The Ultimate Year-by-Year Anniversary Gift Guide

From the first to the 50th (and beyond), there's a special anniversary gift to commemorate the big day.

best anniversary-gifts: flower glasses

Anniversaries are a perfect time to celebrate, whether you're marking the years since you first met, your first date—or most often, the years since you officially tied the knot. And for many couples, the wedding anniversary is a big gift-giving occasion, where you surprise your partner with a special anniversary gift to commemorate the beginning of your partnership.

And of course, when you meet big milestone anniversaries, such as the 25th or the 50th, many couples opt to host a big celebration, where guests may feel inclined to give a special anniversary gift to the happy couple as well.

While there are both modern and traditional anniversary gifts that are given for each particular anniversary celebration, you can look for creative takes on the theme—or just gift something that you know they'll love, if you're not feeling like tin for the 10th anniversary or cotton for the first. (Odds are, your partner won't care if you don't stick with the tradition.)

Here is our hand-picked list of best anniversary gifts by year.

First Anniversary: Paper and Clocks

Paper is the time-honored first anniversary gift—though there are definitely ways to get creative with it beyond stationery. (Think tickets to a performance, art prints, a handmade journal, or a map of your adventures.) The modern alternative is a clock, which can be something sentimental for the home, or a nice timepiece for their wrist.

Second Anniversary: Cotton and China

Traditionally, second anniversary gifts were made of cotton, with china as the modern anniversary equivalent. But that doesn't necessarily have to mean that you spring for formal china (especially if that wasn't on your registry). Porcelain mugs or even jewelry will be a beloved anniversary gift as well.

Third Anniversary: Leather, Glass, Crystal

Leather is the traditional third anniversary gift, whether you opt for clothing or an upgraded wallet or bag. If you're going for the modern equivalent, look for glass or crystal—this might be a good time to spring for a pretty vase or upgrade your stemware, if you've already broken a few since your wedding day.

Fourth Anniversary: Fruit, Flowers, Appliances

For year four, if you'll opt for the modern anniversary gift—appliances—skip the super practical and splurge on something fun that they'll love, like an ice cream maker. The traditional fruit or flowers can be something lovely that you enjoy for just a brief time—or you can find ways to give them something they'll love for years to come.

Fifth Anniversary: Wood and Silverware

For the fifth anniversary, wood or silverware make perfect anniversary gifts—or perhaps, combine the two with a wooden-handled knife set or serving tray.

Sixth Anniversary: Iron and Wood

The sixth anniversary gift options—iron and wood—can easily be combined in a lovely piece of furniture or an objet d'art. (And if one or both of you like to golf, golf clubs seem like a clever opportunity here!)

Seventh Anniversary: Copper, Wool, Desk Sets

Copper and wool are the traditional seventh anniversary gifts (perhaps the wool is the origin for the "seven-year itch?"). If you're following modern anniversary gift guidelines, a desk set is the perfect present.

Eighth Anniversary: Bronze, Pottery, Linen, Lace

There are lots of anniversary gift options for year number eight—with bronze and pottery as the classic picks, and linen and lace as the contemporary options.

Ninth Anniversary: Willow, Pottery, Leather

For year number nine, you see a few repeats of anniversary gift themes—with pottery and leather—plus willow as another potential gift idea.

10th Anniversary: Aluminum, Tin, Diamonds

Think metal for your 10th anniversary gifts, to symbolize the strength of your bond—aluminum and tin are in the mix here. And diamonds are another possibility to celebrate your first decade together.

20th Anniversary: China and Platinum

Celebrate the end of your second decade together with china, which is both strong and fragile, or one of the rarest precious metals, silver-white platinum.

25th Anniversary: Silver

If you're celebrating your 25th anniversary, think silver—which can be the color or the metal. Gifts can include jewelry, of course, but there are plenty of ways to incorporate the theme into your anniversary gift.

30th Anniversary: Pearls and Diamonds

For the 30th anniversary, pearls and diamonds are the traditional and modern gifts—but if a jewelry gift isn't your thing, you can still find elegant ways to include these anniversary gift themes.

40th Anniversary: Ruby

The ruby anniversary can be marked with jewelry featuring that gemstone, but if the gift recipient isn't the jewelry type, consider anniversary gifts that feature that deep red hue.

50th Anniversary: Gold

Congratulations! Making it to the 50th anniversary is a really big deal—and it's a marriage milestone that's often celebrated with a big party. Gold jewelry is an obvious golden anniversary gift option, but you can still be creative within this gifting theme.

Anniversary Gifts for Her

If the year-by-year ideas don't inspire you, consider seeking out one of these equally special anniversary gifts for your wife.

Anniversary Gifts for Him

If you're shopping for your husband, you might find the perfect anniversary gift for him among these options.

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