Most people celebrate silver and golden wedding anniversaries, but there are a lot of other times that an anniversary party is in order—maybe you just want to renew your vows or maybe you just want to have a party and your wedding anniversary is a good excuse.
 
Last month I attended a 10th anniversary party not for the wedding but for the engagement. The mother of the groom figures they’ll never get married, and why not have an anniversary celebrating being engaged 10 years? I agreed. It was a blast!

What are the colors for the different years?
Most of us know that silver is 25 and gold is 50. However, there are some other anniversary milestones that have associated colors with matching flowers. Here is the short list for every five years (with the 7 year itch added in):

  Color Flower
1st Wedding Anniversary Yellow Pansies
5th Wedding Anniversary Turquiose Daisies
7th Wedding Anniversary Off White Jack-in-the-Pulpits
10th Wedding Anniversary Aluminum Daffodils
15th Wedding Anniversary Ruby Red Roses
20th Wedding Anniversary Emerald Green  Day Lilies
25th Wedding Anniversary Silver Irises
30th Wedding Anniversary Green Lilies
35th Wedding Anniversary Coral None
40th Wedding Anniversary Ruby Red Nasturtium
45th Wedding Anniversary Sapphire None
50th Wedding Anniversary Gold Violet
55th Wedding Anniversary Emerald Green None
60th Wedding Anniversary None None
70th Wedding Anniversary Diamond White None
75th Wedding Anniversary Diamond None
 
Is there a gift associated with each of the above anniversaries?
Yes, usually a traditional gift, a modern gift and a gemstone symbol. You can take this as a fun reference but you can always buy something appropriate for the couple that matches their interests.

  Traditional Modern Gems
1st Wedding Anniversary Paper Clock Pearls
5th Wedding Anniversary Wood Silverware Turquoise
7th Wedding Anniversary Copper Desk Set Onyx
10th Wedding Anniversary Aluminum Diamond Blue Sapphire
15th Wedding Anniversary Crystal Watch Ruby Rhodolite
20th Wedding Anniversary China Platinum Emerald
25th Wedding Anniversary Silver Silver Tsavorite/Silver
30th Wedding Anniversary Pearl Diamond Pearl
35th Wedding Anniversary Coral Jade Emerald
40th Wedding Anniversary Ruby Ruby Ruby
45th Wedding Anniversary Sapphire Ring Pendant Sapphire/Cat’s Eye
50th Wedding Anniversary Gold Gold Earrings/Necklace
55th Wedding Anniversary Emerald Emerald Alexandrite
60th Wedding Anniversary Diamond Diamond Star Ruby
70th Wedding Anniversary Platinum Platinum Smoky Quartz
75th Wedding Anniversary Diamond Diamond Diamond


Why is a seventh wedding anniversary sometimes referred to as the 7-year itch?
Interestingly, the meaning has changed over the years. During the early 19th century, the 7-year itch was a bacterial skin “condition” that was contagious and irritating. Mid-century, it became a metaphor for all that is annoying. As it came to represent marriage, however, it was a condition that lasted seven years. Until 1955, that is, when Marilyn Monroe starred in the film of the same title best known for Monroe’s dress blowing up over a subway grate. The movie was based on George Axelrod’s play about a [fictional] study done that many men have extra-marital affairs after seven years of marriage. An anniversary party might stave off this odd behavior.

What makes an anniversary party special?
Easy. Photos. Obviously, the earlier the anniversary, the less impact the pictures make—but once you start accumulating the years, photos are a great way to tell the story in pictures. Collages are easily put together or a display of inexpensive picture frames set on bars, buffets and tabletops works just as well.

What are some common themes for an anniversary party?
I’ve done so many over the years. I’ve done “golf”—for a couple who was never off course (in many ways). I’ve done “travel”—for couples who have traveled the world (each table was a different destination). I’ve done tennis, a garage sale (they were both penny pinchers), a Tupperware party, a Ken and Barbie soireé and even a Laurel and Hardy theme. I think it’s very important that the anniversary party has the flavor of the happy couple.

How often do couples renew their vows? And why?
We don’t see it that often, but there are a lot of reasons people choose an anniversary party to renew their vows. Many times a couple couldn’t afford a wedding and reception so they went to the courthouse or ran away to Vegas (put in the destination of choice); later in life they can better afford it. Another is that an obstacle or hardship has been overcome and a couple may feel that by renewing their vows at an anniversary celebration might reaffirm their commitment to each other. Who are we to question why?

Should you have a wedding cake at an anniversary party?
You should always have cake (and eat it, too). Of course, it depends on your budget. Recently a client did a mini wedding cake at each place. So adorable. It had a little 25 on the top. Expensive, though.

Who hosts the anniversary party?
It can be the couple themselves, the children of the couple or good friends. Good etiquette is that someone other than the happy couple host the party, but good etiquette went out sometime in the last millennium.

Should a couple register for gifts for an anniversary party or when they renew their vows?
Never. Never and never. This is in such poor taste. Most likely, many of your guests will bring a gift because it is heartfelt—that’s the only kind of gifts you should want. You may also want to insert a card or add a line to the invitation that in lieu of gifts they may make a donation to your favorite charity.

If it’s a milestone anniversary party like a silver or gold anniversary, should the party be more formal?
Again, it depends on the couple. Some people are just generally laid back and wouldn’t like a formal party. Others might want it at their country club with top end liquor and five courses. Choose something in between!