The First Wedding Anniversary – Ruminations on Paper

posted on 5 February 2013 by The Tie The Knot Team
posted to Wedding Tips & Advice


Those of you who married last year will celebrate one year of marriage this year. One whole year … 352 days, 52 weeks together as a married couple.

We’re not going to congratulate you. There’s nothing more patronising (although I am slightly envious). This is the time to celebrate yourselves as a unit not simply because you choose to cohabit, but because you’re now committed on paper.

Rather fitting then, that the traditional gift for a first anniversary is paper – the rather flimsy material used mainly for writing upon, drawing or packaging.

Paper, or as it was initially known, parchment – because it was made from the pulp of grasses pressed together and dried between flexible sheets.

Despite paper’s connection with papyrus reeds and the Egyptians, it was actually developed in China during the early 2nd century AD, attributed to Cai Lun, a Han court eunuch.

The word ‘paper’ comes from the Latin papyrus, which in turn comes from the Greek papuros. And it was used in ancient Etypt and other Mediterranean cultures for writing before paper was introduced.

Actually paper, and papyrus, are very different in quality, and today’s modern paper is manufactured from fibres that have been macerated, whilst papyrus laminates natural plants to form its material.

Paper’s fragility is what seems most apt about its choice as a first year representative. That and its role as the repository for our innermost thoughts, if we keep a journal, or for poetry and heartfelt stories written down in moments of reflection.

Particularly in a generation where gadgets and tools are held in such esteem paper is a wonderful focus, and gift ideas are plentiful:

  • A beautiful journal – there are some lovely options at Exclusive Books, or scan the tables at your local craft markets
  • Scrapbook paper collection – if either of you is into scrapbooking
  • Paper flowers – hop online and get creative; there are many tutorials and videos to show you how; if you haven’t the time visit
  • A Kindle (okay, I stooped and introduced a gadget, but Kindle does use a special paper-like screen!)

ps: the more modern version of the first anniversary gift is apparently a clock, so if you run out of ideas for paper, you can always get a kitchen wall clock?

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