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". Twenty-five years is called a "silver wedding anniversary" or "silver anniversary". Sixty years is a "diamond wedding anniversary" or "diamond anniversary". First year anniversary is called a "Paper Anniversary".

History and Origins[edit]

The historic origins of wedding anniversaries date back to the Holy Roman Empire, when 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]

North American[edit]

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

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]

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 Wooden, 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. 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 neighbours with a silver wreath to congratulate them for the good fortune that had prolonged the lives of the couple. 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, but this changed to the now more common 60th anniversary after 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]

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 Suggested modern gift list created by

librarians at Chicago Public Library

1st Clock
2nd China
3rd Crystal, glass
4th Appliances (electrical)
5th Silverware
6th Wood objects
7th Desk sets/pen and pencil sets
8th Fashion jewelry accessories
9th Leather goods
10th Diamond jewelry
11th Fashion jewelry, accessories
12th Pearls, colored gems
13th Textiles, furs
14th Gold jewelry
15th Watches
16th Silver holloware
17th Furniture
18th Porcelain
19th Bronze
20th Platinum
21st Brass, Nickel
22nd Copper
23rd Silver plate
24th Musical instruments
25th Silver
30th Diamond
35th Jade
40th Ruby
45th Sapphire
50th Gold
55th Emerald
60th Diamond
65th Blue sapphire
70th Platinum[13][14][15]
75th Diamond, gold
80th Diamond, pearl
85th Diamond, Sapphire
90th Diamond, Emerald
Year U.S. 1900–1940s Traditional (UK)[16]
1st Paper
2nd Cotton
3rd Leather
4th Linen, silk Fruit and flowers
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 Flowers
15th Crystal
20th China
24th Opal
25th Silver
30th Pearl
35th Coral, jade Coral
40th Ruby
45th Sapphire
50th Gold
55th Emerald
60th Diamond (yellow) Diamond
65th Blue sapphire
70th Platinum[13][17][18]
75th Diamond, gold
80th Oak[19][20]
85th Moonstone Wine
90th Granite

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 anniversary gifts[edit]

For lovers of jewelry, 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.[21]

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

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. ^ a b "The platinum wedding anniversary of Jim and Gladys Till", Lancaster Guardian, 8 January 2008
  14. ^ "Tenor and wife toast 70 years of marriage", North West Evening Mail, 15 August 2008
  15. ^ "They've been around the world in 70 years", Portsmouth News, 29 July 2008
  16. ^ Pears Cyclopaedia, 1978–79 edition, "Wedding Anniversaries". L128
  17. ^ "Tenor and wife toast 70 years of marriage", North West Evening Mail, 15 August 2008
  18. ^ "They've been around the world in 70 years", Portsmouth News, 29 July 2008
  19. ^ Miller, Vikki (24 May 2008). "Britain's longest married couple celebrate a quiet 80th anniversary". The Telegraph. 
  20. ^ Facts and figures The British Monarchy
  21. ^ Jewelers of America [1]

External links[edit]