I recently wrote about family heirlooms and how they can be such a special part of a wedding celebration. A wedding heirloom is something that you carry with you or use on your wedding day, that has been passed down through generations. Heirlooms create a meaningful connection between you and your history. They can also help to make your day feel more personal and intimate. But what if there aren’t any family heirlooms available? There are many reasons why this might be the case, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create your own!
In fact, whether or not you’re incorporating existing wedding heirlooms, you may want to buy a new item that you will save to become an heirloom for future generations. Here’s a list to consider when choosing a ‘something new’ that will last for years to come.
Choose something with an emotional connection. While an heirloom is valuable to the family that owns it, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it was expensive. What really makes an heirloom valuable is the emotional connection it brings with it. When choosing a new piece, try to find something that tells your story in some way or links back to your family history or culture. Then, document the story on paper, to be preserved along with the new heirloom. That way children and grandchildren will know why you chose it and what it meant to you.
Make it wedding-specific. Of course, there are lots of ways to incorporate an existing heirloom into your big day. But if you’re creating a brand new wedding heirloom, it should be something a future bride or groom would wear or use. Wedding attire or accessories are obvious examples. However, it could also be something like a new family Bible that you carry down the aisle, or a set of toasting glasses.
Look for classic style and quality. To ensure that your heirloom stands the test of time, look for fine quality as well as timeless style. What’s fashionable now may not be in years to come, so opt for classic lines and materials. For example, a lace veil, a pearl necklace, or a pair of diamond earrings. Emblems (even classic ones like hearts) can date easily, so opt for simplicity and quality over complicated designs.
Start a tradition. One of the best kinds of heirlooms is one that each generation can add to. For example, a piece of jewelry where each bride or groom engraves their initials or adds a new element (like a charm bracelet). Be creative and try to come up with something completely unique to you.
Preserve your new heirloom carefully. After all the thought that goes into creating wedding heirlooms, it’s important to preserve them properly! Textiles like a wedding dress or veil will need to be thoroughly and professionally cleaned, and then placed in an archival bag or acid-free box. Jewelry pieces should be stored in a soft cloth bag or box.
Ultimately, creating a new wedding heirloom is a wonderful way to ensure that the joy you feel on your wedding day will live on for years to come.
Top image by Megan Wynn Photography