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First Wedding Anniversary Gift Ideas

Updated on March 24, 2018
Alison Graham profile image

Retired from a career in sales and marketing, Alison now works as a freelance writer and researcher on health, pets, home and family

First anniversary gift ideas for husband, wife, or for the happy couple!
First anniversary gift ideas for husband, wife, or for the happy couple! | Source

At A Glance ...

A first wedding anniversary is a very special occasion and one that you will want to mark with a suitable gift. But what to choose? This article looks at traditional and modern 1st Anniversary gift ideas, plus some innovative suggestions that are sure to please if you are looking for a special gift your own husband or wife or are looking for a joint present for the couple.

Inexpensive Gifts Chosen With Love!

We are all having to tighten our belts a little which is perhaps why the phrase "cheap first wedding anniversary gift ideas" has been typed into Google so many times over the past year or so! However, if you need an inexpensive gift that does not look 'cheap' and which will show the recipient that it was chosen with love and care, read on!

Traditional And Modern First Year Wedding Anniversary Gifts

Traditional Gifts: Paper And Cotton

The traditional gift associated with the first anniversary of a marriage is paper. In the UK, cotton is also strongly associated with the 1st anniversary.

In both cases, the association seems to come from the way the threads of the paper or cotton are woven together to give the material strength, in just the same way that two people have chosen to weave the threads of their separate lives together to create a strong marriage as a couple.

Modern Gifts: Clocks And Watches

More contemporary, modern gift ideas now center around clocks or watches for the first wedding anniversary. Beware, though, this can run you into problems if one of the intended recipients is Chinese!

Giving a clock to a Chinese person is regarded in China as a way of reminding people of their own mortality. In other words, almost saying to them that they are going to die soon! The Chinese word for clock is "Zhong" which apparently sounds similar to a word that can mean death or a funeral.

However, there is a way around this! Nowadays, if you really wanted to give a clock as a gift, like a grandfather clock etc, for a Chinese person or couple, you should tell them in advance. They will reciprocate your kindness with a traditional red packet containing money as a payment. This makes it alright for them to accept your gift of a timepiece without any worry!

Jewelry Gifts

Gold Jewelry is traditionally given at this time but pearls are increasingly popular for women and have a timeless beauty.

Traditional Floral Gifts

Pansy flowers are the traditional floral gift for this anniversary. In the 'language of flowers', pansies symbolize reminiscence, loving thoughts, merriment and tells the person receiving them that they are always in the giver's thoughts which is very romantic, I think.


Make A Romantic Tussie Mussie

However, a bouquet of pansies is not possible because these are such small, delicate flowers but you might like to revive an age old tradition and make a romantic "Tussie Mussie". These beautiful little posies can contain any flowers you like but check out the step by step instructions in the video on the right which contains Violas, the original, wild pansies. These also symbolize faithfulness which could not be more appropriate for a 1st wedding anniversary gift idea!

Alternatively, make a cross stitch or embroidery picture. Pictured below, is one I bought very cheaply on eBay and which I made up for a special first Wedding Anniversary in my own family a while ago.

A pretty cross-stitch kit can be made into a beautiful gift - pansies are traditional for the first Wedding Anniversary.
A pretty cross-stitch kit can be made into a beautiful gift - pansies are traditional for the first Wedding Anniversary. | Source

Ideas For Gifts Based On Paper

Paper can take many forms and what you give is only limited by your imagination, not the size of your wallet!

Photographs And Picture Frames - The Perfect Gift For A Couple

Waterford Crystal Digital Photo Frame, 8-Inch
Waterford Crystal Digital Photo Frame, 8-Inch

These are always welcome gifts but as more and more of us are using digital photography, a digital photo frame has now become a popular choice.

The image (left), and the link (below) is to one of my favorites, a Waterford Crystal frame that would make a lovely first Wedding anniversary gift.

Waterford Crystal makes beautiful gifts to treasure and to enhance those romantic memories. My own wedding photograph is in a Waterford frame and I love the way it catches the light and sparkles!


Homemade Picture Frame Idea

Alternatively, for a beautiful homemade craft idea for a picture frame gift that combines the paper and pansies ideas, why not make a personalized frame by buying a plain, flat frame and decorating it with stuck on cut outs of pansies? Use PVA glue to stick these in place and then varnish everything with a clear varnish coat to finish.


Whether to a movie, a theater show, or a concert, tickets make a great paper gift. Obviously, you need to know the couple's tastes in movies or music for this to be a success but if you feel confident these could be a real hit, especially as in the first years of a marriage, money is often very tight and treats are at a premium!

A gift of "Experience Day" tickets could provide a fun way for the couple to spend a wedding anniversary together.

These experience days can range from a race car driving day, to a balloon ride, cookery lesson, painting, horseback riding - in fact just about anything you can think of.

Often you can give open-ended tickets for an experience so that your recipients can book it for a day that fits in with work and other commitments

A hot air balloon ride is just one of the innovative experience day tickets you could give as a paper gift for a first wedding anniversary!
A hot air balloon ride is just one of the innovative experience day tickets you could give as a paper gift for a first wedding anniversary! | Source

Other Ideas On The Paper Theme

  • Books - choose something associated with hobbies and interests or a nice 'coffee table book'.
  • Board Games - these can be a fun way to socialize or just for the couple to enjoy sharing each others company with the TV turned off! These can be traditional games or perhaps even one of the slightly naughty 'adult' games if you know the couple well and are sure that the gift will not give offense.
  • Stationery - this could be anything from getting some paper monogrammed or personalized for the couple to pretty notecards, perhaps picking up the pansy theme once more.

First Anniversary Gifts For Your Husband

A watch fits in perfectly with the contemporary first wedding anniversary gift of a clock or timepiece. Here is a link to the gift watches for men pages on Amazon - with over 400 to choose from, you will be spoiled for choice!

Sports And Event Tickets?

Carrying on with the Paper theme, sports tickets would be great. If he follows a particular sport and has a favorite team, why not scour eBay for old match/game programs or posters, autographed pictures or other memorabilia?

1st Year Anniversary Gift Ideas For Your Wife

Gold jewelry can be expensive but always well received. Pearls always look smart, stylish and dressy but may not be right for everyone. Alternatively, gold jewelry set with her birth stone would be a thoughtful gift.

1st Anniversary Ideas on a Budget

Idea # 1, a Romantic night in!
Idea # 1, a Romantic night in! | Source
Idea #2 some Pampering!
Idea #2 some Pampering! | Source

Give The Gift Of Time!

Romantic gifts need not be material things either. Just spending time is sometimes the most precious gift of all and giving the gift of time in our hectic modern lives is always appreciated.

Preparing and cooking a special meal, decorating the table beautifully, compiling a CD of music that has special significance to you both (favorite songs, music associated with first date, first dance, first kiss ...), pampering your wife with a bath in a bathroom decorated with scented candles and giving her time to relax with a nice glass of chilled wine - none of these things cost much but mean so much.

Continuing the Paper theme, tickets for a spa day of pampering are also well received. Avoid choosing a makeover day (you love her just the way she is) or gifts of undies (not very imaginative)!

What Do You Think?

Would you rather receive a traditional or a modern gift for your first anniversary?

See results

And Finally ...

I hope that my run through of suggestions of traditional and modern one year anniversary ideas has provided food for thought. If you have a great suggestion I have not mentioned, please share it in the comments section below, or tell us about what you chose for your husband or wife on your own first wedding anniversary - was it a success or a disaster? I would love to hear from you.

© 2013 Alison Graham


Submit a Comment

  • Alison Graham profile image

    Alison Graham 2 years ago from UK

    Beena, thank you so much for telling me about this anniversary sundial, it sounds beautiful. What a lovely way to remember a special day.

  • profile image

    Beena P 2 years ago

    My sister's husband got her a gift certificate for an anniversary sundial that sits on her window sill and makes rainbows in the room when the sun shines. When she had it made she had a special date line added that the sundial shadow follows on their anniversary each year, and each summer we all watch the shadow as it gets closer and closer to their special day. I am babysitting her kids this morning and they are playing in the rainbows on the floor made by the little sundial in the family room window, and I think it was a wonderful gift, something symbolic that has become an important part of their home and family life together!

  • Alison Graham profile image

    Alison Graham 3 years ago from UK

    Hi Madalyn, thanks for your comment - I hope you and your husband have many, many happy years together - sounds like a very thoughtful and precious gift.

  • Madalyn Quire profile image

    Madalyn Quire 3 years ago

    Since paper is the traditional one year anniversary gift. I have to share My Dreamlines. They sketched my wedding dress. Super amazing gift. My husband did well...not sure how he can ever top it!