Traditional Wedding Anniversary Gifts: A Modern Take

Wedding anniversaries – do you celebrate them? According to a survey from 2016, 46% of UK couples don’t do anything to mark their wedding date, and a fifth don’t even know when their wedding anniversary is. Here in the Patchwork studio, we range between going all out with oysters and champagne, to spending a first wedding anniversary in IKEA (the height of romance!). No matter where you sit on that spectrum, it’s never too late to start making an effort. We all agree that the idea of marking each wedding anniversary by giving gifts that follow a tradition spanning hundreds of years has a certain charm to it, so we’ve put together a modern wedding anniversary gift guide for you. So next time your wedding anniversary is coming up, you know just what to give your other half.

We’ve got you covered for the first ten years. After that, things are a bit more straightforward. Especially once you get past your 25th wedding anniversary – then the theme seems to be jewellery, jewellery, jewellery. And why not.

First Wedding Anniversary: Paper

Papier Minimalist Hardback Photo Book, £44 from Papier

This is your opportunity to create something really sweet for your other half. Fill a personalised hardback photo book from Papier with memories of your first year as a married couple, or perhaps finally get around to organising your wedding photos and fill this book with your favourites. As Papier say, this will be the most thoughtful gift you’ve ever given.  

Second Wedding Anniversary: Cotton

David Hockney and Yayoi Kusama Socks, £8 from Chatty Feet

Time for some fun. Sock fun. Show your partner you know them SO well after two joyous years of marriage by giving them a cute pair of socks featuring their very favourite artist. What will you go for – David Sock-Knee? Yayoi Toesama? How about Sole-Adore Dali? Make your choice from Chatty Feet’s excellent selection.

Third Wedding Anniversary: Leather

Make sure your betrothed never loses the keys to your love nest with the help of a brilliant leather keyring from Not Another Bill. Choose the colour and shape of your leather and have their initials embossed on it for a touch of sophistication. Then undo that completely by having a smiley face or a cute pair of boobs embossed on the other side. Cheeky.

Fourth Wedding Anniversary: Linen

Duvet cover (£155) and pyjamas (£88), Piglet in Bed, images from @pigletinbed instagram

After four years married, it’s definitely time to splash out and treat yourselves to a super special new set of sheets for your bed. Good quality linen bedding is the ultimate luxury, so give the gift of fresh sheets, then snuggle in with a cuppa. For serious cosiness, throw in some pyjamas too. Best anniversary ever. Cat optional.

Fifth Wedding Anniversary: Wood

Vitra Wooden Dolls from Papillon Interiors currently on sale for £79.80 each

Designer and architect Alexander Girard originally created the Wooden Dolls in 1953 for his own home. We think they’re the perfect way to show your love on your fifth wedding anniversary – with so many to choose from, you can pick the one that reminds you of your other half. It’s sure to put a smile on their face every time they pass it. Even better, splash out and buy a pair – a cute little couple to represent you two.

Sixth Wedding Anniversary: Iron

Presuming you can’t get hold of the iron throne, which would be a pretty great sixth wedding anniversary present… How about the Apocalyptic candle from ‘bougie parfumée’ (that’s scented candle to you and I) creators, Byredo, instead? It has top notes of black raspberry and fire iron. No, we don’t know what that smells like either but we bet it’s delicious.

Seventh Wedding Anniversary: Wool

Wool throw with carrier, £80 from Not Another Bill

Time to get cosy with a monogrammed (swanky!) blanket. What better way to celebrate your seventh anniversary than with a super soft woollen blanket, big enough for the both of you. Plus you can get your other half’s initials embossed on the leather carry strap, so they don’t lose it when you go for picnics. You can choose up to six letters to be embossed so you could even choose something cute like DARLIN or STINKY (ok, we don’t know what your nicknames are, that’d be weird).

Eighth Wedding Anniversary: Bronze

Bronze Dove, £40, from The Collaborative Store

If, after eight years, you can’t agree over who has the last biscuit, or who’s hidden the remote control, this beautiful bronze dove – symbol of peace – will be a lovely reminder to let it go and clear the air. Just pop it on your mantel where you can both see it and next time you feel like having a bicker, it’ll remind you of your eight years of marriage. Eight years!

Ninth Wedding Anniversary: Pottery

Carved Bowl (£100) and Stump Vase (£35) by Caro Gates

This anniversary is just a great excuse to up your ceramics game. Buy your love some beautiful pottery from an independent maker that you can both enjoy in your home. Choose a piece with a special meaning or symbol like these two pieces by London ceramicist Caro Gates, both of which feature trees. By nine years of marriage your love has definitely grown strong like a beautiful oak.

Tenth Wedding Anniversary: Tin

Wet plate photographs by Tin Type Trailer

Happy 10 years! This is a wonderful milestone in a marriage, so what better way to celebrate than to have your photo taken on an old tin type camera. The photographs are taken using a method that was popular in the mid 1800s and involves silver nitrate and sheets of tin, which produces magical results. Get in touch with a wet plate artist like Michele of the Tin Type Trailer to book a couples portrait session and have your ten-years-married faces sealed onto metal, to keep forever more.

A group gift for your wedding anniversary with Patchwork

National Trust Membership Group Gift Template

Of course, if you’re really lucky, your friends and family will get together to use Patchwork and give you an amazing group gift to celebrate your anniversary. We see all sorts of incredible wedding anniversary gifts being organised and funded through our platform, from surprise parties to National Trust memberships, nights at the theatre and trips on the Orient Express. All it takes is one kind friend or family member to set up a page, customise a template, then send it out to everyone so that they can contribute.

Traditionally, these are the gifts that are given for each anniversary:

1ST Anniversary: Paper

2ND Anniversary: Cotton

3RD Anniversary: Leather

4TH Anniversary: Linen

5TH Anniversary: Wood

6TH Anniversary: Iron

7TH Anniversary: Wool

9TH Anniversary: Pottery

10TH Anniversary: Tin/ Aluminum

11TH Anniversary: Steel

12TH Anniversary: Silk

13TH Anniversary: Lace

14TH Anniversary: Ivory

15TH Anniversary: Crystal

20TH Anniversary: China

25TH Anniversary: Silver

30TH Anniversary: Pearl

35TH Anniversary: Coral

40TH Anniversary: Ruby

45TH Anniversary: Sapphire

50TH Anniversary: Gold

55TH Anniversary: Emerald

60TH Anniversary: Diamond