I couldn’t imagine buying a beautiful wedding dress, falling in love with it, wearing it on one of the most special days of my life then putting it away never to be seen again. So after I bought my dress, I began thinking of ways for it to be used after the wedding. I talked with my family and shared my idea of making it into either a decorative pillow for the bed, into a first communion or baptism dress for future children, a decorative blanket, jewelry bag, or matted picture frames. I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do with it, I just knew I didn’t want it to sit around and fade and get old. My mom took one of my ideas a bit further, and before we knew it my wedding was full of family heirlooms that that have become special wedding traditions that my sisters incorporated into their weddings and will hopefully continue for generations to come.
A few months after getting engaged I had lunch with my mom and godmother to go over wedding details. At the end of the meal they presented me with a gift. It was a beautiful ring bearer’s pillow. My godmother had made the pillow from my mothers wedding dress. I loved the ideas of having something special that belonged to my mother as a part of my wedding. Later I found out that my godmother had made a ring bearer’s pillow for each of my siblings as well. Each of our pillows was uniquely different and beautiful. I would love to carry on this tradition with my children; either by offering them to use my ring bearer’s pillow made from their grandmothers wedding dress, or a new pillow made from my dress.
Having a special part of my parents wedding day incorporated into my wedding made me want to include my in-laws as well. I asked my mother-in-law what she saved from her wedding and asked if she would like to help me come up with an idea to incorporate something of hers into our special day. We ended up using her veil. It was a head-piece with two layers of tulle and small white flowers sewn on the trim and a few spread out on the rest of veil. My godmother helped us remove the head piece and attach the veil to a hair comb. We cut off the white flower trim and sewed rhinestones over the remaining flowers on the veil to cover them up. It turned out beautiful and my mother-in-law was so happy and honored to have me wearing something of hers during our wedding.
The ring bear’s pillow and veil were not the only things that we had at the wedding from other family members’ weddings. My ring was made with the diamonds from my great-grandmother’s ring. She was an amazing woman who lived a very long, happily married life. When she passed she left the ring for next family member who got engaged to use, with the stipulations that every piece of the ring be put to good use. My husband approached my grandmother and told him his intent to propose to me and promised to use all the stones from the great-grandmothers ring when designing my engagement ring. What a special gift to be passed down from generation to generation.
I was so proud of all my family heirlooms that I wanted to showcase them at the wedding. I set up a table at the entrance to the ballroom and displayed the wedding photos of my parents, my husbands parents, our grandparents and great-grandparents along with a little decorative card explaining the passed down wedding items. This table was a huge hit and throughout the night there was always someone at the table looking at the beautiful pictures. My sisters carried this tradition on and had the same photos displayed at their weddings as well. It was nice to pay tribute to the happily married couples that gave us inspiration for our own wedding and life as husband and wife.
The last tradition incorporated into my wedding was the something borrowed between me and my sisters. We all wore the same tiara. It was worn up front for those of us that liked the extra sparkle and wanted it to be more visible, and worn further back as a head band for the girls wanted just a small hint of sparkle.