Which flowers to use at your vow renewal ceremony

We all know that traditionally, each wedding anniversary has a different gift associated with it, but did you know that there are also different flowers associated with each anniversary?

If you’re thinking of combining your wedding anniversary with a wedding vow renewal ceremony and are interested in learning about the tradition of flowers for different anniversaries, our handy (lighthearted)  guide will help! 

1st Wedding Anniversary – Carnation

Carnations are the flower of the first anniversary, but not just any carnations will do! If you’re interested in the traditional symbolism of carnations, different colours are associated with different meanings, so if symbolism is important to you, you may wish to choose carefully.

Alternatively, you can take the symbolism with a pinch of salt and choose whichever colours you like best!

  • White symbolises purity
  • Pale red symbolises admiration
  • Dark red symbolises love and affection
  • Pink symbolises gratitude
  • Yellow symbolises disappointment or rejection.

5th Wedding Anniversary- Daisy

Did you know that the yellow part of a daisy is called a ‘disc floret’ and the petals are collectively called a ‘ray floret’. It is traditionally said that because these parts sit together in harmony, they symbolise true love. They also make pretty daisy chain bracelets and necklaces too!

10th Wedding Anniversary – Daffodil

If your tenth wedding anniversary is in spring, then your traditional flower will be in great abundance because it’s the daffodil. A carpet of daffodils makes a spectacular backdrop and, as humanist vow renewal ceremonies can be held anywhere, an outdoor ceremony might be just the ticket!

15th Anniversary – Rose

Whether or not you had roses in your wedding bouquet, they’re the perfect choice for your fifteenth anniversary and vow renewal. Red roses are considered to be the universal symbol of love, but white, pink, and orange roses are also very popular for wedding and renewal bouquets.


25th Anniversary – Iris

In the UK, most iris varieties bloom in early summer, but they can be found in florists throughout the year. Worldwide, there are over 200 species of iris and each colour symbolises something different:

  • Purple symbolises wisdom
  • Yellow symbolises passion
  • Blue symbolises hope
  • White symbolises purity.

30th Wedding Anniversary – Lily

Lilies are  flowers which provoke strong reactions in some people. Many people associate lilies with funerals and don’t like to receive them as a gift. Other people dislike the heady perfume given off by some lilies, especially Stargazer lilies. Cat-lovers avoid them because they are incredibly toxic if eaten by cats. And others shy away from lilies in bouquets because of the potential the pollen has to stain hands and clothes. However, lilies are incredibly beautiful and if you’re a fan, you may be delighted to receive some for your thirtieth wedding anniversary and have them feature in your bouquet at your vow renewal.

40th Wedding Anniversary – Gladioli

Gladioli are available in a rainbow of colours, although they are better used in arrangements than bouquets, as the sap of these sword-like flowers can cause skin irritation in some people.

50th Anniversary – Yellow Rose

The traditional flower of the Golden Wedding Anniversary is the yellow rose, gifted as a rose bush or bouquet, but we say if you’re celebrating your 50th anniversary, feel free to flout convention and have your favourite flowers — whatever they are!

We hope you’ve enjoyed our lighthearted look at the world of wedding anniversary flowers. Of course, when it comes to choosing flowers for your vow renewal ceremony, we wholeheartedly recommend that you choose the flowers you like the best! After all, the only ‘meaning’ flowers have at your anniversary is the meaning you give them!

If you’d like to talk to a celebrant about a vow renewal ceremony, you can find one near you today.

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