by Amanda

Traditional Anniversary Gifts

The custom of giving wedding anniversary gifts dates back to medieval Germany, when friends would give married ladies a silver wreath to celebrate 25 years of marriage, and a gold wreath to celebrate 50 years. In more recent times, Emily Post, an expert in etiquette, compiled a gift guide in the year 1922. In this guide, she recommended that presents be given on 7 key anniversaries: the 1st, 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th, 25th and 50th. A complete list was then established in 1937 - when the American National Retail Jewelers Association filled in ideas for the missing years.

Couples around the world use this traditional list to help choose a gift in order to acknowledge and celebrate their marriage. In the early years, gifts are more personal, and are only shared between the newlyweds. They are generally inexpensive and practical - to help make married life a little more comfortable! As the years pass, the presents become more luxurious, and frequently more expensive, to reflect on the time that they have remained together.

The traditional guide begins with paper for the 1st anniversary present, and continues until the 75th year of marriage. Antique jewellery often makes for a thoughtful gift - especially for the 25th anniversary (which is silver), as well as for some of the other significant milestones - including pearl for the 30th, coral for the 35th, ruby for the 40th, sapphire for the 45th, gold for the 50th, emerald for the 55th, diamond for the 60th, and platinum for the 75th.

The guide may differ in some countries, and there are couples who prefer the modern version - which has been updated to keep pace with changing times. Wool for your 7th anniversary, and lace for your 13th, may be considered old-fashioned - which is why the contemporary guide replaces them with a desk set and textiles (or fur) respectively. There are also some gifts on the traditional list which may no longer be accepted by all eg. ivory for the 14th year - which has been replaced on the modern list with gold.

Not all married couples follow the wedding gift guides, but they still celebrate the annual occasion in some way. Every anniversary that is reached is a significant and important milestone, and should be treated as such!

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Coral | Silver | Gold | Ivory | Anniversary Gifts | Pearl | Ruby | Sapphire | Emerald | Diamond

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Anniversary | Diamonds | Silver
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