It seems like only yesterday that you and your beloved said “I do”. Well, let’s be honest here, in the grand scheme of thing it was. 365 days is not an eternity in anyone’s book, but we don’t blame you for looking back with fondness. it’s looking hopeful that there will be more years to come. All that aside, your first wedding anniversary is an important occasion. Worthy of exchanging gifts and having a good time. We don’t want you to think that your time together was wasted. On the contrary. In fact, we’re here because we wish to help all you newly married couples make a success of your special occasions. This anniversary will be the start of all the anniversaries yet to come. We’ll be looking at the wide variety of first anniversary gifts available, introducing you to both modern and traditional themes, and giving you tips to help you. Together we’ll make this important first milestone just a hint of what’s still to come.
First wedding anniversary gifts – traditional and modern
It’s history that we’ve all got to thank for the themes associated with various wedding anniversaries. Celebrating a wedding anniversary began many moons ago, way back in the time of the Holy Roman Empire in fact. All those years ago, it was just the major milestones that were celebrated. A 25th wedding anniversary saw the husband giving his wife a wreath made of silver. If the couple were healthy enough to see their 50th wedding anniversary together, the wreath was made of gold.
Over the next few hundreds of years, many other anniversary years in between were given their own unique theme. It’s been difficult to pin down the actual person or organisation that came up with the traditional list that is still used today. Suffice it to say that it possibly came into being in the Victorian era in the UK, and then made its way across the pond to the USA in the 20th century. The traditional lists are very similar, but not the same.
In 1937, a bright spark at the American National Retail Jeweler Association (now known as the Jewelers of America), realised that a golden sales opportunity was being missed and the modern gift list was born. We don’t blame them for grabbing the chance to increase their sales. On the contrary, we welcome the fact that every year, right up to 75, now receives the recognition it deserves. And for bringing the list up to match modern ways of thinking.
Why do traditional first anniversary gifts have the theme of paper?
Paper is the theme if you’re looking for first anniversary gift ideas to celebrate twelve months of marriage. Paper is the perfect theme for a union that is still in its infancy. After one whole year of living together you’re still learning and discovering all about married life. Which means that your relationship is still fragile and could be easily torn, much like paper. Some marriages fold in the first year because they are still unstable and the partners in the marriage are still learning to connect. Hence the tradition of giving gifts made of paper.
As the years pass, so the strength and value of the themes will increase, as will the complimenting qualities of your marriage. Anniversary themes are a great way to demonstrate how a marriage grows. What begins as a very delicate relationship, subject to the trials and tribulations of everyday life, becomes stronger and more robust and secure with each passing year. Let’s look at some of the themes so you can appreciate how they work.
First year anniversary gifts and beyond
First we’ll give you some examples of the traditional themes used in the UK and the USA.
Year one – Paper
Year five – Wood
Year ten – Tin
Year fifteen – Crystal
Year twenty – China
Year twenty five – Silver
Year thirty – Pearl
Year thirty five – Coral
Year forty – Ruby
Year forty five – Sapphire
Year fifty – Gold
Year sixty – Diamond
Now let’s provide you with some examples of the modern themes.
1st anniversary – Clock
5th anniversary – Silverware
10th anniversary – Diamond jewellery
15th anniversary – Watches
20th anniversary – Platinum
25th anniversary – Silver
30th anniversary – Diamond
35th anniversary – Jade
40th anniversary – Ruby
45th anniversary – Sapphire
50th anniversary – Gold
As you can see some of them are the same, but some are very different. There are also a few interesting gifts for the years in between. Such as electrical appliances for a 4th anniversary, linens for an 8th anniversary, and musical instruments for a 24th anniversary. The modern themes aim to provide for the changing needs of a marriage, rather than being linked to the changing qualities.
1st wedding anniversary gifts for him
You might be a little puzzled about the kind of choices available if you’re thinking about 1st anniversary gifts relating to paper, but there are a surprising number of excellent options.
If your significant other is a bit of a book cruncher, then the gift of a book will be perfect for him. Reading may have been taken over by the electronic age, but there are still plenty of people who much prefer the feel of a real book.
A photograph album is another excellent 1st anniversary gift, especially if one of you loves to record your special moments by taking lots of photos. Looking at photo albums is another pastime that has been taken over by electronic devices, with nearly all modern mobile phones having inbuilt cameras. There is, however, the problem of having to scroll through hundreds of pictures to find the right ones. When the most memorable ones have been printed off and placed in an album they are instantly available for you both to enjoy.
How about tickets for a special event, as one of your 1st anniversary gifts? Does your other half have a favourite football team, band or is he a lover of the arts? Why not purchase a couple of tickets to an upcoming game, music concert or tickets to the theatre, opera or ballet? If you feel like pushing the boat out, you could buy tickets for a long weekend away. Maybe somewhere you’ve thought about going but haven’t yet found the time.
How about an old-fashioned board game? Put your gaming console back in the box for a few weeks, and appreciate the enjoyment you can get from playing a traditional board game: Monopoly, Scrabble, Backgammon, maybe even Chess. Invite a few friends round and relive your youth, when Playstations and, Xboxes were still relatively new. Or maybe you’re not old enough to appreciate such joy, so what better reason for giving it a try?
Well, that’s the men taken care of so let’s look at some ideas for the ladies in your life.
Gifts for a first wedding anniversary UK ladies will adore
All the gifts we’ve mentioned so far, work equally well for all your special ladies. So how about we look at the other themes that are associated with a first anniversary, such as carnations and mother of pearl.
If you know your lady will be impressed with the gift of flowers, for one of your 1st wedding anniversary gifts give her a bunch of carnations. If you’re concerned that a bouquet will be short-lived, give her some plants she can plant in the garden. Every year, with careful tending, the carnations will continue to bloom, and grow stronger and spread across your garden. They come in lots of different colours and have a beautiful sweet scent. Carnations are used to express love, distinction and fascination; light red ones represent admiration while darker reds denote deep affection and love.
Mother of pearl is a natural material that is also known as nacre. The name refers to a blend of materials that are secreted by molluscs, such as oysters, and make up the inner layer of their shell. It has a special kind of beauty but is quite fragile. Which is possibly why it was chosen as one of the themes for first year anniversary gifts. Mother of pearl is used in a wide variety of gifts that will be perfect for your lady wife. They include trinket boxes, picture frames, carriage clocks, watches and lots of different types of jewellery.
More ideas for a first wedding anniversary UK celebration
If you’re feeling that the whole idea of using paper as the theme for a first wedding anniversary gift is a bit boring, spare us a few moments and read on. We’re about to make paper gifts so much more exciting.
Paper jewellery – Do you remember making paper beads at school out of coloured triangles cut from magazines? When you’re only 6 or 7 they might seem kind of cool, but now you can buy jewellery made from paper that adults will think is cool too. There are bangles made from tight stacks of paper cut into discs, beads and paper chains.
A colourful notebook – These are available with sentimental messages printed on the front cover, or in a broad range of colours and designs, and are becoming very fashionable. They are sure to delight the recipient and may even replace her electronic notebook.
Paper furniture – Not a very cheap option, but nevertheless very appealing. Who’d have thought that you could make chandeliers, tables and screens out of paper?
Paper lamps – If paper furniture proves to be a little out of your price league, or you’re not keen on it’s minimalistic qualities, then perhaps a paper lamp is the way to go. Many of you will have seen paper lanterns floating through the sky on New Year’s Eve, well now you can enjoy their surreal beauty in your very own home.
Paper bag – Did you know you can buy handbags and wallets made of paper? They are available in lots of different designs and styles, and you certainly wouldn’t want to use them for bringing your groceries home.
A book for the coffee table, or one to read in the loo – Find a book on your partner’s favourite subject, or one that will make you laugh. Give it pride of place on the coffee table or place it next to the loo.
Decorative items made from papier-mache – If concern for the environment is one of your things, take advantage of papier-mache items made from recycled paper.
There you have it. Your first anniversary doesn’t have to be boring, and it must never be forgotten. This is the first milestone you’ll be reaching in your marriage, and we definitely hope there are more to come. Good luck for the future and a jubilant 1st anniversary.