You've come a long way since that walk down the aisle. Celebrate in style with fiftieth anniversary traditions and gift ideas they'll never forget.
Fifty Year Wedding Anniversary Traditions
It's not every day that you celebrate fifty years of marriage. It's not every couple, either. If you're among the lucky couples to be celebrating 50 years of marriage with the person you love, you're in a small and envied club, and you definitely deserve to celebrate your marriage with the partner who's been by your side every step of the way.
Whether you're planning a blow out bash, a small family gathering, or a quiet evening at home, you won't have to look beyond this guide to find everything you need for a fiftieth wedding anniversary you'll never forget.
The Golden Anniversary
You've no doubt heard the fifty year wedding anniversary referred to as the Gold or Golden Anniversary. While the name is well known, the reason behind the name may not be quite as apparent.
Why is it called the Golden Anniversary?
The tradition of exchanging gifts of gold for fifty year anniversary celebrations can be traced back to the Medieval custom of husbands crowning their wives with golden wreaths upon the celebration of their fiftieth year of marriage. This custom and others form the foundation for the traditional wedding gifts that are still observed today.
In 1937, a list of contemporary readymade gifts began to circulate in tandem with the traditional list, offering couples a choice between materials. For many of the milestone anniversaries, however, these lists agree on the material. The 50 year, or Golden, Anniversary is one such celebration.
Celebrating your Silver, Platinum, Diamond, or another anniversary? Get our ULTIMATE Guide to Wedding Anniversary Gifts, for the complete list of traditional and contemporary gifts for every year.
Gifts of Gold: Golden Anniversary Gift Ideas
If you're like most people, you probably think of jewelry when you think of gold anniversary presents. Gold's versatility allows couples to exchange anniversary gifts that range from classic to utterly original designs that are in a class by themselves. We've put together some ideas below to help inspire you with a fresh approach to gold anniversary jewelry.
Shop Golden Anniversary Gifts for Her
This hand-engraved filigree diamond anniversary band in 18 kt white gold stuns with three-dimensional design for all-angle shimmer.
66 round diamonds dance around the finger in this intricate bezel and pave set diamond eternity band in 18kt white gold.
Nearly 1.5 ct of round and double emerald cut diamonds delicately embraced by 18kt yellow gold in this classic eternity band.
14kt yellow gold weaves around the wrist and displays over one-half carat of diamonds in this adjustable bangle bracelet.
This three-tone gold ring wraps her finger in 14kt rose, yellow, and white gold, with diamonds laying trail between the prominent sapphire and ruby details.
Shop Golden Anniversary Gifts for Him
Love him to the moon and back? Show it with a zirconium and meteorite anniversary ring with rose gold inlays.
The Hercules Diamond Band is a unique 14kt white gold anniversary band studded with 5 round diamonds.
An 18kt yellow gold band and meteorite inlay create the contrast for this black diamond anniversary band.
Plan Like a Pro With the Traditional 50th Anniversary Color & Flowers
Are you planning a party to celebrate your own 50th wedding anniversary, or hosting a gathering to celebrate the Golden Anniversary of your loved ones? Take inspiration from the traditional symbols of the Golden Anniversary as well as the modern and alternative options for a picturesque party that none of your guests will soon forget.
50 year wedding anniversary color: Gold
Unsurprisingly, the color associated with the Golden Anniversary is gold. From your invitations to your decorations, allow gold to guide your decisions as you weave it throughout each element of your planning. Take care not to saturate every element with gold, however, or your results may instead be gaudy. Gold details against cream or white will create an elegant backdrop for the day.
50 year wedding anniversary flower: Yellow Roses & Violets
If you want to add a pop of color to your event, consider incorporating the traditional 50th wedding anniversary flowers. Yellow roses and violets can serve as your table centerpieces at a formal event, or a small bouquet on the mantel and family dining table would provide a meaningful touch at a more private affair.
50 year wedding anniversary menu
There's no tradition to follow when it comes to planning your menu. Consider serving a meal that is meaningful to the anniversary couple, such as the dishes they served at their wedding reception. Ordering a duplicate of their wedding cake to serve for dessert is another way to bring the memories of their wedding day into focus during their anniversary celebration.
Unique 50 Year Wedding Anniversary Gifts
When you're shopping for anniversary gifts for a couple, it's important to consider their lifestyle and interests. It can be tempting to buy a commemorative keepsake, but many couples downsize their homes or travel after they've retired. Mementos such as a commemorative plate or trinket add clutter to small spaces and can't be enjoyed by couples who are on the road more often than not. Consider some of these gift worthy alternatives, instead:
50 Year Anniversary Gifts for Parents & Grandparents
For Australian couples, you can request that they receive an anniversary message from the Prime Minister or Governor-General beginning on their fiftieth wedding anniversary. You may also request these of current and former United States presidents as well as the Canadian Prime Minister by following the instructions detailed in our previous post for 25th anniversary greetings.
For a tangible gift that they can use at home or enjoy while they travel, show off your crafting skills by creating a family quilt. Don't worry if you're not the crafty type -- personalized quilts can be ordered on Etsy or by local artisans and will hold all the same meaning as one you labor over personally.
If you have access to photos of the couple over the past fifty years, consider creating a photo album or scrapbook that chronicles their journey and growth as a couple and family. To incorporate some traditional elements, a photo album with gold details or a personalized cover can serve to mark the occasion.
Get more Golden Anniversary gift ideas, plus gifts for every other year between 1-60 in our Comprehensive Guide to Wedding Anniversary Gifts by Year.
Plan Ahead: Anniversary Gifts for Years 51 - 59
Your Golden Wedding Anniversary may be a significant milestone, but that doesn't make any of the years that came before or which will come after any less meaningful. The traditional guide to wedding anniversary gifts assigns a material every fifth year after the fifteenth wedding anniversary. The contemporary list, however, provides guidance for every anniversary until your 60th.
Whether you're celebrating an anniversary between your Golden and Diamond Anniversaries now or are planning ahead, the list below is here to help you make the most out of every year of your marriage.
51 Year Wedding Anniversary
Traditional 51 year anniversary gift: N/A
Modern 51 year anniversary gift: Blue Sapphire
52 Year Wedding Anniversary
Traditional 52 year anniversary gift: N/A
Modern 52 year anniversary gift: Ruby
53 Year Wedding Anniversary
Traditional 53 year anniversary gift: N/A
Modern 53 year anniversary gift: Romantic Getaway
54 Year Wedding Anniversary
Traditional 54 year anniversary gift: N/A
Modern 54 year anniversary gift: Glass
55 Year Wedding Anniversary
Traditional 55 year anniversary gift: Emerald
Modern 55 year anniversary gift: Emerald
56 Year Wedding Anniversary
Traditional 56 year anniversary gift: N/A
Modern 56 year anniversary gift: Trip
57 Year Wedding Anniversary
Traditional 57 year anniversary gift: N/A
Modern 57 year anniversary gift: Mirror
58 Year Wedding Anniversary
Traditional 58 year anniversary gift: N/A
Modern 58 year anniversary gift: Golf Game
59 Year Wedding Anniversary
Traditional 59 year anniversary gift: N/A
Modern 59 year anniversary gift: Family Tree
If you're celebrating an anniversary that's not on this list, grab our must-have free guide to anniversary gifts by year, packed with traditional gifts, modern alternatives, and more!
Take the Guesswork Out of Golden Anniversary Gifts
Your Golden Anniversary gift is one that will always be remembered. If you're contemplating jewelry as a 50th wedding anniversary gift, don't go it alone: enlist the help of your family jeweler to find the perfect gift to celebrate your fifty years of wedded bliss.
Our professional team of experts has been dedicated to guiding discerning shoppers and collectors in San Francisco through the process of designing or selecting one of a kind jewelry for weddings and anniversaries since 1978. We invite you to drop by our Union Street showroom or schedule a free consultation to receive our proven, no strings attached advice to help you find the perfect gift for your perfect someone.
Up Next: Sixty Year Anniversary Gifts
Go Back: Twenty-Five Year Anniversary Gifts