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Anniversary Gift Ideas: Years 1-5


In todays blog write-up, we here at Limelight Entertainment and Photography are going to begin what will more than likely be a 6(ish) part blog series that focuses on the traditional and modern gifts associated with each wedding anniversary. The early years are segmented into annual gifts with the “big ones” coming every fifth year, later on the anniversary gifts pare down to only every fifth year, although every year together is special in our minds. This particular segment will focus on years one through five. So, without further adieu:

1 Year Anniversary - Traditional: Paper, Modern: Clocks

The reasoning behind paper being the traditional year one anniversary gift is a little bit murky. Although it has deep roots in history, being a tradition since the Victorian Era, there are a few different interpretations as to why paper was given after one year of marital bliss. The eloquent and meaningful one, however, is also the simplest, paper represents the blank space in which you and your spouse will eventually write the chapters of your love on. It is still fragile and should be protected with the utmost care for from this paper a strong and loving story will unfold in the form of a happy marriage. When it comes to giving paper gifts, sometimes basic is best, stationary and cards are some foolproof gifts to give. However, if you're looking for something a little more memorable consider something like this Paper Anniversary Wedding Date Book from Elysianthings’ Etsy store.


As for the modern gift, clocks, I did a little digging as to why the clock is the modern one year anniversary gift and came up with…absolutely nothing. My interpretation is that it represents the endless number of seconds, hours and days that your marriage will endure, with each tick-tock, your love grows stronger. Feel free to interpret the clock symbolism however you see fit, if however, Horology (the science of measuring time) suits you and your spouse best, consider getting them a personalized clock with your names and anniversary engraved on it. Etsy is a wonderful place to look for such a personalized gift. Another fairly new and very interesting style of clock is the “word clock,” they can be quite expensive though, check some out at dougswordclocks.com.

2 Year Anniversary - Traditional: Cotton, Modern: China

If you're not familiar with the process in which textile cotton is formed, the short version is that tiny fibers are woven together to create a strong yet soft and flexible material. Your second year of marriage will bring you closer together than ever before, weaving your lives together to create that very same strong yet soft and flexible relationship. For your second year together, consider getting them that cotton shirt they’ve been eyeing or perhaps a warm cotton blanket to share with your spouse. Cotton is a wonderfully easy material to find which means it is also fairly easy to be creative in your gift giving this year. I will leave this one up to you, simply Google, “cotton _____”, let your creative juices flow and remember that it’s the thought that counts.

China is the year two gift, this one is simple, go to your favorite Chinese take-out spot and order up your favorite meal, mine is Almond Chicken but your spouses will likely be different…

Er, wait, after doing a little more research it’s clear that the true modern year two gift is China, as in the stuff your grandmother always kept in that china cabinet near the dining room table. I suppose if you go by the modern interpretation, china represents your beautiful, yet still fragile marriage. It’s something to be displayed and admired by all but more importantly by those that see it everyday, you and your spouse. China can be purchased at almost any home goods store like Macy’s or Bed, Bath and Beyond. If you're looking to go above and beyond I suggest visiting Lenox’s website for some more top of the line china sets.


3 Year Anniversary - Traditional: Leather, Modern: Crystal/Glass

Where as cotton symbolized your marriage just starting to strengthen and congeal, the three year gift, leather, represents a much stronger and protective marriage. Leather has long been used to make durable and protective clothing. In year three, your marriage will be as strong as ever, you protect one another flaws and are better off with each other in your lives. Leather goods are plentiful and make great gifts, perhaps our husband has had his eye on a nice leather recliner or your wife always looks at that designer leather handbag, the three year anniversary is a great opportunity to purchase such gifts. BeGenuine has a great unisex customizable leather bracelet on their Etsy page.


The modern gift for year three is crystal or glass, perhaps symbolizing the clarity that your spouse brings to your life, the reason you go to work, or do anything you may otherwise find tiresome. You’ve also been married for three years now and your spouse may be able to see through you like a pane of glass, they know when something is wrong and are always there for your. Crystal and Glass gifts can be quite elegant, perhaps an engraved vase filled with her favorite flowers or a personalized mug to fill with his favorite beverage.

4 Year Anniversary - Traditional: Fruit, Modern: Appliances

The creation of fruit is a long and arduous task, the plant or tree takes its time in order to create something sweet, beautiful and nourishing. Your marriage in year four will be just that, sweet, beautiful and nourishing. Your spouse will help you grow in ways you never thought possible, much like the nourishing properties of fruit. An incredible gift can be made simple by leaving it to the pros at Edible Arrangements. A great idea for fall anniversaries would be to take your spouse apple picking at your local orchard.


In year four, modern takes its name very seriously because the gift for your four year anniversary should be an appliance. At first this might not sound very romantic but hear me out for a second. I think this means that by year four, you and your spouse will be such a team that you think about gifts that could improve your lives together. Plus, what’s more special than being able to spend more time together? Imagine this, four your four year anniversary you plan a wonderfully romantic and scrumptious candle-lit dinner, then, thanks to your brand new dishwasher, clean up is a breeze and you can go right to the evenings activities without a hitch. Marriage is about finding beauty in the little things, and year four is no exception.

5 Year Anniversary - Traditional: Wood, Modern: Silverware

You did it! You made it to the first BIG milestone. Five years and going strong and strong is a perfect word to describe the five year anniversary gift, wood. Wood has long been used as a sturdy material, used to build anything and everything and for a long time, if you wanted it to last, you made it with good old fashioned wood. By year five your marriage is as strong as a piece of ironwood. Tons of cute and meaningful trinkets made of wood can be purchases but one item that caught my eye are these beautiful Wooden Wedding Pictures made by FamilyFotoFun.

If the wooden gift isn’t your style perhaps the modern five year gift will be more of your style, it is of course, silverware. My interpretation of the meaning behind silverware being the five year gift is right in line with why wood was chose and that is because of its strength. Maybe by year five you’re tired of using plastic dinnerware and are ready to finally upgrade or maybe so many pieces of silverware have been lost by you or the kids that its just time to start from scratch. Either way, silverware can be purchased at almost any home goods store and is a very practical five year gift.

Well, there you have it, five years of marital gift giving summarized in a few short paragraphs. I hope you had as much fun reading this as I did writing it and I hope that this has given you some ideas on what to give that special person on your special day! Come back tomorrow for the Week in Weddings Wrap Up blog post...

#wedding #anniversary #anniversarygifts #traditionalanniversarygifts #modernanniversarygifts

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