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The symbols and themes for every wedding anniversary

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Whether it's 1, 5, or 50 years of marriage, you can use these traditional themes to celebrate. 

The idea of celebrating the day we got married dates back to the Holy Roman Empire, where husbands would crown their wives with a silver wreath on the occasion of their 25th wedding anniversary. After 50 years together, the wife would receive a golden crown; hence the silver and golden anniversaries we celebrate today.

In modern times, couples began to celebrate their anniversary every year. While some would attribute this to commercialism, we like to think that taking one day a year to celebrate your marriage is something very worthwhile indeed.

This annual date is a wonderful reminder to go down memory lane and flick through your wedding albums, seeing all those familiar faces who supported you on the day you said your vows, and who are still there years later, perhaps watching your family grow. It’s a day to remind each other of the promises you made before God, and to contemplate with your dearly beloved what you’ve achieved as a couple so far.

It’s a standing joke that husbands (and sometimes wives… cough, cough!) forget their wedding anniversary and end up grabbing the nearest bunch of flowers to rescue the day. So we’ve got a list of anniversaries and the traditional – and not-so-traditional – gifts accompanying them: from raw materials to jewels. Each year has a theme that will help mark your special date and perhaps inspire a thoughtful gift. Our personal favorite is the 38-year mark!

Don’t forget, a wedding anniversary is also a great occasion to celebrate with the rest of the family, or to find a little time together to raise a glass to the next 20, 30, or even 60 years ahead. And for all those young sweethearts out there, we’ve also included the theme for 100 years of marriage because … you never know!

And for those special anniversaries, it might be a nice idea to go to church and have a blessing. It doesn’t need to be complicated, just a simple blessing during the Mass. To make it really special, you could try going to the church where you celebrated your marriage, if it’s not your current parish.

Themes to celebrate for 1 to 10 years of marriage

1 year anniversary: Paper

2 year anniversary: Cotton

3 year anniversary: Leather

4 year anniversary: Fruit/flowers

5 year anniversary: Wood

6 year anniversary: Candy/iron

7 year anniversary: Wool/copper

8 year anniversary: Pottery/bronze

9 year anniversary: Willow/pottery

10 year anniversary: Tin/aluminum

Themes for 11 to 20 years of marriage

11 year anniversary: Steel

12 year anniversary: Silk/linen

13 year anniversary: Lace

14 year anniversary: Gold jewelry

15 year anniversary: Crystal

16 year anniversary: Coffee/tea

17 year anniversary: Wine/spirits

18 year anniversary: Appliances

19 year anniversary: Jade

20 year anniversary: Platinum

Themes for 21 to 30 years of marriage

21 year anniversary: Fire

22 year anniversary: Water

23 year anniversary: Air

24 year anniversary: Stone

25 year anniversary: Silver

26 year anniversary: Art

27 year anniversary: Music

28 year anniversary: Linens

29 year anniversary: Tools

30 year anniversary: Pearl

Themes for 31 to 40 years of marriage

31 year anniversary: Travel/tourism

32 year anniversary: Bronze

33 year anniversary: Iron

34 year anniversary: Food

35 year anniversary: Coral

36 year anniversary: Antiques

37 year anniversary: Books

38 year anniversary: Luck

39 year anniversary: Laughter

40 year anniversary: Ruby

Themes for 41 to 50 years of marriage

41 year anniversary: Office/desk

42 year anniversary: Clocks/watches

43 year anniversary: Entertainment

44 year anniversary: Electronics

45 year anniversary: Sapphire

46 year anniversary: Games

47 year anniversary: Garden/plants

48 year anniversary: Home improvement

49 year anniversary: Copper

50 year anniversary: Gold

Themes for 51 to 60 years of marriage

51 year anniversary: Photos/camera

52 year anniversary: Bath/spa

53 year anniversary: Plastic

54 year anniversary: Glass

55 year anniversary: Emerald

56 year anniversary: Day

57 year anniversary: Night

58 year anniversary: Faith and hope

59 year anniversary: Charity

60 year anniversary: Diamond

Themes for up to 100 years of marriage

65 year anniversary: Star sapphire, gray

67 year anniversary: Star sapphire, purple

70 year anniversary: Platinum

75 year anniversary: Diamond/gold

80 year anniversary: Diamond/pearl

85 year anniversary: Moonstone

90 year anniversary: Diamond/pearl

100 year anniversary: 10-carat diamond

Tags:
Marriage
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