Wedding Anniversary Meanings: Traditional Gifts

A lot of people I know say that the first year anniversary is paper. They don’t know why but they heard it somewhere. People also say the 3rd year is leather which is then followed by a 😉 . Today we are looking at Wedding Anniversary Meanings: Traditional Gifts.

How this wedding anniversary meanings list came about is anyone’s guess. No one can agree or pin point when or how this list came to be. As you browse below you will see that the gifts become more expensive over time. This is to signify your growth together as a couple.

Feel free to take a look and see what gift is for what year. Know what to get your significant other or for potential future gifts. Of course you can get your significant other what you feel is best. With this traditional wedding anniversary meanings list you can put a romantic touch by integrating some of these ideas as well if you wish.

Wedding Anniversary Meanings: Traditional
Anniversary YearTraditional GiftMeaning
Wedding Anniversary Meanings: PaperWhile most people joke that paper is to represent ‘divorce papers’ its traditional meaning is totally different. Paper symbolises that you both just started your lives together a year ago. It and you starting on a ‘clean sheet’. It also represents that paper is easy to destroy and that your relationship has not been tested by time yet.
This one represents the couple coming together as their lives start to ‘twine’ together becoming stronger as time goes on. It also represents how the couple is learning to be flexible et strong just like cotton when it is twined together.
Wedding Anniversary Meanings: LeatherEvery man I know makes a joke about this one but in fact leather is about shelter and security. It represents how our ancestors used leather to protect themselves from the weather. Marriage represents being secure and a place to call home as they look out for each other.
Fruit and Flowers
The 4th year of marriage is about the relationship starting to bear fruit and flourish from working and being together. The fruit is to bring refreshment in each other as the relationship continues to grow.
Trees have always been a symbol or strength, wisdom and time. After 5 years the relationship will have already developed roots and the relationship is growing from strength to strength. As roots have sprouted deep to help endure anything.
Wedding Anniversary Meanings CandyCandy represents the sweetness of marriage as it is time to rekindle any flames that may be starting to go out. Prior to this iron was the 6th year anniversary to symbolise strength and luck.
Copper and Wool
The one thing that copper and wool have in common is that they are able to produce heat. This represents the warmth that the couples give each other warmth, security, comfort and safety.
As you can see that the gifts are starting to increase with value and substance. Bronze is stronger than Iron and copper showing that the relationship is getting stronger and stronger. As bronze made from copper and tin it also represents that the blending of the 2 metals. It makes the 2 stronger and likewise in the relationship being with your significant other.
Wedding Anniversary Meanings PotteryYour relationship may have started (metaphorically) as a lump of clay but over 9 years through good and bad time sit has been put through the furnace of life and turned into something beautiful.
Tin symbolises preservation and the ability to last through time. Made from copper and bronze tin does not rust, thus does not wear down. It is also used to protect food when it is inside a tin can, protecting the fruits of your labour.
Steel is one of the strongest metals out there and therefore a fitting gift for the 11th wedding anniversary. By this stage it is believed that the bonds that are forged through marriage can no longer be broken.
After weathering the storms of marriage, the 12th year gift is silk to sail through life’s stormy seas together. After battling through the waves of life you have ironed out many things together and the rough sea turns into a smooth silky road that you made together.
The lucky 13th wedding gift is lace. It is to show the elegance and beauty of marriage that you have worked together to create something delicate. It is to represent something beautiful and also strong.
Ivory represents purity and innocence. This rare commodity represents fidelity and integrity of the marriage.
When you hit the 15 year milestone, you are presented with crystal. This is when gifts start to become expensive. Crystal is to represent the investment and sacrifice over time. It also represents the transparency and clarity of the marriage. This is also to reflect on the marriage and the years gone by.
China represents the elegant yet fragile nature of being in love. It is to show that a person should not take their marriage for granted but instead take care and look after it.
Silver is one of the most precious metals and is considered very valuable. Therefore after 20 years of marriage it is a fitting symbol. Just like silver itself, may your marriage continue to shine just like silver all your days as you grow together?
In the depths of the ocean the precious pearl represents the 30th wedding anniversary. The pearl symbolises the hidden beauty in the relationship and the beauty that comes with maturity and from within.
Coral is also known as the garden of the sea because it is found on the ocean floor. In times of old it was considered sacred and believed to have magical powers which can shield you from sickness and harm. It is also thought to represent life force because it can have a reddish blood colour to it. Just like coral, commitment and loyalty are the life force of a great marriage and the love that you have for each other protects one another.
The red ruby represents love and passion and is one of the most sought after gemstones worldwide. It is believed that within the heart of the stone is a flame of fire that will grow brighter each year of marriage.
Sapphire is considered the stone of royalty is the ideal gemstone to honour 45 years of marriage. This gift represents the shining example of the longevity of your relationship as a shining beacon to other who wishes to aspire as you have been together for 45 years.
Only gold can reflect the 50 year milestone that has been achieved. Gold represents the strength, wisdom, prosperity and significance of 50 years of marriage.
Emeralds are the traditional gift for the 55th wedding anniversary. They have 2 meanings; the first is that emeralds signify true love. Legend has it that it also said that the shade of the emerald changes when one is unfaithful. Therefore when a person receives an emerald on their 55th wedding anniversary it is a sign of devotion and adoration.
The diamond symbolises strength and affection for the 60th wedding anniversary. The diamond symbolises undying love with a fire in the diamond symbolising the eternal love for each other.
Platinum is the symbol for the 70th wedding anniversary because just like reaching 70 years in marriage this precious metal is also rare.
You probably think you are seeing double but yet diamond is used for the 60th and 75th wedding anniversary. Diamond was also the symbol for the 75th anniversary before it also became a symbol for the 60th. The diamond for the 60th was added in 1897 when Queen Victoria celebrated her diamond jubilee and as such the tradition stayed. When it comes to Wedding Anniversary Meanings and gifts this 75th year gift is considered the pinnacle.

There you have it, the Wedding Anniversary Meanings: Traditional Gifts. If you need any help with shopping for a traditional gift, contact our team. We can make the arrangements for you as we have years understanding the wedding anniversary meanings for our clients.

Check out our other Wedding Anniversary Gift Guides below to see what you can get for your significant other:

  • Traditional Gifts – You Are Here 🙂
  • Modern Gifts
  • Alternative Gifts (coming soon)
  • Anniversary Colour (coming soon)
  • The Anniversary Flower (coming soon)
  • Anniversary Gemstone (coming soon)

What are your thoughts on the modern anniversary gift guide? Have you given a gift based on this guide? Comment down below and join the conversation 🙂


About Stephanie Cassimatis

Stephanie is not only the owner of Pink Caviar Events, but also the senior planner and stylist. She spends most of her days with brides and designing their ideal wedding.