Anniversary card that says "I Did Then, I Do Now, I Will Always"

The Leather Anniversary: What You Need to Know

If you’re into giving traditional anniversary gifts, then you already know that the third wedding anniversary is the leather anniversary. But if you’re new to the idea of giving out traditional wedding anniversary gifts, we’ve got you covered. 

The leather anniversary can be a tricky one to get right. The last thing you want is to represent the strength of your marriage by buying cheap, bonded leather destined to fall apart in a year or two. 

That’s why, in addition to explaining traditional wedding anniversary gifts, we’ve provided a list of clever gift ideas for your third wedding anniversary. 

What’s the deal with “traditional” wedding anniversary gifts?

In traditional anniversary celebrations, each anniversary is tied to a specific material, ranging from paper to diamond. The idea is that you celebrate your anniversary by purchasing something made from that material or highlighting that material. 

But where did this tradition come from, and what does it have to do with your upcoming anniversary celebration? 

That’s why, in addition to explaining traditional wedding anniversary gifts, we’ve provided a list of clever gift ideas for your third wedding anniversary. 

What’s the history behind these traditional anniversary gifts?

It’s hard to know exactly where the list of traditional anniversary gifts came from, but one theory is that it originated in the UK in the 1800s. During the Victorian era, celebrations became much bigger than they had been in the past. It’s likely that big anniversary gifts became the norm during that period of time. 

Some of the specific items on the list have deeper roots, however. In medieval times, people celebrated their 25th anniversary with a wreath of silver and their 50th anniversary with a wreath of gold. Today, silver and gold are still used for the 25th and 50th anniversaries. 

The traditional anniversary gift list was officially published by Emily Post in 1922. The American National Jewelers Retailers Association updated the list in 1937, creating what’s now referred to as the “modern” list. 

Do people still do traditional anniversary gifts?

Many couples still choose to celebrate their anniversaries with traditional anniversary gifts. Others opt to choose from a modernized anniversary gift list or simply buy something they think their significant other would appreciate. 

There’s no right or wrong way to celebrate an anniversary. Going by the traditional gift-giving list can add an extra challenge and make your anniversary special while tying it to your roots. 

It’s a good idea to talk to your partner before your anniversary to decide if you want to go with traditional gifts or something more modern. 

Black and white picture of a laughing couple celebrating their leather anniversary
A couple holding scrabble tiles spelling "forever" in celebration of their anniversary

What are the traditional gifts for each year?

Emily Post’s list of traditional gift ideas included one gift for each year for the first twenty years, as well as gifts for every five years from then until the 60th anniversary. 

These traditional wedding gifts are:

  • 1st: Paper

  • 2nd: Cotton

  • 3rd: Leather

  • 4th: Fruit OR Flowers

  • 5th: Wood

  • 6th: Iron

  • 7th: Copper

  • 8th: Bronze OR Pottery

  • 9th: Willow OR Pottery

  • 10th: Aluminum

  • 11th: Steel

  • 12th: Home Décor

  • 13th: Lace

  • 14th: Ivory

  • 15th: Crystal

  • 16th: Silverware

  • 17th: Furniture

  • 18th: Porcelain

  • 19th: Bronze

  • 20th: China

  • 25th: Silver

  • 30th: Pearl

  • 35th: Jade

  • 40th: Ruby

  • 45th: Sapphire

  • 50th: Gold

  • 55th: Emerald

  • 60th: Diamond

How much should you spend on an anniversary gift?

Family finances are a personal thing. So if you’re wondering how much to spend on an anniversary gift for your partner, the first person to talk to is your partner. This is especially true if you have joint finances and your decision will impact the entire household. 

As a general rule, couples who have been together for less time spend less money on each other. So the amount of money you spend on your one-year anniversary will likely be less than the amount of money you spend on your ten-year anniversary. 

However, if you’re saving up for something big — like a family trip — or you’re currently trying to build your savings accounts or pay off debts, it’s okay to spend less than you normally would. 

Just make sure you talk about it ahead of time so nobody’s feelings are hurt. Managing expectations before the anniversary prevents you from spending unevenly on each other — a phenomenon that can make both the over- and under-spender feel bad. 

What should you buy for the leather anniversary?

One of the biggest mistakes people make when buying gifts is choosing something for their partner that they’d want for themselves. This advice — often given to children when they’re first learning about gift-giving — can backfire, especially if you and your partner have very different interests or needs. 

Instead of asking what you’d want for your leather anniversary, ask yourself the following questions when considering a gift: 

  • Is this something my partner would use? 

  • Is this something they would want for themselves but wouldn’t splurge on? 

  • Will this be meaningful to them? 

A genuine Horween Leather wallet makes a smart Leather Anniversary gift that will last a liftime
A leather notebook cover makes for a Leather Anniversary gift that will last a lifetime

7 gift ideas for the leather anniversary

Once you know the types of questions to ask when evaluating a potential gift, it’s time to decide on the best gift for your anniversary. Here are our suggestions for seven of the best gifts to buy for the leather anniversary. 

1. Leather Tote bag

I bought this bag as a Christmas present for my wife. She carries it everyday and absolutely loves it. She gets compliments on it regularly. I have bought several items from Popov and everything is high quality and beautiful. Thanks for the great work.

MPB ★★★★★ Verified Reviewer

Whether your partner likes to travel or needs a work bag to keep their professional EDC items in, you can’t go wrong when you choose a leather tote bag for your third anniversary. These stylish, spacious tote bags have a myriad of uses and provide a practical gift option that you can’t go wrong with. 

Another great thing about choosing a leather tote bag for a gift is that you can put other gifts in it. If you had an idea for an anniversary gift that didn’t fit into the traditional leather motif, you can use a leather tote bag to “wrap” the present and check off both boxes. 

2. Leather Wallet

Just about everyone uses a wallet, and a full-grain leather wallet can last a lifetime. Take this anniversary gift to the next level by adding a custom engraving.  

Not sure what wallet to buy for your partner? We’ve written guides on how to select the best wallets for guys and the best wallets for gals to help you make a smart decision that your partner will love. 

3. Watch with a Leather Strap

Watches have been making a huge comeback in recent years. In fact, we consider them an EDC necessity. While you could just look at your phone for the time, watches have an elevated style and allow you to track the time even when your phone dies (or you’re in a meeting and checking your phone would be rude). 

Leather watch straps have a buttery-smooth feel, so they don’t chafe your partner’s skin. They also have a wear-anywhere style that’s practical and minimalist in nature while saying a lot about your partner’s sense of style and decorum. 

4. Leather Passport Cover

I recently bought the Heritage Brown passport cover with the red stitching since I had a big trip to Tanzania, Africa coming up. It worked out great and looked (and smelled) even better than expected. I loved that every time I had to pull out my passport (MANY times at the airport), that I got to use and show off the leather and red stitching to the X number of agents and got a few compliments along the way as well. For such an important travel document, it's nice to have such a classy looking cover that holds passport, credit card, and even a few bucks in the pockets as well.

Ben S. ★★★★★ Verified Reviewer

Planning a trip in the future? 

A leather passport cover tells your partner that you envision a marriage filled with fun trips together. It’s a great option if you’re looking for a gift for your leather anniversary that is budget-friendly while also saying a lot about your dreams for your future together. 

5. Leather Toiletry Bag

I bought this for my husband for Christmas to replace a “pleather” one that he’s had since the dawn of time. The smell alone is worthy of a 15/10 rating! It’s spacious, super soft, and will last a lifetime! Now we just need to plan that road trip to put it to use!

Liz B. ★★★★★ Verified Reviewer

A leather toiletry bag is useful for a partner who travels or is looking for creative organizational solutions for their side of the bathroom. Supple, buttery-smooth leather with a rich, earthy smell will bring a new level of class to your partner’s toiletries. 

This is another great gift if you’re looking to wrap something small and personal for your partner in your leather anniversary gift. The handsome leather bag will only enhance any gift you stow inside. 

6. Leather Journal Cover

A leather journal cover is a great anniversary gift for a partner who likes to keep a daily planner on hand or who journals on a regular basis. 

Their journal cover can transfer from notebook to notebook over the years, giving them a sense of balance and cohesion in their life even as time marches on. 

7. Leather Turntable Mat

Love it! Very high quality leather with a tight grain, so the record sits flat on the mat. Dampens vibrations and couples the record to the platter.

Faisal A. ★★★★★ Verified Reviewer

If your partner loves music — especially old records — they’ll love a leather turntable mat.

 Turntable mats enhance the quality of the sound coming off a record player by minimizing the vibrations coming off the turntable itself. 

This means your spouse can enjoy their records the way they were meant to be enjoyed, free of distortions. 

Celebrate your leather anniversary the right way

Your anniversary is a golden opportunity to celebrate everything you love about your spouse. 

Just like your marriage, full-grain leather is designed to last a lifetime. And, just like your marriage, it will change over the years, its history shaping its future. 

Perhaps that’s why leather has been chosen to represent the third year of your marriage, when the honeymoon phase has died down and the hard work of making your marriage last begins. Choosing a high-quality leather item to celebrate this anniversary makes it clear that you understand the longevity of your marriage. 

Who knows? Your partner may still treasure the gift from their third anniversary when you’re celebrating your sixtieth anniversary. 

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