Wedding anniversary

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A wedding anniversary is the anniversary of the date a wedding took place. Traditional names exist for some of them: for instance, fifty years of marriage is called a "golden wedding anniversary", "golden anniversary" or "golden wedding".


Celebrating wedding anniversaries as gold or silver is 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] In the Commonwealth realms, one can receive a message from the monarch for 60th, 65th, and 70th wedding anniversaries, and any wedding anniversary after that.[3] This is done by applying to Buckingham Palace in the United Kingdom, or to the Governor-General's office in the other Commonwealth realms.[4]

In Australia, where one can receive a letter of congratulations from the Governor-General on the 50th and all subsequent wedding anniversaries; the Prime Minister, the federal Opposition leader, local members of both state and federal parliaments, and state Governors may also send salutations for the same anniversaries.[5]

In Canada, one can also receive a message from the Governor-General for the 50th anniversary, and every fifth anniversary after that.[6]

In the United States, a couple can receive an anniversary greeting card from the President for the 50th and all subsequent anniversaries.[7]

Roman Catholics may apply for a papal blessing through their local diocese for wedding anniversaries of a special nature (25th, 50th, 60th, etc.).[8][9]

Celebration and gifts[edit]

The names of some anniversaries provide guidance for appropriate or traditional gifts for the spouses to give each other; if there is a party these can be brought by the guests or influence the theme or decoration. These gifts vary in different countries, but some years have well-established connections now common to most nations: 5th Wood, 10th Tin, 15th Crystal, 20th China, 25th Silver, 30th Pearl, 35th Jade, 40th Ruby, 45th Sapphire, 50th Gold, 60th Diamond, and 70th Platinum. In English-speaking countries the first, wooden, gift was cut on the day of celebration and then presented to the wife as a finished article 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.[10]

Traditional anniversary gifts[edit]

Year Traditional (U.S.)[11][12][13][14] Traditional (U.K.)[15][16][17]
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, aluminium 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[18][19][20]
75th Diamond, gold
80th Oak[21][22]
85th Moonstone Wine

Flower gifts[edit]

Year Flower
1st Carnation
2nd Lily of the valley
3rd Sunflower
4th Hydrangea
5th Daisy
6th Calla
7th Freesia
8th Lilac
9th Bird of paradise
10th Daffodil
11th Tulip
12th Peony
13th Chrysanthemum
14th Dahlia
15th Rose
20th Aster
25th Iris
28th Orchid
30th Lily
40th Gladiolus
50th Yellow rose, violet
60th Poppy

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hanns Bächtold-Stäubli i Folklore suisse. Schweizerische Gesellschaft für Volkskunde, 11. årgang (1921) S. 51–52.
  2. ^ "Wedding Anniversaries". Debrett's Everyday Etiquette. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
  3. ^ "Who is entitled?". The Monarchy Today. Retrieved 6 April 2009.
  4. ^ "Queen and anniversary messages". The Monarchy Today. Retrieved 6 April 2009.
  5. ^ "It's an Honour – Anniversary Messages". Australian Government. 25 January 2008. Retrieved 11 February 2008.
  6. ^ "Invite the Governor General" (Requires access). The Governor General of Canada. Retrieved 2 August 2010.
  7. ^ "White House Greeting". The New York Times Company. Retrieved 3 February 2010.
  8. ^ Office of Papal Charities. Retrieved on 2015-05-13.
  9. ^ "To Request a Papal Blessing". The Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson, Office of the Bishop. Retrieved 28 January 2008.
  10. ^ Lee, Cookie (October 2001). Wedding Anniversaries: From Paper to Diamond. Ryland Peters & Small.
  11. ^ "Wedding Anniversaries," compiled by librarians at the Chicago Public Library's Information Center (December 2000)
  12. ^ Anderson, Charles. "The Exchange," RQ 25 (1985): 175.
  13. ^ The World Almanac and Book of Facts, Mahwah, New Jersey: World Almanac Books, 1997.
  14. ^ World Book Encyclopedia, 1997 ed., s.v. "Wedding Anniversary".
  15. ^ Pears Cyclopaedia, 1978–79 edition, "Wedding Anniversaries". L128.
  16. ^ "Wedding Anniversary Gift List". Anniversary Gifts. Retrieved 8 April 2020.
  17. ^ "Wedding Anniversary Gift Ideas by Year". Retrieved 8 April 2020.
  18. ^ "The platinum wedding anniversary of Jim and Gladys Till". Lancaster Guardian, 8 January 2008.
  19. ^ "Tenor and wife toast 70 years of marriage". North West Evening Mail, 15 August 2008.
  20. ^ "They've been around the world in 70 years". Portsmouth News, 29 July 2008.
  21. ^ 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.
  22. ^ Facts and figures The British Monarchy

External links[edit]