Celebrating Milestone Wedding Anniversaries

Wedding gifts are easy. Most prospective bride and grooms have a wish list registered somewhere that provides a guide to what they would “love” to have.

But when it comes time to buy that anniversary gift, it’s more difficult to choose the perfect thing that will make them ooh and aah. Gift certificates to a favorite restaurant or even a couple of tickets to a nearby theatre can fill the bill. There’s always, of course, a bottle of wine or champagne for them to toast the glad occasion.

But for those who enjoy commemorating a wedding anniversary with gifts chosen from the “traditional anniversary gift list,”  there’s a new option. A more modern updated gift suggestion list has been created.  (Both the traditional and the modern lists are shown below).

In case you are thinking that it’s taboo to break tradition, you might be surprised to learn that the “traditional” list is really not all that old. A part of it has existed since medieval times when medieval Germany celebrated the 25th and 50th year of marriage with garlands made of silver (25th) or gold (50th). But the remainder of the list, as we know it today, was first published by the American National Retail Jeweler Association in 1937.

It’s unclear who created the modern list but, as with the traditional one, each year the gifts grow more expensive. It has always been a challenge to create a useful gift idea from some of the listings on the traditional list, but when you are successful, the effort is appreciated. One suggestion would be to merge the two lists and create a gift that combines the traditional thought with the modern practicality.

Reading through the list makes me wonder if perhaps you might want to jump back and forth between list. For example, if you give your wife an appliance for the 4th Anniversary from the modern list, you sure had better add the flowers from the traditional list. Ivory, from the traditional list will probably be difficult to find since ivory imports are now illegal. A piece of unique gold jewelry from the modern list can fill the void.

And, of course, with just about any gift that you choose, what could be a more appropriate presentation than either hiding the gift inside or accompanying the gift with a gourmet gift basket that both of you can enjoy on this special occasion?

If you’ve ever wondered what the gift industry has determined to be the “gift to be given” for each anniversary, here are  both the traditional gift list and the modern one. But my recommendation is to toss out the wedding anniversary gift guide and give a gift based on what the couple would most enjoy!  They are probably not even aware that these lists exist.


Anniversary YearTraditionalModern
7thWool/CopperDesk Set
9thPottery/WillowLeather Item
10thTin/AluminumDiamond Jewelry
11thSteelFashion Jewelry
14thIvoryGold Jewelry
30thPearlsDiamond Jewelry

For some additional ideas for anniversary gifts, check out these anniversary gift ideas.

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