Weddings are a celebration of love, both old and new. And that means the coming together not just of two people, but of two families, along with their histories, cultures and traditions. I have a soft spot for personal, meaningful details that make each wedding a unique expression of the couple getting married. So perhaps that’s why, as a wedding planner, I love it when brides and grooms incorporate family heirlooms into their big day. It’s such a special way to honor where you come from, as well as the new family you are creating together! Here are ten family heirlooms you can use as an extra special ‘something old’ or ‘something borrowed’.
Wedding dress. The classic wedding heirloom is of course for the bride to wear her mother or grandmother’s wedding gown. This is perfect if you love a vintage look. If your style is more modern, you can also get the gown updated to give it a fresh feel. You could have a piece of the dress sewn into yours. Or a scrap of lace or beading turned into your garter.
Bridal veil. A veil is another part of your bridal attire where an heirloom piece is a great idea. In fact, one of the advantages of an heirloom veil is that they are often timeless and can work with a variety of dress and wedding styles.
Heirloom jewelry. Jewelry is another opportunity to wear a piece that belongs to a treasured family member. Brooches can be incorporated into sashes or pinned to bouquets, while a classic necklace or pair of earrings will give your bridal look a timeless feel. And don’t forget the groom! An heirloom watch or pair of cufflinks is the perfect finishing touch for him too. I especially love when couples choose heirloom pieces that have a romantic story attached. Perhaps the first gift your father gave your mother or the watch your grandfather wore on his own wedding day.
Family linens. Do you have beautiful heirloom linens that have been passed down? These make special touches at your reception. For example, a lace tablecloth can make a beautiful feature on the cake table. Or, if you’re planning a Colorado destination wedding, you could provide handmade quilts and blankets to keep guests warm during an outdoor ceremony in the spring or fall.
Heirloom tableware. While you probably don’t have enough family china for two hundred guests, you can still use selected heirloom pieces. For example, you could use your grandparents’ wedding china on a sweetheart table. Or you could toast each other with the champagne flutes your parents used at their wedding. Dishes and platters also make lovely feature pieces on dessert tables and mix well with more modern items.
Family recipes. An heirloom doesn’t have to be an object. Recipes are often something that is passed down from one generation to another, so why not include some favorites from both sides on your menu? You could also send guests home with a pot of your aunt’s famous jam, or a bag of grandma’s chocolate chip cookies. Be sure to attach a label so they know the special history of your gift.
Favorite florals. While flowers sadly don’t keep for generations, that doesn’t mean you can’t recreate a treasured relative’s bouquet. This is something even the British royal family do, as each bride since Queen Victoria has carried a sprig of myrtle in their bouquets.
First dance song. Even music can be a special heirloom! If your parents walked down the aisle to an unusual piece of music or chose something special for their first dance, you could replay the moment at your own wedding.
What family heirlooms will you be incorporating into your wedding day?
Top image by Autumn Burke