Perhaps you’re still paying off your wedding while you are searching for a first-anniversary gift—that doesn’t mean you should skip the occasion. Your marriage is in its infancy, and the groundwork you both lay now will help solidify a happy and successful commitment. Putting some extra thought and symbolism into a first anniversary gift isn’t a bad idea. Traditionally, the first year is marked with paper. Modern gift lists mark the milestone with clocks.
Traditional Gift Symbolism: Paper
When the first wedding anniversary approaches, many couples are still in the honeymoon phase and may not have encountered the difficult ebbs and flows that come with marriage. That’s in part why paper has been the traditional gift for the first anniversary for well over 100 years. Paper is both fragile and withstanding, just like the early years of your marriage. Take care of the paper, and it will maintain a story for a lifetime. Handle the paper carelessly, and it will fade, tear, and disintegrate into nothing.
Modern Gift Symbolism: Clock
Clocks speak to relationships in a similar sentiment. Think of how quickly the first year passed by. The clock represents the movement of time, and with time comes good times, change, and challenge. Time is precious; just like your relationship. The clock is another reminder to spend time nurturing your relationship for the years to come.
Buying some stationery or a wall clock might seem simple enough, but the nuance is what will set your gift apart. Make your gift as personalized and symbolic as possible. These first-anniversary gift ideas will help get you started.
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Bouquet of Carnations
Sometimes a traditional or modern gift might not work for you. If that’s the case, consider gifting your loved one some carnations. Carnations are the official flower of the first anniversary and represent youthful, passionate love.
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In "Sex and the City," Mr. Big couldn’t find the words to express his love for Carrie, so he used famous love letters instead. If writing doesn’t come naturally and makes you uneasy, consider finding a verse or letter that speaks to your relationship and have it framed.
If you do write your feelings and they're too personal to put on display, consider hanging in a place where only your loved one would see it every day, like the back of a closet door or in the primary bedroom.
About This Term: Primary Bedroom
Many real estate associations, including the National Association of Home Builders, have classified the term "Master Bedroom" as discriminatory. "Primary Bedroom" is the name now widely used among the real estate community and better reflects the purpose of the room.
Read more about our Diversity and Inclusion Pledge to make The Spruce a site where all feel welcome.
If you wrote your vows, now would be an ideal time to get those framed and display in a prominent place in the home. Even a framed marriage certificate will work. Just make sure the frame’s glass offers UV protection.
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As far as jewelry goes, gold marks the first wedding anniversary. Gold as a metal symbolizes wealth and prosperity. The color gold symbolizes passion, courage, and compassion, qualities any good marriage needs to succeed.
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While fresh flowers won’t last long, paper flowers can. If you’re artsy and creative, consider making a bouquet of paper flowers. Even better if you’re able to fashion them into your spouse’s favorite type of flower.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
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Pearl is the alternate gemstone for this anniversary, in part because of its fragile yet luminous nature. A pearl can take years to form, adding thin layers until it transforms into something beautiful. Pearls can just as easily be worn away, and the nacre coating can detach without proper care. Take care of this pearl jewelry in the same way you should care for your marriage.
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This gift can be tediously made, or it can be bought, but either way, it’s an idea that is packed with symbolism. Make sure whichever clock design you decide on will fit in with your home decor, so you actually want to hang it.
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It’s easy to let all your pictures live on the computer and your phones, but there’s something romantic about looking back at old photos as a couple. Since this anniversary is so close to the actual wedding, perhaps now is a good opportunity to finalize all your wedding photos. On the first anniversary, it’s a nice time to celebrate and remember the wedding itself along with your budding relationship.
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You could get your spouse a pocket watch, a cuckoo clock, a wall clock, or even an alarm clock. But if you want to be entirely practical, gift a modern smartwatch if you think your spouse would use it. Pair the gift with a card about the magic of time to make it just a little bit more romantic.