Anniversary Themes

Man Giving Woman Anniversary Gift
Choose the perfect anniversary gift based on theme, color, or flower. David P. Hall / Getty Images

Do you ever wonder what to give someone for a wedding anniversary? Whether you are selecting something for your spouse or a couple you care about, each year holds significance with a theme, color, and flower attached.

Gift For Another Couple

Purchasing a gift for someone else's anniversary is a choice and never an obligation since it's a special day between them. However, you may want to do something special for people you are close to.

Whether you select a gift or jot your thoughts in a card, it's always good form to acknowledge this special day.

Gift for Your Spouse

If you and your spouse are celebrating your anniversary, choosing something with symbolism adds depth to the occasion. If you are giving this to a couple you know, you're showing your support for their marriage.

List of Anniversary Themes

Here is a list of traditional and more modern themes you can follow to make your gift selection:

  • First anniversary – paper or clocks
  • Second anniversary – cotton or china
  • Third anniversary – leather, glass, or crystal
  • Fourth anniversary – fruit, flowers, fabric, or electric appliances
  • Fifth anniversary – wood or silverware
  • Sixth anniversary – iron, candy or wood
  • Seventh anniversary – copper, wool, or something for the office
  • Eighth anniversary – bronze, pottery, linen or lace
  • Ninth anniversary – willow, pottery or leather
  • Tenth anniversary – tin or diamonds
  • Eleventh anniversary – steel or fashion/costume jewelry
  • Twelfth – silk, linen or pearls
  • Thirteenth – lace or faux fur
  • Fourteenth – ivory (faux ivory for ethical reasons) or gold jewelry
  • Fifteenth – glassware, crystal, or watch
  • Twentieth – china or platinum
  • Twenty-fifth – silver
  • Thirtieth – pearl or diamond
  • Thirty-fifth – coral or jade
  • Fortieth – ruby or garnet
  • Forty-fifth – sapphire
  • Fiftieth – gold
  • Fifty-fifth – emerald
  • Sixty and above – diamond

Anniversary Colors

Each anniversary is celebrated with a different color. Here are some of the most significant ones:

  • First anniversary – yellow or gold
  • Second anniversary – red
  • Third anniversary – white
  • Fourth and fifth anniversary – blue
  • Sixth anniversary – purple
  • Seventh anniversary – onyx (mostly black but can include other colors in the natural design)
  • Eighth anniversary – tourmaline (deep, rich brown and may have other colors in the mix)
  • Ninth anniversary – lapis (deep, rich blue)
  • Tenth anniversary – silver
  • Fifteenth anniversary – red
  • Twentieth anniversary – green
  • Twenty-fifth anniversary – silver
  • Fiftieth anniversary – gold

Anniversary Flowers

Whether you choose to send a bouquet or a single flower, pick one that signifies the anniversary being celebrated. You may also give a floral print card or design of the flower on whatever gift you choose.

Here's a list of flowers for some of the most commonly celebrated anniversaries:

  • First anniversary – carnation – symbolizes pure and innocent love
  • Second anniversary – lily of the valley – symbolizes humility and devotion
  • Third anniversary – sunflower – symbolizes strength, warmth, and loyalty
  • Fourth anniversary – hydrangea – symbolizes gratefulness and pride
  • Fifth anniversary – daisy – symbolizes innocence, purity, and gentleness
  • Sixth anniversary – calla lily – symbolizes transition and growth
  • Seventh anniversary – freesia – symbolizes trust and fidelity
  • Eighth anniversary – lilac – symbolizes love's first emotions
  • Ninth anniversary – bird of paradise – symbolizes magnificence, splendor, and the unexpected
  • Tenth anniversary – daffodil – symbolizes chivalry and love for one person
  • Fifteenth anniversary – rose – symbolizes love, passion, and hope
  • Twentieth anniversary – aster – symbolizes patience, elegance, and wisdom
  • Twenty-fifth anniversary – iris - symbolizes faith, hope, wisdom, and promise
  • Fiftieth anniversary – yellow rose, violet, or combination of the two – The rose symbolizes long-lasting love and a prosperous marriage. The violet is a sign of commitment that is required for a long marriage.

Gift Ideas

When selecting a gift, you may use the list above for ideas, but you don't have to spend the money on some of the more expensive themes or come across as cheap by choosing something based on the theme in a literal sense. Use the suggestions as a starting point and get creative. For example, on the years for diamonds, the item may be in the shape of a diamond or a nice jewelry box to store diamonds.

Here are some more ideas for creative use of the themes:

  • Paper anniversary – tickets (paper) to an opera, play, or movie
  • Cotton anniversary – a set of high quality cotton sheets or placemats
  • Crystal anniversary – a crystal bud vase or stemware
  • Electric appliance anniversary – espresso machine or cappuccino maker for the coffee lover or ice shaver for a summer anniversary
  • Anniversary with any of the metals – picture frames made from the metal with a photo that means something, keychain, watch, charm, or jewelry
  • Leather anniversary – leather weekend bag or tote, personalized leather luggage tag, coasters embossed with anniversary date, leather toiletry bag, or leather Bible case
  • Diamond anniversary – jewelry box, diamond shaped picture frame with a meaningful photo, luggage or handbag with an embossed diamond shape, clock or other item with the couple's anniversary date
  • Candy – box of candy, candy making machine, chocolate fountain, or candy roses
  • Office equipment – photo printer
  • Pearl – necklace, bracelet, ring, or anything made of mother of pearl
  • Coral or jade – jewelry or anything in the coral or jade colors
  • Ruby or garnet – ruby ring, garnet necklace, or anything in a deep, rich red
  • Tin – set of tin mugs, rustic vases, embossed plaque, or serving tray
  • Faux fur – handbag, gloves, hat, or wrap

Add-On Gifts

What you might consider doing if the gift is for your spouse or you know you'll continue seeing the couple for many years is to give them something they can add on to each time their anniversary rolls around. Whether it's a place setting or a decoration, they'll look forward to seeing you at this special time each year.

Ideas for add-ons:

  • Photo album. This is ideal for the photographer who likes to snap shots of all the major events. You may want to label the pages in the album in advance so all they'll have to do is slip the pictures into the slots.
  • Serving platters. Have the date engraved on each plate in the color of that particular anniversary.
  • Flower pots or planters. Include a packet of flower seeds with your card each year.
  • Charm bracelet. Add a new charm for each anniversary.

What Really Matters

When giving an anniversary gift, what really matters is the thought you put behind it. You can be as creative as you want to be while thinking about what the other person or couple will enjoy. If there is something else you want to give, you don't have to stay with the theme.

You might want to give them something totally unrelated but mention that it's their diamond or silver anniversary in the message of the card. However, it's more fun if you find a way to incorporate the theme into the gift—even if it's a stretch.