Wedding Anniversaries Celebrated

The custom of celebrating wedding anniversaries with peculiar gifts dates back to the mediaeval Germans, among whom, if a married couple lived to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of their wedding, the wife was presented by her friends and neighbors with a silver wreath, partly in congratulation of the good fortune that had prolonged the lives of the couple for so many years, and partly in recognition of the fact that they must have known a fairly harmonious existence, otherwise one or the other would long ago have been worried into the grave.

On the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary the wife received a wreath of gold. Thus these anniversaries came to be known as the silver wedding-day and the golden wedding day.

This custom has been enlarged upon until Wedding Anniversaries are now recognized by the following titles for many years and are variously celebrated:

It is a charming idea to celebrate the different anniversaries by some simple form of entertainment. Include, if possible, in your invitations all the guests who were with you on your wedding day, although a cozy little dinner, to which are bidden the bridesmaids, ushers and intimate friends, will be the most effective celebration.
Fanciful divisions of the years into shorter epochs than mark the silver, golden or diamond weddings are frequently accepted as occasions for merry-making. Of these the wooden, tin, and crystal weddings are those most commonly observed. Other anniversaries, also described in the following pages, are occasions not neglected by the lovers of merriment. The invitations to these souvenir entertainment« are usually suggestive of the occasion and are frequently of a humorous or original character, following the lines of some of the invitations given in the ensuing chapters.
The epoch which is marked off by twenty-five years of wedded life is especially honored by being named the silver wedding, while the lapse of another quarter of a century brings the golden wedding, and still another quarter the diamond wedding. Formal invitations to a silver wedding are usually printed in silver and to a golden wedding in gold upon heavy note-sheets, and frequently the initials of the wife's maiden and marriage names are combined in an embossed monogram at the top of the page between the dates of her marriage and its anniversary celebration. Very often these are the only features which distinguish them from invitations to other receptions, the wording being the same, though the golden wedding being less usual, is noted by a more impressive formula, which “request the honor of your company,” the names of the bride and groom being frequently printed a line below at opposite sides of the page. While such invitations may be, and are, varied in many ways, such divergences as personal taste directs are more frequently in the direction of removing than adding formality. The following is a very good form of invitation.
Mr. and Mrs. Robert A. Welche
request the pleasure of
company on the Twenty-fifth Anniversary of their marriage on Saturday evening, October the twenty-eighth at half after seven o'clock Arion Club
Park Avenue and Fifty-ninth Street
New York
R. S. V. P.
24 East Sixteenth Street
At these wedding anniversaries host and hostess are, during the time of receiving their guests, bride and groom, and congratulations are offered them beneath a floral wedding bell, an umbrella or canopy, and afterward they leave their station and go about among their guests. Usually the celebration is regulated entirely after the manner of an evening party. Host and hostess take places in the opening dance, and also lead the way to supper. This is usually found more practical and is considered better form than the attempt to duplicate the original wedding festivities, which may have taken place in the morning.
Gifts from near friends and relatives are in order, but so deeply rooted is the distaste of refined people for making such occasions the opportunity for display or a draft upon the generosity of acquaintances, that many invitations bear in the left-hand comer the words “no gifts.” Privileged friends may send gifts, but the latitude allowed in choosing these wedding presents often takes the choice almost if not entirely out of the realm of the designated ware or material of the anniversary. However, appropriate gifts can usually be found and, as in the case of the silver anniversary, the number of artistic and useful articles that are fashioned out of it is all the time increasing in beauty and variety, one may indulge in the fancy for selecting some articles of silver, without being compelled to choose something which can be purchased only by a large outlay of money.
Of course, as many as possible of the friends who assisted at the first ceremony are present at the anniversary. A feature of the table appointments is usually a beautifully frosted cake, upon which the monogram of the couple is conspicuously displayed.
If one feels free to respond to an invitation to a wedding anniversary by sending a gift, it should be presented to both husband and wife, as such invitations are of course issued in the name of both, and neither should be ignored.
In replying to an invitation to a wedding anniversary, it is quite proper to offer congratulations to those who thus announce the number of years of happy wedlock. A brief and comprehensive formula is:
Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Horgan accept with pleasure Mr. and Mrs. George King's kind invitation for Friday evening, October the tenth, and present to them their warmest congratulations on their China Wedding Anniversary.
8 Willow Street.
October first.

Jean Wilde Clark, Ed., "Wedding Anniversaries," in Weddings and Wedding Anniversaries: A Book of Good Form in the Conduct of Marriage Ceremonies . . . with Added Chapters about the Various Anniversaries, New York: The Butterick Publishing Company, 1910, pp. 89-92.

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