Wedding anniversaries are a special chance each year to celebrate reaching another milestone in your marriage. It’s about reflecting on a year growing together and looking forward to the future, re-connecting as a couple and remembering that happy day you said ‘I do’.
Each wedding anniversary has a different traditional meaning and gift associated with it depending on how many years you’re celebrating.
If your wedding anniversary is coming up, or you’re buying a gift for friends or parents and you want to know the traditional anniversary gifts and their meanings, you’ve come to the right place!
Image: Sparks and Daughters
What are the Wedding Anniversary Gifts For Each Year?
Take a look at our list of wedding anniversaries – from the 1st to 70th – and the traditional anniversary gifts and modern alternatives associated with it. Below, you’ll find our favourite anniversary gift ideas.
If you’re celebrating your wedding anniversary in the UK, this is the traditional list of gifts to follow. There are a few minor differences to the US gifts – for example, US wedding anniversaries only go up to 75 years, silk can replace linen, and china instead of pottery. If you like following tradition, these UK gift ideas are perfect.
What are the Major Wedding Anniversary Years?
The first few years of your marriage up to 10 years are all considered major anniversary landmarks. After that, the big celebrations usually come every 5 and 10 years.
The anniversary where the traditional gift starts becoming more precious is your 25th, when silver is the traditional material. Any anniversary from 30 years upwards is incredibly special. Ruby marks your 40th anniversary, gold for your 50th, diamond for your 60th and platinum for your 70th.
These precious gems also correspond to your “anniversary colours”. If you can’t afford real silver for your 25th anniversary or something emerald for your 55th, you can instead get your other half a gift or experience that incorporates those colours.
The Best Wedding Anniversary Gift Ideas
1st Wedding Anniversary – Paper
Image: Virgin Experience Days
Whoever devised the meanings of anniversaries probably figured newlyweds would be pretty broke after paying for the wedding – so the traditional first gift of paper is pretty affordable! Paper also represents your new marriage as like a blank sheet, and as relatively fragile.
Our favourite twist is to give tickets to an experience – print them out and it totally counts as a paper gift. Virgin Experience Days offer everything from a trip up the Shard to a romantic break away for two. We love the pottery making lesson for two – it’s great fun and you get a piece of pottery to take home and treasure forever (this also makes a great 9th anniversary gift too – pottery!)
Read Our 1st Anniversary Gift Guide
2nd Wedding Anniversary – Cotton
Image: Little Foundry
Cotton is made from lots of thread woven together and the longer you are married the more your life becomes intertwined. There are plenty of cosy cotton anniversary gift ideas, like personalised pillowcases or co-ordinating robes (check out The White Company), which you can snuggle down in.
If your partner loves to give or receive flowers, then these cute cotton blooms from Little Foundry will be their favourite gift and they’ll last a lifetime. You can also order a sweet personalised oak charm to go with them. The modern alternative to cotton is china.
Read Our 2nd Anniversary Gift Guide
3rd Wedding Anniversary – Leather
Leather is durable and has traditionally been used as a material to protect. As your marriage matures your relationship becomes much stronger, so giving your partner a leather gift is a way to represent this.
If you’re looking for a timeless leather anniversary gift then a classic handbag or purse from Mulberry is perfect. The Bayswater handbag is a staple from Mulberry, but a purse or leather iPhone case are also brilliant. For a man, a belt or hip flask are ideal – Aspinal of London have lots of gorgeous leather gifts and accessories that can be monogrammed to make them even more personal.
Read Our 3rd Anniversary Gift Guide
4th Wedding Anniversary – Fruit & Flowers
As your marriage blossoms and your partnership ripens following four years of marriage, it makes sense to give an anniversary gift of flowers or fruit.
Roses traditionally represent how much your love has blossomed so take your present-giving to the next level by naming a rose after your love. You choose the name, it’s officially registered, and then you receive a pack of seeds to grow your own roses. Bloom and Wild offer a huge range of gorgeous bouquets or flower gift subscriptions if your fingers aren’t quite so green.
Flowers not their thing? The modern alternative is appliances. Is there anyone whose morning wouldn’t be improved with a Nespresso machine?
Read Our 4th Anniversary Gift Guide
5th Wedding Anniversary – Wood
Image: No Ordinary Gift Company
The idea of using wood to celebrate your fifth wedding anniversary comes from the fact trees were seen to be strong and symbolised wisdom. Your marriage is solid and you have deep roots that are entwined.
A romantic sign to hang in your home will be a cute gift for your other half or – even better – is this miniature wooden signpost marking all the major moments in your journey together. From your first date to when you bought a house, it’s a great way to tell the story of the first five years of your marriage.
If you’re feeling sentimental about your wedding day, why not celebrate with a bottle of the wine you had on your big day presented in a personalised oak box? Or choose a wooden photo frame to give your wedding pictures a new lease of life.
Read Our 5th Anniversary Gift Guide
6th Wedding Anniversary – Sugar
Image: nellyscustomart at Etsy
Life is thought to be getting sweeter by the time you reach your sixth wedding anniversary, so you and your partner can indulge in some sweet treats.
Hotel Chocolat have some delicious and seriously stylish gift ideas, while Virgin Experience Days have amazing afternoon tea deals across the country.
The modern alternative to sugar is iron. Why not choose something romantic like this iron-influenced wall art featuring the sheet music from your first dance? A timeless cast iron Le Creuset casserole dish is brilliant gift idea for someone who loves cooking.
Read Our 6th Anniversary Gift Guide
7th Wedding Anniversary – Copper & Wool
Image: Becky Broome
Copper and wool are chosen for their ability to conduct heat. After seven years together, your marriage is warm and comforting, much like a morning cup of coffee in bed from this personalised copper coffee pot from Not On The High Street.
Or for something wool, The White Company have some gorgeous cashmere throws that are perfect for snuggling under while you watch a film. If you’d rather go for the modern alternative, it’s a desk set…yes, really! Probably best to stick with the cashmere.
Read Our 7th Anniversary Gift Guide
8th Wedding Anniversary – Bronze
Image: Ginger Rose
Bronze is chosen for eight years of marriage as it’s very strong – in fact, it’s a mixture of two metals (copper and tin) that are stronger together than separately.
Choose a keepsake that will take pride of place on a shelf forever, like this miniature bronze stag statue, great for someone with Scottish heritage.
The modern alternative is linen and lace. There’s nothing nicer than slipping into fresh, clean sheets at night and your partner will love some elegant linen bedding from Marks and Spencer. Just make sure it’s a fancy set like these and add some rose petals are the perfect mood-setter.
Read Our 8th Anniversary Gift Guide
9th Wedding Anniversary – Pottery or Willow
Image: The Colourful Garden Company
Pottery is moulded by hand and the painstaking process results in a work of art, whereas willow is flexible but strong and can be woven to create beautiful things.
This willow picnic hamper is the perfect garden accessory and is available from Not On The High Street. Either take some champagne outside to enjoy in your garden or pack up a picnic and make a day trip of it. If you would prefer to go for pottery then how about a pottery making lesson for two (check out our 1st anniversary recommendation)?
Leather is the modern alternative, so if you didn’t get leather gifts for your third anniversary now is the time.
Read Our 9th Anniversary Gift Guide
10th Wedding Anniversary – Tin
Image: TheLittleBoysRoom at Not On The High Street
Tin was used to store and preserve things which is why it is used to mark ten years of marriage. It prevents other metals from corroding when they are plated with it, and can prolong the life of what it is storing. Mark a decade of marriage by giving a tin inspired gift.
This garden accessory can be personalised with your initials and will look amazing in your garden – available from Not On The High Street.
If tin isn’t your thing, you might like to know the modern alternative is diamond. We’re lusting after the Monica Vinader rose gold Riva diamond hoop ring, which will look perfect alongside your wedding and engagement ring.
Read Our 10th Anniversary Gift Guide
11th Wedding Anniversary – Steel
Image: The Forest and Co.
While it might be tempting to opt for the modern gift for jewellery for your 11th anniversary, the traditional gift is steel – valued for its durability and strength. You might immediately think of a watch, stainless steel cufflinks or a hip flask, but there’s lots of interesting gift ideas out there.
Think outside the box: horseshoes are made of steel, so what about a horse riding experience day? Skis also have steel edges – what about a ski break? If you want to stick with the theme, a personalised tie clip, swiss army knife or cocktail shaker set, like this personalised one above, are great.
12th Wedding Anniversary – Silk
Image: Mini Lunn
Like the cocoon of silk that silkworms wrap around themselves, this luxurious material symbolises protection, security and comfort – perfect for the stability you feel after 12 years with your partner.
Silk pyjamas, robes or lingerie are a romantic gift to give to your partner, and, as fine linen counts too, a linen shirt or accessory would also work perfectly. These gorgeous cream silk pyjamas can come monogrammed too.
The modern equivalent is elegant pearl. We love everything from Olivia And Pearl who specialise in contemporary pearl jewellery. For men, mother-of-pearl works great as an inlay into gifts like fountain pens, shaving kits, cufflinks – even on a Fender guitar.
13th Wedding Anniversary – Lace
Image: Rigby and Peller
The interlacing fibres of lace (and the modern equivalent of textiles or fur) represent the close bond that couples have at 13 years into their marriage.
Lace can make for very sensual gifts and you can’t go wrong with lace underwear from a luxury brand like La Perla, Aubade, Coco De Mer and Stella McCartney. This Marie Jo Dahlia set from Rigby and Peller is simply stunning. It makes a great treat to get for yourself for someone else too…
Real fur is out the window but textiles and faux fur are great materials for gifts. Perhaps faux fur-lined gloves, a silk scarf or a leather jacket? A rug or throw, briefcase or handbag, or even something out there like a camping trip in a canvas tent all count.
14th Wedding Anniversary – Ivory
Ivory, made from the tusks of elephants, is banned from being sold in the UK so avoid even antique pieces of ivory in a gift and focus instead on choosing something that’s ivory in colour to represent the original gift.
We love this personalised ivory leather photo album that you can add your names, wedding date or another special date to and fill with pictures of your life together.
Gold is the modern alternative for 14th wedding anniversary gifts, associated with wealth and prosperity. You might not be physically wealthy, but after 14 years of marriage, you’ll have a wealth of love, trust and support. Check out Monica Vinader’s collection of beautiful gold jewellery for women, while Mr Porter is the home of dapper gold accessories for gents.
15th Wedding Anniversary – Crystal
Crystal is a luxurious product and chosen for its clarity: as a transparent product it represents how the couple see each other clearly after 15 years together.
Crystal jewellery will always be a welcome gift – we love this matching necklace and earrings set from Goldsmiths.
For those who aren’t a fan of crystal, the modern anniversary alternative is to give a watch. Links of London has several beautiful rose gold watches that actually use crystal – a win-win! For the gents, there’s loads of stylish watches on offer that will last a lifetime.
20th Wedding Anniversary – China
Image: John Lewis
China is fragile, but when it is looked after properly, it can stand the test of time. Even after two decades together, you may have your moments but if you take care your relationship will always survive.
Giving each other china based gifts is a good way to remind yourselves of that – we love these animal-themed pieces from Yvonne Ellen at John Lewis!
Couples with more expensive taste will be pleased to know the modern alternative for 20 years of marriage is platinum. Ernest Jones have a wonderful selection of platinum earrings and eternity rings.
Read Our 20th Anniversary Gift Guide
25th Wedding Anniversary – Silver
Silver is a precious metal, and no matter how old it is, if it’s treated properly and polished regularly, it will continue to gleam. There is no modern alternative, showing how timeless silver is as a 25th anniversary gift.
Of course, you could buy silver jewellery, cufflinks or a watch as a gift – and they’d be very well received! But for something a little more sentimental, we love this stunning infinity photo frame by Vera Wang for Wedgwood. Give it to your loved one with a treasured wedding photo or family photo inside.
As an alternative, what about a personalised champagne bottle to an engraved sterling silver bookmark?
30th Wedding Anniversary – Pearl
Image: Emma-Kate Francis
Pearls are a symbol of hidden beauty – they are cultivated over time within the not-so-pretty oyster, but once you open it up you find something precious inside. After three decades together it’s unlikely you’ll appear the same as you did when you first met, but it’s what’s inside counts.
Pearl-inspired anniversary gifts are the way to mark this occasion and we love this stunning silver and pearl bracelet from Not On The High Street.
Diamonds are considered to be the modern alternative for 30 years of marriage. Treat your loved one to something special from Tiffany. An eternity ring would be the ideal gift to mark 30 years.
Read Our 30th Anniversary Gift Guide
35th Wedding Anniversary – Coral
Image: Loren Stewart
Coral is a very precious substance and was once believed to have magical properties to protect against illness and danger. It is still precious and protected today so think carefully when it comes to choosing a coral-inspired anniversary gift and maybe choose something inspired by the beautiful colour or shape of coral.
You can either choose a decorative piece of coral for your home (made from resin, of course) or you could adopt coral as a theme and choose something special in a lovely peachy-pink hue.
The modern alternative is jade, still a vibrant colour but more environmentally friendly. These bright jade and gold hoop earrings from Loren Stewart at Net-A-Porter are a beautiful statement gift.
40th Wedding Anniversary – Ruby
Image: Envero Jewelry
Red is a colour often associated with love, and a rich red ruby is the perfect way to symbolise your love. Whether you want to do the traditional anniversary or the modern, look for ruby-inspired gifts as the stone is used for both.
This beautiful ruby and diamond ring is made from recycled 14k gold so you can feel good about saving the planet at the same time as wearing it. For men, a wonderful pair of ruby cufflinks would be a great addition to their wardrobe.
If you aren’t a fan of the precious stone, think outside the box with ruby chocolate, like these ruby Himalayan salted caramel truffles from Fortnum and Mason, or ruby port.
Read our 40th Anniversary Gift Guide
45th Wedding Anniversary – Sapphire
Beautiful blue sapphires were once the preserve of royalty, making them a luxurious, aspirational item. Give the gift of sapphires to celebrate an impressive 45 years together, as it’s used for traditional and modern anniversary celebrations.
This sapphire and diamond halo necklace from Goldsmith’s is a perfect choice.
If you’d like somewhere to store all the beautiful jewellery accessories you’ve been given across the years, then a leather valet tray or a stylish leather watch and jewellery case is fantastic for beside your bed or to take away with you.
50th Wedding Anniversary – Gold
Image: Dibor at Not On The High Street
After a lifetime together, there’s only one gift that can do it justice – gold. One of the most precious metals, gold symbolises lots of things, including prosperity and strength. Again gold is used for modern and traditional anniversaries so buy your loved one a gold anniversary gift.
You don’t have to opt for jewellery though, we love this gold decanter! It’s perfect to serve wine, spirits or even water from. You can purchase matching Art Deco-style glasses that look great with it.
If you’re looking for a real statement piece, consider this hand-twisted gold tree of life sculpture from Etsy.
Read Our 50th Anniversary Gift Guide
55th Wedding Anniversary – Emerald
Image: Lilia Nash Jewellery at Not On The High Street
Green is considered to be the most calming of all colours, and represents growth. After 55 years together your life may not be as hectic as it once was, but you’ve grown together so give emerald or emerald-inspired gifts to recognise that.
This gold emerald leaf pendant by Lilia Nash is a stylish statement, as are these vintage watch movement cufflinks, which can be made in yellow gold.
A gold or rose gold fountain pen from Cross is a timeless gift for both partners that can be handed down.
60th Anniversary – Diamond
Image: Bling Prints at Etsy
Diamonds flourish under pressure and are extremely hard-wearing – just like your relationship will be after six decades of marriage. It is considered to be invincible and is associated with love and wealth.
After 60 years of happy marriage, you may not have physical wealth but you’ll have a wealth of experience and love so celebrate with diamond-inspired anniversary gifts.
A personalised print like the one above is a lovely piece of artwork to add to your walls. You can also buy a 60th anniversary photo frame and fill it with pictures from your wedding day. If you want to go outside of tradition, you can buy a gift set with a newspaper from the day of your wedding and a vintage bottle of Bordeaux.
Read Our 60th Anniversary Gift Guide
70th Wedding Anniversary – Platinum
Platinum is a metal that resists wear and is incredibly hard to tarnish. It’s one of the rarest metals, making it exclusive and is a symbol of endurance. What better way to describe 70 years of marriage? Celebrate by giving each other platinum gifts.
Featuring a floral cluster of marquise and pear diamonds on a delicate platinum chain, this will become an heirloom you’ll want to pass down to your children and grandchildren. As will you want to pass down a beautiful platinum-tipped Montblanc pen, another fantastic gift.
What Can I Do For My Wedding Anniversary?
If our gift ideas above don’t automatically spark an idea, there’s lots of romantic activities you can do for your anniversary. Here’s 25 anniversary date ideas you’ll both love – some of them are free so you’ll be able to celebrate even if you have no money.
Do you think things have changed since you walked down the aisle? Read our article of 9 Things That Change After Saying I Do.