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​Wedding Anniversary Ideas for Every Year

34036886815_7e5cb30777_zaaaaaaaaaWedding anniversaries are a wonderful thing. If you’re lucky, you’ll be celebrating your fair share down the road with the love of your life. If you’re really lucky, you’ll remember to pick out a great gift to give to your partner with each passing year. The tradition of gift giving goes back many years, and while there are specific anniversaries (the 25th and 50th for instance) that have an instantly recognizable treasure with which to present your loved one, what exactly are you to do for all those intervening years? It turns out that each year has themes you can play on, from that very first anniversary all the way down the line.

Today, we’re going to delve into the traditional and modern wedding anniversary themes, along with other specifics associated with each year. You’ll note that not every year includes all elements, but as this is just a guide, you’ll only need so much to go on to get you pointed in the right direction, no? You’ll also notice that after year thirty, the traditional themes are more spaced out, moving to a five-year schedule for the most part. Don’t worry; we’ll also include some of our own ideas if you need a hint or two on what might make for a great gift. Let’s begin!

Year One

Traditional Theme: Paper

Modern Theme: Clocks

Suggestion: No, you don’t need to get a paper clock. A regular clock will suffice, preferably analog, though, to show that you’re classy.

Year Two

Traditional Theme: Cotton

Modern Theme: China

Suggestion: This here’s a no-brainer. How many clothes are made out of cotton? A set of tailored cotton shirts is just the ticket. Alternatively, though, a nice set of plates might be a great addition to the kitchen.

Year Three

Traditional Theme: Leather

Modern Theme: Crystal/Glass

Suggestion: So many great options to choose from here. There’s no shortage of accessories made out of leather and crystal; you might even find one the blends the two together! Or perhaps you could get that antique leather Member’s Only jacket they’ve been clamoring for?

Year Four

Traditional Theme: Linen/Silk

Modern Theme: Electrical Appliances

Suggestion: Which way do you go on this one? Silk garments are always a beautiful fashion statement, but appliances open the door to so much choice. If there’s something in the kitchen or washroom that needs updating, now might be the perfect time to do it.

Year Five

Traditional Theme: Wood

Modern Theme: Silverware

Suggestion: There’s a lot you can do with wood if you stop to think about it. Got a partner who’s into baseball? Then a bat might be just the thing they’re looking for. If the sport’s theme isn’t clicking, though, then maybe a wooden sign that shows your love, or a wooden chest with some hand-picked mementos. This one is only limited by your imagination. Or you could just get some new forks, that works too.

Year Six

Traditional Theme: Iron

Modern Theme: Wood

Suggestion: Assuming you already went with wood last year, why not go iron this time? A fancy art-deco wine holder can be both classy and charming, a perfect gift for your special someone.

Year Seven

Traditional Theme: Wool/Copper

Modern Theme: Desk/Pen & Pencil Sets

Suggestion: They’re throwing a whole range of options at you this year! Believe it or not, desks, pens, and pencils can be quite sexy, especially if you’ve got a writer in your life. Just the thing to adorn their office while they’re hard at work. Or you could keep it simple with copper and wool. Maybe a new pair of socks or a nice bangle?

Year Eight

Traditional Theme: Bronze

Modern Theme: Linen/Lace

Suggestion: No bronze medals, OK? Wouldn’t want the love of your life getting the wrong impression. A bronze sculpture, on the other hand? Excellent, especially if it’s a depiction of something they really love. Hard to mess up linen and lace, by the way. Embroidered pillows, frilly clothing, all that stuff is cute when you do it right.

Year Nine

Traditional Theme: Pottery/China

Modern Theme: Leather

Suggestion: Again with the leather? Let’s focus on pottery this time. Even if you don’t have the skills to whip up your own clay pots, you can buy some nice ones, along with some cups and plates too. A whole pottery set, really. Just make sure to pick out the right colors!

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Year Ten

Traditional Theme: Tin/Aluminum

Modern Theme: Diamonds/Jewelry

Suggestion: Choosing tin or aluminum when diamonds and jewelry are on the list might raise an eyebrow or two, but consider this—fine art. That’s right, even metals like tin can be crafted into impressive pieces, and maybe even one your sweetheart will enjoy? If not, a diamond bracelet will surely do as a great backup. 

Year 11

Traditional Theme: Steel

Modern Theme: Fashion Jewelry/Accessories

Suggestion: These options seem to blend together nicely, don’t they? A steel pendant emblazoned with their favorite sigil is the way to go here.

Year 12

Traditional Theme: Silk

Modern Theme: Pearls/Colored Gems

Suggestion: You could be obvious here and get something along the lines of a pearl necklace, but gemstones! A spiritual bracelet with some colored stones might just be the superior option.

Year 13

Traditional Theme: Lace

Modern Theme: Textiles/Fur

Suggestion: More lace? If you’d like, but what about fur? It doesn’t have to be real fur, mind you, a faux fur coat is more than luxurious enough to make a good impression.

Year 14

Traditional Theme: Ivory

Modern Theme: Gold/Jewelry

Suggestion: Good luck getting your hands on some ivory without a call from the authorities. Luckily, gold and jewelry go hand in hand. You’ve got your pick of bracelets, necklaces, and the like.

Year 15

Traditional Theme: Crystal

Modern Theme: Watches

Suggestion: You’re probably wondering if there’s any way you can combine these two. Of course, there is—a watch decorated with crystals! The saying “two birds with one stone” never applied better.

Year 16

Traditional Theme: N/A

Modern Theme: Silver Holloware

Suggestion: What in the world is holloware? Anything that isn’t flatware. Pitchers, teapots, bowls, etc. This one’s easy.

Year 17

Traditional Theme: N/A

Modern Theme: Furniture

Suggestion: A new chair for the home office might be nice—leather, with some sturdy wooden legs, if you can manage.

Year 18

Traditional Theme: N/A

Modern Theme: Porcelain

Suggestion: You can do more with porcelain than plates and bowls. Gift boxes, statues, and charms are a nice way to diversify this offering.

Year 19

Traditional Theme: N/A

Modern Theme: Bronze

Suggestion: Time to think outside the box. Bronze doesn’t just have to refer to the metal itself. How many establishments have “bronze” in the name. Look one up, and make it a date night to remember for ages to come.

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Year 20

Traditional Theme: China

Modern Theme: Platinum

Suggestion: Before you go out and buy a platinum watch or chain (which are certainly acceptable), why not think about a bottle of fine spirits? There are plenty with platinum right in the name. Gran Patron Platinum, anyone?

Year 21

Traditional Theme: N/A

Modern Theme: Brass/Nickel

Suggestion: You probably couldn’t even name this many metals before, right? Building on the back of our alcohol-inspired gift from the last entry, maybe an artsy brushed-nickel flask would make for the perfect accompaniment?

Year 22

Traditional Theme: N/A

Modern Theme: Copper

Suggestion: There are more uses for copper than serving ware and jewelry. If you’ve got a gun enthusiast on your hands, a copper grip for their favorite pistol makes for a great accessory.

Year 23

Traditional Theme: N/A

Modern Theme: Silver Plate

Suggestion: Nothing too complicated here. Silver plate speaks for itself.

Year 24

Traditional Theme: N/A

Modern Theme: Musical Instruments

Suggestion: Just ask them which instrument they want to learn and head on down to the music store. If they’ve already got one they play, then you’re all set.

Year 25

Traditional Theme: Silver

Modern Theme: Sterling Silver

Suggestion: The vaunted silver anniversary. You know what to do, get that nice silver ring to commemorate this momentous occasion.

Year 26

Traditional Theme: N/A

Modern Theme: Original Pictures

Suggestion: Did somebody say collage? OK, it doesn’t have to be a collage, but a collection of your favorite photo memories, done up nicely, is going to be surefire hit.

Year 27

Traditional Theme: N/A

Modern Theme: Sculpture

Suggestion: We mentioned sculpture in some of our earlier entries, but this theme is more general as it’s not limited to a certain material. If they have a favorite artist, game, or show, try a sculpture based on that to show your affection.

Year 28

Traditional Theme: N/A

Modern Theme: Orchids

Suggestion: Orchids are beautiful. You don’t have to just buy a couple and bring them to your mate, though. Why not take a trip to the flower garden and enjoy them in their natural habitat?

Year 29

Traditional Theme: N/A

Modern Theme: New Furniture

Suggestion: You might wonder what the difference between the earlier furniture entry and this “new furniture” entry is. Not much, so pick out a piece you think your significant other will like.

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Year 30

Traditional Theme: Pearl

Modern Theme: Diamond

Suggestion: You could go with some pearl or diamond jewelry. If you’re feeling adventurous, though, see if you can track down some vintage Pearl Black Diamond drum shells. Any musician would be honored to have them.

Year 35

Traditional Theme: Coral

Modern Theme: Jade

Suggestion: Both are beautiful. Jade makes for great accessories, statuettes, and other home items.

Year 40

Traditional Theme: Ruby

Modern Theme: Ruby

Suggestion: No confusion on this one. Ruby red anything will win the day. Jewelry, in particular, is a nice option here.

Year 45

Traditional Theme: Sapphire

Modern Theme: Sapphire

Suggestion: Sapphire makes for all kinds of stunning jewelry, but you might also try other items that share a similar color.

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Year 50

Traditional Theme: Gold

Modern Theme: Gold

Suggestion: This is a huge milestone—the gold anniversary. Gold rings are a standard option, but anything outside the box will likely be appreciated as well.

Year 55

Traditional Theme: Emerald

Modern Theme: Emerald

Suggestion: This is another one with vast potential, as it doesn’t just apply to the gemstone. It’s doubtful that anyone would say no to a finely crafted piece of emerald jewelry, though.

Year 60

Traditional Theme: Diamond

Modern Theme: Diamond

Suggestion: Think back on all of those years you’ve spent together, all those precious memories. From the fantastic wedding with the perfectly tailored grooms and robes de demoiselle d'honneur to buying your first home and beyond. This has all been worth it, and a lovely diamond is a great signifier of all those happy times spent together. Congratulations for making it this far.

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