Wedding anniversary

A wedding anniversary is the commemoration of the date that a wedding took place. Couples may take the occasion to celebrate their relationship, either privately or with a larger party. Special celebrations and gifts are often given for particular anniversary milestones (e.g., 10, 15, 20, or 25 years). In some cultures, traditional names exist for milestone anniversaries; for instance, fifty years of marriage may be known as a "golden wedding anniversary", "golden anniversary" or "golden wedding".

Wedding ceremony


Celebrating wedding anniversaries as "gold" (50 years) or "silver" (25 years) has been documented in Germanic countries since the 1500s.[1] In the twentieth century, commercialism led to the celebration of more anniversaries according to a list of predetermined gifts.[2][3]

In some parts of the world, couples can receive special recognition from government officials for particular milestones. In the Commonwealth realms, a couple can receive a message from the monarch for 60th, 65th and 70th wedding anniversaries and for any wedding anniversary after that.[4] This is done by applying to Buckingham Palace in the United Kingdom or to the governor-general's office in the other Commonwealth realms.[5]

In Australia, couples can receive a congratulatory letter from the governor-general on the 50th and all subsequent wedding anniversaries. The prime minister, the Leader of the Opposition, local members of both state and federal parliaments as well as state governors may also send salutations for the same anniversaries.[6]

In Canada, couples can also receive a message from the governor-general for the 50th anniversary and every fifth anniversary after that.[7]

In the United States, a couple can receive an anniversary greeting card from the president for the 50th and all subsequent anniversaries.[8]

Roman Catholics may apply for a papal blessing through their local diocese for wedding anniversaries of a special nature (25th, 50th, 60th, etc.).[9][10]

Celebration and gifts

Some significant anniversaries have names that suggest appropriate or traditional gifts, such as a silver or diamond jubilee. Gifts may be exchanged by spouses or given by guests at parties; they may also influence an anniversary party's theme or decoration. These gifts vary in different countries, but some anniversary years now have well-established connections common to most nations; a popular example are the numerous jubilees thrown to celebrate anniversary milestones in the reigns of English monarchs.[11]

  • 25th anniversary: silver
  • 40th anniversary: ruby
  • 50th anniversary: gold
  • 60th anniversary: diamond
  • 70th anniversary: platinum

In English-speaking countries, the fifth-year gift (wood) was cut on the day of celebration and then presented to the wife as a finished item before the next two quarter days had passed.

In 1937, the American National Retail Jeweler Association (now known as Jewelers of America as a result of an organizational merger) introduced an expanded list of gifts. The revamped list gave a gift for each year up to the 25th and then for every fifth anniversary after that.[12]

In South India, 60th and 80th wedding anniversaries are accompanied by large celebrations similar to weddings. In Tamil Nadu, there is a famous Thirukadaiyur Temple where special pujas are conducted for wedding anniversaries.[13]

Traditional anniversary gifts

Year Traditional (U.S.)[14][15][16][17] Traditional (U.K.)[18][19][20]
1st Paper Cotton or paper
2nd Cotton Paper or cotton
3rd Leather
4th Fruit and flowers Linen, silk
5th Wood
6th Iron Sugar
7th Wool, copper Woollen
8th Bronze Salt
9th Pottery Copper
10th Tin, aluminum Tin
11th Steel
12th Silk Silk and fine linen
13th Lace
14th Ivory
15th Crystal
20th Porcelain
25th Silver
30th Pearl
35th Coral
40th Ruby
45th Sapphire
50th Gold
55th Emerald
60th Diamond
65th Blue sapphire
70th Platinum[21][22][23]
75th Diamond, gold
80th Oak[24][25]
85th Moonstone Wine
90th Granite

Flower gifts

Flowers are also associated with wedding anniversaries up to and including the 50th anniversary.[26]

Year Flower
1st Carnation
2nd Cosmos
3rd Sunflower
4th Geranium
5th Daisy
10th Daffodil
15th Rose
20th Aster
25th Iris
30th Lily
40th Gladiolus
50th Yellow rose with violets

See also

  • Hierarchy of precious substances


  1. Hanns Bächtold-Stäubli i Folklore suisse. Schweizerische Gesellschaft für Volkskunde, 11. årgang (1921) S. 51–52.
  2. "Wedding Anniversaries". Debrett's Everyday Etiquette. Archived from the original on 2012-06-15. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
  3. "Why Are Are You Supposed to Give Things Like Paper as Anniversary Presents?". Time. Retrieved 2023-01-23.
  4. "Who is entitled?". The Monarchy Today. Retrieved 6 April 2009.
  5. "Queen and anniversary messages". The Monarchy Today. Retrieved 6 April 2009.
  6. "It's an Honour – Anniversary Messages". Australian Government. 25 January 2008. Retrieved 11 February 2008.
  7. "Invite the Governor General" (Requires access). The Governor General of Canada. Retrieved 2 August 2010.
  8. "White House Greeting". Retrieved 11 January 2022.
  9. Office of Papal Charities. Retrieved on 2015-05-13.
  10. "To Request a Papal Blessing". The Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson, Office of the Bishop. Retrieved 28 January 2008.
  11. "A history of Royal Jubilees". Historic Royal Palaces. Retrieved 2023-01-23.
  12. Lee, Cookie (October 2001). Wedding Anniversaries: From Paper to Diamond. Ryland Peters & Small.
  13. "Anniversary Special gift for wife". wellstuff. Retrieved 2022-03-15.
  14. "Wedding Anniversaries," compiled by librarians at the Chicago Public Library's Information Center (December 2000)
  15. Anderson, Charles. "The Exchange," RQ 25 (1985): 175.
  16. The World Almanac and Book of Facts, Mahwah, New Jersey: World Almanac Books, 1997.
  17. World Book Encyclopedia, 1997 ed., s.v. "Wedding Anniversary".
  18. Pears Cyclopaedia, 1978–79 edition, "Wedding Anniversaries". L128.
  19. "Wedding Anniversary Gift List". Anniversary Gifts. 24 May 2018. Retrieved 8 April 2020.
  20. "Wedding Anniversary Gift Ideas by Year". Retrieved 8 April 2020.
  21. "The platinum wedding anniversary of Jim and Gladys Till". Lancaster Guardian, 8 January 2008.
  22. "Tenor and wife toast 70 years of marriage". North West Evening Mail, 15 August 2008.
  23. "They've been around the world in 70 years". Portsmouth News, 29 July 2008.
  24. Miller, Vikki (24 May 2008). "Britain's longest married couple celebrate a quiet 80th anniversary". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 28 May 2008.
  25. Facts and figures The British Monarchy
  26. Carlson, Tara (May 5, 2017). "What is each wedding anniversary's flower?". Petal Talk., Inc. Archived from the original on 17 July 2017. Retrieved 10 March 2022.
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