Q. Hi, I’m doing a research on the wedding anniversary symbols. What I’m really looking for is what each material means. Do they represent something in each year? Please email me back if you have any information about the subject, or where I can find this kind of information. Thank you.
A. The meanings that each material may have when they represent a Wedding Anniversary have been lost over time, our research has not shown any reasoning given against the relevant years although we do continue to investigate further.
We know the original Golden Wedding and Silver Wedding are named as they were celebrated initially with the Wife being presented with a Silver or Gold garland/ wreath (depending on the celebration) by the Husband hence they became known by these materials. These materials were chosen as they were high status cherished emblems of success.
Other years are a little more difficult to fathom, for example the first anniversary is popularly accepted as having paper associated with it, for many decades and still in some European countries the first anniversary is considered to have Cotton associated with it. There has been a number of varying, often conflicting, hypothesis as to why these materials are chosen yet very few of these theories are substantiated with facts.
We do continue to investigate the history of the materials and update our history web pages here with our latest research.
Q. I am trying to help my mother-in-law put together a 25th anniversary for my sister-in-law. I have one question. When ordering a personalised gift like toasting glasses for the couple should it have the date of marriage or the number 25 on it. I plan on putting their name on whatever I purchase but need the advice on their wedding date or anniversary years to be engraved. I plan on purchasing their glasses for the head table as well as guest book, serving set for the cake etc. Everything I want to buy for this anniversary has names and dates shown on them.
A. It looks like you have done a lot of planning for this celebration, I hope you and your in-laws enjoy it. With regard to your question on whether to use the wedding date or the number of years there is no prescribed etiquette although the event you are commemorating and celebrating is traditionally called the ‘Silver Wedding’ this being the milestone of 25 years of marriage so this should be marked either by reference to the number of years (25th Anniversary) , the event’s name (Silver Wedding) or by date reference e.g. 6th June 1987 – 6th June 2012 the majority of gifts available for this celebration state the anniversary being celebrated i.e. 25th Anniversary or more correctly the Silver Wedding.
It should be noted that if the gift is meant to be commemorative in nature then out of context it should be possibly to recognise the celebration it honours so if someone not connected with the celebration saw the item they would instantly understand the meaning of the item.
Q. We are about to attend a 50th wedding anniversary. We are distant relatives. We realise the 50th is gold. We are wondering about a gift. Do we need to take one? Does it have to be gold?
A. Firstly, does the invitation give any clue, sometimes they say no gifts or similar, if not then within your family circle when similar events go on are gifts given?, is the event formal or informal?
These may help answer your question on whether they would be expected, etiquette experts are torn on this subject some will tell you that an invitation implies a gift should be presented unless explicitly stated whereas others state that an invitation does not mean a gift is required, this effectively is dependent upon your family and social circle and their expectations.
As it is the 50th and as you stated it is the Golden Wedding this does not mean the gift has to be Gold it is merely the symbol associated with the anniversary.
Many other gifts are available such as commemorative glasses, personalised gifts etc. These indicate the anniversary and are not gold. Mementos of the actually wedding are sometimes good or even a photographic history of their life since the marriage. My personal favourite especially for a major anniversary such as this is a bottle of fine wine or champagne bottled in the year they got married. Check our Golden Wedding gift section here: to see a range of gift ideas for any budget.
Q. Since most of my parent’s siblings do not live near the area where we will hold the celebration, is it proper to send them invitations to announce the anniversary event. I know they will not travel to it but thought they should know about the celebration of this milestone. I just don’t want it to look like an invite that they are expected to attend or an obligation for a gift.
A. Invitations for a Wedding Anniversary celebration should be sent out to those whom you would like to attend the celebration and those who should be invited. Siblings should be invited assuming there is no good reason not to.
The invitation is to your celebration on behalf of your Parents thus is an invite from you (not your parents) to attend, it does not place an obligation upon them to purchase a gift nor attend. If you are concerned about how the recipients would react to the invitation then you could add, especially on the ones you expect not to attend, a statement on the invitation saying no gifts please.