Incorporating heirlooms

We're so excited to have our dear friend Juliana guest posting again today to share her insight and inspiration for incorporating heirlooms into the big day! Enjoy this special Wedding Wednesday feature!! A wedding is one of life’s most significant events, and one that will become sewn into the fabric of your family history. The incorporation of family heirlooms into the big day is a way of honoring your past, as well as a way to begin to create your new future. Even seemingly small gestures can have a big emotional impact, and give family members a way to feel included. I have outlined some ideas of ways to incorporate personal family objects to made the big day extra meaningful for everyone involved. This goes well past the old adage: “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue,” we hope you enjoy it.

Perhaps the easiest way for the bride to incorporate a heirloom is to wear a special family piece of jewelry, such as a set of rings, bracelet or necklace. Wearing a vintage heirloom veil is also a great option {for some veil ideas please see our previous blog post}. An heirloom is also something easy for the groom to wear as well.  A special watch, cuff links or pocket square can become part of his ensemble. At my own wedding, my father actually wore his father’s shoes.

I also love the idea of taking a special embroidered handkerchief, or even a small piece of a family wedding gown and using it to wrap the bouquet. A larger piece of fabric or ribbon would also be wonderful to use as a sash or belt around your wedding gown.

Another great idea would be to use the buttons from a vintage ensemble (or even earrings) and converting them into shoe clips. (Costume jewelry would work best in this case, you wouldn't want anything to happen to a priceless heirloom on the dance floor!)

If someone in your family has a large china collection, Incorporating some of the pieces into the centerpieces and floral arrangements is something that can be truly beautiful and gives your guests the opportunity to see your family’s history. If you have many tables and only one or two special things, this could also work really well at the escort card table or near the guest book.

And don't forget the idea of making new heirlooms for the family you are now creating together! I love the idea of embroidering a patch to sew into the lapel of your groom’s suit or tuxedo, right over his heart. You can also create a matching patch to sew into the bodice or hem of your wedding dress. Since the patch is so small (and removable!) it can be framed, stored with your photos, and even sewn into the wedding ensembles of future children or grandchildren.


Juliana Jacobs is a freelance fashion designer in New York City, where she lives with her husband. Most recently employed at New York & Company designing shirts and blouses, Juliana also has designed clothing for Amanda Bynes and Sarah Jessica Parker. While planning her own wedding this year, she rediscovered her love of lace, tulle, and all things letterpress, and has designed wedding veils for both herself and friends. Follow Juliana on tumbler and on Pinterest for more inspiration!