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Wedding Anniversary Meanings

Many people look to the list of anniversary meanings and symbols for inspiration of what to buy their partner. Although anniversaries have been celebrated for hundreds of years, the idea of giving a gift linked to material goods goes back to the Middle Ages, when the Germans developed the custom of gold and silver wedding anniversaries. A couple would be awarded with a silver wreath after 25 years of marriage and a gold wreath after 50.

The diamond anniversary owes its origins to Queen Victoria, who celebrated her diamond jubilee after 60 years on the throne. The idea stuck, with couples adopting it to be attached to the sixtieth wedding anniversary.

As you progress through the list of anniversary meanings, the materials become more valuable and stronger. For instance paper can be fragile, but leather is tougher. Silver and gold are sturdy, but diamonds are the strongest mineral on earth. As a relationship progresses, it too becomes stronger and more valuable, which is a lovely sentiment to share with your partner on your next anniversary.

Of course, with a corresponding material for every year of marriage, you're probably wondering where all the others came from. In 1922 Emily Post, an etiquette writer published a list of acceptable gifts to give a couple for each year of marriage. These ideas became popular amongst the upper classes and gift giving started.

At the same time, retailers recognised this trend and saw an opportunity to popularise anniversary celebration and gift-buying. In 1937 The American National Retailer Jewellers Association published a list of precious stones to correspond with each year of marriage up to the 15th, then one for every five year bracket afterwards.

Both these lists encouraged the idea of celebrating a wedding anniversary each year, rather than just the 25th and 50th milestone anniversaries. Both have had a major influence on the anniversary meanings we associate with each year of marriage today.

Of course, these lists of anniversary symbols have changed and shifted over the years and in recent times a modern list of gifts has emerged. Many of the items on the list are far more practical and more fun than the older lists of the 1930's.

It's important to remember that ultimately anniversary meanings are entirely about you. Tradition is always important, but don't rely on a dusty old definition to tell you how to celebrate. Instead think about what your relationship means to both you and your partner.

Don't be afraid to think laterally about your gift ideas. For instance if you're celebrating your China anniversary, why not consider a trip to China; much more exciting than a decorative plate! A paper anniversary is an excellent opportunity to give plane tickets or better yet a guide book for the destination holiday you've booked as a surprise, other ideas could include seats at a hot show or simply a love letter.

Had a year of change and upheaval? Why not treat yourselves to a relaxing afternoon at a day spa, or better, celebrate your invincibility together with a day of rock climbing or another adventure sport.

Anniversary meanings are a subjective concept. Over hundreds of years they have continued to change their shape. Don't be afraid to take them into your own hands and mould them around the meanings of your own marriage. Be clever with your gift ideas, allow yourself to be a little bit inventive. Take the opportunity to surprise your spouse and maybe even yourself!

Other articles and anniversary ideas you might like:

Unique Anniversary Gift Ideas
Think Creatively About Your Anniversary Gifts
Unusual Anniversary Gifts
Wedding Anniversary Traditions
Find Out What Your Anniversary Means
Anniversary Gifts By Year
What To Do On Your Anniversary

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