Anniversaries are a time to celebrate the love and life we build together year after year. As weddings for love became popular in the late 19th century, wedding anniversary themes were standardized to help commend couples on their lives together with traditional gifts.
Of course with any tradition, these gifts have become modernized and there are plenty of creative ways to gift paper that your partner will love. If you’re looking for wedding anniversary gift ideas, the traditional themes are a great place to get inspiration before you visit your favorite boutique.
Anniversaries are the perfect annual marker of your time together, but perhaps more important are the moments that define your relationship. Marriage milestones are the wonderful times where you can see your lives growing and changing — like when you buy your first home. So to help you commemorate your firsts as a couple, jump to our marriage milestones gift ideas below.
Traditional Wedding Anniversary Gift Ideas by Year
With each year together you’ve created hundreds of memories and grown significantly in your lives as individuals and as partners. That’s a beautiful thing to celebrate and wedding anniversary gifts are the perfect way to show your partner you love your life together.
1st Anniversary: Paper
Paper probably seems a little too simple, but the possibilities are endless and there are plenty of sentimental ways to gift paper. Consider a star map of your wedding day, a framed print of your first dance’s sheet music, or a poem of your first-year memories. If you want a little more wow, grab tickets to your favorite show, commission a custom painting, or schedule a one-year photo shoot.
Modern Gift: Clocks are the modern alternative to paper, and you can gift a new watch or even DIY a custom clock for something extra special.
2nd Anniversary: Cotton
Cotton is a part of our everyday lives and offers plenty of creative gift opportunities. Your lives are closer-knit than ever, so a custom blanket or a new outfit can make for lovely and useful gifts. You can also go the decor route with unique throw pillows, a canvas print, or tapestry for your wall.
Modern Gift: China traditionally falls further down the list, but why wait for a beautiful collection of dishware you could be enjoying now.
3rd Anniversary: Leather
Leather can last a lifetime, so this is a great year to invest in a gift that can be loved forever. A new wallet or bag are go-to’s for anyone. You can also consider something specific to your partner’s hobbies, like a leather guitar strap or custom journal cover. If you don’t love wearing hides, check-out guilt-free vegan leather gifts from local artists and big brands alike.
Modern Gift: Crystal and glass are great alternatives if you’re not into leather. Consider a decorative candle or a matching decanter and glasses set.
4th Anniversary: Fruit or Flowers
Fruit and flowers are a beautiful way to celebrate how your love grows and blossoms every year. Of course, live flowers are always appreciated, but you can also preserve your flowers to create unique decor for your home. For a lasting gift, consider planning a garden, planting a fruit tree, or gifting art and jewelry made of fruit and floral designs.
Modern Gift: Appliances are always a good investment, so consider what your home needs the most or what new gadget would be the most fun to have.
5th Anniversary: Wood
After five wonderful years together a gift of wood is tradition. This is a super customizable material, so you can gift a charcuterie board and wine rack for wine pairings, an upgrade to your bedroom suite furniture, or a customized piece of wall art for your home.
Modern Gift: Consider choosing a new silverware set if you’re a fan of hosting dinner parties, or even if you’ve just lost too many to the sink disposal.
6th Anniversary: Iron
Six years of marriage is a true testament to your bond. Upgrade your kitchen with cast iron cookware that will last a lifetime, or line your yard with a beautiful new iron fence. Light fixtures, picture frames, and golf clubs are also great ways to gift iron.
Modern Gift: If wood fits your aesthetic better, you can shop for garden lanterns and furniture, or a decorative sign and puzzle to share.
7th Anniversary: Copper or Wool
Copper and wool are paired to symbolize a strong, loving, and comfortable marriage together, and are great gifts for your lucky seventh year together. Plan a date night in with cozy wool socks and sweaters, then gift a wedding photo etched in copper, matching keychains, or a copper wallet insert of your wedding vows.
Modern Gift: If you’re looking for more utility you can upgrade your partner’s desk set with custom stationery and matching office tools.
8th Anniversary: Bronze or Pottery
This year is the perfect year to gift an experience. Register you and your partner for a pottery class and make your own gifts together. If you’d rather buy something, decorative bowls, mugs, and kitchen storage are all great places to start. For bronze, consider jewelry, chimes, or an engraved money clip.
Modern Gift: Linen and lace are beautiful alternatives if you’d like to give something more delicate. You can buy your partner a stunning new outfit and plan a date night, or upgrade your home linens to something more luxurious.
9th Anniversary: Willow or Pottery
Beautiful vases, porcelain tea sets, and sculptures are great pottery gifts. Give willow as a new picnic basket, a stylish ottoman or woven chair, or simply as a potted willow tree.
Modern Gift: Leather is great as luggage tags and a passport cover for your next trip, or as designer boots and a jacket for a fashionable partner.
10th Anniversary: Tin or Aluminum
Congratulations on your tenth wedding anniversary! Tin and aluminum may seem like simple gifts, but they’re used in several high-tech products that allow you to really give something special for your decade celebration. Check out smartwatches, laptop upgrades, or a projector for movie night. You can always keep it simple with a tin of their favorite tea, decorative signs, and fun vintage tins.
Modern Gift: Of course if you really want to dazzle, the tenth wedding anniversary is also the diamond anniversary. Upgrade your wedding bands or propose to renew your vows.
11th Anniversary: Steel
Steel is a great way to represent your strength and resilience after eleven years of marriage. The best part is steel is super versatile and your gift options are endless. Cocktail sets and whiskey stones, decorative bowls and tumblers, or even tables and decor lamps can all make wonderful steel gifts.
Modern Gift: While this year you may skip on the diamonds, you can still gift gorgeous fashion jewelry for a sparkling gift they’ll love.
12th Anniversary: Silk or Linen
Silk is a lavish upgrade for your home and great for pillowcases, pajamas, and robes. Buy matching sets along with higher thread count linens, monogrammed towels, and cozy slippers to plan a spa day at home.
Modern Gift: Pearls aren’t limited to stud earrings or necklaces. Look for items with pearl buttons, purl-knit sweaters, or even pearl inlays on a new guitar’s fretboard.
13th Anniversary: Lace
When choosing a lace gift you may have to think outside of the box a bit. Lace clothing is a good start, but you can find lace prints and designs on just about anything. Consider ordering a portrait made of lace, or pick-up a bouquet of flowers or potted plant with a lace bow.
Modern Gift: If lace isn’t your style, textiles are the modern theme which gives you plenty of room for creativity. Order a custom quilt, tapestry, or a gorgeous new rug.
14th Anniversary: Ivory
While the 14th anniversary is traditionally celebrated with ivory, you’ll want to choose a gift that looks like ivory. Faux ivory chess pieces, jewelry, and cufflinks are great alternatives. To celebrate elephants over ivory, you may even consider donating to protect wildlife or a trip to the zoo.
Modern Gift: You can always skip the ivory and go for gold. Jewelry is an easy choice, but you can also grab gold home decor or a journal with gold trim to document your favorite memories together.
15th Anniversary: Crystal
What an amazing accomplishment to grow together over 15 years! Traditionally couples give crystal gifts to celebrate their sparkling love. Crystal champagne flutes for a proper toast are a fitting idea. You may also consider wellness crystals, crystal candle holders, or trendy crystal platters.
Modern Gift: The great thing about watches is that they can be worn and enjoyed every day, and you could choose a smartwatch for utility or a fashion watch to really impress.
Marriage Milestones to Celebrate
Every year deserves to be celebrated for the memories and triumphs of your relationship. Sprinkled within those years are marriage milestones that are special moments you’ll remember forever, and they’re perfect times to celebrate, too!
When You Buy Your First Home
Your first home together is a special first that really sets the foundation for the rest of your life. Celebrate with a portrait of your home, an ornate key ornament with your purchase date, or a custom welcome sign for your new front door.
When Your Family Grows by One
Whether by baby or pet, growing your family is a beautiful moment of love and compassion. When you announce a baby, celebrate with a photoshoot, your last one as just the two of you, and continue to capture the moments leading up to welcoming your new bundle of joy for a precious baby book.
If you’re welcoming a fur baby, consider a custom collar and matching bracelets to keep you all close, or a custom work of art like a needle felting or embroidery piece of your new pet.
When Your Host Your First Holiday at Home
After years of splitting family holidays, your first season as the host is a special occasion to add your own traditions to. Of course, a family photo the day of is required, but you can also celebrate by updating your holiday decor. Custom stockings, a new Menorah, or enough lights for a Griswold Christmas will help to welcome everyone into your home. Build a scrapbook, frame your holiday photo, or order a special ornament to always remember the occasion.
When You Renew Your Vows
After years of marriage, there’s no doubt you and your partner are different people. It’s a beautiful thing to have learned, loved, and grown together, and renewing your vows is one of the best ways to show that you’re more in love than ever. After you renew your vows, celebrate with a second honeymoon, upgrade your wedding bands, or buy something for your home that you’ve been considering all of these years. Whatever it is, make sure it’s special to you two.
When You Plan Your First Road Trip
You likely enjoyed your first trip together on your honeymoon, and your first road trip is another vacation full of memories and plenty of quality time in the car together. Collect mementos along the way at different rest stops, tourist shops, and roadside attractions. Keep a journal of your trip, what you saw, what you talked about, and even what you listened to. There’s a ton of fun to be had on a road trip and you’ll want to remember it all. Gifts and mementos are one of the best ways to remember your lives together and how you’ve grown. From your beginning as newlyweds to each anniversary and special memory, celebrate your love with something meaningful you can hold on to forever.