If you are married or a soon-to-be newlywed, you have probably figured out that marriage is steeped in tradition. Brides wear veils, bridesmaids wear matching dresses, save the top tier of the wedding cake, etc. But it does not end after you say "I Do," next comes the tradition for giving anniversary gifts based on how long you have been married. The meaning behind this tradition is that with each passing year that you are married, the strength of your relationship grows as well as your investment. That's why the materials in the traditional themes start out simple (like paper for the first anniversary) and become more substantial/expensive over time (like china for the 20th anniversary.)
While having this cheat sheet for anniversary gifts is helpful, sometimes couples have trouble giving meaningful gifts to each other for anniversaries. Maybe the theme does not fit the couple, is outdated, or you or your spouse are not naturally gifted in the art of gift giving. Whatever the case, the goal for this gift guide is to provide you with a few ideas and inspiration for your first five anniversary gifts. The anniversary gift guide is organized by year, themes (both traditional and modern) and by flower respectively.
First Anniversary: Paper, Clocks, Carnation
Paper is the traditional first anniversary gift. There are a few different ways to go with this theme. You could frame your wedding vows and favorite picture, pick a bouquet of paper flowers with printed song lyrics, create a personalized comic book of your first year of marriage, or make a scrapbook if you are a crafty person. Opening these with your spouse over a bottle of wine and the top tier of your wedding cake would be a romantic and sentimental moment to reminisce about your special day.
Clocks are emerging as the modern first anniversary gift. If you and your spouse are an active couple or looking to get in shape together, matching Fitbit watches would be a great gift to yourselves. Alternatively, especially for long distance military couples spending their first anniversary alone, a personalized time zone clock would be a meaningful gift and opportunity to stay connected while you are apart.
Second Anniversary: Cotton, China, Lily of the Valley
Cotton is the traditional second anniversary gift. For this theme, you could take it literally and buy matching t-shirts, underwear, and socks. Alternatively, you could get creative and expand upon the different types of products that can be made with cotton. For example, cotton paper can be used for prints and you could frame sheet music from your first dance, a timeline of your relationship, or a travel tracker of your adventures as a couple thus far.
China is becoming the modern second anniversary gift. Take a cue from old, affluent families like the Vanderbilts and commission your own family monogram plates set. Or if you have the vacation days, actually go to China! Everything is open to interpretation.
Third Anniversary: Leather, Crystal/Glass, Sunflower
Leather is the traditional third anniversary gift. There are a lot of different options for this theme, especially if you want a personalized gift. If you gave your spouse a new watch for your first anniversary, you could give them a personalized leather watch band for your third anniversary. Alternatively, you and your spouse could have matching personalized leather bracelets or keychains.
Crystal/Glass is the modern third anniversary gift. Personalized champagne flutes, wine glasses, or rocks glasses would be a perfect fit here if you do not have any from your wedding already. Alternatively, a custom music album plaque of your song or a personalized candle would both be thoughtful gifts to celebrate your special memories together.
Fourth Anniversary: Fruit and Flowers, Appliances, Hydrangea
Fruit and flowers are the traditional fourth anniversary gift. Edible Arrangements with your spouse's favorite fruits would fit this theme nicely and be a delicious gift. Additionally, you could connect with a local florist and/or a local baker who specialize in special occasion arrangements and chocolate covered fruit. If you order enough for two, you and your spouse will have a special dessert to share after a romantic dinner.
Appliances are now the modern fourth anniversary gift. This works for men and women. Go ahead and get them that new tool they wanted for the workshop or that fancy espresso machine to make the morning routine a little sweeter. Just make sure that you and your spouse agree ahead of time on price expectations so that your anniversary celebration is not spoiled with an argument.
Fifth Anniversary: Wood, Silverware, Daisy
Wood is the traditional fifth anniversary gift. For this theme, there is something for every personality which makes it really easy to shop for. For the foodie and amateur chef, a custom engraved wood kitchen set would be a thoughtful and useful gift. If you and your spouse are constantly looking for new ideas for date night, a box of date night tokens would give you inspiration and great opportunities for quality time together. And if you are looking for a way to make your home more personal and inviting, a personalized family welcome sign for your front door is the perfect gift.
Silverware has become the modern fifth anniversary gift. You can use this opportunity to add to or upgrade your tableware and knife sets. Get that gold plated flatware set that you have your spouse has their eye on, or buy that set of professional kitchen knives that you both have been coveting. Alternatively, you do not have to buy a whole new set of silverware in order to upgrade your collection. A cute engraved cereal spoon would make a sweet gift as well.
What is the best anniversary gift that you have ever received? Share in the comments below!