15 Paper Gifts for your First Wedding Anniversary
I have to say a big congrats on your upcoming first wedding anniversary together! If you’re reading this paper anniversary gift article then it likely means a whole year has flown by since tying the knot. Yay!
For some of you it’s been a series of firsts and adjustments as a newlywed couple, while for others business as usual. Either way, your 1st wedding anniversary (also known as the paper anniversary) marks a milestone in your new married life and deserves a special gift to mark the occasion.
You don’t need me to tell you what to do for your first anniversary celebration … a romantic candle lit dinner and some bubbly come readily to mind. As does exchanging a nice card like the one above.
Giving each other a gift is an obvious way to recognize this special day. A day that will be a little more quiet than this time last year, but a wonderful day nonetheless. Anniversaries mean something different for everyone. Always a good time for a couple to sit back and remember their wedding day as well as take stock of the past 365 days together.
Finding that special gift is usually the hard part.
Hence why you’ve stumbled across this page on your hunt for that perfect gift. We’ve rounded up eleven 1st year anniversary gifts ideas for both him and her that will make your better half feel extra special. Let that honeymoon period last a little longer!
As with most traditions around weddings, there is usually a bit of history and protocol. We’ll let you decide whether or not to follow such traditions. If you are the traditional type (and before you go buying just any old gift), we quickly delve into the traditional theme for the 1st year wedding anniversary gift.
What’s the Traditional First Year Anniversary Gift?
Glad you asked.
Numerous sources tell us that the first year of marriage is symbolically marked with a gift of paper — a material that has been the traditional 1st anniversary gift for over a 100 years.
Well, think about the good old days when paper was handmade and more expensive than today. Instead of going to your local office supply store and buying 500 sheets for nearly nothing, paper was a prized commodity. Sure, it was abundant, but you wouldn’t just go wasting it willy-nilly.
The early years of a marriage (like paper) are fragile yet withstanding. If you handle paper with love and care, that sheet of paper will maintain its written words for a lifetime; handle the paper negligently and it may tear, fade, or break apart into nothing.
Moreso, the metaphor of paper symbolizing a bond and union of a new marriage can be seen in the strength that comes from the interlaced connection of the paper’s individual threads.
Modern First Anniversary Gift
While the traditional first anniversary gift is paper, there’s also a modern option — that of a clock!
Its not a stretch to see why a clock is a suitable symbolic gift: time is precious, just like your relationship. Remember to spend time nurturing your most precious relationship.
We stick with paper in this article and won’t get into any modern anniversary ideas.
Symbolic Flower: Carnation
Vibrant carnations have long been a symbol of young and passionate love. As such, the carnation is a wonderful metaphor for the young, passionate first year together as a married couple. Choose red as a symbol of love and admiration, white for good luck or a combination of different carnation blooms with other accents in a bouquet. While others can wilt quickly, carnations stand the test of time in a vase. They can be enjoyed and admired for up to several weeks.
Symbolic gem: Mother of Pearl
Mother of Pearl is a symbol of protection and traditionally the gem of the first anniversary celebration. It is said to have properties of deepening love and is a very calming, soothing gemstone. Not only is it symbolic of the first year of your marriage, it is also an exquisite stone to look at with its iridescent shine.
Paper Anniversary Gifts for Her
The obvious choice for a first anniversary gift is a nice notebook or a romantic love letter, but we’ve taken it a step further and found some first wedding anniversary gift ideas that offer plenty of playful and romantic fun.
A few of the gifts below can really be considered unisex, so no worries if they’re in the wrong category!
- Origami Vow Art
- Puts your vows on display in a unique way
- Perfect to display on a bookshelf
- A beautiful reminder of your loving words
- Customized Map
- Immortalizes a special place
- Lots of options to fit any decor
- Perfect to display in an office
- A Best Seller Book
- A bookish gift readers will love
- Combine with a personalized bookmark for the perfect gift
- Shows you care about what they love
- Custom Cartoon Portrait
- A gift with lots of personalities
- Easy to display at home or the office
- Option to add your furbabies (because they're family too!)
- Paper Flower Bouquet
- Lasts longer than traditional flowers
- Immortalizes love in a physical way
- Great alternative for those with allergies
- Time Since Launch Clock
- Showcases a love that's stood the test of time
- Simple design works with any decor
- Symbolic immortalizing of time
- Wedding Keepsake Library
- Keeps cherished keepsakes in one place
- An activity you can do together
- A fun twist on the traditional paper gift
- Personalized Family Birthstone Necklace
- Sweet gift for blended families
- Lots of options to create the perfect necklace
- A keepsake she can cherish forever
Our first gift suggestion calls attention to your vows. Most people who create their own vows never look at them again. They’re meaningful to you and you likely spent a lot of time writing them. Don’t let them hide away in a file on your laptop. Turn them into something special and beautiful like an origami bird, which you can request as a custom order by this Etsy seller.
Does the city you got married in mean something to the both of you?
This is a fun idea. Minted lets you create your very own personalized map, which is available in foil-pressed, letterpressed, or in standard printing in a variety of vibrant colors. This would definitely be a great idea for a couple who traveled to their favorite city to get married.
Did your bookworm spouse hint that their favorite author just came out with a new thriller? Something hot off the press is definitely in order as a gift.
Want a fun spin on traditional paper? Choose this custom cartoon portrait! With a variety of background options (with everything from Avengers to Harry Potter to tie dye) and the ability to add your pet children, this gift will go straight to their heart and up on the wall.
The best types of flowers are the ones that don’t need to be watered and that never dies.
Paper flowers have been massively popular in the last couple of years. Buy her a pretty paper flower bouquet that she can display for a long time to come. You could also use it as a centerpiece for your anniversary dinner.
If you're looking for something a little more permanent, this is it. When celebrating time (I mean, that's what an anniversary is, right?!?), what better way than with a time "capsule." Pulling the pin literally burns the date into the chip, marking it forever. It might not be paper, but paper burns like the date into the chip, so I'll take it.
This sweet library is the perfect way to keep your something old, new, borrowed, and blue. Better yet? It's made from paper. Make a date night of collecting your items and let your memories roll.
Another slightly non-traditional gift that's perfect for non-traditional families. Maybe your marriage symbolized the joining of families. Or you've added a little one in your first year of marriage. A birthstone necklace is the perfect way to include the other members of your family in the celebration.
Paper Anniversary Gifts for Him
There could’ve been a few more anniversary gifts for him on this list — the type that satisfy as only an anniversary can. See number two on this list and you can imagine that this list would be a mile long! We’ll let you come up with some additional ones on your own.
- Wine Club Membership
- Since they pick their own wines, you'll never get the wrong one
- Can double as a monthly date activity
- There's plenty of options both red and white wine drinkers will love
- Year of Joy Photobook
- Perfect to display as a coffee table book
- More personal than a single framed photo
- Lots of options to personalize
- Love Coupons
- A gift that keeps giving
- Fun for both
- Out-of-the-box, yet still traditional paper
- Wedding Sounds Art
- A way to proclaim your love when simple words won't do
- No better way to declare your love than by displaying it in your home
- A unique conversation piece
- Delightful Date Puzzle
- A gift you can do together
- Sweet way to immortalize your favorite picture
- A gift that can be used multiple times
- Yearly Magazine Subscription
- A gift you can do together
- Sweet way to immortalize your favorite picture
- A gift that can be used multiple times
- Gift Basket for Men
- Great option for minimalists
- A non-traditional option for non-traditional couples
- A gift you can both enjoy (if he shares!)
- Personalized Love Bird
- Framed and ready to display
- A fun twist on a traditional paper gift
- Shows your "lovey-dovey" side
Married to a wine lover like me? A wine club membership is just the thing to show them you know the way to their heart. Make it a monthly date to sample the new wines and you've found a gift you both can enjoy all year long.
There is nothing quite as personal as a photo book. Since you have complete control over the design, you can arrange your story just the way you like. Your sweetie will love seeing the past year of marriage through your eyes—I promise.
Add a little spice to the gifting this year. A sexy coupon book might be a gift for them, but it's a gift for you too. And since it's made from paper, you're not neglecting tradition.
Chances are your wedding night first dance song is a favorite for both of you. We love this idea of taking the song you played as your first dance and turning it into a sound wave. Visually appealing, it will bring back wonderful memories everything time you look at it.
My husband and I love to do puzzles, and I'm kicking myself that I didn't get this for our first anniversary. Since the puzzle is made from cardboard, it's a fantastic nod to the traditional paper gift while adding a bit of fun.
Okay, this one may not top the romance meter, but sometimes a practical gift is just as meaningful.
If your husband is anything like mine, he would be thrilled to receive a year-long subscription to Wine Spectator accompanied by a bottle of fine wine!
Even a man who has everything can never have enough snacks. And what goes great with snacks? Beer. A gift basket of edible items is the perfect way to show him your love without cluttering your home.
If you're looking to stick the traditional paper gift but want to think a little out of the box (literally), these origami love birds are just the thing.
Ideas to Celebrate Your 1st Anniversary
Stumped for ideas on how to spend your 1st anniversary day? In this last section we’ve got a quick roundup of ideas to celebrate:
- Eat the top tier of your wedding cake in a romantic spot
- Relive the day by viewing your wedding video or looking through your wedding album
- Plan a dinner at the same venue that you held your wedding reception
- Go for a picnic with paper plates and cups
- Create paper love notes to lead your spouse around the house on a special treasure hunt
- Find a photographer and plan an anniversary photo shoot. Check out how these creative couples celebrated their first year anniversary
We hope this article has inspired you to find the perfect 1st year anniversary gift for your partner.
You don’t have to spend a fortune on a gift to make it meaningful. Many of the gift ideas above are both budget friendly and allow for customization. When in doubt, get creative: grab some paper and write a beautiful love letter. Trust me, it will be as meaningful as any gift you buy!
Your marriage is in its infancy and the groundwork lay now will help solidify a happy and successful union. Three hundred and sixty five days down, and a lifetime of happiness to go!
Until next year (hint: it’s Cotton), thanks for checking out our list of paper anniversary gift ideas.
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Despite her dreamy wedding blogger lifestyle, Meredith's day job is running ClassicVeils.com and a full-time mom to an active toddler. If she could, Meredith would spend her days taking cruises, helping animals in need, and watching Big Brother!
Great idea! Super photos 🙂
That’s great list of ideas, very inspiring.
Thank you for the inspiration for a gift for the first wedding anniversary. Now I know what I will buy my wife. It will be a peice of art – a large-format printout of our wedding photo.
I love the sketch. My husband gave me a Dreamlines sketch of my dress from the front and back view. It was the most sentimental gift. Very perfect.
Years ago my husband got me an anniversary sundial that sits indoors on the window sill and makes rainbows in the family room when the sun shines. I don’t remember what it’s called exactly but you can find it online with a search. He gave me a gift certificate (paper gift, first anniversary) and when I had the man make it for my windowsill he added a date line that the time shadow follows on our anniversary and a special mark that the time shadow touches at the same time we did our vows. So, on our second anniversary, my husband had champagne ready for the time the shadow hit the mark, to celebrate the moment of our vows with champagne and rainbows. We do it every year, and it has become a nice tradition!
What a lovely anniversary gift story! Thanks for sharing.