How to Pick the Right Gift for Him on Your Wedding Anniversary

by Niki in — Updated November 22, 2021 — Reading Time: 4 minutes
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Source: Photoroyalty/

Picking an anniversary present for him isn’t as simple as it sounds. For one thing, there’s a weird pressure to make sure the gift isn’t just something he likes, but also something with a thematic tie-in to your relationship or the wedding itself. The last time that kind of tie-in was obvious was when you were staring at men’s wedding bands together, and that was months before you said “I Do!”

For another thing, anniversary gift suggestions seem skewed toward what to get her rather than what to get him. And while he’s impressed with you with his sensitivity and plant knowledge, that last-minute anniversary gift basket with chocolate-covered roses and about thirty feet of ribbons might not be his first choice.

Finally, do some anniversaries count more than others? You don’t have to keep track of whether this is Christmas #5 or Birthday #6 since you’ve been together, but your parents just mentioned that they celebrated their Sapphire Anniversary. What does that even mean? If you’re feeling overwhelmed, we’ve got you covered.

Traditional Materials

You’re not the first one to face this dilemma. There’s a whole tradition of wedding anniversary gift materials that shifts from year to year, complete with charts and everything. Sapphire is #45, by the way. Most of the materials on the list, especially early on, are abundantly available, so shopping for them isn’t a daunting scavenger hunt. What are those ski lift tickets printed on? Paper? What’s the composition of that snazzy new shirt? 100% cotton.

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Source: fizkes/

Alternate Resources

What if that traditional track isn’t working for you? Say he doesn’t really need any linen in year 4. Or you noticed that year 17 is apparently a gap year. Good news: There’s a modern track as well (electronic appliances for year 4 and furniture for year 17, just in case you were wondering). Is it OK to toggle between the two? Totally, unless you take pride in finding creative ways to check each material off, and you realize that there is some repetition between the lists. Of course, repetition doesn’t have to be a bad thing. If he just really wants lift tickets every year, maybe you can just stay in the groove.

Wedding Related Gifts

Is his original wedding band a bit worse for wear? Maybe it’s hiding out somewhere in the armchair spring mechanism? Give him an upgrade or just an additional option. Something bold and sturdy — have you thought about titanium wedding bands recently?

What if you give him a memento of the wedding that isn’t a centerpiece or a close-up of the two of you staring into each other’s eyes? Maybe frame that shot of him on his groomsmen’s shoulders during “Sweet Caroline.” That can go up in his mancave, conveniently replacing the poster that looks like it was a relic of his bachelor party.

Materials aren’t the only way to commemorate a year. Play a numbers game. Is he a diehard Tom Brady fan, no matter what team the GOAT plays for? Is this your twelfth anniversary? Sounds like there might be a jersey and TB12 meal subscription in his future.

Add a Personalized Message

Do you know the easiest way to send a message with a gift? It’s literally to send a message with a gift. Better yet, write the message on the gift. Take something he already has — watch, pocket knife, coffee thermos — and engrave it. Buy him something new and engrave it. Honestly, the more things that have your wedding date on them, the more likely he will remember the anniversary next year so that he doesn’t panic buy something and pay ludicrously high shipping rates.

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Source: pio3/

A Shared Experience

Do you get the sense that he is struggling with anniversary ideas as well? Go in on the planning together. After all, you planned the wedding together. OK, maybe one of you did some more of the planning than the other one. Or not — who knew he spent a summer apprenticed to a florist?

You don’t have to plan another wedding reception, but dressing up and eating a good meal before heading off to an exotic location? That sounds like an experience worth recreating. Room service at the fancy hotel you commute past every day? Yes, please. Enjoy planning something elaborate that you can do together, possibly with less input from opinionated family members and a little more budget flexibility to boot.

It doesn’t have to involve formal clothes or distant travel. This is your chance to finally see if you are one of those couples that enjoy going to the opera. If you want to include a gift-wrapped present along with a special date night, that’s totally fine. But don’t feel like you have to. Experiences are often the most appreciated presents — and they are less likely to end up in a junk drawer.

Don’t Get Too Hung Up on the Rules

Are you worried about getting him something that isn’t anniversary-y enough instead of just a solid gift? Don’t be. Part of the joy of marriage is learning more and more about your partner. So if he really wants a replacement part for his fancy popcorn maker, don’t buy him cologne because it feels like more of a romantic gesture. You’ve been picking out his wardrobe and sharing his Amazon cart for years. Shop with confidence.


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