What To Get Your S.O. Based On How Long You've Been Married

Wedding anniversaries are important relationship milestones. They mark the number of years since you made things official and start a new life together. These occasions carried even more emotional significance back in the day: Husbands in Medieval Germany used to adorn their wives with golden wreaths on their 50th anniversary.
While an extravagant hair accessory may not be the most practical gift in this day and age, you can certainly do a lot better than a candlelit dinner on your special day. Since coming up with a unique gift idea every year is a tall order, looking into the symbolism of traditional wedding anniversaries is one good place for inspiration.
Advertisement
Amber Harrison, a style and etiquette expert at Wedding Paper Divas, is here to take a deep dive into the symbolism of the first twenty years of married life — like what a paper anniversary really means — and cool gift ideas stemming from the cultural analogy. Now you'll be able to offer a super rad and thoughtful explanation while your S.O. unwraps the surprise.
1 of 13
1st Anniversary (Paper)

The old Victorian age tradition of giving paper on your first anniversary might seem like an inconsequential gift, paper actually has a pretty deep symbolization: A new beginning, the fragility of marriage and the potential for growth. "A beautiful set of personalized stationery can be a great way to incorporate paper," says Harrison. Other fun paper gifts include a rare first edition of your partner’s favorite book or a gorgeous art print for your home.

Simplyput by Ashley Woodman Victorian Splendor Thank You Card, $33.90, available at Wedding Paper Divas
2 of 13
2nd Anniversary (Cotton)

Cotton is a material that's light, flexible and adaptable — similar to a second year marriage. Monogrammed pillows or towels are always a nice way to go, but a soft and luxurious cotton blankets or loungewear will also come in handy for future Netflix marathons.

Ferm Living Cotton Blanket, $122.55, available at Trouva
Advertisement
3 of 13
3rd Anniversary (Leather)

Leather is durable, supple, and can change over time. There may be imperfections, but it's beautiful nonetheless. Harrison recommends celebrates this milestone with leather passport holders, perfect for honoring all the new adventures a couple has still in store.

Aspinal of London Embossed Leather Passport Holder, $73.89, available at Harrods
4 of 13
4th Anniversary (Fruit and Flowers)

"Fruit and flowers represent a budding relationship, with deep nourishment and constant renewal and beauty," says Harrison. You don't have to think literal here with the gifts, gifts ideas that include floral prints and a relaxing, fruity scent would do the trick.

Tocca Giulietta Profumo d'Ambiente, $48, available at Barneys New York
5 of 13
5th Anniversary (Wood)

"Trees are stable and enduring, with deep roots that are always connected — a great model for a healthy, fulfilling relationship," says Harrison. Five years is a pretty big milestone, so why not commemorate it with a bottle of fine wine in an engraved wooden box, and unbox the wine together on your tenth anniversary.

ThinkOutsideYourBox Engraved Wine Box, $16.50, available at Etsy
6 of 13
Photo: Getty
6th Anniversary (Sugar)

The symbolic material for the sixth wedding anniversary used to be iron, but sugar has largely replaced the old tradition in recent years. "Sugar represents the sweetness of your relationship and the feeling when you met for the first time," says Harrison. "Candy and chocolate may be the obvious choices, but why not make it more experiential and take a dessert-making class together?"
7 of 13
7th Anniversary (Copper and Wool)

Both copper and wool are known to generate heat — they represent the safety, warmth, and comfort of a relationship. The combination of a wool blanket and Moscow mule glass will keep you and your S.O. warm and cosy for a perfect night in.

Crate and Barrel Martin Copper Shot Glass, $8.95, available at Crate and Barrel

Linum Chimes Handwoven Wool Throw, $181, available at Luisaviaroma
Advertisement
8 of 13
Photo: Getty
8th Anniversary (Pottery)

Pottery is nothing but raw material before it gets molded and then fortified in a kiln to create a sturdy and useful object. It tells the story of transformation and strength, a befitting symbolism for love. A pottery class is a fun date night idea to celebrate and your very own Patrick Swayze/Demi Moore moment. (The romantic part at the beginning of the Ghost, not so much the rest of the movie.)
9 of 13
9th Anniversary (Willow)

Willow represents nature and flexibility, and after nine years of marriage, you’ve already demonstrated that being flexible and adapting can lead to harmony. "Planting a weeping willow tree together can serve as a beautiful reminder of your blossoming relationship," says Harrison. A more whimsical way to celebrate the anniversary is to install a tree swing in your backyard — you'll be getting lots of romantic memories from this little apparatus.

Magic Tree Swings Outdoor Wooden Swing, $26.99, available at Amazon
10 of 13
10th Anniversary (Tin)

"Tins are traditionally used to preserve something precious and protect whatever is held inside from outside elements," says Harrison. Customized martini shakers are a fun gift that will liven up any bar cart.

Becky Broome Personalized Initials Monogram Cocktail Shaker, $36.97, available at Not On The High Street
11 of 13
11th Anniversary (Steel)

Steel is durable material, representing the strength of you two even when times are trying. If your S.O. loves spending time in the kitchen, this stainless steel knife and cheeseboard set also makes a great present.

Michael Aram White Orchid Cheese Board and Knife, $150, available at Amara
12 of 13
15th Anniversary (Crystal)

"Crystal is a representation of the sacrifice and investment the couple has made over the years," says Harrison. For this special milestone in your relationship, a crystal bowl seems like a bit predictable: This crystal light pendant is a much more modern choice.

Mink Interiors Crystal Bulb Pendant Light in Brass, $122.55, available at Trouva
13 of 13
20th Anniversary (China)

China symbolizes the elegant and fragile nature of love. Uncover an old photo from your wedding day and gift it in a picture frame — made with fine bone china — as a reminder of where your relationship started and where you are now as a couple.

Lenox Wedding Promises Opal Frame, $54.99, available at Amazon
Advertisement

More from Living

Watch

R29 Original Series