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Wedding Anniversary Origins

(Last Updated On: 11/07/2018)

We celebrate wedding anniversaries. It is a standard thing in modern day society. Did you know that this was once not the case. Back in the olden days you got married and that was it. You were married for life and there is no reason to celebrate it every year. This is because it’s just a part of life. These days the perspective has changed. Couples now celebrate and recognise what it takes to be married. The commitment and supporting of each other is not a quick thing but a life long commitment. Today we are looking at Wedding Anniversary Origins and how it come to be today. Where and how did they start and why do we give wedding anniversary gifts to each other. Lets find out!

Wedding Anniversary Origins

Anniversary Wedding Vows Modern: Anniversary Gift Wedding Anniversary Origins

Wedding Anniversary Gifts

Back In Olden Times

Wedding anniversary origins are first seen in ancient Rome. There are also recordings of wedding anniversary in medieval Germany. There is no specific traditions or proper records until 18th century Germany where is was more prevalent. Back then not ever year was not celebrated. Rather only long term milestone’s such as the 25th and 50th year.

Historically on the 25th wedding anniversary a couples friend may give a wreath made entirely of silver. On the 50th wedding anniversary a couple may be given a wreath made of gold. This fits in line with the traditional wedding anniversary gifts of silver and gold for the 25th and golf for the 50th anniversary. The longer the couple is married the more precious the metals used in wreath.

Shopkeepers Looking For Profit

Silver and gold gift giving for anniversaries was quite prevalent by the 1860’s in Europe. Shopkeepers wanted to join in on this tradition.

They starred to devise ideas for gifts that were for smaller years and of lesser value. That way it would be easy for couples to get in on the idea of gift giving. It also made it make it a regular occurrence (yearly). This would start off years earlier compared to the first being 25 years. In fact in the 1859 edition of “The (Old) Farmer’s Almanac” made reference to a one month anniversary which was sugar. It includes references to tin, wood and diamonds as well. This is now considered part of the traditional wedding anniversary list.

One Month Wedding Anniversary Sugar

An extract from The (Old) Farmer’s Almanac

This also spurred on other types of anniversary lists such as flowers, gemstones and colours were created. This was done so that specific industries could get in on the action. That way couples would be coming back to them year after year.

By the 20th century standardised lists that we all know today started to appear around 1910 to 192o’s. Unfortunately no one could agree and there are variations of this list.

In fact to this day depending on where you are from, there will be subtle variations. There is no one list but lists that are more inclusive like ours 🙂 .

One could consider that this list is still kind of “subject to change”.

Modern Day & Alternative Lists

Some people in the past few years believe that the list is out of date. This spurred the Chicago Public Library to create their famous Modern anniversary list. While the original page has been taken down you can still see it in the web archive here. I personally contacted the Chicago Public Library on their thoughts on the list. They responded by saying “Most sources do not ascribe meaning to the different gifts except that the gifts get more durable the longer the marriage goes on”. This means that their focus for gifts was the symbolism of durability. The logic is that the longer the marriage lasts, the stronger it becomes. The list is considered the official go to list for the modern wedding anniversary list.

Wedding Anniversary Lists A Plenty

As you can see from the early days the origins have changed symbolism and evolved into many variations. Check out the list below for some of the lists that are currently out there.

What are your thoughts of the wedding anniversary origins? Have you ever given a gift based on a wedding anniversary list? Let us know and join the discussion below 🙂

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