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Video:History of Wedding Anniversary Gifts

with Meghan Lynn Allen

Wedding anniversary gifts have a long and evolving history. Traditional and modern gifts are appropriate for certain benchmark anniversary celebration. Learn more about how the wedding anniversary gift list developed.See Transcript

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Transcript:History of Wedding Anniversary Gifts

Hi! This is Meghan Lynn Allen for About.com, and today we're discussing the history of wedding gifts.

Wedding Anniversary Gifts Evolved Through History

Celebrations of all kinds have long been part of the human culture, but wedding anniversary gifts are first known to be dated back to Germany in medieval times. When people had been married for 25 years, the wife would receive a silver wreath from her friends in the village; if she'd been married for 50 years, she was handed a golden wreath.

Wedding gifts have certainly changed over time, and they varied from country to country, going from from formal to modern. But in was in 1937 when the National American Retail Jeweler Association came up with the first comprehensive list of wedding gifts. It was the mid to late 1930s that it was more common to receive wedding anniversary gifts, for your 1st anniversary, 10th, 20th 70th - stability was seen as something to recognize, and the longer the stability, the bigger the reward.

The Victorian era marks the emergence of the beginning of wedding symbolism and traditions, in terms of gift giving. The 75th anniversary is considered the diamond anniversary. The earliest reference to an anniversary gift material other than silver or gold is wood, for the fifth anniversary. That seems to become popular around 1875.

Review Modern and Traditional Wedding Anniversary Gift Lists

If you're searching for the comprehensive list online, you'll find two different lists - one is a traditional list, which celebrates years 1-15 of marriage with a different material for each year - the first example is the 1 year anniversary, which is paper. A modern list might suggest clocks for a first year anniversary gift. Modern lists have a gift associated with every year, where a traditional list has the first 15, and then skips to the f5s and 10s, 20, 25, 30, all the way up to 75 years plus.

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