Anniversary Gift Guide

anniversary-spGood etiquette dictates the use of an anniversary gift guide when selecting a gift to celebrate a specific anniversary. However because it can be quite challenging to convert the traditional materials into an acceptable gift idea, there is now a modern list of alternatives which is becoming more and more popular.

Some of the items on the traditional list have existed for hundreds of years, for instance, in medieval Germany garlands made from precious metals were given as gifts for the 25th (silver) and 50th (gold) years of marriage. The traditional list as we know it today did not actually exist until 1937, when the “American National Retail Jeweler Association” published it, and associated a different material for each Anniversary from the 1st to the 15th year and then every five years after that up to the 60th Anniversary.

The modern materials list feature contemporary, easier to use alternatives to the traditional list. Although there is no clear beginning to the modern list, like the original, each year’s gift is more precious than the last. Whilst retaining the spirit of the traditional list, it does lose some of the sense of etiquette in the original, with the modern list being more extravagant (expensive) than the original.


1st Paper Clock
2nd Cotton China
3rd Leather Crystal
4th Flowers or Fruit Appliances
5th Wood Silverware
6th Iron or candy Wood
7th Copper or wool Desk Set
8th Bronze or pottery Lace or linen
9th Pottery Leather
10th Aluminum or Tin Diamonds
11th Steel Fashion jewellery
12th Silk or linen Pearls
13th Lace Fur or textiles
14th Ivory Gold jewellery
15th Crystal Watches
16th Silver hollowware Silver
17th Furniture Furniture
18th Porcelain Porcelain
19th None Bronze or garnet
20th China Platinum
25th Silver Silver
30th Pearls Diamonds/Pearls
35th Coral Jade
40th Ruby Ruby
45th Sapphire Sapphire
50th Gold Gold
55th Emerald Emerald
60th Diamonds Diamonds
70th Diamond/Platinum Platinum
75th Diamonds Diamonds

Did You Know?

  1. The Guinness Book of World Records lists a Taiwanese couple who celebrated their 86th wedding anniversary in 2003 as being the longest married couple.
  2. The average age of an engaged woman in the UK is 29 years old, with the average age of marriage now 31 years old. Just 30 years ago, the average age was 24 years old!
  3. The tradition of giving engagement rings began in 1477 when Maximilian (later to become the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I) gave Mary of Burgundy a diamond ring as an engagement present.
  4. On average, couples get engaged two years, 11 months and eight days into their relationship.
  5. At a Hindu wedding, the bride’s hands are painted with henna with a design which often includes the initials of her betrothed. The couple then search for the initials on their wedding night. This game is played to make the bride and groom more relaxed and at ease with each other.
  6. It is said that the average person falls in love 7 times before they get married!
  7. The notion of marriage as sacrament can be traced to St Paul, who, in his Epistle to the Ephesians, compared the relationship of a husband and wife to that of Christ and his church
  8. The word “bride” comes from the old English word, meaning “cook”
  9. The tradition of throwing rice at a newly married couple was a wish for a “full pantry”
  10. Ancient Romans baked cakes of wheat or barley and would break it over the bride’s head as a symbol of fertility
  11. The Mohegan Sun Casino created the world’s largest wedding cake in 2004, measuring 17 feet high and weighing 15,032 pounds. It was made from 10,000 pounds of cake batter and 4,810 pounds of icing, and could feed 59,000 people!