Find a delicious wine that was bottled that year
  • Try to locate souvenirs from your honeymoon and have them displayed or preserved

All of these items can be great reminders of your big day and provide more meaning than a typical gift.

Speaking of wine, it’s a traditional gift for an 80th anniversary, but because of the laws of biology, many couples don’t get it. But we like wine as a gift for couples because it’s something that you can enjoy together. You can buy a nice bottle, pour yourselves a glass, and just sit and talk to reconnect. Another idea that many people love is to sign up for a wine subscription and receive new bottles to try every month.

In Summary

Of course, anniversary gifts don’t have to be an item or a thing; they can be an experience instead. Holidays are the ultimate option, and the best part is all of the quality time you get to spend with each other. Even just a weekend or single night getaway to a nearby destination can be refreshing and allow you to reconnect.

If a holiday isn’t in the cards for you, get tickets to a concert or event, admission to a museum, or rock climbing, kayaking, or many other adventures if you like to be outdoors.

In the end, pick what matches your style the best. With love at the centre, you can’t go wrong!