Advice from Prosperity Mansion & Farm, an outdoor, garden, Maryland wedding venue located in Frederick County Maryland and bordering Carroll County.
As with many things regarding weddings, there is a popular set of traditions relating to the gifts you should get your spouse for your anniversary. A good gift comes from the heart and only you know what the perfect gift will be, but these traditions are a great place to start if you’re feeling a little stuck.
Historians say that giving distinct gifts at milestone anniversaries originated in the Germanic regions of Central Europe in medieval times. The wife would receive a silver wreath from her husband on the 25th wedding anniversary.
You aren’t obligated to follow these traditions each year, but it can give you gift ideas you may have never even thought of before. Plus, thinking about what your spouse would want within these suggestions will make you all the more excited when you finally find the perfect gift. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box when following these traditions!
Originally, there was one theme for every anniversary year—paper for the first anniversary, cotton for the second, and so on. However, more themes and items have sprung up for each year as time has gone on. For comprehensive lists of themes and ideas for each anniversary, check out these posts by The Knot and Hallmark.
Your First Anniversary
Traditionally, the first anniversary is celebrated with Paper. Paper represents how delicate a new marriage is, but it can last a lifetime if it’s well taken care of and preserved. Paper gifts could mean a lovely handwritten poem, a pretty set of stationary, or even a handmade coupon book.
The more modern tradition for the first anniversary is clocks, to celebrate how precious your time is together. A wonderful gift to commemorate this would be a simple clock with a picture from your wedding day!
Your Second Anniversary
The traditional second anniversary gift is cotton, which symbolizes how interconnected you are and the flexibility you face in your marriage. Your gift ideas can range from a silly and fun pair of socks, a t-shirt or hoodie they’ll love, or you could splurge and go for a monogrammed bathrobe.
For a more modern gift, year two is celebrated with China. This is to symbolize both the strengths you’ve developed and the weaknesses you’ve worked through in your marriage. A simple yet elegant piece of China, or a figurine with a China pattern, would make a great gift!
Your Third Anniversary
Historically, the third year is the year for leather. Strong and resourceful, leather is meant to reflect how you may have adapted your marriage to major life changes like having children or buying a new house. A new wallet, a personalized leather keychain, or a leather-bound journal are great gifts to celebrate year three.
The more modern theme is crystal and glass, to reflect the light and beauty within your marriage. A simple desk décor item or paperweight made of glass or crystal would be a great gift for the modern third anniversary theme.
Your Fourth Anniversary
Fruit and Flowers represent the fourth anniversary in the traditional guide. Your love has grown steadily over the last four years, much like fruit and flowers grow. An Edible Arrangement display combines the best of both worlds, and can be a delicious way to celebrate four happy years together.
Nowadays, four years is marked with appliances. By this point, your life has probably already expanded to a bigger house or space together. A practical gift for the home will let your spouse know that you are both in this for the long haul.
Your Fifth Anniversary
Five years is traditionally symbolized by wood. By this point, you’ve likely found your roots, and your love is only going to grow from here. Many woodworkers and carpenters have Etsy shops where you can find beautiful wooden gifts for your spouse.
The modern equivalent for the fifth anniversary is silverware. This is to celebrate the five years of meals you’ve cooked and enjoyed together.
Your Sixth Anniversary
The traditional gift for year six is Iron, meant to represent how strong your marriage has become over the years. Iron wall décor, iron plated keychains, or even a cast iron skillet for a spouse who loves to cook are a wonderful way to show your love in the sixth year.
Much like year 5, wood represents the strength of six years in the more modern sense. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box!
Your Seventh Anniversary
The seventh year has two traditional gifts in copper and wool. Copper conducts heat, which represents the warmth of your relationship. Wool is comfortable and cozy, much like you feel when you’re with your significant other. A nice copper-colored blanket, or a wool can copper figurine are great gifts for seven years.
The modern equivalent for seven years is office or desks sets. While not as romantic as other traditions or themes, work is a major part of your life, and a desk set from your significant other signifies they’re going to support you throughout your professional endeavors.
Your Eighth Anniversary
Traditionally speaking, year eight is celebrated with pottery or bronze. Like many other themes, they symbolize both the strength and beauty of your relationship through the years. Bronze-colored bowls or other pieces of pottery would be a great gift.
The more modern theme for the eighth year is linen and lace, which celebrates the elegance and refinery of your marriage. Linen and lace can be found pretty much anywhere, so your gift options are practically limitless!
Your Ninth Anniversary
Year nine’s traditional theme brings back pottery, but pairs it with willow this time. By the time you’ve been married for nine years, you know each other pretty well and work together without having to think much about it. These two gifts represent how free-spirited your marriage is by this point.
In modern times, year nine is represented by leather. Again, this is to symbolize both the strength and flexibility of your marriage.
Your Tenth Anniversary
Traditionally, couples celebrate a decade with aluminum or tin. These metals are both flexible and don’t rust, meaning they can bend without breaking and will last a long time. After a decade of marriage, this is just like you and your spouse are! Wrapping your gift in foil or using a decorative tin box for the gift is a fun way to include this tradition.
The modern theme for ten years is diamond jewelry. Diamonds are the strongest gemstone, and the two of you have grown stronger than ever after being married for ten years.
Marriage is meant to last a lifetime, and there are plenty of ways to celebrate your love on your anniversary. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box when it comes to an anniversary gift!
Photo by Summer Penrose
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