Gift Ideas for a First Wedding Anniversary 2020

You may think that celebrating wedding anniversaries is a relatively modern tradition. In reality, the practice dates back to the Roman Empire. However, only for the 25th and the 50th anniversary. This remained the case until the onset of the Victorian era when the other anniversaries were named with their own specific gifts, flower and gemstone.

There are actually different suggestions for the United Kingdom and the USA. Plus, there is a further list of more modern gifts, rather than the traditional ones. Let me start at the beginning with gift ideas for a first wedding anniversary.

Unique Paper Wedding Anniversary Gifts

Why is Paper the First Anniversary?

There are undoubtedly many theories as to why paper should represent the first wedding anniversary, and even as to when it was introduced. One idea suggests that a sheet of blank paper symbolises a fresh start or a new beginning. The couple has survived the first year of marriage together.

It’s now time to start the rest of the journey. It may be that paper is the most fragile of the gifts. As the years pass, the presents grow in strength, as does the marriage. Of course, paper is actually a writing material. It could signify the couple is creating the story of the rest of their life. Keep reading for some gift ideas for a first wedding anniversary.

Gift Ideas for a First Wedding Anniversary

Perhaps, you are in the fortunate position of looking for some unique wedding gift ideas for a paper anniversary. There are plenty of choices that will have you standing out from the crowd. A scrapbook will be a welcome gift for a creative couple; much more than a photograph album, it allows for the addition of embellishments and mementoes to keep precious memories.

Those who prefer something a little quirky might appreciate a lamp, designed as a book. It unfolds to give a warming glow, ideal for desks or coffee tables. I have found a truly unique gift of a personalised “message in a bottle”. A personal art print is a thoughtful gift, with the date of the wedding as a nice touch. Perhaps decorated with some romantic touches, such as hearts. There are undoubtedly plenty of choices for gift ideas for a first wedding anniversary.

Anniversary Experiences

Perhaps, you prefer to create memories, rather than give an actual gift. Paper tickets could offer the couple an unusual day out. An adventure not to be forgotten would be an archery experience in Nottingham, the home of the legendary outlaw, Robin Hood. Included are welcome drinks, a safety briefing and expert tuition, for a first anniversary to remember!

Wedding Anniversary Gift Ideas

What is the Flower of the First Anniversary?

Each anniversary is also represented by a flower, and for the first year, this is the carnation. Of course, it is possible to get paper flowers. A bouquet of pink carnations would be a perfect and long-lasting gift. It is relatively easy and definitely possible to create your own bouquet. Use tissue and crepe paper, for a more personalised touch.

They do come in different colours, but pink is a gentle, romantic option, and the carnation is said to inspire lasting love, capturing the essence of optimism, passion and sweetness. I have found an artificial carnation plant that is incredibly realistic. Carnations are a full and vibrant flower, the perfect symbol of love at any age and a unique idea for paper anniversaries.

Wedding Anniversary Gift Ideas

Four Things to Know About Carnations

Carnation petals are edible, but the rest of the plant is poisonous. The petals are ideal as cake decorations and have a sweet flavour. They are used as an ingredient in Chartreuse, a French liqueur.

The carnation is the national flower of Monaco, Slovenia and Spain, but oddly it is Colombia which produces the most significant quantity of the flower. The only US state that has a carnation as its emblem is Ohio.

Its full name, Dianthus caryophyllus, comes from Ancient Greece, where it was familiar in coronation ceremonies, and translates as the flower of the Gods. There is actually no entry in Wikipedia for the name carnation. #WomensHistoryMonth

Carnations are a tradition at all examinations at the University of Oxford, with different shades representing the progress through the exam process. The first exam has the symbol of a white carnation, followed by pink, then red.

Which Gemstone Represents the First Anniversary?

A gemstone gift would be a luxurious gift for the happy couple or something that they may wish to buy each other. The first wedding anniversary is mother-of-pearl, a luminous stone from oyster and abalone shells. Beautiful jewellery items such as earrings, bangles and cufflinks, are perfect as a gift.

An unusual idea is a mother of pearl mirror, and you can read my review of a particularly beautiful one here. It is said to remove any negative energy and afford protection to the wearer. Mother of pearl can also be used as an inlay in furniture and in musical instruments, and when given as a gift is reputed to attract good fortune.

Wedding Anniversary Gift Ideas

Five Facts About Mother of Pearl

Mother of pearl is different from an actual pearl which is much rarer, and significantly more expensive, but they are both byproducts of minerals secreted by oysters.

The official name of mother of pearl is nacre, which refers to the coating that covers the inside of the oyster’s shell.

Only nacre that has an iridescent quality can be called mother of pearl, and it should have a magical colour-changing appearance.

The actual purpose of mother of pearl is to protect the oyster from any damaging debris or parasites that may enter the shell.

Mother of pearl jewellery is 100% organic, and therefore it’s extremely rare for a person to be allergic to it.

Wedding Anniversary Gift Ideas

The First Year is Over

The first year of a marriage can be a learning curve for many couples, and sourcing some unique wedding gift ideas for a paper anniversary can be a thoughtful way to help the celebration. Anniversaries represent a growing marriage, and a look towards the future, the perfect time to celebrate.

I sincerely hope you discovered something new today and enjoyed reading this article about gift ideas for a first wedding anniversary. Please take some time and feel free to leave any comments or ask any questions.

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27 thoughts on “Gift Ideas for a First Wedding Anniversary 2020”

  1. Thanks for bringing these ideas to the fore, they are old but gold and not very common in this digital times. Indeed some of the best things in life are not really expensive as we most times expect. The ideas in this article have proven that I hope to use some of your ideas in the future. Thanks for sharing . find some ideas for the future. All the best,

  2. The sweetest gift my husband gave me was a hand made sketch of my wedding dress and my husband’s suit by a Dreamlines artist. It was incredible and the most perfect gift he could have given me.

  3. Hello Diane,

    Nice ideas you have given me when reading your article about the gifts of the first wedding anniversary. 

    It was not in my plans to choose paper or a rocky stone. 

    My sister will celebrate her first year in a short time.

    I could give her a very nice paper bag or choose a precious stone like nacre. 

    I will consult with my wife and thus finish deciding. 

    Thank you very much for all the “ideas”.Claudio

    • Hi Claudio – thank you for your comments. I hope your sister enjoys her anniversary and that you can find an appropriate gift. All the best, Diane

  4. Thanks for bringing these ideas to the fore, they are old but gold and not very common in this digital times. Indeed some of the best things in life are not really expensive as we most times expect. The ideas in this article have proven that I hope to use some of your ideas in the future. Thanks for sharing

    • Hi – thanks for your comments. I enjoy researching these old traditions and keeping them alive. I hope you find some gift ideas for the future. All the best, Diane

  5. Hi Diane, I find your article interesting, thanks for sharing. Our first anniversary is fast approaching, and I am still getting the hang of this marriage thing lol. Thanks to you, now I know what I need to package together for the big day. Carnations will be a must; I will check out your ‘ mother of pearl’ review as well.Best regards

    • Hi – thank you for your comments. I am glad you found my article interesting and I sure you will find a lovely gift. Congratulations on your upcoming anniversary. All the best, Diane

  6. This is very interesting. This post is very educative. Seriously speaking I never knew pink carnation is the best gift for a paper anniversary. This really came at the right time because my brother will be having his first wedding anniversary in a month’s time and I’ve been looking for the perfect gift to give him. Thanks for this post because everything I need to know about the first anniversary has been touched. I will share this post to my brother for him to read  what is about to celebrate.

  7. Thank you for your lovely article on first wedding anniversary ideas,

    It is fantastic to see how many ideas can stem from the traditional paper gift idea for the 1st wedding anniversary. As someone who will have been married 10 years this year it also reminds of a time before we had children where perhaps we were a little more creative with our present ideas. 

    As it is my 10th anniversary, I look forward to receiving your creative present ideas as I believe tin is for 10 years and that is a product I may struggle to be creative with.

    • Hi – thank you for reading my article and leaving comments. Congratulations  on your upcoming anniversary, and yes, tin is the recognised symbol, but gifts incorporating daffodils and crystal are also acceptable. All the best, Diane

  8. Thanks for this in-depth write up on the paper wedding anniversary and gift ideas. I have been married for nearly 14 years and have my wedding anniversary coming up in three months. When we had our first anniversary, I wrote my wife a poem which I recited to her in a restaurant in Paris. I thought writing a poem on paper would be symbolic for the first anniversary. Reading your article has brought back fond memories of that special anniversary. Thank you!

    • Hi – thanks for sharing your lovely story. Such a romantic idea, your wife is a lucky girl! Congratulations on your upcoming anniversary, I hope you have a great day. All the best, Diane 

  9. I  love all the possible ideas for why the paper is the first wedding anniversary. I always kind of thought that the symbolic items like paper, gold, silver, etc. were a little bit silly and I didn’t really understand the point of them. But now I think that it is beautiful. I love the idea that paper symbolizes the married couple starting out with a blank slate and writing their story together. So awesome.

    I am not married myself but I’m going to come to check out your site again if I  ever get to the point of having my own wedding anniversary that I need to figure out a cute gift for!

  10. it’s a bit crazy the first anniversary is paper, but I suppose you could think of something really special with paper. Be creative and use our imagination. Flowers alone can make some really pretty gifts. Thank you for these ideas, I love them all. A gemstone gift is my fav I think though.

    • Hi Jayde – thanks for reading my article! I know it’s pretty crazy to think of celebrating with paper, but as you said, it just takes some imagination. All the best, Diane

  11. Paper anniversary gift idea is good. Before celebrating with the gems stone name. But the paper also precious. We need to save more paper. Most of the paper is made from the trees. We need to go environmental friendly we celebrate every occasion with food or giving some charity to needed people however some adventure also cool in life. I agree  with your post. It’s good.

    • Hi – thanks for reading my article! Of course, we should always consider the environment, but unfortunately, there is no getting away from the fact that there is always going to be a need for paper products. All the best, Diane

  12. Hey,

    Thanks for writing about a topic no one really writes about. Although I am not yet married, I have found quite the amazing partner who I anticipate I will be spending the rest of my life with. With that being said, anniversaries can difficult in that I grade myself on my ability to be creative. Coming up with new material is difficult every year, but it is so worth it. I think the outline is given for each consecutive anniversary (gift, flower, gemstone) offers specific avenues so I’m not so overwhelmed. Is there anything else you might offer for a paper gift? Maybe a poster timeline? Or maybe framed wedding vows? Thanks again!


    • Hi Michael – thanks for stopping by! How lovely that you have found your life partner, here’s hoping for many happy years together. Framed wedding vows is a great idea, and would certainly be a lasting reminder. All the best, Diane

  13. This was very interesting hearing about the paper anniversary ideas and why paper might have been selected for the first anniversary.   

    Assuming you know the couple’s taste well, I like the idea of giving an art print.    I also liked your suggestion about maybe paper carnations.  Or…. an art print that has carnations.   

    • Hi Sondra – thanks for taking the time to reply! I love the actual research and finding out about old traditions and sharing them. An art print with carnations is a great idea. All the best, Diane

  14. Very timely post! We’re looking to celebrate our first wedding anniversary this December and I’m searching through a lot of ideas, concepts and whatnot for the ideal paper anniversary present. There are hundreds of ideas floating scattered all over the net.

    Thank you for this article. It sure is very timely.


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