Wedding anniversary gifts: modern vs traditional

6 Jan 2022

Celebrations Gift Ideas Gifts

Whether it’s your first year of marriage or your 60th, here are some modern twists on traditional wedding anniversary gifts

Celebrating the anniversary of your wedding can be a very special and heartwarming occasion. Reminiscing about that magical day and honouring the love that’s still between you is a great way to reconnect with your spouse. You may already know the traditional wedding anniversary gifts associated with each year of marriage, but what if those aren’t your cup of tea?

Don’t worry! Here are some modern anniversary gift ideas to celebrate your relationship in style.

Or perhaps you’re looking for a gift for another couple in your life. Whether it’s your best friend’s first wedding anniversary or your parents’ 50th, you’re sure to find the perfect present idea here. 

Couple celebrating anniversary

Why do we give specific anniversary gifts?

Many people know that certain gift categories are associated with particular years of marriage, but where did these traditions come from?

Well, there’s some debate around origins, but historians believe that in Ancient Rome and the Middle Ages, husbands would present their wives with a silver wreath on their 25th wedding anniversary and a gold one on their 50th.

In the Victorian era, a more defined list of anniversary gifts developed. This list stipulated gift themes for each year up to the 15th, then every fifth or tenth year following.

Many of the traditional wedding anniversary gifts the Victorians favoured are still popular today. However, over time, people have altered or added more relevant gifts to the list. Which would you prefer? Let’s take a look at some of the contemporary themes.

Modern wedding anniversary gifts: years 1 to 10

In the first decade of marriage, you may wish to celebrate each passing year.

1. Clocks

The traditional gift of paper, signifying a blank page and the start of your story together has more recently been replaced by clocks. The gift of a clock is said to represent eternal love.

2. China

Previously, couples would give gifts of cotton for their second anniversary. However, a modern gift is china or porcelain. It illustrates timeless beauty and represents fragility as a reminder to take care of your relationship in this early stage of marriage.

For an elegant yet practical gift, why not get your loved one a gorgeous ceramic coffee mug? Our Spark Coffee Cup is the ideal way to ensure that flame is still ignited!

3. Glass or crystal

Rather than the traditional option of leather, many people give the gift of glass or crystal on their third wedding anniversary. Highlighting the many facets of your relationship, its delicate nature again reminds us that love requires care.

4. Appliances

Silk may be a luxurious fabric, but electrical appliances are far more practical! (In the US, this year traditionally calls for fruit or flowers). Nowadays, appliances have become a popular fourth wedding anniversary gift. They can help the two of you around the house, giving you more time to spend together.

Got a partner who loves takeaway hot drinks? Why not get them a Podster coffee pod machine or Velvetiser hot chocolate maker? These handy gadgets will give them barista grade drinks at the touch of a button!


5. Silverware

Wood is the traditional 5th-anniversary gift. However, in recent years, people have chosen to give silverware instead. Although this in itself seems perhaps old fashioned, the idea is to symbolise shared meals together.

6. Wood

With its strength and durability, wood has remained part of the modern wedding anniversary gift catalogue, moving to year six. However, the traditional present is candy or iron. In our opinion, confectionery is a gift that will never go out of style! Whether you go for a classic or modern take on a sixth-anniversary gift, why not add an extra little token with a romantic chocolate gift?

7. Desk sets or brass

The traditional gifts for year seven are wool or copper — representing warmth and insulation or heat conductivity. What’s the modern take? How about a functional desk set? This might seem an odd choice, but stationery is sure to come in handy!

8. Lace or linen

Traditionally, bronze is the gift for year eight, stemming from a Biblical symbol of strength. The modern take is lace or linen, delicate, woven fabrics that indicate the intertwining of your lives and add a touch of luxury.

9. Leather

Leather is tough and durable, yet flexible — just like your marriage by the ninth year! This is the modern take on the tradition of pottery. However, both make lovely gifts. If you’d prefer to go for a vegan option, you might like to stick with clay-based gifts.

10. Diamond jewellery

As you’ll see, diamonds are a generous way to celebrate sixty years of marriage! However, some people have started gifting diamond jewellery at the ten-year mark rather than the traditional tin or aluminium.

Modern wedding anniversary gifts: years 15 to 60

Both modern and traditional gifts have options for every year of marriage. However, lots of couples decide to focus on milestones every fifth or tenth year after the first decade.

15th anniversary – Watches

According to tradition, the 15th wedding anniversary calls for a crystal gift. A modern take is to gift your partner with a watch, representing your time together: past, present and future.

Display of watches

20th anniversary – Platinum

China is the traditional 20th-anniversary gift, but if you’ve been following the modern take, you may have already exchanged this for your second wedding anniversary!

Some people like to mark 20 years of marriage with opulence by presenting their spouse with platinum. This precious metal symbolises the strength of your relationship.

25th anniversary – Silver

Both traditional and modern gift lists suggest silver for your 25th wedding anniversary. A quarter of a decade together is certainly worth a celebration!

Commemorate 25 years of love and support with a gift of silver, whether that’s jewellery, tableware or something decorative.

30th anniversary – Diamonds (again!)

Pearls are the traditional 30th-anniversary gifts, but modern couples often opt for decadence again with a second round of diamonds.

Alternatively, jade is the gemstone usually associated with 30th wedding anniversaries, so you could always select a jade gift if you’ve already given your partner diamonds for your tenth anniversary.

40th anniversary – Ruby

Vibrant and passionate, rubies are both the traditional and contemporary choice for a 40th wedding anniversary gift. They also symbolise wisdom, protection, power, and beauty. These concepts make them the ideal way to honour the wisdom you’ve learnt through marriage, the protection you offer one another, the power you’ve learnt to share and balance, and the beauty of your love.

50th anniversary – Gold

Fifty years of marriage is a magnificent achievement by anyone’s standard! Traditionalists and modern gifters agree that gold is the perfect gift for this celebration.

Want to add in a little something extra that steps outside the box? Why not consider our irresistible Pink Champagne Truffles, presented in a gorgeous rose gold tin?

50th anniversary sign on cake

60th anniversary – Diamond

Six decades of marriage is the true measure of a strong relationship. As such, unbreakable diamonds are the traditional and modern gifts for a 60th wedding anniversary.

Whether it’s your own special day or you’re looking for a gift for a magnificent couple in your life, this is the year to splash out on. Many people like to go the extra mile at this stage, choosing a piece of diamond jewellery that they may be able to pass down the generations.

Romantic wedding anniversary gifts

No matter what year you may be celebrating, wedding anniversaries are a beautiful way to honour the love and commitment between two people. This list has detailed some of the major milestones, but there are many years in between.

Each has its own theme, but you might also wish to go for something more unique and personal. Whether you go with traditional wedding anniversary gifts, modern ones, or something completely different, we hope you have a beautiful celebration. And if you’re looking for an extra little token of appreciation and affection for your spouse, why not explore our range of chocolate anniversary gifts?