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First Wedding Anniversary Traditions & Symbols

Posted By on April 9, 2015

Anniversary symbols have come about from all of the gift lists that have developed over the years. “The historic origins of wedding anniversaries date back to the Holy Roman Empire when husbands crowned their wives with a silver wreath on their twenty-fifth anniversary, or vicennalia, and a gold wreath on the fiftieth. Later, principally in the twentieth century, commercialism led to the addition of more anniversaries being represented by a named gift.” (“Debrett’s Everyday Etiquette” British Wedding Etiquette)

Your first wedding anniversary is very exciting! It’s time to sit down and relive those moments from your wedding day all over again…looking at your pictures, watching your videos, reading your notes from guests…and..(gulp)…eating your freezer packed wedding cake. But what do you give each other for gifts on your first anniversary?

I’m sure you’ve heard that your first anniversary is your “Paper Anniversary.” Wow. Paper!! How exciting is that? Well…there is symbolism behind it. Here are the first anniversary symbols, their meanings and some unique gift ideas you can give to each other:

Traditional symbol: Paper

Modern Symbol: Clock

Color: Yellow

Flower: Pansy

Gem: Mother of Pearl

“For some, paper represents the fragility of love and how it is easy to break and in some cases thrown away. It is our reminder that love needs looking after. For others, paper is the first step and as the years pass and your love grows your anniversary gifts grow too.” (Anniversary Gifts by Year)

Here are a few of my favorite first anniversary gift ideas: 

12 Months of Date Nights  – More of a gift to the both of you, it’s your commitment to each other to date each other through the years. Lauren, from Thinking Closet, has put together a fabulous DIY tutorial on how to make your own set of cards. Here is the final product:


First Anniversary Custom Art – Take a stroll down Your Memory Lane! There’s the place where you met, where you got engaged and then married, your honeymoon trip, and then your first home! Your Memory Lane is a highly personalized, high-quality art print that commemorates the recipients’ memories of yesterday, joys of today, and dreams of tomorrow.

Anniversary Time Capsule – This takes some forethought if you would like to open the time capsule ON your first anniversary. At their reception, this couple placed notebooks on tables with different questions for guests to answer and pass around, including “Describe a fun $20 date” and “Where do you see us in 25 years?” Everyone’s written (or perhaps illustrated!) responses will be memories you both will cherish for years to come. One twist is to write letters to each other on your first anniversary to open on a future anniversary date – maybe your 25th anniversary!

For more First Anniversary ideas visit this site. Whatever you do, may you reflect on the love you share and the reasons why you said I do. Happy Anniversary!!


About The Author

Darlene is a homeschool mother to her 3 children, a music/voice teacher, coffee fanatic and owner/founder of TaylorMade Weddings. She has earned the title of Best Wedding Planner for Winchester, VA in 2013 from Virginia Wedding & Event Network. Her passion, commitment to excellence and attention to detail has allowed her to work alongside some of the most talented vendors in the event business all over the state of Virginia. Her clients are one of a kind and her service is tailored to meet their individual needs. Darlene is also on the panel of experts at "Pop the Question" where she mentors couples planning their own celebrations.


2 Responses to “First Wedding Anniversary Traditions & Symbols”

  1. Hi Darlene! I so appreciate the shout-out to my 12 Months of Date Nights mini book! I hope it brings inspiration to those looking to celebrate their first anniversary and beyond. 😉 Cheers.

  2. Darlene says:

    I do too! I also pinned it to my marriage tips board on Pinterest to inspire couples to keep dating each other. Thank you for the idea and the tutorial we can all use!

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