The Best Anniversary Gifts Based on Tradition

Celebrate your journey together with our picks based on traditional wedding anniversary gift ideas by year.

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Updated on June 21, 2023

A wedding anniversary is a special, sentimental occasion worth celebrating — no matter if it's your first anniversary or 41st. Treat your partner to a token of your forever love with a meaningful gift to commemorate the heart-warming years together. Since picking out gifts can be difficult, turn to tradition for a little help. Each year of marriage boasts a unique theme such as paper for the first year, tin for year 10, silver for 25 and gold for the momentous 50th year.

We're diving into the traditional themes and symbolic meanings for the first five years of wedded bliss as well as notable milestone anniversary years. And to go along with each, we've compiled our top on-theme gift picks to celebrate that special year together. Whether you're buying a present for your own anniversary or celebrating another couple's love, these traditional wedding anniversary gift ideas are ideal for all budgets, sizes and styles.

1st Wedding Anniversary: Paper

Paper may not sound like much, but its traditional symbolism is positively swoon-worthy. This humble material signifies a blank page and the celebration of completing the first chapter of married life together. Play into the romantic tradition and wow your spouse with a custom charcoal portrait inspired by one of their favorite wedding photos. Or, go for a custom print that captures a star chart from a specific day in time such as your wedding day or the day you two met.

2nd Wedding Anniversary: Cotton

Cotton serves as tradition's go-to gift for second wedding anniversaries because it's said to symbolize the adaptability, comfort and strength necessary in marriage. Celebrate your second year of marriage with a beautiful, sentimental gift of your wedding vows, first dance song lyrics or favorite poem printed on cotton rag paper. If traveling is more your style, pick up a pair of fluffy cotton robes for a relaxing weekend getaway to a spa retreat.

From $40
Etsy | ReverieStationeryCo

3rd Wedding Anniversary: Leather

Couples have long celebrated their third year of wedded bliss by exchanging gifts made from leather. Historically, leather serves as a romantic representation of the security, durability and warmth within a marriage. Observe the tradition and gift your spouse a personalized leather tray for their desk or bedside table. Other ideas include a luxe leather briefcase or a personalized leather bookmark.

4th Wedding Anniversary: Fruit and Flowers

Fourth anniversaries are marked with gifts of flowers or fruit to represent the growth and blossoming and nurturing love within the marriage. Use your fourth anniversary as an excuse to sweep your spouse off their feet with a custom illustration of their wedding day bouquet. If you really want to knock this anniversary out of the park, work with a local florist to recreate the bouquet as a fresh arrangement to gift alongside the illustration.

From $113.67
Etsy | WildwoodPaperStore
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5th Wedding Anniversary: Wood

Wood is considered a symbol of strength and solidity and represents a sturdy foundation of love for married life. Celebrate your unwavering love on your fifth anniversary with a special wooden gift like this custom bean bag toss set. Use the set throughout the years to create joyful memories together, and let it serve as a reminder that your marriage is solid and steady no matter where you are. If your spouse considers themselves an amateur chef, opt for a cookbook stand or state-shaped cheese board.

10th Wedding Anniversary: Tin or Aluminum

Ten years of marriage is a real milestone and should be celebrated accordingly. Tradition turns to tin or aluminum to celebrate 10 years because the flexible metals symbolize durability and protection. This tin and wood wall art is a foolproof find for your 10-year anniversary because it lets your partner know that you'd still choose them after all these years. Add even more meaning to this gift by pairing the gorgeous sign with a hand-written letter that outlines your most cherished memories from the last decade of your marriage.

From $49.99
Etsy | MadiKayDesigns
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15th Wedding Anniversary: Crystal

Tradition calls for you to treat your partner to a crystal gift on your 15th wedding anniversary. Crystal is both exquisitely beautiful and delicate – just like your marriage. The sparkling material is meant to inspire couples to handle their marriage with gentleness and attention. This gorgeous decanter is crafted from sparkling, lead-free crystal and will serve as a brilliant reminder of your love from your bar cart for many years to come. Pair it with the matching set of double old-fashioned glasses for the ultimate gift.

20th Wedding Anniversary: China

What better way to celebrate 20 years married than with a material that symbolizes longevity? White china is made from porcelain and is meant to represent lasting love and connection. Mark the momentous occasion with a set of heirloom-quality, porcelain dinnerware. If they already have a dinnerware set, opt for a timeless teapot set, porcelain platter or bone china coffee mugs.

25th Wedding Anniversary: Silver

Start your 25th year of marriage with a silver gift that symbolizes brilliance, beauty and radiance. Surprise your sweetheart with a professional photo shoot, and invest in classic silver beaded frames to show off your photos together. Our tip: Purchase several silver frames and add pictures of major milestones shared over your 25 years together. Pair the frames with silver preserved roses for the ultimate romantic gesture.

30th Wedding Anniversary: Pearl

Pearls are the perfect 30th wedding anniversary present because they represent the strength to withstand pressure and passing time. This mother-of-pearl clock is a gorgeous gift to mark 30 years because not only is it ultra-gorgeous, but the clock itself will remind you of the good times spent together in the past, and the loving time you'll spend together in the future.

35th Wedding Anniversary: Coral

Historically, the 35th anniversary has been celebrated with coral. However, amid ongoing threats to coral reefs around the world, the modern interpretation for gifting is the color coral or faux coral decor. We love the coral motif dinnerware at Pottery Barn and a chic, coral-colored tea kettle from Caraway is always a showstopper.

40th Wedding Anniversary: Ruby

Forty years calls for fine jewelry, and not just any stone will do. Tradition calls for rubies because they represent passion and an ever-flickering flame within a marriage. Show your partner you're forever in love with this dazzling ruby and diamond ring. Choose between white, yellow or rose gold to best fit their style, and use the ring to jumpstart a collection of stacked rings that you build on for life's special events.

$380
Etsy | EnveroJewelry

45th Wedding Anniversary: Sapphire

The deep, rich blue of the sapphire represents the 45th wedding anniversary because it symbolizes a deep, rich love that's decades in the making. And while any sapphire jewelry would be perfect for the occasion, we love thinking outside of the box and riffing on the color itself for other big-ticket gifts such as this cookware set from Caraway or Lunya's signature washable silk loungewear.

50th Wedding Anniversary: Gold

Fifty years of marriage is dubbed the golden year because gold symbolizes a timeless, classic and treasured love. Pop the champagne in celebration of your momentous milestone with a beautiful, monogrammed wine bowl in a luxe gold finish to keep the bubbly chilled. Or, treat your sweetheart to an overflowing basket of golden gourmet sweets and delicacies as a token of your long-lasting love.

55th Wedding Anniversary: Emerald

One of the rare gemstones, emerald represents the 55th wedding anniversary. In general, gifting an emerald represents loyalty and devotion. And 55 years of loyalty and devotion is certainly something to celebrate. Emeralds are actually rarer than diamonds and even sapphires; so emerald jewelry is always a very special way to celebrate this milestone. However, if you're booking a vacation to celebrate, an emerald trunk suitcase from July would be just as luxurious.

60th Wedding Anniversary: Diamond

Rubies and emeralds may be rarer than diamonds, but a diamond is tough and unwavering. That enduring strength — through all of life's trials — is why the 60th wedding anniversary is traditionally celebrated with diamonds. An additional anniversary band or diamond pendant necklace would be a classic gift for this major milestone. But we're also big, big fans of throwing a party for major wedding anniversaries such as this and if you're going to celebrate, why not have diamond-themed decor such as these diamond-etched hurricane glasses from Terrain or diamond-shaped glassware from Dragon Glassware? For something more sentimental, we love this 60th wedding anniversary double picture frame from Amazon.

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