A wedding anniversary is a momentous occasion for a married couple, but it’s also a time for friends and loved ones to celebrate the couple as well. Whether you’re invited to an anniversary party or you want to mark a couple’s years together, sitting down to write an anniversary card may not come as naturally as writing birthday or other congratulatory wishes.
It’s easy to just send a short text or chat to let a couple know you’re thinking of them on their anniversary, but writing a card adds a more personal touch. A card requires a bit more effort but etiquette expert Elaine Swann shares her wisdom on the best messaging for anniversary card wishes.
Meet the Expert
Elaine Swann is an expert on etiquette and the founder of The Swann School of Protocol. She is due to release her own line of greeting cards in 2020.
Anniversary Card Writing Tips
Keep it short and sweet.
”Keep the card as simple as possible,” Swann says. “Part of the reason we struggle [writing an anniversary card] is because we try to write a lengthy message to the couple. Then we end up not sending the card or sending it too late.” Sometimes, it really is just the thought that counts. You’re not expected to pen the next great American novel. Just write from the heart.
Take time to shop for the perfect greeting card.
Swann underscores the importance of taking the time to find the perfect greeting card rather than stressing out about what to write. “Don’t be afraid to let the greeting card to do the work for you,” Swann says. “[In the greeting card industry,] folks are paid a lot of money to create thoughtful and meaningful messages. If you find it difficult to find the words, spend extra time to pick out the right card. There are some great greeting cards available”
Let a famous quote speak for you.
You can find the perfect words, even if you're not the one that comes up with them. Pull inspiration from classic quotes that capture exactly what you want to say.
Don’t bring up anything negative from the past.
Every couple has had their rough patches, but an anniversary card is not the time to open up old wounds. This especially concerns couples writing anniversary cards to one another.
Swann recommends avoiding mentioning any struggles or fights you’ve had unless it was outside forces you two battled together. “If she forgave you for something, don’t bring it back up again!”
Anniversary Card Examples
The length and message of your anniversary card entirely depend on your relationship to the couple. To help you out, we’ve drafted examples of what to write for each person in your life:
To Your Wife
Honor your wife’s massive contributions to your life and your family. It’s especially important to acknowledge her if she birthed and raised your children with you. Women often wear many hats in their marriage and are not always recognized for everything they do. Today is the day to let her know just how much you love her.
Dearest (Wife’s name),
Happy anniversary, sweetheart! I love you so much. Thank you for our shared life, our beautiful children (if applicable), and for weathering every storm with me. I cherish you and our marriage.
Cheers to us.
To Your Husband
When writing an anniversary card to your husband, just remember to write from the heart. Clear your mind of everything going on in your life and just focus on why you two got married in the first place and why you’ve stayed married. Just keep it positive!
Dearest [Husband’s name],
Happy Anniversary! My love and appreciation for you have only grown over the years. I am so thankful for our life and our partnership. [Insert personal anecdote].
To Your Parents
Swann recommends naming something extraordinary and positive about your parents’ marriage that has affected your own life or view on marriage.
Dear Mom and Dad/Step-parent,
Happy Anniversary! I love you both so much and wish you all the happiness in the world. I appreciate everything you have done for me. Here’s to many more years together. Thank you for being a shining example of a strong marriage and partnership.
To Your Children
You may have felt the need to offer unsolicited advice to your children on their marriages. This may be your only chance to get away with it! Just keep things positive and share from your own life experience, if desired.
Dear [Couple's names],
Happy anniversary! We/I wish you nothing but happiness in your marriage and want. [OPTIONAL: Insert a loving piece of advice from your own experience Ex.”Never go to bed angry!”].
Mom and/or Dad
Maybe you attended a friend’s wedding years ago or maybe you were even a part of the big day! Take time to remember the couple you love so much. Keep it short and sweet.
Dear [Couple's names],
Happy anniversary! Wishing you two continued happiness. I am so grateful you are both in my life. [OPTIONAL: Insert a positive personal anecdote about their wedding. Ex: “I still remember the day you two got married. I hope you experience that same joy and laughter today and always!]
Beautiful Anniversary Quotes
Struggling to find words beyond “Happy Anniversary?” Here are some famous lines about love and marriage that will bring a smile to your favorite couple’s faces:
- “Love recognises no barriers, it jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination, full of hope.”–Maya Angelou
- “Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.”–Emily Bronte
- “There is no more lovely, friendly and charming relationship, communion or company than good marriage.”–Martin Luther King
- Sometimes the most ordinary things could be made extraordinary by doing them with the right people.”–Nicholas Sparks
- “Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They’re in each other all along.”–Rumi
- “Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance.”–Jane Austen