Anniversary Gift Etiquette

by Claire Valenty on January 30, 2010

in Gifts & Celebration Etiquette


Buying anniversary gifts are easy, if you know proper anniversary gift etiquette! To begin, though, let me state that anniversary gifts are not expected from those outside of the couple, unless you are attending a special anniversary celebration, and those do not usually happen until the couple makes it a few decades past their wedding date. However, if you will be attending an anniversary party or are unsure of what to get your spouse for your upcoming wedding anniversary, keep it simple and stick with tradition! There are certain “themes” that have stood the test of time as to what you should give for a wedding gift. These are (along with our suggestions):

1st anniversary – paper (stationary)

2nd anniversary – cotton (shirt)

3rd anniversary – leather (purse)

4th anniversary – fruit/flowers (tree)

5th anniversary – wood (furniture)

6th anniversary – candy/iron (knick knack for the house)

7th anniversary – wool/copper (sweater)

8th anniversary – bronze/pottery (pot)

9th anniversary – pottery/willow (ceramic vase)

10th anniversary – tin/aluminum (martini shaker)

11th anniversary – steel (appliance)

12th anniversary – silk/linen (lingerie)

13th anniversary – lace (bra)

14th anniversary – ivory (let’s keep those elephants safe and stick with something that’s white)

15th anniversary – crystal (figurine)

20th anniversary – china (plate)

25th anniversary – silver (jewelry)

30th anniversary – pearl (jewelry)

35th anniversary – coral (decoration)

40th anniversary – ruby (necklace)

45th anniversary – sapphire (ring)

50th anniversary – gold (picture frame)

55th anniversary – emerald (earrings)

60th anniversary – diamond (earrings)

Yes, I know this article does not tell all you desperate last minute shoppers exactly what to purchase, but, at least we narrowed it down for you! Anniversary gift etiquette states YOU now need to choose something from the heart!

Photo: dreamstime/Ron Chapple Studios

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Barb August 11, 2012 at 2:43 am

When Anniv. invitation says :no gifts please just your presence’ do we still get them something or what??

vikki November 25, 2013 at 9:22 pm

We have been invited to a 50th wedding anniversary luncheon by one of the bishops of our church (who is also a business associate/friend). Is a gift required to follow proper etiquette? If so, when or where do u give it and what price range is considered appropriate? Note: We are below most of their personal friends/associates income level …

kelley April 17, 2014 at 12:02 pm

Do I give a gift to my husband for our 25th anniversary or do I just receive?

gift for him November 5, 2015 at 12:41 am

Traditionally the 15th anniversary gift should be something made
from crystal alternatively you could opt for the
more modern fifteenth anniversary gift which should be made from glass.
The rest of the library remained off limits except to those doing research.
I really like this idea of limiting gifts for supervisors.

Dan June 1, 2016 at 4:46 pm

You purport to be an expert on etiquette, yet do not know how to spell stationery?

Bill October 27, 2016 at 12:34 am

You need to go a little easier on people. I bet over 50% of people would spell stationery “stationary”. It is considered to be one of the most common misspelled words in the English Language. Because the word has two spellings, Spellcheck does not catch this and most writers online rely on Spellcheck to catch these, as well as, more obvious misspellings. Certainly did not call for you to question them having expertise, etiquette or otherwise. When you make a mistake at work, especially one equal to this, I guess you purport to be a professional at your job and you should not based on your standards. Sorry to others who have to read this but people like Dan need a life.

BarbaraS June 3, 2017 at 9:46 pm

What kinds of flowers are appropriate for a 41st Anniversary?

James Russell July 28, 2018 at 12:06 pm

Is it proper etiquette for an unmarried couple whom are living together to recognize the anniversary gifts that are typically those listed by number of years together? (i.e., wood for being together for 5 years)
Or is it just for couples whom are bound in Matrimony?

james Russell July 28, 2018 at 12:13 pm

IIs it proper etiquette to recognize those Anniversary gifts that are tradittionally affoded those to a married couple by an unmarried couple? (i.e. wood for 5th anniversary)

mary August 19, 2018 at 4:00 am

Hi, what can I give to my husband for our 40 anniversary? I invited only my children and their grand parents, a total of 14 and what is the etiquette for the dinner?
Thank you

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