The Tradition of Giving Wedding Anniversary Gifts

Posted on April 28, 2016 by Mary Hood | 0 Comments

The tradition of giving wedding anniversary gifts dates back to Medieval Europe. Since then, the tradition has grown and evolved immensely. | Barbara Michelle Jacobs Jewelry

Celebrating wedding anniversaries dates back to Medieval central Europe. According to Germanic tradition, the 25th anniversary was celebrated by giving the wife a silver garland or wreath, which symbolized harmony. The 50th anniversary was celebrated with a gold garland. Silver and gold anniversaries are still cause for special celebration today.

Indeed, the tradition of wedding anniversary gift giving has developed quite a bit since the middle ages. The Victorians popularized the celebration of anniversary years other than the 25th and 50th, and Queen Victoria introduced diamonds into the mix. When etiquette queen Emily Post published her Blue Book of Social Usage in 1922, she noted 8 commonly celebrated anniversary years: 1st, 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th, 25th, 50th, and 75th. The list would only keep growing.

In 1937, the American National Retail Jeweler Association issued a more comprehensive list, including gifts for years 1-20, then every fifth year until the 75th, excluding the 65th. This list was adapted into what now serves as the “Traditional” list with which many of us are familiar—paper for the first year, cotton for the second, etc. Although people have found creative ways to adhere to this list—for example, for the 7th anniversary (copper), some may wrap any gift of choice in copper wrapping paper—it was time for a more contemporary list.

In 2000, the Chicago Public Library created the “Modern” gift list, which includes a gift for every year until the 25th, then every fifth year after that until the 90th (which is engraved marble or granite, if you’re curious). Notably, the Modern list includes more jewelry, including “fashion jewelry/accessories” (year 11)! If the Modern list intrigues you, stay tuned! In a serious of posts, we’ll be sharing suggestions for the jewelry-related gifts.

Of course, to be truly contemporary, you don’t have to stick to any list. You can start your own traditions. Each year, perhaps the two of you will travel to a new place to celebrate the passage of more time together. Or maybe you’ll add to the collection of tools for something you both enjoy doing. For example, if you both love cooking, why not invest in a new kitchen appliance or gadget each year? The important thing is that you find a way to celebrate that means a lot to both of you.

 The Tradition of Giving Wedding Anniversary Gifts | BMJ Blog

Although the nature of gifts has evolved since women were presented with silver and gold garlands, the sentiments underlying these celebrations remain: wedding anniversary gifts symbolize the deepened love and commitment that a couple shares with each passing year. And not every gift has changed. Even the Modern list acknowledges that your 25th year of marriage will always be silver and your 50th, gold.


Photos: Fey Ilya via Flickr, Bniice Hugs N Kisses Photography via Flickr

Posted in etiquette, gifts, jewelry, jewelry traditions, wedding, wedding anniversary



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