What Are the Colors for Wedding Anniversaries?

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When a couple celebrate their wedding anniversary--whether by buying flowers for each other or organizing a big party--one thing they’ve got to consider is the specific color associated with that anniversary. Determine the colors by the number of years the pair have been wed. Years one through to 30 each have their own particular color by tradition, but the colors most commonly remembered are the ones which represent the later, more landmark, anniversaries.

Early Years

Between the first and 25th years of marriage, every year is associated with a specific color by tradition. These include various shades of white: linen white for the second year, off white for the seventh, and oyster white for the 12th, while six and 13 are simply represented by plain white. More unusual colors include terracotta for the ninth year of marriage, fawn for the third, and turquoise for the fifth and 11th. As well as being associated with the 40th anniversary, ruby red is used for the 15th, too. The very first anniversary is represented by papyrus yellow.

Later Years

Perhaps the best known anniversary colors are those which are assigned to the later years; a marriage which has lasted 20 years or more carries somewhat more significance than a younger marriage and thus is more likely to be celebrated. Twenty years of marriage is represented by either white or emerald green, while 25 years is associated with silver, a color which can also be used for a 10th or 23rd anniversaries. At 30 years of marriage, couples use green; at 40, ruby red; while at 50, gold is the associated color. If couples reach 75 years, they can use diamond white.

Gemstones

In addition to a shade of color, many anniversary years are associated with a particular type of gemstone, each of which by its very nature has its own color. These gemstones might be given by an individual to his partner as a gift on the day of the anniversary. For a first wedding anniversary, a fresh water pearl, typically found in a variety of pastel colors, is used, while for 10 years of marriage, a black onyx is the representative gemstone. A 20th anniversary is associated with the emerald, while the metal used for 25 years of marriage is sterling silver, corresponding to the color associated with this particular anniversary.

How Expressed

Anniversary colors aren’t limited to the gifts partners buy one another on the day itself; these colors can also be expressed through the decorations at a celebratory event. For example, the couple might arrange for the balloons and table decorations at an anniversary party to be based around shades of the color, while event invites might follow suit.