What Happens at an Anniversary Party?

couple dancing outside under string lights on their anniversary party

An anniversary party is an opportunity for a couple to reflect on their journey together, celebrate their enduring love, and share their joy with the people who have been a part of their lives. The specific details and traditions of the party can be tailored to the couple’s preferences and the significance of the anniversary being celebrated. Whether you’re celebrating your 1st year “paper” or your 50th  “golden” anniversary, throwing a wedding anniversary party is a great reason to bring people together. 

What is an Anniversary Party?

As early as the 18th century, wedding anniversaries were celebrated with different symbols or gifts given each year. Initially, husbands would give their wives silver and gold wreaths during their 25th and 50th anniversaries, and as time has passed, additional years and symbolic gifts have been added. The key milestone years of wedding anniversary celebrations have increased, ranging from every five years in the first 30 years of marriage to every ten years after that. Many cultures around the world have their own distinctive ways of celebrating, and each is a lovely reminder to treasure and honor the love that unites you and your beloved, regardless of culture or custom. 

Although every year of a successful marriage is a cause for celebration, some years serve as key milestones. Here are the major wedding anniversaries by year, their symbolism, and ideas about how you can celebrate these milestones.

  • 1 year Paper: like paper, a new marriage is delicate, but if you handle it with love and care it can last a lifetime. Paper is also a blank page to write the beginning of your love story. A popular way to celebrate is to give books or wall art with a personal significance.
  • 2 years Cotton: durability, flexibility and comfort are characteristics of cotton and excellent traits to have in a maturing marriage. A popular way to celebrate is to give personalized apparel or home décor.
  • 3 years Leather: symbolizes the strength, flexibility and durability of your marriage after three years together. A popular way to celebrate is to give a gift that can be used on a daily basis such as a leather bound journal, satchel, watch band, iPad case, etc. 
  • 4 years Fruit & Flowers: after four years of marriage your love has fully blossomed and ripened to sweet maturity and those attributes are perfectly symbolized by this year’s theme. 
  • 5 years Wood: by the fifth year, your union is considered strong, with solid roots like a tree. Gifts of wooden furniture, picture frames or other household decor are ways to commemorate this anniversary.
  • 6 years Candy or Iron: the gesture of giving candy symbolizes romance, affection, and the pleasure of being in love, and iron symbolizes the flexibility and strength of your marriage.
  • 7 years Copper or Wool: known for its long-lasting warmth and beauty, copper symbolizes the strength and resilience of a relationship and wool represents warmth, comfort, and durability.
  • 8 years Bronze: bronze represents a loving union and the transformative power of blending two distinct elements to create something new and treasured. Popular gifts include sculptures, elegant home decor and furnishings.
  • 9 years Pottery: tough enough to be used every day, but fragile enough to treat with care, pottery represents the dedication required to build and maintain a loving marriage. Ideas for pottery gifts range from home decor to functional drinkware and dinnerware.
  • 10 years Tin or Aluminum: the durability of a union at this stage is symbolized by tin, a metal not easily oxidized that stands the test of time. Practical gift ideas include vases, cooking sets, and candle holders.
  • 11 years Steel: a gift made from stainless steel, representing untarnished strength, is a perfect choice for a couple entering the second decade of marriage.
  • 12 years Silk or Linen: some of the most luxurious and comfortable textiles, a gift of silk or linen will serve as a reminder that you love and value your spouse.
  • 13 years Lace: while seemingly delicate, lace is stronger than it looks and represents the dedication and work you’ve put into creating a beautiful bond with your spouse.
  • 14 years Ivory (color): in lieu of giving genuine ivory, choose a gift that is ivory in color or elephant themed. 
  • 15 years Crystal: is a major marriage milestone traditionally celebrated with crystal, representing the clarity required to achieve such a long-lasting relationship.
  • 20 years China: strong and delicate china symbolizes the combination of grace and durability necessary for a long-lasting marriage. 
  • 25 years Silver: despite its age, when silver is well-taken care of, it shines, and the same principle applies to your marriage.
  • 30 years Pearl: pearls are formed from aged oysters, similar to the beauty created in a marriage union over time.
  • 40 years Ruby: the rich red color of rubies symbolizes a couple’s love and passion, which gets deeper with time.
  • 50 years Gold: this precious metal denotes strength, triumph, and success, all characteristic of a 50-year union.
  • 60 years Diamond: these beautiful gems are the most invincible materials in the world, just like the love shared between you and your partner.

Much like any other type of gathering, an anniversary party can run the gamut in terms of size, timing, and theme.  You can go upscale by throwing a swanky dinner party at a favorite restaurant, or more low key by putting together a barbecue and pool bash in your backyard. Some couples recreate their first date or anniversary and others choose to renew their vows in these special celebrations. 

What Happens at an Anniversary Party?

Just like with any celebratory event, the purpose and presentation will be unique to the individuals throwing or hosting the anniversary party. While any anniversary is a true cause for celebration, anniversary parties are often thrown to celebrate big milestones, such as the 5th, 10th, 25th, 50th and 60th years together. Most anniversary years are associated with specific gifts, colors, and flowers. These symbols are something worth looking into when it comes to designing invitations, choosing a theme and decor, or buying the perfect anniversary gift. It’s especially worth considering if you plan on throwing an anniversary party so you can coordinate with the colors and floral arrangements associated with that milestone.

After the first major milestone of one year together, couples may choose small get-togethers with family or friends or to do something together to commemorate their wedding date. Revisiting your first date, location of your first kiss or where you got engaged are lovely ideas to remind you of what brought you together in the first place. Others may embark on a special trip, vacation or staycation to spend some extra quality time together. 

Anniversaries are an opportunity to reflect on your journey and anticipate many more years of love and companionship. If you’re celebrating a big anniversary, like 25 years, in addition to throwing a party, consider renewing your vows. The experience will remind you why you fell in love with your spouse to begin with, or can be used to celebrate the changes in their relationship by rewriting and renewing their vows to each other. Similar to pre-wedding events, anniversary parties can include speeches, toasts, dinner, drinks, dancing and plenty of time to socialize and connect. 

Our property is filled with gorgeous scenery and a fire pit to socialize and relax around, perfect for an anniversary event. Historic Acres is conveniently located near hotels which makes planning accommodations for out-of-towners a breeze, and we can accommodate groups of all sizes. Give us a call (717) 298-6340 to learn more, check dates, or take a tour of the property.