Wedding anniversary

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A wedding anniversary is the anniversary of the date a marriage took place.

Traditional names exist for all of them: for instance, 50 years of marriage is called a "golden wedding anniversary" or simply a "golden anniversary".

History and origins[edit]

The historic origins of wedding anniversaries date back to the Holy Roman Empire, where husbands crowned their wives with a silver wreath on their twenty-fifth anniversary, and a gold wreath on the fiftieth. Later, principally in the twentieth century, commercialism led to the addition of more anniversaries being represented by a named gift.[1]

Britain and the Commonwealth[edit]

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, currently sent as a greeting card.[2] This is done by applying to Buckingham Palace in the United Kingdom, or to the Governor-General's office in the other Commonwealth realms.[3]

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.[4]

In Canada, one can also receive a message from the Governor-General for the 50th anniversary, and every fifth anniversary after that.[5]

United States[edit]

In the United States, a couple can receive a greeting from the President for any wedding anniversary on or after the 50th.[6]

Roman Catholic blessings[edit]

Roman Catholics may apply to the Office of Papal Charities for a papal blessing for wedding anniversaries of a special nature (25th, 50th, 60th, etc.); however, Archbishop Konrad Krajewski stated that after 1 January 2015 blessings will not be available to stores or businesses outside the Vatican, but by applying, scrolls can be shipped anywhere.[7][8]

Denmark and the Netherlands[edit]

In Denmark and the Netherlands, a couple's copper anniversary is 12.5 years (half of 25).

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[citation needed]: 5th Wood, 10th Tin, 15th Crystal, 20th China, 25th Silver, 30th Pearl, 40th Ruby, 50th Gold, 60th Diamond, 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.[citation needed] The tradition may have originated in medieval Germany where, if a married couple lived to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their wedding, the wife was presented by her friends and neighbors with a silver wreath to congratulate them for the good fortune that had prolonged the lives of the couple[inconsistent]. Over time the number of symbols expanded and the German tradition came to assign gifts that had direct connections with each stage of married life. The symbols have changed over time. For example, in the United Kingdom, diamond was a well known symbol for the 75th anniversary[citation needed], but this changed to the now more common 60th anniversary after the Diamond Anniversary of Queen Victoria. The current monarch Queen Elizabeth II's 60th year on the throne was widely marked as her Diamond Jubilee and commemorated in 2012.

Anniversary gift lists [edit]

Traditional and modern anniversary gifts [edit]

Lists of wedding anniversary gifts vary by country. The traditional and modern U.S. versions were compiled by librarians at the Chicago Public Library.[9][10][11][12]

Year Traditional (U.S.) Traditional (UK)[13] Modern (U.S.)
1st Paper Paper Clock
2nd Cotton Cotton China
3rd Leather Leather Crystal, glass
4th Linen, Silk Fruit, flowers Appliances (electrical)
5th Wood Wood Silverware
6th Iron Sugar Wood objects
7th Wool, copper Wool, copper Desk sets/pen and pencil sets
8th Bronze Bronze Linens, lace
9th Pottery Pottery Leather goods
10th Tin, Aluminum Tin Diamond jewelry
11th Steel Fashion jewelry, accessories
12th Silk Linen, fine silk Pearls, colored gems
13th Lace Textiles, furs
14th Ivory Gold jewelry
15th Crystal Crystal Watches
16th Fibre Glass holloware
17th Stainless Steel
18th Wax
19th Panettone
20th China China Platinum
21st Cork, Nickel
22nd Bone
23rd Rubber
24th Opal Musical instruments
25th Silver Silver Silver
30th Pearl Pearl Diamond
35th Coral, jade Coral Jade
40th Ruby Ruby Ruby
45th Sapphire Sapphire
50th Gold Gold Gold
55th Emerald Emerald
60th Diamond (yellow) Diamond Diamond
65th Blue sapphire
70th Platinum[14][15]
75th Diamond, gold Diamond, gold
80th Oak[16] Diamond, pearl
85th Wine Wife’s birthstone
90th Stone, granite[17] Diamond, Emerald

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
19th Sweetpea
20th Aster
25th Iris
28th Orchid
30th Lily
40th Gladiolus
50th Yellow rose, violet

Gemstone jewelry gifts[edit]

The Jewelry Anniversary list with gemstone jewelry for each anniversary year was established by The American Gem Society, The Gemological Institute of America, The American Gem Trade Association, Jewelers of America, and the International Colored Gemstone Association.[18]

Year Gemstone
1st Mother of Pearl
2nd Garnet
3rd Moonstone
4th Blue Topaz
5th Rose Quartz
6th Amethyst
7th Onyx
8th Tourmaline
9th Lapis Lazuli
10th Crystal or green Tourmaline
11th Turquoise
12th Jade
13th Citrine
14th Opal
15th Rhodolite
20th Emerald
25th Tsavorite
30th Pearl
40th Ruby
50th Gold
60th Diamond
65th Sapphire
70th Platinum

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Debrett's Everyday Etiquette". British Wedding Anniversaries. Retrieved 22 October 2012. 
  2. ^ "Who is entitled?". The Monarchy Today. Retrieved 6 April 2009. 
  3. ^ "Queen and anniversary messages". The Monarchy Today. Retrieved 6 April 2009. 
  4. ^ "It's an Honour – Anniversary Messages". Australian Government. 25 January 2008. Retrieved 11 February 2008. 
  5. ^ "Invite the Governor General" (Requires access). The Governor General of Canada. Retrieved 2 August 2010. 
  6. ^ "White House Greeting". Retrieved 3 February 2010. 
  7. ^ Office of Papal Charities. Retrieved on 2015-05-13.
  8. ^ "Papal Blessings soon available only from Vatican". Pontifical Council for Social Communications. Retrieved 1 January 2016. 
  9. ^ "Wedding Anniversaries," compiled by librarians at the Chicago Public Library's Information Center (December 2000)
  10. ^ Anderson, Charles "The Exchange," RQ 25 (1985): 175
  11. ^ The World Almanac and Book of Facts, Mahwah, New Jersey: World Almanac Books, 1997.
  12. ^ World Book Encyclopedia, 1997 ed., s.v. "Wedding Anniversary"
  13. ^ Pears Cyclopaedia, 1978–79 edition, "Wedding Anniversaries." L128
  14. ^ "The platinum wedding anniversary of Jim and Gladys Till". Lancaster Guardian. 8 January 2008. Retrieved 3 November 2017. 
  15. ^ "They've been around the world in 70 years". Portsmouth News. 29 July 2008. Retrieved 3 November 2017. 
  16. ^ Miller, Vikki (24 May 2008). "Britain's longest married couple celebrate a quiet 80th anniversary". The Telegraph. 
  17. ^ Smith, Richard (26 May 2008). "England's longest marriage: Frank and Anita Milford celebrate 80 years together". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 3 November 2017. 
  18. ^ Jewelers of America

External links[edit]