Once the countdown to the wedding is over and you're officially married, you'll be able to celebrate your special day each year on your wedding anniversary. Each anniversary has a different meaning and gift associated with it.
If your wedding anniversary is coming up or you're buying a gift for friends or parents and you want to know the traditional gift and its meaning, you've come to the right place!
Take a look at our list of wedding anniversaries - from the 1st to 70th - and the traditional gifts and modern alternatives associated with it. We've also rounded-up our favourite anniversary gift ideas.
Here's a full breakdown of traditional and modern anniversary gifts. What would be your perfect present for each year of marriage? Read on for a few ideas to inspire you.
||Fruit & Flowers
1st Wedding Anniversary - Paper
Whoever devised the meanings of anniversaries probably figured the happy couple might still be balancing the budget a year on from their wedding – so the traditional first gift is pretty affordable!
The tradition of giving paper on your first year together comes from the idea your first year of marriage is like a blank sheet, and it is also relatively fragile. The modern anniversary tradition is clocks.
Image: Virgin Experience Days
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!)
2nd Wedding Anniversary – Cotton
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 cotton anniversary gift ideas, so you can really get creative and use it to personalise your home.
There's lots of cosy cotton gifts like personalised pillowcases or co-ordinating robes (check out The White Company), which you can snuggle down in.
Image: Little Foundry
If your partner loves to give or receive flowers, then these cute cotton blooms from Little Foundry will be their favourite gift. A bonus to cotton flowers if they'll last a lifetime so you can display them forever. You can also order a sweet personalised oak charm to go with them.
The modern alternative to cotton is china, if you’d rather not follow the old tradition.
3rd Wedding Anniversary – Leather
Leather is durable and has traditionally been used as a material to protect and provide shelter. 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 to splash out then Aspinal of London have lots of gorgeous leather gifts and accessories that can be monogrammed to make them even more personal. A belt, hip flask or leather iPhone case is a great shout as a gift for a man.
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 and we love this Burgundy purse, above - it comes in lots of different colours so you can pick your partner's favourite.
Crystal or glass is seen as the modern alternative to giving leather gifts.
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 (or both if you’re feeling generous!).
Bloom and Wild offer a huge range of gorgeous bouquets that you can order in advance to be delivered on your anniversary or you can buy your partner a gift subscription for flowers to be delivered through your door each month.
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. Once you've nutured it to full size, you'll always have a romantic rose on hand to give to your partner.
If flowers aren't their thing (hello hayfever!), the modern alternative is appliances. Is there anyone who's morning couldn't be improved with a Nespresso machine?
5th Wedding Anniversary – Wood
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 romantic gift for your other half - Etsy have a huge range all with different phrases and quotes so you can choose something that resonates with you.
Image: No Ordinary Gift Company
Even better than a sign 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.
If you’d prefer the modern alternative, it’s silverware.
6th Wedding Anniversary – Sugar
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.
Image: nellyscustomart at Etsy
The modern alternative to sugar is iron. If your partner doesn't have much of a sweet tooth then 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.
7th Wedding Anniversary – Copper & Wool
Copper and wool might seem like an odd combination to celebrate seven years of marriage but they are chosen for their ability to conduct heat. After seven years together your marriage should be seen as warm and comforting so choose gifts based on copper and wool to recognise this.
We love this personalised copper coffee pot from Not On The High Street and think it's an adorable idea for your seventh anniversary.
Image: Becky Broome
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.
8th Wedding Anniversary – Bronze
Bronze is chosen for eight years of marriage as it is very strong! It’s a mixture of two metals (copper and tin) that come together to result in a strong combined substance. Bronze gifts are a good way to recognise the tradition.
Choose a keepsake that will take pride of place on a shelf forever, like this miniature bronze stag statue. You can choose from a whole range of animals but this one is great for an animal lover or someone with Scottish heritage.
Image: Ginger Rose
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.
We know bed sheets might not seem like the most romantic thing, but trust us, a fancy set like these and some rose petals are the perfect mood-setter.
9th Wedding Anniversary – Pottery or Willow
This could be interpreted in a few different ways – willow patterned pottery, or separate gifts of pottery and willow. Pottery is moulded by hand and the painstaking process results in a word 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.
Image: The Colourful Garden Company
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.
10th Wedding Anniversary – Tin
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.
Image: TheLittleBoysRoom at 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.
11th Wedding Anniversary - Steel
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 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 Negroni one below, are great.
If you think jewellery would be preferred, why not try to include a nod to steel? For women, this dainty gold plated compass bracelet is gorgeous and she can use this personalised name jewellery hook to hang it from.
For men, an engraved leather bracelet or these stainless steel infinity cufflinks will last forever.
12th Wedding Anniversary - Silk
Like the cocoon of silk that silkwoms 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 pearl, an elegant and sophisticated choice. It lends itself so well to jewellery and we love everything from Olivia And Pearl who specialise in contemporary pearl pieces.
For men, mother-of-pearl works great as an inlay into gifts like fountain pens, shaving kits, cufflinks - even on a Fender guitar. You could think outside the box with caviar pearls too!
13th Wedding Anniversary - Lace
The tight-knot, interlacing fibres of lace (and the modern equivalent textiles/fur) represent the close bond that couples have at this stage in 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. You could go for satin, velvet, cotton or wool. Perhaps faux fur-lined gloves, a silk scarf or a leather jacket?
It doesn't have to be clothing, of course. 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 or produced today because of decline in animal population and cruel practices involved. As such, it's best to 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 Kate Spade 'Tickle the Ivories' bangle - ideal for any music lover - or this personalised ivory leather photo album that you can personalise with your wedding or another special date 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. Celebrate this with something made from the precious metal, including rose gold, yellow gold and white gold.
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, the most expensive traditional anniversary gift so far. It was 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
China is fragile, but when it is looked after properly, it can stand the test of time. Much like a relationship! 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!
Image: 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.
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. Give silver gifts for your 25th anniversary to remind yourselves of that.
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.
Image: John Lewis
There isn’t a modern alternative for silver, considering how timeless it is! But the options for silver anniversary gifts are pretty limitless, from a personalised champagne bottle to an engraved sterling silver bookmark.
30th Wedding Anniversary – Pearl
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 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.
Image: Emma-Kate Francis
Diamonds are considered to be the modern alternative for 30 years of marriage (well, the diamond you may have received for 10 years is likely to be looking a little tired now, right?).
Treat your loved one to something special from Tiffany. An eternity ring would be the ideal gift to mark 30 years.
35th Wedding Anniversary – Coral
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.
This mint green jade arrowhead pendant is a beautiful statement gift. Each piece of gemstone is sourced from brazil and has slightly different markings making for a truly unique gift.
40th Wedding Anniversary – Ruby
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 beautoiful 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.
Image: Envero Jewelry
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 Himalyan salted caramel truffles from Fortnum and Mason, or ruby port.
45th Wedding Anniversary – Sapphire
Beautiful blue sapphires were once the reserve of loyalty, 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.
As always, a personalised anniversary card is the perfect accompaniment. We love this funny sapphire anniversary card.
50th Wedding Anniversary – Gold
After a lifetime together, there’s only one gift that can do it justice – gold.
The most precious metal, 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.
Image: Dibor at Not On The High Street
You don't have to opt for jewellery though, we love this ombre 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.
55th Wedding Anniversary – Emerald
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.
Image: Lilia Nash Jewellery at Not On The High Street
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
Diamonds flourish under pressure and are extremely hardwearing – 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.
Image: Bling Prints at Etsy
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.
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.
Do you think things have changed since you walked down the aisle? Read our article of 9 Things That Change After Saying I Do.