Find the perfect, heartfelt, originalwedding anniversary gifts year after year with our ultimate wedding anniversary gift guide.
Couples have been giving each other wedding anniversary gifts since the middle ages. Back then, a husband would traditionally give his wife a silver wreath on their 25th anniversary and a gold one on their 50th.
Depending on where you live, the associations of these different gifts can be either related to materials that imply the gradual strengthening of a marriage, or a symbol of the investment of time and self that a couple gives to one another.
This meant that traditionally, as the years of marriage increased, the wedding anniversary gifts got increasingly more valuable
In the UK, the idea of associating different materials with years of marriage became increasingly popular in the Victorian period before it travelled across the pond to the US.
What are the traditional wedding anniversary gifts by year?
- 1st wedding anniversary - Paper
- 2nd wedding anniversary - Cotton
- 3rd wedding anniversary - Leather
- 4th wedding anniversary - Fruit or Flowers
- 5th wedding anniversary - Wood
- 6th wedding anniversary - Sugar or Iron
- 7th wedding anniversary -Copper or Wool
- 8th wedding anniversary - Bronze or pottery
- 9th wedding anniversary - Willow or copper or pottery
- 10th wedding anniversary - Tin or Aluminium
- 20th wedding anniversary - China
- 30th wedding anniversary - Pearl or Ivory
- 40th wedding anniversary - Ruby
- 50th Wedding Anniversary -Gold
- 60th Wedding Anniversary - Diamond
What are the modern wedding anniversary gifts by year?
Over the years, more materials have been added to the list and it has been updated and modernised. However, it is only in the US that a 'modern' wedding anniversary gift lists exist. This was compiled by librarians at the Chicago Public Library in 2000. The lists they drew up were based on the American National Retail Jeweler Association’s list published in 1937.
- 1st wedding anniversary - Clocks
- 2nd wedding anniversary - China
- 3rd wedding anniversary - Crystal/Glass
- 4th wedding anniversary - Appliances
- 5th wedding anniversary - Silverware
- 6th wedding anniversary - Wood Objects
- 7th wedding anniversary - Desk sets
- 8th wedding anniversary - Linen/Lace
- 9th wedding anniversary - Leather
- 10th wedding anniversary - Diamond
- 20th wedding anniversary - Platinum
- 30th wedding anniversary - Diamond (again)
- 40th wedding anniversary - Ruby
- 50th Wedding Anniversary -Gold
- 60th Wedding Anniversary - Diamond
In the UK, we tend to stick to the traditional list of anniversary gifts. But, if we're being honest, they are just guidelines and it's all a bit of fun anyway. So you should feel free to pick from either (or neither!) list. When it comes to marking wedding anniversaries, it really is the thought that counts.
However, if you are looking for the best wedding anniversary gifts, whether that be to mark your first year of marriage or your 60th (if so, congratulations!) then look no further our hand-picked gift guide of the best presents out there.
From traditional wedding anniversary gifts to modern ones, we've got both bases covered and some expert advice on how to pick the perfect presents to boot..
What can I buy my husband for our anniversary?
Simon Carter, Founder and CEO of sophisticated menswear brand Simon Carter says gifting experiences or the chance to learn new skills is always a winner with guys:
"We boys love practical presents. Yes, stuff is welcome if it's really useful like a Karcher pressure washer but think outside the box. The Brighton and Newhaven Fish shop offer a brilliant fish filleting and preparation course and that is a memory and a skill that will last forever. Increasingly, good local butcher offer day-long butchery and carving courses. Perfect for the Alpha male and BBQ king."
What is the best wedding anniversary gift?
"I'm a great believer in gifts you can share, as after all, the anniversary celebrates a period of time of being together," Simon told us.
"For that reason, you really can't beat something for your home or a weekend away. Choose somewhere out of the ordinary and I always go to The Landmark Trust for unusual properties. Not only will you have a memorable stay but you’re supporting a fabulously worthwhile cause that's preserving old and interesting buildings."
How do you choose a memorable wedding anniversary gift?
"We are in the age of personalisation and individuality so what better than to commission a personal gift, or to have something that's already special embossed or engraved," Simon suggests.
"Pickett have a really lovely range of British made leather goods all of which can be customised. For slightly less lofty budgets Aspinall are excellent, too."
Scroll down for our pick of memorable and thoughtful wedding anniversary gifts...
Traditional 1st Wedding Anniversary: Paper
Paper seems like it could be a difficult material to work with, but it's actually a great opportunity to find a creative gift to celebrate your one year. This personalised print from Not On The High Street is affordable and is the perfect way to commemorate your special day (or, if you're crafty, you can make it yourself!)
Modern 1st Wedding Anniversary: Clocks
Not that you want to be watching the clock or counting down the hours when you're just one year into marriage, but on the modern anniversary gift lists, clocks are the present of choice. If you're going to be a clock as an anniversary gift, make it this one from Made.com. Finished in brushed brass, this is one trendy time-keeper.
Traditional 2nd Wedding Anniversary: Cotton
At the end of the day, there's no better feeling than cuddling up in cozy cotton pyjamas and slipping your feet into some warm slippers. This beautiful brushed cotton set from the White Company is made for her.
Modern 2nd wedding anniversary gift: China
China doesn't appear until later down the list for traditional wedding anniversary gifts, but on the modern list it comes right in at number two. These mugs from British brand Emma Bridgewater make a lovely way to mark two years of being 'Mr & Mrs'.
Traditional 3rd wedding anniversary gift: Leather
There's nothing better (or more useful) than a crisp new leather journal. This refillable one from Aspinal of London is perfect for recording all of your to-do lists and thoughts throughout the day and has a variety of different options for personalization.
Modern 3rd wedding anniversary gift: Crystal or Glass
These vintage glass cocktail glasses come in a special personalised box engraved as you choose.
Add your names, a special saying or the date of your wedding as a thoughtful touch to a gift that will last for years to come. Throw in a bottle champagne to complete the present and you've got everything you need to celebrate and toast to three happy years!
Traditional 4th wedding anniversary: Fruit or Flowers
Fruit and flowers are meant to symbolize how much your relationship has blossomed and bloomed over the years, and the possibilities are endless for this gift. You really can't go wrong with a beautiful bouquet of flowers, but if you feel like going all out, try one of Jo Malone's signature floral fragrances. You can buy a perfume or candle in their classic English Pear and Freesia scent - which would meet both the tradition of fruit and flowers in one!
Modern 4th wedding anniversary gift: Appliances
It might not be as romantic sounding as the traditional gifts of flowers and fruits, but you can't deny that treating yourself to a new appliance would be practical and incredibly useful.
For something a little more special that a new washing machine, why not treat yourselves to a new coffee machine.
Traditional 5th wedding anniversary: Wood
A personalized bench is a gorgeous way to mark five years of marriage using the traditional material of wood. Have it carved with your wedding date, names or maybe even a quote or saying from one of the readings you had during your wedding ceremony.
This one from Not On The High Street made from teak and can be purchased treated or untreated. Pop in the perfect shady spot in your garden and enjoy for years to come as your family grows and changes.
Modern 5th wedding anniversary gift: Silverware
Any couple married for five years will definitely have a set of cutlery, but why not use a five year wedding anniversary as a perfect excuse to treat yourselves to a new silverware set?
This unusual yet stylish Goa 24 piece cutlery set from Cutipol is made from stainless steel for longevity but iscoated with silver for a high quality finish. The narrow resin handles are available in a selection of gorgeous shades so you can match your new silverware to your tableware with ease. See it as an investment for the next five years (at least!)
Traditional 6th wedding anniversary gift: Sugar or Iron
There's no better excuse for a sweet treat than sugar as the traditional material for a traditional 6th wedding anniversary gift.
Celebrate six sweet years together with this cute box of hand decorated biscuits, which can be personalised on request.
Modern 6th wedding anniversary gift: Iron or Wood
For something a little different for a modern wedding anniversary gift made from wood, why not get one of these personalised wooden gift vouchers made to represent an experience or event you've booked in real life to enjoy with your partner?
Whether that be a concert, festival, night at the theatre or a surprise weekend away, it's a lovely opportunity to spend quality time together, reminisce on the last six years and make more special memories.
Traditional 7th wedding anniversary gift: Copper or Wool
Practical yet eye-catching, this on-trend, personalised copper gardening tool set will make the perfect 7th anniversary gift for a keen gardener.
Copper naturally doesn't rust – so just like your marriage – these tools will stand the test of time!
The trowel has been marked in centimetres and inches so planting at the correct depth has never been easier and you can get each tool personalised with something different if you like.
Modern 7th wedding anniversary gift: Desk Set
Ah the romance of a desk set. There's none quite like it is there? Still, it's eminently practical and this stylish desk set from Ginger Rose - which can be personalised - would look simply wonderful on anyone's bureau.
Traditional 8th wedding anniversary gift: Bronze or pottery
These handmade, personalised, pottery egg cups make a perfect anniversary gift. Small yet sentimental, thoughtful and practical. You'll use them for years to come.
Handmade in a small studio in Cornwall, these white ceramic egg cups have a colourful rim and a hand-stamped name in a matching glaze. Choose from 16 different colours to match your other tableware.
Modern 8th wedding anniversary gift: Linen or Lace
You've made many a memory in the last eight years since saying 'I do', so why not savour some of them in a stunning, handmade, linen photo album?
Available in three different sizes, all the albums have cream card with tissue interleaving between each page and can be personalised with names, dates or sayings to make it extra special.
Print some of your favourite photos from the last eight years and pop them in the album before gifting it for that extra heartfelt touch.
Traditional 9th wedding anniversary gift: Willow or copper or pottery
When it gets to your 9th anniversary the present possibilities are endless thanks to the choice between three different materials.
We really love this handmade dish by Gemma Wightman Ceramics that features a special recipe – chosen by you - painted in a poetic, swirling coil of handwritten text as part of the design.
Choose a recipe that evokes poignant memories or will conjure thoughts of meals lovingly shared for years to come.
Modern 9th wedding anniversary gift: Leather
Small, sweet, simple and sentimental. This affordable anniversary gift is all about marking that special day nine years ago (literally) that you pledged to spend the rest of your lives together.
A perfect example of how you don't need to spend a fortune to celebrate your anniversary with a special gift.
Traditional 10th wedding anniversary gift: Tin or Aluminium
For celebrating the important milestone of 10 years of marriage, it seems a bit of an anti-climax that the traditional material for gifts is tin or aluminium. Traditionally these materials were chosen because they represent the durability and flexibility needed to sustain a loving union.
Don't worry though – we've found a work around for this one!
Most airplanes are made out of aluminium and always have been. The first passenger plane in 1928 was made out of aluminium. The modern Boeing 747 is an aluminum airplane as well.
So, to mark 10 years of matrimony, why not book a flight to a new destination you both haven’t visited before? Whether that be a weekend away in a new city or a longer jaunt to country in another continent?
Gift this vintage style travel ticket as a keepsake to remember your special trip.
Modern 10th wedding anniversary gift: Diamond
If looking for a 10th anniversary gift for her, this beautifully delicate 14 carat gold ring with a stunning display of pavé set diamonds around the band is a truly timeless piece. Perfect for everyday wear as well as occasions; mark 10 years with someone truly special with this symbolic eternity ring.
Traditional 20th wedding anniversary gift: China
The traditional gift for a 20th anniversary is china - usually a set of china like a china tea set.
We like the idea of a contemporary twist on this old tradition. Such as gifting a china plate or vase that has been designed by a modern artist.
This bone china plate has been designed by world famous American artist Daniel Arsham in collaboration with the iconic china brand Wedgewood. They come as a set of two and can either be used as tableware or as art in your home.
Modern 20th wedding anniversary gift: Platinum
Iconic brand Tiffany & Co. know a thing or two about creating elegant and timeless pieces, designed to celebrate long-lasting, beautiful love.
This spectacular set of studs features solitary round-cut diamonds nestled in a platinum setting. Perfect for celebrating 20 years of love, laughter and memories.
Traditional 30th wedding anniversary gift: Pearl
If buying for him, these sleek silver cufflinks with mother of pearl detailing by luxury British brand Mulberry are a special and stylish gift. Perfect for a special occasion such as a 30th anniversary. This is a present that will last for generations to come and can be passed down through the family.
Modern 30th wedding anniversary gift: Diamond
Unlike the tradition of giving a pearl gift to mark 30 years of marriage, the modern list jumps straight to diamonds. Diamonds are a symbol of love and fidelity, and embraces strength of character, ethics, and faithfulness to oneself and others. Fitting for 10 years of marriage - or even longer if you're going off the traditional list where diamond marks 60 years.
Why not combine both the traditional and modern gift suggestions with this gold pearl and diamond pendant necklace? A delicate and timeless piece to suit any style.
Traditional and Modern 40th wedding anniversary gifts: Ruby
When you get to celebrate four decades of marriage, both the traditional and modern rules for wedding anniversary gifts agree that the appropriate present is something made from ruby.
Through the ages, the ruby has represented nobility, purity, and passion. So, for 40 years or marriage it is a precious stone that represents the nobility of the partners for staying true and loyal for so long. Plus the passion needed to keep the love alive in the partnership.
Surrounded by glittering diamonds, this Deep Red ruby at the centre of this pendant totals 0.30 carats and refracts the light for a sparkling finish.
Traditional and Modern 50th wedding anniversary gifts: Gold
Both the traditional and modern wedding anniversary lists agree that for 50 years of marriage you deserve something really special – to be specific – something gold. Gold is the material stated by both traditions for half a century of matrimony. Cartier's iconic LOVE rings for him and her are suitably extravagant and special to mark such a momentous milestone. Congratulations.
Traditional and Modern 60th wedding anniversary gifts: Diamond
Diamond is both the traditional and modern material for 60th wedding anniversary gifts and we couldn't agree more. Why not mark 60 years since you both said 'I do' with a restored photo from your wedding day? Print it to the highest quality and present it in this stunning Lismore diamond photo frame.
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