Traditional wedding anniversary gifts come from a list of materials or themes that are associated with every year of marriage. Each year may have different themes or materials associated with it. Here we are just referring to the Traditional Anniversary List. Other popular lists include the the Modern, Gemstone or Flower lists. The idea is so that you can select a gift with a theme or the material mentioned for the year thus aiding you to select an appropriate gift.
The Traditional Gift List
The traditional wedding anniversary list has developed over the generations into the one shown below. Some of the years have variations in the theme depending upon who has published the list. More history of how the wedding list evolved is available on our Traditional Wedding List History page.
In Short, it is called the traditional list because it is the oldest gift list in existence. There is evidence that prior to the modern anniversary list being produced the list was known just as the wedding anniversary gift list.
If you select the anniversary year you are interested in below you’ll be taken to a page with details on the anniversary. What’s more if you select the material/theme link we’ll give you ideas for gifts relevant to that theme.
Furthermore not every Wedding anniversary has a traditional theme. Some years have no material or theme. Below the 50th these anniversaries will have a theme in the Modern Anniversary List. Above the 50th they have no theme or material.
Traditional Wedding Anniversary Material List
Gift List Variations
We’ve listed the most popular theme/material first in the list above. If there are other themes or materials it’s because we have found references to these in different publications. Certainly there is no one definitive list.
What’s more there are a few variations with the traditional anniversary gifts list above which we’ve not included. Possibly the largest one being that for the first wedding anniversary. In the United Kingdom and Europe, the 1st anniversary traditionally used to be Cotton with the second year being Paper themed. Obviously this has now been reversed to follow the american traditional theme of Paper for the 1st year and Cotton for the 2nd year. We think the reason behind this is down to the world becoming a smaller place with use of modern technologies.
There are other variations on the traditional theme and again these tend to be local traditions, for example in Germany there is also a tradition to celebrate the Copper Anniversary which is 12 and a half years or half way through a Jubilee (which is 25 years.) There is also a Vinyl Anniversary for when you have been married 33⅓ years. If you’ve not guessed already this is based upon the old gramophone records which played at 33⅓ revolutions per minute (rpm)
Important traditional wedding anniversaries
All the important and major anniversaries originate from this list. Indeed the 25th anniversary and 50th anniversary are the oldest known anniversaries being celebrated with symbols. With the 25th being called the Silver Wedding and the 50th called the Golden Wedding. These can be traced back into early European history.
For more information check out our other pages below: