Anniversary gifts by year: traditional & modern anniversary gifts

Your wedding day is one of the most memorable, special occasions of your life and it should be commemorated every year. An anniversary is almost like an annual renewal of your commitment to one another, so it deserves a meaningful present. Whether you’re a great gift giver or find it hard to shower people with presents, each wedding anniversary has their own theme to help you narrow down your options. Each anniversary has different traditional, modern, and even floral gifts. Here’s our guide to each important year with traditional and modern gifts to give your husband or wife.

Guide to anniversary gifts

Before we dive into specific ideas, here’s a full breakdown of the traditional and modern gift ideas for each anniversary year. The 1st anniversary is one of the most important, but as the years go on, the gifts get more extravagant.

1st year: Paper & Clocks

Kicking off the first anniversary is the traditional gift – paper – and the modern gift – clocks. Paper is the theme of the first anniversary because it’s fragile like the early stages of marriage. However, if you take care of paper – and a relationship – properly, it’ll last a lifetime. Shifting to the modern theme, clocks represent the passing of time and shows how time is precious. For paper, give your spouse a monogramed letter writing set or treat them to a trip or experience where you can print out the tickets! For clocks, a statement clock for your home never goes out of style or buy them a fancy watch – more on this for the 15th year anniversary.

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Anniversary gift by year

5th year: Wood & Silverware

For the 5th anniversary, wood and silverware are the traditional and modern gifts. Wood is a strange anniversary gift, but it represents the solidity of marriage and is inspired by the strength and wisdom of trees. Surprisingly, there are lots of gift ideas for wood. Think picture frames, cute wooden signs to hang in the house or some furniture. Silverware is far simpler and is a practical gift that you can use regularly.

10th year: Tin & Diamond jewellery

Like wood, tin is a bit of an odd choice, but tin symbolises strength and is used to preserve things which is why it marks 10 years of marriage. Tin is hard to shop for but there are lots of tin sculptures available so you can find something personal for your home. The modern choice is diamond jewellery which is much easier to buy for! Diamonds are beautiful, sparkly and a classic pair of diamond studs are a timeless vital purchase for any jewellery lover.

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15th year: Crystal & Watches

Like all these anniversaries, the 15th year is a huge milestone that deserves to be celebrated! The traditional gift is crystal, a luxurious gift chosen for its clarity. Crystals are delicate but sturdy and due to their transparency, they represent how couples see each other clearly. Crystals look beautiful in jewellery so a crystal pendant or set of earrings would perfectly signify your relationship.  Alternatively, pick a crystal sculpture to sit proudly in your home. Like the clocks for the 1st anniversary, watches symbolise the passing of time. A classic watch is a beautiful addition to your everyday wardrobe and complete any work, casual or evening look. A fun gift idea is to get matching watches together, whether the straps are similar colours, or the clock hands are the same metal.

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20th year: Porcelain & Platinum

On to another big anniversary, the 20th year is represented by porcelain and platinum. Porcelain or china symbolises the delicate fragile nature of love. Relationships need to be looked after and handled with care, much like china. Gift your other half a set of china for the house or go all out and take them on a trip to China! Platinum is the modern alternative due to its durability. Platinum is a great jewellery material which creates stunning sturdy accessories. Platinum is a popular choice for wedding rings, so if your wedding ring is looking a bit old or losing its shine, upgrade it to a new platinum one! 

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25th year: Sterling silver

The 25th year is where the traditional and modern gifts are the same – keep an eye out for this when we get to the big anniversaries! Sterling silver is timeless and reflects the brilliance and longevity of your marriage. The silver tradition began during the Middle Ages, where men would gift their wives’ wreaths of silver. To keep it traditional, you can still buy silver wreaths or have a designer make them for you, whether you want to wear them in your hair or hang them on your front door. Silver cufflinks, rings or any kind of jewellery is a meaningful anniversary gift and is sure to last for years to come, just like your marriage.

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Anniversary gift by year

30th year: Pearl & Diamond

You’ve made it to the big 3 0! The 30th year dives into more traditional gemstones – pearls and diamonds. Pearls are rare gemstones and a symbol of hidden beauty. Cultivated over time from molluscs, pearls initially appear closed off and secretive, but once they’re opened up, you find something precious inside. Pearls give off a vintage looking feel which is why they’re such classic gemstones in jewellery – just take a look at Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. A simple string of pearls looks great with a little black dress, or a smart suit set. Alternatively, diamonds are the modern choice. We already had diamonds for the 10th wedding anniversary but 20 years down the line, you and your spouse deserve a sexy sparkling upgrade, like new diamond jewellery!

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Anniversary gift by year

35th year: Coral & Jade

The 35th year has more fun unusual gift picks. Coral is a precious substance which is believed to be magical and protect you against danger and sickness. As a piece of sea life, coral is fiercely protected but can still make beautiful gifts, like sculptures or in pictures. Coral is also a rich orange colour (Pantone Colour of the Year in 2019) so you can find coral coloured jewellery, clothes, or flowers for your 35th anniversary gift. Jade is the modern alternative, similar to coral in its vibrancy and environmentally friendly properties. Jade is a bright green gemstone that catches the light from every angle. They’re quite rare in jewellery but uncut and unpolished jade looks gorgeous hanging on a necklace.

40th year: Ruby

From the 40th year onwards, the traditional and modern gifts are the same. This helps you narrow down your present options and from here on, each year is represented by a gemstone or a metal – perfectly for jewellery lovers! Ruby is the 40th anniversary theme and its rich red colour is associated with love, perfect for a loving couple who have been committed to each other for so long. Despite their bright hues, rubies are extremely versatile. They work well alongside cool silvers or warm golds and as a member of the big 4 gemstones – diamond, emerald, ruby and sapphire – they look great with other gemstones that are more muted or colourless. A ruby ring is a beautiful option that’s meaningful and can act as a second engagement ring, especially if you’re thinking of renewing your vows!

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Anniversary gift by year

45th year: Sapphire

Now that we’re in the big anniversary numbers, we’re getting more exciting and sparkly! Sapphires symbolise royalty, wisdom, faithfulness, and sincerity – and now that you’ve made it to the 45th year, you and your other half embody all these things! While sapphires come in lots of colours, it’s the blue variety that you’re going to want to champion. Sapphires make beautiful gifts and look glamorous and sophisticated next to other colours and gems. In particular, diamonds and pearls are sapphires’ best friends – think Princess Diana’s engagement ring.

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Anniversary gift by year

50th year: Gold

You’ve made it to 50 and the best way to celebrate this is with some gold! The tradition of giving gold is medieval, where wives were lavished with gold wreaths to commemorate the anniversary. A precious metal – and one of the most popular jewellery materials – gold is symbolic of prosperity and strength. With an extensive range of gold jewellery, there are plenty of designers out there for you to find the perfect gold accessory. Alternatively, if you and your husband/wife are more into cooking than fashion, why not cook them a 3-course meal embellished with edible gold!

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Anniversary gift by year

55th year: Emerald

The 55th wedding anniversary is all about mesmerising emeralds. The bold green gemstones are linked to Venus, the Roman goddess of love and hope. Emerald jewellery is another great jewellery choice, but you can also look into emerald-coloured clothes and glasses. A recent trend has been boxed roses that last for years on end, like your love for one another. Now that these have become so popular, they’re available in many colours, like emerald green, perfect for floral aficionados.

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60th year: Diamond

The final year on our list is the 60th, the year of the diamond. Firstly, congratulations on this incredible milestone! Diamonds are made under pressure and after many years of marriage, your love – like the diamond - is invincible. Diamond jewellery is a traditional and meaningful gift that is sure to become a fast favourite in any collection. 

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