Anniversary Gifts By Year: Traditional & Modern Ideas


A Guide To Anniversaries & Traditional Themes By Year


The best place to start for anniversary gift ideas is with time-honoured traditions. Finding inspiration for symbolic wedding anniversary gift ideas according to the traditional themes is something many couples enjoy. Maybe you are in the first flush of a heady new marriage or have already enjoyed 50 years of bliss together. Wherever you are in your relationship, it’s vital to celebrate all the happy milestones along the way.  


What is the symbol for years of marriage?

Traditional anniversary gift ideas are a symbol to mark the passing years together. Over time, these have, of course, evolved with our changing lifestyles. Today, there are much more modern gift ideas for younger couples, which even introduce a fun element. You can choose from popular wedding anniversary gifts as great alternatives to more traditional symbolic gifts for your husband or choose romantic gifts for your wife.


Each new year of marriage is a momentous occasion, and there is a special gift linked to the happy anniversary. We think each and every year is equally important! But there are some wedding anniversary years that are particular milestones that deserve a special gift for your spouse. Ideas for traditional or modern wedding anniversary presents by year from Gifts Australia are only limited by your imagination!


Inspiration for Modern and Traditional Anniversary Gifts Guide


We’ve got creative gift ideas for every year anniversary, including significant milestones like a 25th wedding anniversary and 50th wedding anniversary. For advice and inspiration, check out our fun ideas for anniversary for the first five years. If you prefer traditional wedding anniversary ideas, we have a complete list of traditional themes and a gifting guide for every year. Read on to learn more about the history of traditional wedding anniversary and for a modern spin on new gift ideas for anniversaries that are a super alternative. You can also see a complete table showing the traditional theme and modern equivalent for each anniversary gift by year here.


Anniversary gift guide by year


Where did the anniversary gift tradition come from?

Have you every wondered how the symbolic gifts for each year evolved and when the traditional wedding anniversary themes started? The traditions for each year of marriage are thought to have started in Victorian times with increasingly durable and valuable gifts given each year. In 1922, Emily Post's book on social etiquette listed only 8 traditional wedding milestone gift themes:

  • 1 year, paper
  • 5 years, wood
  • 10 years, tin
  • 15 years, crystal
  • 20 years, china
  • 25 years, silver
  • 50 years, gold
  • 75 years, diamond.


While there is no complete list of anniversary gifts by year from 1 to 100 with every year included, the symbolic gift list has been further expanded with themes for each of the first twenty years. Paper was chosen to symbolise the clean slate and fresh beginning of a first year of marriage. While the interwoven fibres of cotton symbolise a second year of marriage to show how the delicate strands of cotton merge together to form a cloth that is both supple and strong. Leather symbolises the growing strength and protection of the third year of marriage. And the blossoming flowers and ripening fruit of a fourth year of marriage symbolises bounty and renewal. Each subsequent theme for years of marriage reflects either growing value or durability.


The metals for each year of marriage like copper, bronze, steel, silver and gold are chosen in order of either increased strength with the more precious metals reserved for 25 and 50 years of marriage.


How To Choose Something Extra Special For The Happy Couple

First Year - Paper Or Clocks?

Fragile and symbolic paper, representing the newness of marriage, has today been replaced by the modern idea of a clock. That gives a fairly wide scope to choose from for him, her or a couple! With a full year of marriage behind them, why not treat a traditional couple to a gorgeous Date Night Inspiration Box so they can record the joy of their life together?


For more modern ideas, romance and time need to be the main focus. How about a beautiful wall clock decorated with subtle red roses or his ‘n’ hers matching designer watches? If you still can’t decide, then a Moët Celebration Hamper, packed full of delicious chocolates and a bottle of bubbly is sure to impress!


Moët Celebration Hamper


Second Year - Cotton Or China?

The traditional anniversary present for year two is cotton, representing the weave of strength and comfort. You could choose luxurious bed linen or a cute Cotton Waffle Robe to make their day. Soft bathrobes and feminine underwear are also great ideas for gifts between couples.


More modern gifts are porcelain and china, pointing at the frailty and strength of any relationship. Additional pieces for dinner party sets, mugs or fridge magnets and tea sets are fun ideas. For that special something, how about a lovely fine China Vase as a modern touch for the living room.


Wedgwood White Folia Keepsake Set


Third Year - Leather Or Crystal & Glass?

For a traditional couple, leather gifts of symbolic durability are the focus. This means there is plenty to choose from for the happy couple from watch straps and wallets to matching overnight bags. A Personalised Leather Travel Gift Set is something useful and luxurious, especially if you add in some exciting tickets! Modern glass gives you a broad scope of anniversary present choice from perfume and candles to something divine for the house. Gorgeous Champagne Flutes are a new and contemporary twist that can be completed with a fabulous bottle of sparkling bubbly!


Personalised Burgundy Leather Travel Gift Set


Fourth Year - Flowers & Fruit Or Silk & Electrical Goods?

Nothing beats a beautiful selection of fresh flowers at any time. For a perfect anniversary gift, why not add in a traditional Waterford Markham Crystal Vase? It’s the perfect finishing touch, representing the continued blossoming of love. Or choose to have a rose named, registered and grown as a truly romantic gesture. The more modern ideas include silk, linen and household appliances and accessories. With so much to choose from, it really depends on the personalities of couples. A trendy linen wall print, silk kimonos or a coffee machine are all suitable gifts. Or what about an Espresso Maker for creating the perfect lazy wedding anniversary morning in bed with a fresh cup of coffee?


Waterford Markham Crystal Vase


Fifth Year - Wood Or Silverware?

Celebrating five years of marriage means strong and durable wood is the traditional anniversary present. Some suggested ideas could be a wooden clock, a beautiful music box or a carved statue. A simple Flinders Wine & Serving Picnic Board would be perfect for a picnic or breakfast in bed to celebrate your anniversary with love.


The modern touch is the lovely gift of silverware, with lots of trendy alternatives to choose from today. As it’s a milestone anniversary, silver cufflinks and charm bracelets to candlesticks and fruit bowls are the order of the day. As a really personal touch, matching Latitude & Longitude Pendant Necklaces are a thoughtful and romantic choice.


Personalised Latitude & Longitude Bar Pendant Necklace In Gold


Anniversary Gift Ideas That Will Keep You Together

These modern-day guides can help you choose some classic or original presents for your other half. But remember, you can interpret the guidelines as loosely as you want. There is a gemstone and flower guide for each year too! Both traditional and modern gifts will be welcomed with open arms, whether it’s for an anniversary gift for couples to give to parents or friends, or to be exchanged between the married couple.


Whatever wedding anniversary gift ideas you choose, make sure you give the best gift of all: your time. Material things are a wonderful thought, but your love is what will keep you together for the next five years!


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