What Represents a 40th Wedding Anniversary?

by Casandra Maier

Forty years of marriage is a milestone. As a couple approaches a 40th wedding anniversary they may choose to spend the time alone together, with a romantic dinner or vacation. They also may decide to have a party or gathering with family members and friends. No matter how you choose to celebrate this milestone, you might wonder if there is something modern or traditional that represents the 40th wedding anniversary. Traditional and modern gift lists are the first place many couples turn for ideas.

Traditional vs. Modern

Each anniversary year has both a traditional and modern gift list that lets you know the materials and gifts that are associated with the anniversary. These present suggestions date back to "our rural past when most of our ancestors eked out a living on the land," according to Perfect-Wedding-Day.com. For example, traditional gift lists specify pearls for the 30th anniversary and crystal for the 15th anniversary, while modern gift lists suggest diamonds for the 30th and watches for the 15th year. Sometimes it is difficult to decide between traditional and modern lists. Luckily, you don't have to choose on your 40th anniversary. Rubies represent both traditional and modern lists. Jewel gift lists also specify rubies for the 40th year.


In addition to traditional, modern and jewel lists, there are also flower lists that specify various blooms for each married year. Nasturtium and gladiolus are the flowers that lists suggest for the 40th wedding anniversary. Nasturtiums are the traditional flower for the 40th anniversary due to their ruby-colored blooms. These flowers also represent ever-lasting love as they self seed and come back each season. They are also edible. If you prefer something different, you could also choose 40 red roses.


If you choose rubies to represent your 40th anniversary, there are many ways you can use them. You could certainly give rubies as a gift. Ruby jewelry or accessories, including rings, necklaces, earnings, bracelets, cufflinks or tie clips are sure to impress your spouse. Couples can also consider visiting a ruby mine. If you are giving a gift to a couple on their 40th anniversary you could choose red artisan glass, or anything decorative and ruby red in color. Red is the color of passion. Couples can also use rubies are a theme for parties. Invitations can have ruby red glitter, and parties can be decked out with ruby-red flowers. Couples who choose to renew their vowels can have a ruby-themed wedding.


Gift lists may defy your budget. In these cases it is best to improvise, however, you can still remain traditional with a little creativity. You could present your spouse with a ruby-red grapefruit at breakfast. You could decorate the room in ruby-scented candles. You could also make red wine your drink of choice for the evening.

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