Simple Anniversary Ideas

by Rebecca Nelles

Simple wedding anniversary celebration ideas include gifts, activities and decorations that are personal and creative. Using gift ideas, flowers and colors typically associated with a given anniversary, couples create a simple anniversary celebration that is both enjoyable and memorable.


Wedding anniversaries are occasions to celebrate a couple's love, commitment and memories. The celebration of anniversaries is often linked to a list of traditional anniversary gifts composed by wedding etiquette expert Emily Post in 1922 and expanded in 1957. Understanding the significance of the materials Post recommends as gifts enables couples to think of fresh, simple anniversary ideas that can easily be personalized. For example, according to Ann Field and Gretchen Scoble, authors of The Meaning of Wedding Anniversaries, "For the first anniversary, the fragile, transitory symbol of paper represents the delicate nature of a new relationship." Field and Scoble go on to suggest anniversary gifts like paper lanterns, which "symbolize hopefulness."

Traditional Gifts

Add a personal touch to the traditional gift appropriate to the anniversary being celebrated. For example, the traditional gift associated with the first wedding anniversary is paper. If a wife appreciates the way her husband makes her laugh, he could leave a paper trail of witty jokes leading to his paper-themed gift for her: personalized stationary, concert or theater tickets or paper roses. If a couple is celebrating their second anniversary, they might decide to exchange cotton-themed gifts. Simple gift ideas include ironing initials onto hand towels or bath towels or ordering a blanket that displays a wedding photograph.

Modern Gifts

Anniversary gifts have evolved over time. Modern gifts tend to lend themselves well to being displayed in the home and are often practical. Use modern gift ideas if you prefer gifts that are more straightforward than symbolic or to celebrate an anniversary that does not have a traditional gift assigned to it. Some examples include clocks for the first anniversary, desk sets for the seventh anniversary and appliances for the fourth anniversary.


Incorporate anniversary flowers into your anniversary activities for a simple way to celebrate. There is a flower associated with anniversaries 1 to 15 and with every fifth anniversary from the 20th to the 50th. For example, to celebrate a 15th anniversary, use roses in creative ways: bathe together using rose-shaped soaps, make a recipe calling for rose petals or sprinkle rose petals on a blanket set up for a backyard picnic. Use calla lilies to celebrate a sixth anniversary. Buy blank cards featuring a photo of a calla lily and compose touching letters to one another, or plant calla lilies together in the yard.


Use the color associated with a wedding anniversary to decorate simply. Though lists vary, there is a color assigned to the first 25 anniversaries and to every fifth anniversary from the 30th to the 75th. Celebrate an 11th anniversary wearing matching shades of turquoise. Decorate for a 21st anniversary party with orange paper plates, napkins and balloons. Use food dye to frost a homemade cake lavender for a 24th anniversary. Or plan an entire party around an anniversary's color. For a 25th anniversary, invite guests to a "Silver Party." Explain the significance of the color theme on the invitations and ask guests to join in the fun by dressing in silver or choosing silver gift wrap. If it proves too difficult to find clothing or decorations of the appropriate color for a given anniversary, use the couple's wedding color scheme for inspiration instead.


About the Author

Rebecca Nelles holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Eastern Illinois University. Additionally, she has earned minors in both creative writing and women's studies. She has been published on and also in Eastern Illinois University's literary journal, "The Vehicle."

Photo Credits

  • Photos by Rebecca Nelles