The stories (and symbolism) behind each wedding anniversary – part one

Symbolism for each wedding anniversary

Our country house venues, complete with manicured grounds and parkland, are well known and much loved for being the perfect settings for weddings. But it’s during the years after tying the knot where your relationship will really come into its own. Each wedding anniversary marks another year of growth together as well as the opportunity to remember the day when you said “I do”.

Wedding anniversaries are also a chance to give a nod to tradition, with even modern customs linked to ancient symbols, stories and beliefs.

In this two-part series, we shine the spotlight on the stories and symbolism behind each wedding anniversary so you can have a true understanding of just how far you’ve come as a couple.

1st – Paper

Those marking their very first anniversary will find paper a fitting gift, and as you might suspect there’s a story behind why celebrating one-year of marriage with this very everyday material is the done thing. We’ll let The Knot explain more:

“Paper is delicate and fragile—it can be ripped or tattered and it wears with age, but it doesn’t take much to repair or restore it, so it symbolises resilience. It’s also a blank canvas, full of promise, which makes it the perfect prop to honour a new union (i.e. marriage) and all the excitement that lies ahead… give your partner a gift that commemorates your newlywed year or embraces a new chapter in your ever-evolving love story.”

2nd – Cotton

Another seemingly everyday material is the go-to gift for the second year of marriage too. As a durable, versatile and strong woven fabric, cotton symbolises the intertwining existence of the happy couple as well as the growing comfort, attachment and flexibility commonly experienced by year two.

3rd – Leather

The symbolism gets stronger by your third wedding anniversary with leather gifts traditionally given to mark the occasion. Again, it is this material’s durability, flexibility and warmth that’s poignant here, with the relationship generally becoming more stable and built to last after three years of marriage.

4th – Fruit and flowers

Whether you see your marriage ripening like a fruit or blossoming like a flower, this traditional theme is certain to resonate with you!

5th – Wood

With five years of wedded bliss under their belts, most couples are stronger and wiser than ever at this stage, and one way to reflect just that is by giving a wooden gift to your spouse on your anniversary. There are several personalised wedding anniversary gifts out there crafted using natural materials like wood, so take your pick!

10th – Tin

Entering double figures is an occasion worth celebrating, which may explain why the traditional gift of tin was replaced by diamonds in the modern day! Whether marking your 10th wedding anniversary with a traditional or modern gift, both are known for their resilience and durability.

20th – China

Your 20th wedding anniversary is traditionally commemorated with a gift of china. This delicate yet beautiful material symbolises the nature of your relationship as well as the life you’ve both built together so far.

Celebrating a wedding anniversary that takes you beyond the 20th year of marriage? Stay tuned for our second instalment to discover more about the stories and symbolism behind yet more marriage milestones.

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