What Are the Meanings of Wedding Anniversary Years?

In the Middle Ages, a husband crowned his wife with a silver wreath for their 25th anniversary and a gold wreath for the 50th, as objects of durability representing strength of marriage. The meanings behind these two celebrated anniversaries started in the Germanic region of Europe.

In 1922, Emily Post's book,"Etiquette," associated the first, fifth, 10th, 15th, 20th and 75th anniversaries with other symbolic objects as representations for each of these milestones of marriage. Paper goes with the first year. This represents a clean but easily torn page. The fifth anniversary is marked with wood, representing strength, wisdom, deep roots and insight.

Tin marks the 10th year of a marriage. This represents preservation and longevity, protection from rust, and preservation of all contained in a symbolic tin vessel. The 15th year is crystal, marking the investment the spouses have made in each other and the clarity, transparency and deep knowledge of each other. The 20th anniversary is celebrated with gifts of china. This represents a fragile yet longlasting relationship, and is a reminder not to take the union for granted but to continue to cherish each other and flourish. Diamond and platinum go with the 75th wedding anniversary, representing precious value and immense durability.

In 1937, the Jewelers of America added a gemstone and associated meaning for each of the first 20 years of marriage, and one for each fifth year following. As of 2015, there are gifts and meanings for all the years of marriage up to 75.