Congratulations on your 4th year of married life!
1460 days after you said ‘I do’ (yep, we did the maths) - that’s definitely a cause for celebration!
However, far too many of us neglect this wedding anniversary. After all, it’s just passed the early loved-up honeymoon-phase anniversaries, and just before the more conventional milestone of year #5.
So, we’re here to shine a spotlight on the 4th wedding anniversary - and about time too! It’s a brilliant excuse to spend a day together, give thoughtful, sentimental gifts, and reminisce on everything that you’ve achieved thus far.
To help you tick one of these boxes, our experts have created the ultimate guide to the 4th wedding anniversary traditions.
Below, you can find out more about the history of giving silk gifts, themed gift inspirations to aid your search, and modern alternatives (if you think your partner might find silk a bit old-school).
The history of 4 year wedding anniversaries - why silk?
Interestingly, the 4th wedding anniversary traditions weren’t actually included in the original list of wedding anniversary themes.
The original list of wedding anniversary themes (as published in 1922) only included 1 and 5 - missing out all of the early anniversaries - then it continued to feature themes for anniversaries, following a pattern of once every 5 years.
This list came from the book Etiquette, which was written by the American author Emily Post. She based this list off the common Victorian practice of giving themed wedding anniversary gifts each year. Her book marked the first publication of an ‘official’ list of themes.
The 4th wedding anniversary theme wasn’t secured until 1937, when this official list was expanded by The American National Retail Jeweler Association. They filled in the gaps at anniversaries 2, 3 and 4, then included themes for later years too (as the original list stopped at the 25th wedding anniversary).
Traditional gift ideas for your 4th wedding anniversary
Before we get started, an important note on this year’s theme: the theme of the fourth wedding anniversary is different in the UK and America.
In the UK, this year’s theme is silk. Whereas in the US, the occasion is marked with either fruit or flowers. So, don’t let this little trap catch you out!
Silk might sound like a daunting theme, but your 4th wedding anniversary gift doesn’t have to be a headache. These beautiful silk gift ideas are the perfect inspiration to start your search:
- Silk scarves
- Silk scrunchies
- Silk suit pocket square
- Wall hangings
- Although not made of actual silk (that would cost a pretty penny, for sure!) we love wall hangings which have a soft, silk-like effect.
Where did modern wedding gift themes come from?
Modern wedding anniversary themes are becoming increasingly popular. For many couples, they are a more practical and relevant alternative to the traditional anniversary themes.
This way, they can give a gift that is still sentimental and traditional, while still choosing something that they will both actually use.
The 4th wedding anniversary is an interesting example of this, as it clearly shows how the times have changed.
The modern wedding gift theme for a 4th wedding anniversary is electrical appliances.
Now, this might sound odd at first, but actually, there’s a lot of logic behind this. The modern wedding anniversary themes were introduced to better fit the lives and requirements of young couples in the 21st century.
At the same time, modern themes have been devised using the same principles as the traditional ones - every year, the themes feature a more expensive, and less widely-available item.
This convention is meant to reflect how couples start small, building their homes from scratch, and work their way up over time, before choosing more expensive and ornamental gifts after more years together.
Obviously, in today’s world of incredible technological innovation, there’s loads of ways that you can have fun with the theme of electronic appliances.
Use your imagination, and think of something that you both need, while still putting thought and sentimentality into your search.
To inspire your search, here are our 5 top tips for choosing a modern fourth wedding anniversary gift:
- Try to keep it personal. Rather than choosing a standard supermarket kettle, look for fun colours or customisation options.
- Humour is always a winner. You could put a funny twist on this theme, by finding a novelty appliance.
- Think about an appliance for date night. Appliances like waffle makers, popcorn makers, fondue sets, or hot chocolate kits make great gifts, as they provide something that you can do together.
- What are you currently missing? The idea of the themes is to help couples fill your house with shared pieces. So, choose something that you’d both enjoy using.
- What would they like? Search for an appliance that would benefit their daily routine.
We hope that you have fun with this wedding anniversary gift inspiration. Every year, these themes provide a great base, from which you can frame your search.
What’s particularly wonderful about this tradition is that, although it specifies a material for you to focus on, it’s still a pretty blank canvas. You can really make the theme your own, putting your own twist on the idea, adding personal touches, and making it reflect who you both are as a couple.
Plus, it always looks dead thoughtful.