Wedding anniversaries are a time for celebrating love and remembering vows. Each year the celebration is marked with a different name – an item that symbolises the various stages of married life, such as paper, ruby and diamond.
It's a tradition that was started by Roman husbands, who would gift their wives a silver garland on their 25th wedding anniversary. Since roman times other precious metals and materials have been added to the list to embody a different year of marriage - but did you know each anniversary also has an associated flower?
Lucia Polla from the UK's leading online florist, www.serenataflowers.com, has revealed the flowers that symbolise each year of married life.
1st anniversary – Carnation
A couple's first anniversary is symbolised by Carnations. In their red form, carnations symbolise admiration, whilst in their white form they represent innocence. Carnations are a long-lived flower that embodies the promise of a lifetime spent together.
2nd anniversary – Lily of the Valley
With their white hue and delicate petals, Lilies of the Valley are known as a sign of purity and have symbolised devotion for centuries. According to legend, a nightingale will only return to the woods in spring once the Lily of the Valley is in bloom – just as a spouse in their second year of marriage will eagerly await their partner's return when they're away.
3rd anniversary – Sunflower
Sunflowers are the emblem of the third year of marriage. Their strong stems symbolise strong foundation of a relationship while their sunny hues represent the warmth shared between lovers. Sunflowers turn their heads to follow the direction of the sun, symbolising loyalty.
4th anniversary – Hydrangea
Hydrangea symbolises the growing understanding between two people along and is given on the fourth year of marriage. It also symbolises gratitude and is the perfect way to thank a spouse for another year of a happy marriage together.
5th anniversary – Daisy
The meaning of Daisies is "forever love". Whilst they may appear simple or even boring at first glance, a closer inspection reveals an intricate texture and petal structure. Just as a couple in their fifth year of marriage may begin to slip into mundane routines, the Daisy is given as a reminder that there are still surprises to be found.
6th anniversary - Calla Lily
The Calla Lily is an elegant and colourful bloom symbolic of growth. In its pink form it carries connotations of admiration and appreciation and as the flower associated with the sixth anniversary it is traditionally gifted as a promise of passion.
7th anniversary – Freesia
Traditionally a trying year for couples, many look to avoid the seven year itch by presenting their loved one with a Freesia, a symbol of trust and faithfulness.
8th anniversary – Lilac
With its enchanting scent, pretty purple petals and heart shaped leaves, Lilacs are a symbol of first love. Traditionally given on the 8th year of marriage, Lilacs are gifted to remind couples of the fiery romance shared in the early days of a relationship.
9th anniversary – Bird of Paradise
The 9th wedding anniversary is embodied in the Bird of Paradise flower – an exotic and magnificent flower symbolic of freedom and joy. It connotates faithfulness and thoughtfulness and represents having a good perspective on life, as a couple in their ninth year should.
10th anniversary - Daffodil
Daffodils are often used to signify memories not forgotten and are the symbol of a decade spent in wedlock. They also symbolise new beginnings and therefore presenting your spouse with a bouquet of Daffodils is a reminder of the memories shared throughout married life and a promise of more to come.
25th anniversary - Iris
A notable flower for a notable milestone. The 25th anniversary is represented by the Iris, which signifies faith, wisdom and promise. The Iris is also the symbol of France and heavily associated with Paris, the city of love. It also represents respect and compliments - a fitting flower to mark the occasion.
50th anniversary – Yellow Rose and Violets
The only anniversary that is marked by not one but two flowers. The contrasting colours of Yellow Roses and Violets symbolises the coming together of two people that complement and support each other despite their differences. Yellow Roses are symbolic of beauty and prosperity whilst Violets represent humility and commitment. Excellent traits of a long and healthy marriage.