7 Jan 2016

Wedding Anniversary Traditions (Part 1)

A wedding anniversary is the celebration of love, trust, partnership, tolerance and tenacity. The order varies for any given year. - Paul Sweeney

Part 1: Paper to China
Ines da Silva, 7th January 2016

The historic origins of wedding anniversaries date back to the Medieval German empire, when husbands crowned their wives with silver and gold wreaths, marking 25 and 50 years of marriage respectively.

Other anniversaries have evolved from more commercial origins during the 20th century, referring to specific materials reflecting the longevity of the marriage. The longer the marriage, the more valuable the reference to the material and symbolism.

Traditionally, special attention is given to landmark anniversaries and it is crucial that on those occasions thoughtfulness is apparent in the present’s choice.

Needless to say the focus should be on solely delighting the recipient, and in turn the recipient should appreciate a thoughtful present regardless of the cost.

A repeat present would be an unfortunate faux-pas as it would suggest that the milestone is taken rather lightly, so do keep a list if your memory is poor.

In order to avoid unnecessary stress it is recommended that you allow enough time to identify a suitable present – the thought and time put into finding it will not go unnoticed!

At Debrett’s we are particularly fond of adding personal touches such as engraving or stamping, and therefore it is important to remember that this may require a few extra days.

- One-year anniversary: paper

You can create a very special personalised photo album featuring the best moments of the first year of bliss with the help of Bob Books, which delivers first class albums that look like books, with a great variety of paper bases and formats.

Photo album Traditional Bob Books

For a first-year anniversary, a lovely piece of costume jewellery will always be well received. We spotted this striking necklace from Swarovski, which will be perfect for her to wear on a celebratory night out!

Swarovski necklace

- Five-year anniversary: wood

What better way to celebrate a five-year anniversary than a luxurious and romantic weekend getaway close to nature? We love the idea of staying at an elegant country manor such as Lime Wood in Hampshire, the perfect setting for relaxation, pampering and spending quality time with your spouse.

Mr & Mrs Smith Lime Wood
- Ten-year anniversary: tin

A beautiful photo frame with a black and white shot of a happy memory as a couple during your first decade will work wonders. Look for extra special details such as this beautiful infinity symbol from Vera Wang.

Vera Wang by Wedgwood Infinity
For a more spectacular present, a beautiful timepiece will always be well received, especially if it carries an engraving with a personal message on the back. You can’t go wrong with Patek Philippe, and we love these options from Mappin & Webb for him and her.

Patek Philippe Women's

Patek Philippe Men's

- Twenty-year anniversary: china

The first obvious thought that comes to mind with this material is fine bone china. If you think your wife will appreciate a new tea set, we would suggest:

Fortnum & Mason Tea set

Or this feminine sophisticated version by Wedgwood:


For a husband, we love the idea of these enamel cufflinks and box personalised with his initials.

Halcyon days box

Halcyon days Cufflinks

On the other hand, if you are after something different, you could take things a little more literally! Why not consider reigniting your sense of adventure and organise a trip to China?

Beijing Mr & Mrs Smith

We think that visiting Beijing and Hong Kong would be the best way to combine culture and leisure, the ideal compromise to please both husband and wife!

Upper House HK

Be sure to check our lifestyle blog next week for the second part of this article, from silver through to platinum.

Ines da Silva, fashion professional, style and image adviser exclusively at Debrett's.



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