Every anniversary is a celebration of love and commitment. Traditionally, married folks provided themed gifts for each successive year of marriage.
Many couples still follow the traditions that were established centuries ago, while others have put a modern spin to both honor tradition and in a more present-day context.
Use this guide to help come up with the perfect gift for your next anniversary!
1st Anniversary: Paper or Clocks
The traditional gift for the first anniversary is paper. This sounds lackluster on paper, but it’s an invitation to challenge your creativity. Write a poem or love letter and frame it. Purchase a map depicting the location of your first date, your wedding venue, or your honeymoon. Create a scrapbook or photo album filled with special memories and notes to one another.
If you prefer, clocks are the modern gift for a first anniversary. You don’t have to buy a Rolex by any means, although if you can and you want to then by all means.
Remember– the first anniversary is a milestone achievement and will set the tone for all future anniversaries. GIve thoughtfully to show your partner how much you care for them.
2nd Anniversary: Cotton or China
Cotton can be decadent. Buy a personalized terry bathrobe or luxurious Egyptian cotton sheets that you both can enjoy. Canvas art makes an excellent gift as well.
The modern gift for a second anniversary is china. A set of fine dinner plates or a hand-painted tea set work well if you prefer to purchase china over cotton for the second year’s celebration.
3rd Anniversary: Leather, Crystal, or Glass
Leather is tough, and so the symbolically fitting traditional gift for a third anniversary is leather. Get them a new wallet or splurge for a leather coat. If you’re an adventurous couple, leather accouterments make a good gift to add some spice to the bedroom. Maybe this is your chance to find out how adventurous you really are!
If it’s more to your tastes, crystal or glass are the modern gift for year three. Stemware, decanters, and decorative display cases for art and tchotchkes are all viable options.
4th Anniversary: Fruit, Flowers, or Appliances
For traditional folks, four years means fruit, flowers, or both. Recreate your wedding bouquet. Send an Edible Arrangement. Scatter rose petals on the bed and have a plate of chocolate-dipped strawberries for the two of you to enjoy together. There are many ways to add a little sweetness and a little beauty to your fourth anniversary.
For those who prefer the modern gift, an appliance purchase might be preferred. Choose function and finally replace that old refrigerator, stove, or dishwasher, or choose luxury and add an espresso maker, waffle iron, or Vitamix to your kitchen ensemble.
5th Anniversary: Wood or Silverware
You wouldn’t believe how many wood gift options there are for your fifth anniversary. Wooden art or jewelry is both decorative and classy, while a brand new cutting board or serving board can make dinner prep and parties a breeze. Personalize it with your names and wedding date for a special touch. If you happen to have a large yard or garden, planting a tree together can be a symbolic way to watch your love grow and mature.
Silverware is the modern option for a fifth wedding anniversary. Maybe a fancy set for dinner parties would work best, or maybe some specialized pieces like a cake server or ice cream scoop could be a nice addition instead. Just remember to buy a cake to go with it for a little extra anniversary sweetness!
6th Anniversary: Candy, Iron, or Wood
Your sixth year of marriage means candy isn’t just for Valentine’s Day. Surprise your spouse with a bag of gourmet sweets, luxurious chocolate truffles, or even just a grab bag of their favorite convenience store treats to do the trick. Recreating your wedding cake is also a great gift to surprise your sweetie.
If you don’t have a sweet tooth, iron is another customary gift for year six. A cast iron skillet makes a great addition to any cook’s repertoire. If you happened to plant that tree last year, an iron bench this year will give you a great place to sit to view your garden as it grows.
Wood is the modern option for the sixth year. You may wish to forego repeating if you gifted wood last year, but every couple is different. If you have a woodsy outdoors-loving partner, then two years in a row might make sense.
7th Anniversary: Wool, Copper, or Desk Sets
You have an eclectic choice to make for your seventh year anniversary to help stave off that infamous “seven-year itch.” Wool or copper are the traditional gifts for year seven. Buy a cashmere sweater or scarf if you have a fall or winter anniversary. If you can knit, even better. You can create a one-of-a-kind gift for a one-of-a-kind person.
If you prefer to gift copper, one penny is a great gift. Just kidding; you’re not getting off that easy! Many kitchen items come copper-plated like a copper fondue set, Moscow mule mugs, or a pressurized growler for your finest local brews. If you’re still building that outdoor paradise, copper lanterns give some ambient lighting and look great.
A desk set, the modern gift for a seven-year anniversary, doesn’t spell romance on the surface but could make a thoughtful gift to career-driven spouses that live in the office. Gift some framed family pictures, customized pens or stationary, or splurge for a new laptop or tablet to help them be even more productive.
8th Anniversary: Pottery, Bronze, Linen, or Lace
Traditional folks might choose pottery or bronze gifts. Hanging planters and floor pots are great for filling with floral favorites. Ceramics fit the theme as well. If you’d rather gift bronze, jewelry and kitchenware often come in authentic bronze or faux bronze finishes.
Linens are also acceptable on your eighth year anniversary. Splurge for something extra soft to make sure you’re super comfy at bedtime for the best sleep of your life. If you prefer to stay up late instead, lace might be your go to option this year.
9th Anniversary: Pottery, Willow, Wicker, or Leather
Traditionalists will select pottery, willow, or wicker on the ninth anniversary. Planters, ceramics, wicker furniture, and flowers serve to spruce up your living space and make a great gift on this special day.
For those who prefer modern themed gifts, year number nine is all about leather. Maybe you splurge for that leather jacket or coat if you didn’t do so in year three. There is also a wealth of leather jewelry available for those that prefer rugged accessories for their look.
10th Anniversary: Tin, Aluminum, or Diamonds
Ten years. A decade of marriage. This achievement is traditionally celebrated with tin or aluminum signifying strength and resilience. Adorn your home with art and photos clad in aluminum frames. Purchase additional kitchenware made from tin.
The modernists take a more extravagant approach for the decade mark and call for diamonds. If you are not sure what your partner likes in their diamond jewelry, take them to the jeweler and make a wish list ahead of time to ensure you pick a winner.
For a fun spin, purchase diamond jewelry and wrap the box generously in aluminum foil. Imagine their surprise when they unwrap what looks like a packed lunch to find something decadent instead!
11th Anniversary: Steel or Jewelry
On your eleventh anniversary, you might opt for steel, jewelry, or both. Use it as an excuse for new stainless steel appliances or a brand new bicycle. Jewelry is also customary on the eleventh anniversary, but generally makes a good choice any year.
12th Anniversary: Silk, Linen, or Pearls
The traditional gift for your twelfth anniversary is silk or linen. Sheets, camisoles, boxers, and other undergarments make a great choice. Silk robes and kimonos are also quintessentially luxurious, comfortable, and stylish.
Pearls make a great gift for any occasion. For an epic splurge, some islands offer pearl diving excursions where couples can dive for their own pearls. The salvaged pearls can be brought home as is in their natural state, or made into a necklace, ring, or earrings.
13th Anniversary: Lace or Textiles
If you opted for lacey undergarments in previous years then that may be your winner on the thirteenth anniversary. For creative folks, you can also play on the word “lace” and purchase shoes, boxing trunks or gloves, or anything that can be “laced up.”
Textiles may be risky to buy unless you really know your partner’s wardrobe tastes inside and out. For a risk-free way to buy them clothing, offer to take them to the mall or outlets and have a special shopping spree day together.
14th Anniversary: “Ivory” or Gold
The traditional gift on your fourteenth anniversary was ivory, but this has fallen out of fashion due to animal cruelty involved in ivory sourcing. Instead, “animal items,” which may include faux fur, animal print, or animal experiences like horseback riding, are the new tradition.
If you’d prefer to steer clear of antiquated animal-related traditions, you can’t go wrong with gold. There are innumerable jewelry options like bracelets, watches, earrings, and rings.
15th Anniversary: Crystal or Watches
If you really want to impress, you could combine the traditional and modern gift themes for year fifteen and get a watch adorned with crystal or featuring a crystal face. Not only would this be a stunning timepiece but it will implement some out-of-the-box thinking that shows your creativity.
16th Anniversary: Coffee or Tea
Many people drink coffee and tea daily, so you’ll need some imagination to make this traditional gift more special. Buy a new tea set or cappuccino machine. Get imported gourmet coffee or tea to share. If you prefer experiences over material gifts, make a date and visit a tearoom to enjoy English-themed high tea complete with little sandwiches and tiny sweet treats.
17th Anniversary: Wine or Spirits
Let’s face it– no one ever needed seventeen years of marriage for an excuse to drink! Pick up a top-shelf bottle to enjoy with a special anniversary dinner. Visit a local winery or make a trip to wine country and spend your day at the vineyard. For those who prefer spirits to wine, spend a day at a distillery and have a whisky flight.
Remember to always drink responsibly and plan to have a ride if you’re going to indulge. We recommend hiring a limousine service to make the occasion extra special and ensure you arrive safely to your destinations.
18th Anniversary: Appliances
You may choose the functional route and upgrade your current appliances for your eighteenth anniversary. Specialty items like slow cookers, instant pots, and pressure cookers are functional and indulgent simultaneously, and make excellent gifts for this reason.
19th Anniversary: Jade
Jade pendants, bracelets, and rings are less common than other materials, making them unique and stunning as a nineteenth-anniversary gift. Since jade is also a color, green clothing or accessories work to keep the theme as well.
20th Anniversary: China or Platinum
Two decades of marriage is an achievement, and you should be very proud to hit this milestone. The traditional gift is fine china which allows you to purchase something as small as a special coffee mug or something as elaborate as a dinner set.
Platinum is a modern gift for twenty years. For a special anniversary and gift, you can book a day with a master jeweler who will teach you and your spouse how to make platinum jewelry for one another and supervise you as you do it. This makes for a unique date that you come away from with a one-of-a-kind gift to commemorate the occasion.
21st Anniversary: Fire
Please note that we do not recommend you gift literal fire to your spouse on your twenty-first anniversary. Incorporate a fire theme by purchasing scented candles or setting up a surprise candlelit dinner at home. For a splurge, buy an outdoor firepit and spend an evening curled up beside the fire with one another.
22nd Anniversary: Water
Whether on the water or by the water, water makes dates better. Rent a boat and spend a day on the lake. Take a dinner cruise or booze cruise on the river.
For jet setters, this might be your excuse to take an all-inclusive cruise through Europe or the Caribbean and lounge in paradise to celebrate. The Bellagio in Las Vegas makes another topical destination with their famous fountain show to keep with the theme.
23rd Anniversary: Air
We do not recommend giving your spouse an empty box “filled with air” as a gag unless you have a real gift tucked away to give them immediately after.
For the adventurous types, skydiving and hot air balloon rides are enticing options. The jet setters are the real winners this year though, as air as a theme gives you a great excuse to fly anywhere in the world for a special vacation.
24th Anniversary: Stone
We do not recommend gifting “that cool rock you found outside” for your twenty-fourth anniversary. Luckily, most gemstones, including diamonds, are literal rocks, so you can still gift a cool rock you found but in a refined and classy way.
Would you rather do an activity? Treat yourselves to a spa day complete with a hot stone massage and just let your stress and day-to-day worries melt away for a special afternoon.
25th Anniversary: Silver
The sky’s the limit with silver. Jewelry, silverware, and art are all on the table to commemorate your marriage, which is now a quarter of a century old. Swarovski makes a stunning display piece made of crystal and sterling silver specifically to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary.
30th Anniversary: Pearls or Diamonds
Whether you choose pearls or diamonds, you’re looking to pick up something luxurious to celebrate thirty years of marriage. If pearl jewelry is not your thing, you could pick up anything that features mother-of-pearl or pearl accent including kitchenware, cutlery, and art. A seafood dinner involving raw oysters isn’t a bad choice either. For diamonds, you almost can’t go wrong picking jewelry.
35th Anniversary: Coral or Jade
For your thirty-fifth, the traditional gift is coral. Snorkeling or scuba diving is a lavish way to incorporate the theme, but a visit to your local aquarium or a seafood dinner might do just as well. If you prefer a modern gift of jade instead, jade statues or jewelry are great options, as are textiles in deep green hues.
40th Anniversary: Ruby
Ruby jewelry is an exquisite choice for the fortieth-anniversary gift, but its uniqueness makes it a polarizing choice. If rubies are not to your tastes, select scarlet red clothing or flowers. Nothing says “I love you” better than a bouquet of red roses. Buy forty of them to keep with the theme.
45th Anniversary: Sapphire
Sapphires make for another decadent choice on your forty-fifth wedding anniversary but, like rubies, it may not be your choice of gemstone for jewelry. If this is the case, incorporate a blue theme to keep things topical, whether it’s the restaurant decor or a trademark blue Tiffany’s box. Okay, so Tiffany’s blue isn’t really sapphire blue, but I don’t think anyone will mind that inconvenient technicality.
50th Anniversary: Gold
You made it through half a century of marriage and the occasion calls for gold. Treat them to gold jewelry, desserts that use edible gold, or simply wrap whatever heartfelt gift you like with a gold ribbon. Congratulations on fifty years!
55th Anniversary: Emerald
Emerald jewelry is divine and makes an excellent gift to commemorate the fifty-fifth anniversary. If you’d prefer to put a spin on things, buy exclusively green items like cucumber melon-scented candles or gourmet green tea.
60th Anniversary: Diamond
Sixty years is an extremely long time to succeed at anything, especially a marriage which takes love, commitment, and work among many other characteristics. There is no better way to celebrate sixty years of love than diamonds, the toughest and most lavish of all stones.
No matter what gift you give on your sixtieth, know that you are among the luckiest and most blessed to have enjoyed the company of your soul mate for such a long time. The only real thing left to do at this point is to figure out what to get them on the sixty-first anniversary!
He is an expert travel advisor and enthusiast. He has traveled extensively in the USA, Central America, South America, and Europe. He has visited every Sandals Resort and is one of a select few Diamond Elite members of the Sandals Chairman’s Royal Club.
Dan graduated from Johnson & Wales University with an associate degree in Culinary Arts. Later he graduated from the University of Utah with a bachelor’s degree in International Studies with a focus on people and culture.