The first wedding anniversary is a major milestone that deserves a celebration. Couples approaching their first anniversary should discuss how they plan to handle gifts each year. One practice is to use the traditional list of anniversary gifts, which identifies paper as the first anniversary gift.
Although couples have given each other anniversary gifts for centuries, the first list dictating a traditional gift for each year was published in 1922. That year, etiquette expert Emily Post included a section on anniversary gifts in her book about etiquette. Her list suggests paper as the material for first anniversary gifts. Although this is an old tradition, many couples now stick to the list and use Emily Post’s suggestions for gifts every year.
When thinking about the significance of paper as a first anniversary gift, couples should remember that a young marriage is generally still quite fragile, which makes paper an appropriate symbol for the first year. Back when the list was first published, it also likely reminded couples of times when they sent each other love letters before getting married. On a practical side, paper can be a very inexpensive gift, making it appropriate for young couples still getting their footing.
For simple, heartfelt an inexpensive gifts, couples could purchase fancy paper and write each other love poems or love letters. Handmade paper with large pieces of pulp has a rustic feel, whereas delicate paper with a pretty design or gilding seems very romantic. Another idea would be to purchase a small notebook and write a memory from the first year of marriage on each page. For a practical gift, couples could buy each other stationery, perhaps monogrammed with their initials. Bound books are also an option, so couples could give each other books by their favorite authors or books about marriage so they can continue to learn and grow closer together in the coming years.
Any gift that includes paper as a core material is fair game, so couples can get creative in their interpretation of the tradition to put a more modern twist on it. One idea is to give concert, movie or travel tickets that are printed on paper. For a spouse who enjoys games, give a card game or a board game, which is technically cardboard, but that is close enough. An artistic spouse could fold money into the shape of a wedding gown and a tuxedo as a reminder of the wedding.