When I see couples hitting those big marital milestones, I can’t help by fawn over how strong their relationship must be to last through all those years. My aunt and uncle recently celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary with a lovely garden party. They’re a traditional couple, so I wanted to honor their big milestone in a classic way.
A 25-year anniversary calls for gifts of silver. This tradition began in the Germanic region of Europe when husbands would give their wives garlands of silver after 25 years of marriage. The silver represented the harmony that the couple shared after being united for a quarter of a century. It’s also traditional for couples to take special vacations or renew their wedding vows at the 25-year mark— it strikes me as a time for romance and appreciating one another.
In the spirit of this beautiful tradition, I wanted to give my aunt and uncle something they could use to celebrate their love, not just for one night, but for the rest of their many years together. So I came up with three DIY, romance-themed anniversary gifts that stay true to the silver-inspired traditions, without breaking the bank.
Silver-Painted Wine Glasses
Wine glasses offer a special kind of duality. Not only is wine commonly associated with romance, but it’s also a symbol of celebration. With that in mind, I wanted my aunt and uncle to be able to toast to their long lives together with a glass of wine from their silver anniversary wine glasses.
- Two clear wine glasses
- Rubbing alcohol
- Painter’s tape or masking tape
- Heat-dry enamel paint in silver and any other accent colors you wish to add
- ½-inch paint brush for the base coat
- Fine detail paint brush
- Start by washing the wine glasses with soap and water. Dry thoroughly.
- Using a paper towel, wipe each wine glass down completely with rubbing alcohol. This will remove any fingerprints, soap film, or other tiny details that could ruin your paint job. Let the wine glasses air dry for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Place a strip of masking tape around the rim of the wine glass so at least one inch of the glass is covered. This will be the area that stays free of paint and be safe to drink from. Also cover the stem of the glass (or anywhere else you don’t want paint).
- Start by applying the base layer of silver paint. This will be the background for any details, lettering, or designs you want to add later. Let the base coat dry for 15 to 30 minutes before adding the next layer. If you need to make corrections, use nail polish remover to remove the paint before it dries.
- With the base coat done, add painted details to the glass. You can write the couple’s names and anniversary date, intertwine their initials, draw a whimsical heart and arrow, or add abstract patterns. For fine details and thin lines, use a toothpick dipped in paint. Add dots with a toothpick or the handle of your paintbrush.
- Once your design is complete, let the wine glasses air dry for 24 hours.
- To make sure the paint is safe to wash, you’ll need to heat set it. Flip the wine glasses upside down on a cookie sheet and put them in the oven. Turn the oven to 350 degrees F and let the glasses slowly warm as the oven reaches temperature. This allows the glass to adjust gradually and prevents breaking.
- Once the oven reaches 350 degrees, set a timer for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, turn off the oven, but leave the glasses inside. Let them cool in the warm oven for another 10 minutes so they don’t crack when you take them out.
- Now your painted wine glasses are ready to be used, washed, and cherished for years to come!
A Cozy, Romantic Throw for Cuddling
After 25 years, a spouse is more than just a partner—they become a source of comfort and strength. I wanted my aunt and uncle to remember that they’re so good together because they take the time to care for one another, so I gave them something they can use to keep warm during their long, soul-healing cuddles on the couch: a personalized throw blanket.
The hardest part was deciding how to customize their gift. I could have included their names and anniversary date, their initials, or even a special quote. In the end, I decided to embellish a little bit to emphasize the 25-year landmark. I found some silver stitching thread and I added a border around a large fleece throw that would match their home décor. Then I used a fine felt tip marker and drew “Steve and Barbara” and “25 Years of Comfort” in one corner. Finally, I embroidered the blanket by tracing the ink to create a hand-sewn, personalized tribute to their union.
Sparkling Silver Candles
I can just picture it. Two love birds, wrapped up in a personalized blanket, toasting each other with hand painted wine glasses. The only thing that’s missing from the romantic picture is a set of candles to illuminate the moment. I decided to transform a set of twelve short white tapers into silver ones. Now, instead of worrying about burning down one cherished candle, the couple has a whole set to use for many romantic nights ahead.
- A large double boiler or wax pitcher
- 2 lbs of paraffin wax
- Silver metallic pigment dye
- White candles (I recommend pillar or small taper candles)
- Wax paper
- Fill the bottom of your double boiler two-thirds full with water. Turn the burner to high heat until the water boils, then reduce the heat to simmer.
- Pour two pounds of paraffin wax into the top of your double boiler and set it on the simmering water.
- While the wax is melting, stir it occasionally.
- Add about ⅔ to 1 ounce of silver dye to the melting wax, stirring together until thoroughly melted and blended.
- Hold the candles by the wicks and dip them into the melted wax, covering them completely. Do not allow the silver wax to cover the wicks—or touch your fingertips.
- Stand the candles on wax paper to dry. If they won’t stand, hang them by their wicks with clothespins.
- Once the wax layer is dry, you can re-dip the candles for a darker color if you’d like—just make sure to let the candles completely dry between layers.
While I was making these gifts, I felt a growing sense of appreciation for the 25 years my aunt and uncle spent together. For some people, celebrating an anniversary is left to the couple. But I’m so glad they decided to throw a party in celebration of all their years together. I was inspired to see them look just as in love as they must have when they first started out on this long journey together.
In a world filled with so many uncertainties, it’s important to take the time to show your appreciation for the things you can count on. For me, my aunt and uncle are dual pillars of support that I know I can lean on, take advice from, and aspire to be. It was an honor to be a part of their celebration—and I look forward to seeing where the next 25 years will take them.
Trying to find the perfect present for that favorite couple in your life? Let the Elves help you honor them by browsing our gift guides. Get even more ideas on our Facebook page, on Instagram @Elfstergram, or at Twitter @Elfster.
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