Incorporating family heirlooms and treasures connects you to your past, present and future.

The holidays are a time when extended families often gather together.  It’s a great opportunity to ask family members what family elements they incorporated on their wedding day and how their spouses brought in their own family’s traditions.  Asking about these special items will bring up amazing stories and beautiful memories, all while giving you great ideas to help plan your wedding.  Many will be honored if you copy their idea.  Others, maybe not so much, but you can use their ideas as a springboard to some great ones of your own!

Remembering those who can’t be here.

One idea is to display a picture of each set of grandparents on their wedding days at your wedding. Many couples will have a memory table with pictures of loved ones who have passed on.  Men who were alive during the World Wars often have medals and certificates from their time in combat.  Get those out!  The chances are good you wouldn’t be here if they and others like them hadn’t chosen to serve their countries.  Celebrate their courage and commitment…not only values needed to win a war but also which will be useful during a long marriage!  😊

Wedding Décor

Are there some linens that have been handed down?  Could you use them on your sweetheart table?   Or in the ceremony if a table is needed for a unity candle, sand ceremony, etc?   Better yet, could you keep them and have them monogrammed with your new initials?  Some grandmothers and great-grandmothers made doilies or used them in decorating.  Adding these into your décor is easy and adds a beautiful touch.

Did Grandma, Great-Grandma or an Aunt have fancy tea cups or “wedding china”?  The cups make beautiful votive holders but make sure to use a battery-powered tealight – you don’t want to ruin them with the flame or by getting wax inside.  One bride at Stonegate Manor used her Grandma’s tea cups as table numbers by tying a numbered tag on each handle.  She popped in a votive and created a beautiful and useful piece of décor!

Heirlooms for your walk down the aisle

Does Grandma’s wedding dress still exist?  It may not be usable as a dress because of age, stains or size but can the lace be used on your dress, in your hair or in your bouquet?

Do your mother or your new mother-in-law still have the jewelry they wore on their wedding days?  Or if Grandma and Grandpa are deceased, are their wedding rings sitting in a safety-deposit box somewhere?  Could you borrow them for the big day?  Brides will often get a small pocket sewn inside their gown so they are able to carry something small and special with them for their walk down the aisle.  Other brides will get a special brooch from their mother or grandmother and use it in their hair, as a necklace, or placed on the bouquet.  If it happens to be blue, you’ve hit the jackpot!  Mom’s or Grandma’s pearls are often a great accessory to wear with your gown or have woven through your bouquet.  If you are Catholic, is there a Rosary with special meaning that can be used?

A groom may want to see if the tie his dad or grandfather wore to their wedding is still able to be found. Maybe, with their permission, it can be made into a pocket square!  Many older men carried handkerchiefs, often monogrammed, every day.  Is there still one of Grandpa’s hanging around?  Great-Grandfather’s (or Grandpa’s) watch is great to wear on a wrist or to slip in a pocket.

Why not start a new tradition for your own family?  Carry something special of yours…perhaps something your fiancé gave you or something that was important to you growing up…in your bouquet or that secret pocket.  Make sure you put it in a safe place so your daughter or future daughter-in-law can carry on this new tradition.  What fun knowing future generations will do this with you in mind.

By Jennifer Marren, WPICC & Prudy Nelson (Wedding Fairy-Godmother)

Together these ladies have years and years of wedding wisdom!