Reaching your 40th year of marriage is truly a time for celebration. Traditionally known as the “ruby” anniversary, modern 40th wedding anniversary ideas can go many directions within this theme. The ruby itself is said to represent the eternal flame of a long-term relationship. With this in mind, explore gifts that show off the deep red hue of a ruby or even the gemstone itself.
Additionally, how do you celebrate a 40th wedding anniversary? Showcase a beautiful life together through photos and personalized gifts while focusing your decor on rose-colored details and items that warm the home. Add a loving anniversary quote to a cutting board, framed print or even a set of champagne flutes.
Whether you’re celebrating your parents 40th wedding year, the anniversary of a friend or your own special day, check out our list of 42 anniversary ideas after 40 amazing years of marriage.
1. Cross-Stitched Rose
A project for new and experienced cross stitchers alike, follow this simple pattern to transform an embroidered red rose into classic wall decor. Pair with a bouquet of real roses and a 40th anniversary message for a complete gift set.
2. Three-Photo Charm
If you’re seeking a gift for mom and dad’s 40th wedding anniversary, combine a wedding photo, a photo of their children and even their grandkids in this delicate silver charm. Attach to your choice of silver bracelet or necklace chain.
3. 40th Anniversary Photo Shoot
Plan a day of memorable experiences as a 40th wedding gift idea. Arrange a couple’s photoshoot in your area with a local wedding photographer. Once the photos are complete, print and frame your favorite as an extra surprise.
4. Modernized Lockets
Upcycle a collection of old, brass locket necklaces by adding a touch of color to the front with nail polish. Mix and match the colors for a layered look and be sure to include a bright red option to match the 40th anniversary theme.
5. Cherry Cocktails
Planning a romantic afternoon to celebrate your 40th anniversary? Meld the ruby red theme with your cocktail list by making an Apricot and Cherry Breezer. This recipe includes limeade, apricots, cherries, triple sec and light rum.
6. Ruby Charm
Mark the ruby anniversary with ruby-hued charm, ideal for adding to a new or existent charm bracelet or to the end of a delicate necklace. Combine with additional charms of their birthstone or the month of the wedding.
7. Poppy Heart Wreath
Construct a simple, heart-shaped wreath with a collection of handmade crepe paper flowers. The hues of red, purple and rose are complemented by paper leaves, all connected by craft wire to make a sturdy wreath for the front door
8. Crystal Drop Earrings
These delicate crystal earrings are easy to DIY with basic jewelry construction skills. Choose red beads for the ends of the earring to customize them for your 40th anniversary.
9. Fresh Cranberry Salt Scrub
A natural salt scrub can exfoliate the skin, freshen the face and leave a refreshing berry scent on your skin all day. Combine finely chopped cranberries with coarse salt, dried coconut and a teaspoon of clove or allspice.
10. Anniversary Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie
What better way to show your love than to create something delicious? This strawberry-rhubarb pie includes instructions for a heart-filled topper. Pack it up in a picnic basket and head out for a romantic picnic.
11. Traditional Kintsugi Ring Bowl
In the Japanese tradition of Kintsugi, safely break a thrift-store jewelry dish and reconstruct it with gold-painted glue. Not only will the piece have poignant meaning, but it will pair perfectly new anniversary jewelry.
12. Spicy Eggnog Candle
Warm up your favorite couple’s home by hand-making an eggnog-scented soy candle with all-natural ingredients. After melting the soy wax, add vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg essential oils and fill with beautiful bulk spice for decor.
13. Windowpane Frame Flat Glass Print
This unique frame gives the illusion of looking out on one of your favorite photos. Choose an image of your marriage while enjoying time outside, from your wedding or a momentous day with the whole family.
14. Red Wine Pears
How do you top off a 40th wedding anniversary celebration? Serve these wine-poached pears with warm winter spices after a homemade dinner. This desert follows the anniversary’s ruby-red theme and makes for an easy, yet impressive dessert.
15. Cozy Handknit Blanket
No knitting needles are required to make this chunky throw blanket for warming the home for a 40th wedding anniversary gift idea. Gather 7-8 spools of thick yarn of your color choice and follow the step-by-step video for handknitting instructions.
16. Photo Table Runner
This holiday season, adorn your Thanksgiving table with a personalized table runner which fits up to 36 photos and a family monogram. This makes for a lovely 40th anniversary gift idea, showcasing the whole family for everyone to see during dinner.
17. Marbleized Desk Clock
Combine white and peach-colored clay into a marbleized design before rolling it into your desired shape and adding basic clock hardware. Ideal for those with a home office, this DIY anniversary gift is a stylish addition to the home.
18. Modern Wall Hanging
Spruce up their living room decor with this minimalist wooden wall hanging. Connect a half-moon shape to four identical rectangles and paint a color that complements the anniversary couple’s home.
19. Rustic Kitchen Planter
Great for home chefs with a green thumb, fill an old metal baking pan or container with live herbs or succulents for the kitchen. Drill a hole in the bottom for drainage and add twine to the side for an extra-rustic touch.
20. Wooden Hanging Collage
Celebrate the past 40 years with a display of memories. Two magnetic bars connect a display of poly-cotton canvas printed with your favorite family photos. The finished wooden design works perfectly in any home design.
21. Lavender Shower Melts
With just five ingredients, use a heart-shaped mold to make a collection of soothing shower melt tablets. Pair with various DIY bath and body products and wrap into an anniversary gift set.
22. Leather Leaf Earrings
Using your cutting machine, create naturally inspired earrings from different colored swatches of faux-leather. Add jewelry rings and an earring hook with a pair of pliers. Design your own red version to match the 40th anniversary gift theme.
23. Striped Photo Blanket
Cozy up beneath a fleece blanket designed with alternating stripes and up to three family photos. Choose from three different materials, microfiber fleece, plush fleece or the luxe Sherpa material. Personalize a message across the bottom with your family name or anniversary message.
24. Dry-Erase Love Message Board
Print a fill-in-the-blank message such as “I love you…” on a decorative sheet of paper and leave a space to fill in new ending each day with a dry erase marker. By framing the printout beneath glass, it’s easy to clean off each message every time.
25. Anniversary Storybook
After 40 years of marriage, there’s quite a story to tell. Design a DIY relationship timeline with photos, handwritten stories and washi tape for easy layout ideas. This makes for a great 40th wedding anniversary gift for your parents or grandparents.
26. Hand-Etched Cutting Board
Display the couple’s initials as if they were lovingly carved into a tree on your choice of cutting board materials. Available in marble or bamboo, rubber and mango wood, this cutting board makes a great personalized gift for such an important anniversary.
27. Handmade Anniversary Card
DIY greeting cards are an extra-personalized way to show your love. Build a 3-D anniversary card by layering scrapbook paper, hand-cut hearts and twine with an attached decorative key.
28. Natural Wood Candles
For a quick anniversary gift idea, slice a small section from a natural branch and core out a section for a tea candle with a drill. Create a set of six candles for a full centerpiece display.
29. DIY Silver Initial Necklace
A truly personalized gift, roll out a thin strip of metal clay and shape in the script letter of your loved one’s initial. After the clay sets, polish and buffer to reveal the metal tone beneath. Add a silver chain to complete the piece.
30. Jar of Herbal Bath Tea
Dried herbs, flowers and fruits create a calming and rejuvenating bathtime. Layer a collection of dried lavender, rose petals, oats and calendula into a decorate jar to gift with a set of DIY bath time goodies.
31. Cork Tea Kettle Warmer
Save your momentous champagne corks to construct a mini tea-kettle warmer for your favorite, tea-loving couple. Five champagne corks attach to a circle of cork material and house a small tea light to create a place to keep your teapot warm.
32. Anniversary Wine Box
Similar to the popular wedding unity ceremony, pick out a fine bottle of wine that is meant to age five to ten years. Place the bottle in a dated box together and display in your home. Open up the wine time capsule on your next important anniversary once the vintage is properly aged.
33. Soothing Honey Bubble Bath
Give the gift of relaxation with an easy, homemade bubble bath recipe. Combine almond oil, honey, mild body soap, an egg white and a bit of vanilla extract for a calming, scented bath that’s lovely on the skin.
34. Melatonin Gummy Hearts
Following the ruby-red 40th anniversary theme, wind down before bed with naturally cherry-flavored melatonin gummies. Cut them into small hearts and store in a decorative jar for the bedside.
35. Matching Anniversary Rings
With the help of a metal stamping hammer, add you and your spouse’s initials to a simple pair of aluminum rings. Personalize your design with the number 40 or with your wedding date.
36. DIY Photo Ring Dish
If you need a spot to keep your DIY rings, print photos onto waterslide decal paper to create personalized ring dishes. Create a set from your favorite wedding and family images from the past 40 years.
37. Handmade Lace Dreamcatcher
This delicate and meaningful decor makes a lovely 40th wedding anniversary for your wife or mother. Attach a circle of lace to an embroidery hoop with twine and add layers of pastel ribbons to hang off the bottom.
38. Painted Drip Vase
Take an abstract approach to DIY vase design by letting acrylic paint drip naturally down the sides of a white ceramic vase. Fill the finished product with a bouquet of new flowers and gift on your anniversary.
39. Hanging Geometric Diamonds
Sometimes the simplest pieces make the most elegant designs. With just a basic construction of coffee straws, wire and gold paint, create this minimalist set of office or home decor as a classic home gift.
40. Embroidery Hoop Frames
This classic photo display idea is perfect for a photo collage wall or an anniversary gift set. Print your favorite family images in black and white, mount to a piece of foam board and frame inside and embroidery hoop.
41. DIY Family Story Book
Celebrating your parent’s 40th anniversary? Build a classic family story book about their marriage with cardstock, a label maker and a collection of your favorite black-and-white images.
If you’re looking for the best ideas for how to plan an anniversary party, start with these gifts to set the tone of celebration. Once you’ve pulled off the perfect surprise for your spouse, parents or favorite couple, you’ll know exactly how to start preparing for all your 50th wedding anniversary ideas ten years from now.