Can you believe it’s been a whole 2 years?!

The honeymoon period of newlyweds may have died down (unless you’re giving Posh and Becks a run for their money), but this is an equally wonderful year for married life.

Whether it’s meeting new people, adding a furry friend to your family, or simply decorating the living room, it’s wonderful to take a moment and look back at the milestones you’ve reached this year.

So, although it may not be as grandiose a celebration 60 years together, your second wedding anniversary is still an equally special event. After all, these annual occasions are all about celebrating your unfolding life and blossoming relationship, marking everything you’ve achieved together so far, and eagerly awaiting your exciting future.

In this guide, we’ve covered all the details that you’ll need for your 2nd wedding anniversary. Keep reading to find out more about the history of the theme (this year it’s cotton), traditional anniversary gift inspiration, plus ideas for gifts based on the modern theme.

The history of 2 year wedding anniversaries - why cotton?

In 1922, Emily Post (an influential American writer) wrote the book Etiquette. In it, she created the first ‘official’ list of themes for different wedding anniversaries. This list was based on the practice of giving themed gifts, which had shot up in popularity during the Victorian period.

Emily’s original list included the 1st and 5th wedding anniversaries, and then continued with the anniversaries of every 5 years, up until the 25th anniversary.

The 2nd wedding anniversary was added to this list in 1937. At this point, the list was expanded by the American National Retail Jeweler Association. They filled in the gaps in the early anniversaries (2, 3 and 4), then gave the anniversaries of every 5 years (after the 25th) their own themes.

Originally, this only extended to the 50th anniversary. Today’s modern lists now cover anniversaries all the way up to the 75th wedding anniversary (reaching the 80th is a pretty incredible achievement!).

Traditional gift ideas for your 2nd wedding anniversary

Last year wasn’t too difficult - paper is a pretty versatile material, after all - but this year is slightly trickier. I would make some pun about that reflecting the nature of marriage, but I’ll hold off, we’ve still got the 8th anniversary (salt) and the 10th (tin) to get to yet.

So, what can we do with the theme of cotton?

Actually, if you’re crafty, it gives you a great opportunity to put your skills to the test. There’s loads of gorgeous, romantic ways that you can create a cotton-themed pressie (plus, you’ll definitely get bonus points for making it yourself).

Or, if the thought of sewing gives you shivers, then explore all the talented UK artisans selling their crafts on the internet.

To help you on your search, here are some traditional cotton second anniversary gift ideas, which are thoughtful, and just a little bit whimsical:

  • Cross stitch
  • Or, you could even get a customised cross stitch tapestry kit, which features your favourite couple’s photograph
  • Cotton clothing
  • A customised sweatshirt
  • Customised socks are always a lot of fun.
  • Or, if you’re feeling a bit mischievous… you could get some naughty customised boxers are pretty hilarious (if you can’t give these on your 2nd anniversary, when can you!?).

Where did modern wedding gift themes come from?

Cotton may be the traditional gift theme for 2nd wedding anniversaries, but the modern wedding anniversary theme for year #2 is china.

Modern wedding anniversary themes put a twist on the traditional themes, in order to make the themes more relevant to current times, what is readily available to buy, and what items are now considered to be staples to a new home. After all, these traditional themes are almost a century old (or, in the case of silver at 25 years and gold at 50 years, they go all the way back to the middle ages).

Modern wedding gift themes were created to provide a more practical alternative to traditional gifts, especially for new couples looking to build up their life and home together.

Similarly, modern themes share the traditional idea of the gifts rising in cost over time, as the couple is together longer (the idea being that they have more money to spend on gifts).

If you want to go down the modern route, china provides a sweet and sentimental keepsake to decorate your shelf or desk. But, don’t just buy any old supermarket mug…

When choosing a piece of china to buy for your anniversary gift, we’d recommend that you follow our 5 top tips:

  1. Where would you like to put it? Think of somewhere specific in your home, like a shelf in the bedroom, or on your partner’s home office. Then, choose a piece of china that would look attractive there.
  2. Think of something personal to your spouse. Do they drink endless cups of tea? If so, a mug is a sure-win. Or, if they love elephants, look for a china elephant ornament.
  3. What is their style like? Is it minimalist or colourful, kitsch and retro, or entirely modern? Look for china pieces that speak to their style.
  4. Look in vintage shops. Rather than heading to the supermarket, browse antique shops. It’s a great way to find a one-of-kind piece.
  5. Don’t go overboard! Remember, this tradition is all about making the gifts for a 2nd wedding anniversary gifts thoughtful, but still simple and affordable. You can still show them how much you care, without spending a fortune.

And there you have it! All the tips and info that you need to make your 2nd wedding anniversary fun, special and full of sentimentality. These themed presents are a wonderful way to show how much you care - after all, it’s clear that you’ve put a lot more thought into it than a bouquet from the garage.

You’ll be in the good books until next year, at the very least.