by: Michael Kabel
A happy and successful marriage is full of traditions. A tradition could be the little moments you share with one another; a tradition might involve a trip to a very special place at a special time, or a remembrance of something the two of you did together.
Celebrating the wedding anniversary has really only become popular in our day and age. As our ideas of marriage have evolved over the centuries, couples have begun commemorating their wedding day with special gifts and tokens of affection.
You're probably already aware that a couple's fiftieth anniversary is known as the "gold anniversary," and that gifts of gold should be exchanged in commemoration. But did you know there’s an entire calendar of wedding anniversary symbols, or that almost every year in a couple's initial years together are considered cause for a special gift?
Silver & Gold | Diamond | Wood
Specific wedding anniversaries have picked up their own "themes" which reflect the anniversary's stature and importance. Whether you're giving an anniversary gift or planning a celebration for the anniversary of a special couple, we have an assortment of products that keep tradition alive.
The Origin of the Symbols
Wedding anniversary symbols, though probably practiced informally even before, truly began in 1897. In that year, Queen Victoria of England celebrated her sixtieth year on the throne. The event was called the "diamond jubilee," and well-wishers celebrated by giving diamonds as gifts, effectively creating the modern diamond market.
Crystal / Glass (Couple) | Cotton (Couple) | Pear (For Her) | Leather (For Him)
Modern anniversary symbols are skewed more for contemporary standards of wealth. As such, a completely new table has been established which is just as valid as the traditional one.
Giving A Symbolic Gift
If you're planning to give an anniversary gift based on the proper symbol, remember the gifts don't have to be extravagant or expensive, especially in the first few years.
The gifts can also be an accent to something else you have in mind, or a clever way of presenting your main present. (For example, two plane tickets to the Bahamas would be printed on paper, the symbol for the first anniversary!)
If you're looking to save money for other purposes (like buying a house), don't worry too much about getting the ultimately symbolic gift. The intent of these symbols is to give significance to the event and to help couples anticipate the future. That's more important than money, anyway.
The following list of symbols is the table most agreed upon by American jewelers and gift experts. The United Kingdom follows a slightly different schedule.
|Years 1 - 10|
|3rd||Leather||Crystal / Glass|
|4th||Fruit / Flowers||Appliances|
|6th||Candy / Iron||Wood|
|7th||Wool / Copper||Desk Sets|
|8th||Pottery / Bronze||Linens / Lace|
|9th||Willow / Pottery||Leather|
|10th||Tin / Aluminum||Diamond Jewelry|
|Years 11 - 20|