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A guide to buying wedding anniversary gifts


A wedding anniversary is a time for commemorating a couple’s special day, but knowing what to buy can often be confusing. Whether you follow tradition or go for something a little different, our failsafe wedding-anniversary gift guide will help you decide on the perfect present

Katie Ramsingh
Katie Ramsingh ,

People have exchanged tokens and trinkets as a way of marking and celebrating wedding anniversaries for centuries. A symbolic reminder of a couple’s most special day, an anniversary is the perfect way to remember the bond they have made and to hope for many more happy years to come.

In many parts of the world each wedding anniversary has a certain gift associated with it. Many Europeans, for example, give paper for the first wedding anniversary, cotton for the second, leather for the third and so on. These traditions date back to the Holy Roman Empire when husbands would crown their wives with a silver wreath after 25 years of marriage, yet they have since been adopted in other countries as a way of marking a couple’s special day.

Bearing these traditions in mind, when buying a gift for a couple be sure to opt for something that they can both share. ‘Be careful to make sure your gift is nothing too feminine or masculine,’ says Louisa Palmer, junior buyer for gifts at John Lewis. ‘The perfect gift should be something that the couple will be to able use together and want to keep and enjoy for years to come.’

Just because you are following tradition, there’s no excuse not to be original. ‘Think outside the box,’ Palmer goes on. ‘Just because it is a pearl anniversary doesn't mean you have to buy a pearl necklace; perhaps think about a mother of pearl photo frame. Adapt the theme to suit the couple you are buying for.’

For the couple who enjoy hosting dinner parties, a classic pair of Champagne flutes would be just the thing for them to toast another year together; however, if the couple are more creative and enjoy art, a romantic print may be more appropriate.

If you want to stray from tradition and opt for something slightly different, a personalised anniversary present is a great alternative. Something as simple as getting a couple’s initials engraved on a piece of silverware can turn an ordinary gift into something they will want to treasure for ever. With almost everything and anything able to be personalised, the present-giving possibilities are endless.

Whether you decide to stick with tradition or opt for something different, just remember: no matter what gift you give, it’s all about celebrating a couple’s love for one another. Be sure not to get too carried away, though. As Palmer says, ‘Unless you know the couple are expecting, don’t buy them baby-themed gifts!’

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