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A Comprehensive Guide to Wedding Anniversary Symbols

by Gloria Louden
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Ever since the middle ages, people have celebrated love in all of its forms, and especially marriage. This tradition is alive and well today — in the form of symbols. So, here’s a simple guide to the most important wedding anniversary symbols, as well as a few gift ideas to properly celebrate each one.

1st Wedding Anniversary

The traditional symbol for the one-year anniversary is paper. It represents fragility, as the union is still fresh. The modern symbol for this milestone is the clock, which stands for the passage of time.

If you want a memorable gift to mark this occasion, check out these customizable paper love maps from Happy Prints.

2nd Wedding Anniversary

Cotton is the traditional symbol for the second anniversary. It represents growing together through hardships. And for the contemporary alternative, china is the modern symbol for the two-year anniversary.

For the best cotton anniversary gifts, have a look at these pillows from Etsy.

3rd Wedding Anniversary

Leather is the symbol that traditionally equates with the third-year anniversary, and it stands for a strong and protective marriage. The modern symbol is crystal. Here are a few romantic gift ideas for this special occasion.

4th Wedding Anniversary

The traditional wedding anniversary symbols for the four-year milestone are flowers, fruits, and books. Flowers represent the marriage fully blooming. The modern symbol for the fourth anniversary is silk.

A bouquet of flowers is the classiest way to go for this occasion. And luckily, Marks and Spencer offers beautiful arrangements that make the perfect gift.

5th Wedding Anniversary

The traditional symbol for this occasion is wood. It is a token of strength, representing the roots that hold the couple together. The modern symbol for this time in the marriage is silverware.

Here are a few 5th-anniversary gift ideas from Love and Lavender.

6th Wedding Anniversary

The sixth year of marriage is marked by two wedding anniversary symbols: candy and iron. This combination may seem odd at first. However, it signifies sweetness, as well as the strength of the union between you and your significant other.

So, to combine both symbols in a sweet and practical gift, take a look at these candy and iron gift ideas.

7th Wedding Anniversary

The traditional symbol for the seven-year mark is copper. Copper is known for its healing properties. Therefore, it is a symbol of how the couple looks after each-other. And for those who prefer more contemporary symbolism, desk sets and stationery are the modern alternatives.

If you want to incorporate both traditional and modern, there’s always a middle ground. Check out these copper stationery items that can help you put together the perfect gift.

8th Wedding Anniversary

This anniversary is marked by bronze. Bronze is a mixture of tin and copper, and its strength is meant to reflect the strength of the marriage. Alternatively, the modern symbol for eight years of marriage is lace.

For those who need inspiration, here’s a list of bronze gift ideas to make this anniversary all the more special.

9th Wedding Anniversary

Pottery represents change and molding into something beautiful and useful. That’s why it is the traditional symbol for this anniversary, the modern alternative being leather.

There’s plenty of pottery gifts for couples that have reached this stage in their marriage. For a little bit of inspiration, check out this list from Love and Lavender.

10th Wedding Anniversary

The ten-year milestone is definitely one worth celebrating for plenty of couples. And its traditional symbol, aluminum, signifies practicality and preservation. The modern choice for this occasion is diamond jewelry.

For ideas on both traditional and modern gifts, this list by The Spruce has got you covered.

11th Wedding Anniversary

After the 10-year milestone, the strength of a marriage is undeniable. So, the traditional symbol for the eleventh anniversary is steel. The modern alternative to steel is fashion jewelry.

For the perfect steel gifts, check out the Uncommon Goods collection. And, for the modern alternative, Kay is the perfect website for all things fashion jewelry.

12th Wedding Anniversary

The traditional twelve-year anniversary symbols are silk and linen. These materials are made up of thousands of threads. So naturally, they symbolize the many beautiful experiences that make up a marriage. The latter-day symbol for this moment is pearls, and they signify beauty and simplicity.

For silk or pearl presents to make this celebration special, Gifts.com offers a large and beautiful collection.

13th Wedding Anniversary

Some view the number 13 as a sign of bad luck. However, that is not the case when it comes to your thirteenth anniversary. The traditional symbol for this is lace, which showcases the beauty of your marriage. The modern symbol, faux fur, is also a display of beauty and grace.

Since both of these symbols make for great presents, here’s a list of some great ideas for a thirteenth-anniversary present.

14th Wedding Anniversary

Ivory is the traditional symbol for the fourteenth anniversary. It symbolizes the rarity and beauty of a long and happy marriage. And there’s plenty of ethical gift options for your ivory anniversary. Etsy offers a great variety of faux ivory and elephant-themed gifts.

15th Wedding Anniversary

The fifteenth wedding anniversary is also known as the crystal anniversary. So, naturally, crystals are the traditional symbol for this time of life. The modern alternative to this symbol is a watch, which should showcase how time has flown and kept you together.

For the perfect crystal anniversary gifts, check out the options provided by Amazon.

20th Wedding Anniversary

The 20th anniversary is a special time in every couple’s life, and it’s often celebrated with the whole family. Porcelain is the traditional symbol for this milestone, while the modern alternative is platinum. Both of these signify a marriage that is beautiful when cared for.

There’s plenty of gift options for the 20th wedding anniversary. So to help you make the right decision, here are a few ideas worth paying attention to.

25th Wedding Anniversary

This special occasion is often referred to as the silver anniversary. This is often the time when couples renew their vows. So silver symbolizes the new shine of the marriage.

For a simple and elegant gift choice, check out this silver locket necklace.

30th Wedding Anniversary

Pearls are, again, the traditional symbol of this milestone. And the modern symbol, diamond, is equally beautiful. So, picking a gift for this occasion is rather easy. For some guidance, here’s a few stylish present ideas.

35th Wedding Anniversary

The symbol for this special time is coral, and for a good reason. Coral signifies immortality and content, which is perfect for the 35-year milestone. So, celebrate your marriage with one of these coral-themed gifts.

40th Wedding Anniversary

The ruby is a symbol of passion and fire. Therefore, it’s an accurate symbol for a marriage of 40 years. And to make sure you celebrate right, here’s a few ruby gift ideas.

45th Wedding Anniversary

The second to last celebration on this list carries the symbol of sapphire. Sapphire symbolizes wisdom. And in this context, it’s also about the wisdom you gather through time together. Check out The National Sapphire Company for great gift ideas.

50th Wedding Anniversary

Of all the wedding anniversary symbols, gold is most accurate for the 50-year milestone. And just like pure gold, nothing shines brighter than your love. So finally, here are some of the best golden wedding gifts. They’re perfect for celebrating an amazing life together.

Closing Words

Ultimately, every step of your marriage is worth celebrating. Therefore, this guide to wedding anniversary symbols should come in handy. So make every moment special with these meaningful gifts.

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