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Y’all, can you believe that John and I have been married for almost a year?? Sometimes it seems like just a few minutes ago that we were sharing our wedding photos and film.

Tanja Lippert

We’ve been discussing for a few weeks how we’d like to celebrate our first married milestone, which got me thinking about the traditions that surround anniversary gifts. I did a little digging into the history behind the list, and thought you might be interested to hear what I found!

The practice of giving certain gifts for certain anniversaries seems to have originated in Medieval Germany, where friends [or the husband, depending on your source] were said to give a wife a wreath of silver after she had been married for 25 years, and a gold wreath after fifty years. Both materials represented harmony.

In 1922, Emily Post listed “eight anniversaries known to all” (1st, 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th, 25th, 50th, and 75th) and associated gift materials in her Blue Book of Social Usage. In 1937, the American National Retail Jewelers Association published a more complete guide; they later updated it with a second set of “modern” choices. This is the list we still refer to today:

Of course, as cheesy as it sounds, the best anniversary gift I think you could ever get is another year with your spouse — marriage is a gift in itself, don’t you think? But it’s also absolutely a thing to be celebrated, and gifts are a lovely way to do that. While it’s handy to have suggestions to fall back on when you’re stumped for ideas, and it can be fun to try and think of a creative and meaningful gift within the bounds of each material, the traditional list is in the end just a list of suggestions. John and I love to travel and experience new things, so I’m sure there will be some years when we don’t exchange material gifts at all, but instead choose to take a trip together!

There is one thing I love about the traditional anniversary gift list, however: each material has a symbolic value, and the value increases every year to symbolize the increased investment each partner makes in the other. The idea that my marriage will grow more precious with time is a beautiful one, I think. Here’s to many, many more anniversaries ahead of us all!

Tell me: What anniversary are you celebrating? What did you get each other, if anything, for your first anniversary? Do you follow the traditional list of gift materials? I’d love to know!

P.S. Check back next week — I’ll be offering up some gift ideas for specific anniversary years!

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Ashleigh reply

    I love that the modern gift is included in the list, but I am a traditional gal at heart. I saw an ad for Love Book the other day and (while I’m approximately 49 weeks away from my first anniversary) I loved the idea. We like to travel, as well, and have already planned our 1-year anniversary getaway to a foreign land – so a small gift like Love Book might be appropriate versus a lavish gift on top of a trip! Great post, Emily!

  2. avatar Elizabeth reply

    My husband I just celebrated our year anniversary. I got him a watercolor of our home. It’s beautiful and he loved it. I wrote a sweet message on the back. I guess that it’s traditional in that it’s paper. I like the fact that we will always have the painting of our first home together. He got me a necklace that is my monogram. Although not traditional, I love monograms and couldn’t have asked for something better!

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    […] guide to traditional and modern anniversary […]

  4. avatar Southern Traditions: Anniversary Gifts, Part 1 « Southern Weddings Magazine « wileysphotography reply

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    […] traditional AND modern anniversary gifts. […]

  6. avatar Southern Traditions: Anniversary Gifts, Part 2 – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] of all things anniversary! I loved learning the history of the traditional gift materials last week, and now we’re back with suggestions to fit the first five years. The best part about the […]

  7. avatar Morgan reply

    First off, can I just say how much I ADORE this blog?! I love you all!

    My husband, Derek, and I were married on June 2, 2012. We decided to celebrate our anniversary each year with the traditional gift! For our first year (paper!), he made me a frame and placed a picture of us from our anniversary dinner in Charleston inside it. I made a sheet that highlighted my favorite memories from our first year together as a married couple! I am looking forward to celebrating our second year soon (cotton!)…I am going to get us monogrammed robes from Pottery Barn, which is fitting since we’ll be moving into our brand new house!

    xoxo Morgan

  8. avatar Janice Collins reply

    For our first Anniversary I got my husband a “paper” gift certificate for a deep sea fishing trip off the coast of Charleston, SC (where we live). He was thrilled! He really enjoyed the day of deep sea fishing and even brought home plenty of fish for us to eat.

  9. avatar Cheri Dunn reply

    9/23/15- celebrating 9 years of wedded bliss today!
    We married on Bermuda in 2006 in a beautiful ceremony with many symbolic moments, the memories of which we will treasure forever!! We returned to Cambridge Beaches, Bermuda for our first anniversary and stayed in the same cottage as honeymoon. The resort manager gave us the key to the cottage! Our first anniversary gift was a beautiful watercolor painted by a local artist–on paper, of course!

  10. avatar Erica Broker reply

    My sister in law received a sketch of her wedding dress. It was the perfect one year anniversary gift framed.

  11. avatar Rebecca B. reply

    For our first anniversary my husband got me an anniversary sundial that he found online, it is made of glass and sits on the window sill and was handmade just for us so it would work where we live. It is a clock that tells time by using the sun, but the coolest thing is that it makes really vivid rainbows in our home when the sun shines. He had the guy who made it add a date line to our sundial that the time shadow follows on our anniversary day each year, and there is even a special mark on that anniversary line to celebrate the actual MOMENT we got married! My husband tells me that the sun and moon and planets all move every day, but they will always align for us on our day together (awww) It really is a great gift though because it also makes brilliant rainbows on the floor when the sun shines, and our toddler loves to play in the colors on the floor. I don’t remember what it’s called but you can find it online with a search – it has become a real touchstone in our home and it does something really cool every year on our anniversary!

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Southern Weddings Weekly Round-Up

by in Main on

Guess what, y’all? As of yesterday, we are FINISHED with photo shoots for V6! Although the work is far from done (bless Nicole and Lara’s hearts as they lay out the entire magazine!), it is a big step closer to sharing our lovely new issue. This upcoming week also marks the last week of summer, and the last chance to complete our fun summer doin’ challenge. We’d love to hear about your favorite summer doin’s so far!

We’re thrilled that V5 is now available online! You can check out the digital edition here, as well as a few shots from some of our favorite editorials here.

Last week, Emily shared a handy guide to traditional and modern anniversary gifts. This week, in part two, she rounded up some creative gifts for the first five years. Married gals, you won’t want to miss these great ideas!

There’s nothing sweeter than a Southern wedding!

Steel Magnolias is a serious office favorite, so it’s no surprise that we were smitten with Brittany and Ryan’s blush and bashful garden wedding! See it here.

I went to college in Texas, so I have a special place in my heart for beautiful Texan weddings like Kelsey and Clint’s! See it here.

It’s such a treat hearing meeting and proposal stories from the groom! Y’all won’t want to miss Brandy and Quint’s adorable story and colorful wedding. See it here.

Chelsea and John’s wedding was full of sentimental details that reflected their families and hometowns. We love that! See it here.

A few more fun things!

Our friend Michelle Wright is hosting “An Afternoon of Bridal Luxury” in Trinity, NC on September 29! Michelle is working with a wonderful group of vendors to help inspire brides through hands-on activities, like cake tastings, signature cocktails, live chef preparation and tasting, and a Q&A session, to name a few. There will also be some amazing giveaways, and the first 100 people to RSVP will receive fun swag bags! Find more about the event and RSVP here.

We are big fans of Whole Foods around here, so we’re delighted to be sharing magazines at our local Whole Foods’ Wedding Expo this weekend! Chapel Hill-area brides, check out the Expo at Whole Foods (81 S. Elliot Road) on Saturday, September 14 to learn about their catering, cakes, flowers, wine and skincare.

We also want to wish a happy, happy birthday to our sweet graphic design intern!! Morgan, we are so grateful for you, and we hope you have the best day!

Y’all have a great weekend!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Rain Check reply

    Rain Check, a contemporary bluegrass band, is thrilled to be a part of Michelle’s “An Afternoon of Bridal Luxury” event at Adaumont Farm. Our thanks to Southern Weddings for helping us all spread the word. It will be an amazing event.

    Can’t wait to see you there on September 29th!

    Jack Steelman
    Rain Check!

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

Reply to:

Southern Weddings Weekly Round-Up

by in Main on

Happy September, friends! Maybe this is due to the fact that this is my first fall out of school, but I still think September feels like the start of something new. That is definitely the case here in the SW office! V6 is wrapping up with only two shoots to go, and there are some other exciting things happening this fall that we can’t wait to share with you. In the meantime, let’s take a look back at the wonderful features (seriously, so much good advice!) and lovely weddings on the blog this week!

Can y’all believe it has been almost a year since Emily got married? In light of her upcoming first anniversary, she compiled a list of traditional and modern anniversary gifts, which you can find here. (P.S. Part two of this feature is coming up next week!)

One of the trickiest areas of modern wedding etiquette to navigate, for brides, grooms and guests alike, is what to do with all of our technology. Emily broke down what’s appropriate and what’s not, from ways to request an unplugged ceremony to hashtag signs at receptions. See it here.

Kristin shared her third “Hint for a Happy Marriage” with “Put on Your Spouse’s Shoes” (No, that doesn’t mean sharing your monogrammed Jack Rogers with your groom!). Don’t miss her wonderful advice here.

We love Real Weddings!

Candice and John were married at John’s beautiful family home in a celebration full of elegant details. See it here.

Abby and Sam switched from a destination wedding in the Bahamas to a surprise wedding in their hometown! So fun! See it here.

We love the way Augusta and Jordan celebrated the bounty of the South by including lots of fresh peaches in their wedding decor. They were the perfect complement to all of the other pretty peach details! See it here.

Kate and Tanner drew inspiration for their glamorous Texas wedding from one of the most meaningful places–their rose gold wedding rings. See it here.

Last but not least!

We’re sharing a lovely engagement session by Amanda Castle for Facebook Friday! Stop by our Facebook page to take a look.

The NotWedding is coming up in Athens, Georgia on September 12! If you’re not familiar with the NotWedding, it’s a completely unique bridal show alternative in the form of a faux ceremony and full reception. “Wedding guests” get to experience the talents of so many vendors that come together for this event firsthand! Find more information and buy your tickets here.

We love seeing pictures after our sweet Southern Bride Bloggers get married! Congratulations, Dori and Skylar! See more of their pictures by J&J Photography here.

Have a happy weekend!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Dori Adams reply

    What a lovely surprise to see my husband and I round up your Weekly Round-up! Thank you for the congratulations. Marriage has been so sweet. I hope you gals have a blessed weekend :)

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

Reply to: