Time flies by, especially when it comes to remembering anniversaries.

Now, your wedding anniversary has rolled around again - for the third time, can you believe it?! - and it’s a wonderful opportunity to look back at everything you’ve achieved together.

It may only be the beginning of your married lives, but already, you have done so much together. In our books, celebrating 3 years after you said ‘I do’ is just as important as it will be 60 years down the line.

So, we urge you, don’t just mark the occasion with a takeaway - make the day shamelessly special, sentimental and soppy.

It may have only been 3 years, but if you’re already stuck for gift ideas, this guide has got you covered. Below, we’ve explored the history of celebrating wedding anniversaries, the theme of your third wedding anniversary (which traditionally, is leather), and inspiration for themed anniversary gifts.

Keep reading to find everything that you need to create a heartfelt 3rd wedding anniversary celebration.

The history of 3 year wedding anniversaries - why leather?

During the Victorian period, giving themed gifts for wedding anniversaries quickly became a much-loved, common practice.

Then in 1922, Emily Post (an influential American writer) immortalised this practice, in the book Etiquette. This is where the first ‘official’ list of themes was specified for different wedding anniversaries.

This original list only included anniversaries 1 and 5, then every 5 year anniversary from 5 up until the 25th wedding anniversary.

The 3rd wedding anniversary was only added to the list of wedding anniversary themes in 1937.

The American National Retail Jeweler Association expanded this list, filling in the gaps left for the early anniversaries (2, 3 and 4), then including themes for the anniversaries after the 25th (still following the same pattern of every 5 years).

Traditional gift ideas for your 3rd wedding anniversary

It’s at times like these where the internet is our best friend.

To help you find a thoughtful and personal traditional leather third anniversary gift idea, here’s a list of some of our favourite themed gift ideas:

  • Notebook - quality leather notebooks are a great addition to any desk. You could even level this up a notch, and buy a personalised leather notebook.
  • Leather keychains
  • Leather satchels or bags or even travel luggage
  • Leather photo album
  • Leather home accessories

You can also buy vegan leather - an equally strong and durable material, which provides a great, eco-conscious and vegan-friendly alternative. This is now widely available, and many artisan creatives include vegan leather products in their range.

Another great thing about leather is that it’s easy to personalise. Leather is renowned for its soft and supple qualities, which means that it can be imprinted or embossed. Lots of online shops offer personalisation services for their leather gifts - so be sure to keep an eye out for this option!

Where did modern wedding gift themes come from?

Modern wedding anniversary themes have been popular in recent years, as a more relevant alternative to traditional themes.

The modern wedding gift themes are designed to be a better fit to what materials are readily available, and what we perceive as staple additions to a home.

In many cases (since they are almost 100 years old, after all) traditional themes are slightly outdated, or don’t fit with conventional habits, in the same way as they did when they were first introduced.

So, a modern list of wedding gift themes was created, so that couples could choose a more practical and useful gift alternative, while still sticking with the popular idea of themes.

For the third wedding anniversary, the modern theme is glass / crystal.

Glass or crystal gifts are a step up from the themes of year 1 and 2, but they are still affordable and easy-to-find materials.

There are many ways in which you can play with this theme, so use your imagination, and have fun with it!

To help you get started, we’d recommend that you follow these 5 tips for choosing a modern third wedding anniversary gift:

  1. Search charity shops and vintage shops. These shops are a gold-mine for unique pieces of glass and crystal. Set aside plenty of time to search them - you’ll never know what gems you might find!
  2. Find something that fits your partner’s personality. If penguins are their favourite animal, keep an eye out for a cute glass penguin sculpture. Or, if green is their favourite colour, look for a dyed piece of glass.
  3. Or, you could choose a sustainable option. If you’ve got an old wine or beer bottle, use online craft videos to turn it into an eco-conscious gift. For example, they make great fairy light holders or vases. 
  4. Make it personal. Glass engraving is a widely available service. Adding your partner’s name or the date of your anniversary are wonderful personal touches!
  5. If in doubt, keep it small. These anniversary themes were made to be affordable (especially for the early wedding anniversaries). So, don’t go too overboard - otherwise the theme will lose its meaning!

We hope you enjoyed our round-up of our expert’s guide to choosing a special 3rd wedding anniversary gift.

The great thing about the tradition of themed wedding anniversaries is that they provide a helpful starting point, from which you can think of a thoughtful and inspired gift, which is at once classical and personal to you both.

Who needs cheap chocolates when you’ve got these themes to inspire you?