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Celebrating a wedding anniversary - it's all about paper
The Nico Studio

Celebrating A First Wedding Anniversary? It’s All About Paper!

June is the beginning of the peak wedding period, so there will be a lot of wedding anniversaries being celebrated this month.

Celebrations for gold and silver wedding anniversaries date back as early as the 1500s. However, it seems it’s only since the Victorian era, when the giving of gifts became more common, that other wedding anniversaries began to be celebrated with the giving of a symbolic gift, such as leather for the third anniversary or copper for the seventh.

Naturally, we’re intrigued as to why first wedding anniversaries are typically symbolised by paper, so we had to find out more. We’ve also come up with some paper-based gift ideas that might be given in celebration.

Why Paper?

There are a number of theories around, but the most common belief is that paper represents a blank slate – an indication of blossoming love and a new life together, ready to be filled with new experiences and achievements. Your first wedding anniversary is an exciting time to think about how you want your life together to look and what you want to fill those blank pages with.

The fragility of paper can also be seen to signify the delicate nature of a young marriage, which will develop and grow stronger over time. If you use this analogy to think of how paper is made from trees, which start off as just a tiny seed, but when planted in the right habitat and watered frequently, grow into sturdy and reliable wonders of nature that breathe life into the world.

As the years progress, gifts given on anniversaries become more and more valuable to symbolise the growth and solidity of marriage.

Paper Anniversary Gift Ideas

If your first anniversary is approaching and you’re looking for gift ideas for your partner then first of all, congratulations! Making it through the first year of marriage is no small feat. Many have failed where you have succeeded. Now, the key to giving the perfect anniversary gift is to make it personal, and paper is probably the easiest – and possibly most affordable – of all the traditional themes. The possibilities are as wide as your imagination. Here are six ideas to get you started:

1. Tickets

Commemorate your first anniversary by taking your partner to that show they’ve always wanted to see, or to watch in concert the band or music artist that you both love. It will be an experience you will both remember for years to come. Or if you’re feeling extra generous, airline tickets might go down well, too.

Alternatively, this ticket stub diary from uncommon goods is a fantastic way of “preserving your precious memories from concerts, sporting events, museums, movies, Broadway shows, and more”.

2. Books

This is an obvious one, but you can’t go wrong with a good book! Whether it be a signed copy from your spouse’s favourite author or an anniversary journal to keep track of each year’s memories. Or how about a newlywed couple’s cookbook? There are plenty on the market to choose from, ready to inspire whether you’re cooking with or for your spouse.

3. Board Games

Board games have made a huge comeback against all the odds in this age of digital. If your partner is an avid gamer, then what better gift than something fun that you can both play together. Here’s a list of great board games for couples. Perhaps level-up your love game in Fog of Love, although, of course, it doesn’t have to be a romance-related game.

4. Art Print

Whether it be a couples portrait, your wedding vows or custom art made from the sheet music of the song played for your first dance, hang it on your wall to always be reminded of your special day.

This shop on Etsy, for example, will create a unique stylised portrait of you and your partner using the words and photograph of your choice, printed on heavyweight quality paper ready to be framed and cherished.

5. Poetry

A great paper anniversary gift doesn’t have to cost a penny. Surprise your loved one with words from the heart that they will treasure forever. Romantic poetry originated in the late eighteenth century, when William Wordsworth defined it as “the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings”. You don’t need to be a modern day Wordsworth though – it’s the thought that counts!

6. Personalised Stationery

When it comes to gifts, a personalised diary or notebook is a timeless classic. Keep it classy with embossed initials and your partner’s favourite colour. Not only will it pretty up their desk but they’ll think of you every time they use it, too. There are a number of products from Not on the Highstreet which fit the bill perfectly.

And the really wonderful thing about paper – and paper-based gifts – is that it is tactile, tangible and, if you take care of it, it can last a lifetime. Even if you mark your first anniversary with just a love note scribbled on paper, it’s something that can be cherished for the years to come.

The Paper Fact File

Paper is one of the most sustainable and recycled materials in the world!

Visit the Paper Fact File to discover the facts about paper’s sustainable attributes. Some might surprise you!