Symbolic Saturdays – How to incorporate heirlooms into your wedding ceremony

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In preparation to move home (don’t worry, we’re not going far), we’ve been spending our wedding-less weekends sorting out our attic! Last weekend I was up there unpacking and repacking the family china which I’m ashamed to say I’d forgotten about. Beautiful plates that belonged to my great great grandparents and a dainty set of teacups from my granny. I’ve been afraid to use them because of their sentimental value but as we prepare to move into a new home, I’m turning over a new leaf and plan on finding a beautiful display cabinet for the pieces as well as taking the time to use them at family events – a beautiful reminder of the legacy of our family. 

This got me thinking about some of the ways heirlooms can be included in your wedding ceremony.

Incorporating much loved heirlooms into your wedding is a beautiful way to remember and honour family and friends. Heirlooms don’t just have to be a a part of the Something Old, Something New tradition.

That said, on my wedding day I did follow the tradition and wore my grandmother’s sapphire and diamond brooch as my something old, borrowed and blue…and my wedding dress was new. Wearing Grannie-Mum’s brooch was especially poignant as she passed away just weeks before our marriage. I also had two small pieces of precious lace sewn into the underside of my dress. My great aunt Edith had given them to my Mum many years before saying that they belonged to my great grandmother – and could have been from her own wedding veil. 

Family photos from Katie and James’ wedding

Family photos from Katie and James’ wedding

Many of the couples I’ve worked with have incorporated their own heirlooms from wearing family rings to including stones and small photos in bouquets or wearing a family wedding dress. Earlier this year Princess Beatrice did just this when she wore a dress from her own grandmother, The Queen, on her wedding day. And I’ve seen those wearing a suit, carry a family pocket watch or wearing their grandfather’s tie or pocket square.

One the weddings I performed last year was full of symbolic elements which celebrated the role of family. A shelf of photos of family weddings past formed the backdrop of the ceremony space. Before sharing vows, Jude and Simon, asked every guest at their wedding to warm their wedding rings in a Ring Warming Ceremony. The rings came from their respective grandparents and were a symbolic way of welcoming each other into their families. Tied together with a piece of ribbon, the rings were passed around so that everyone had the opportunity to hold them and silently infuse them with their love and support. During the ceremony, I shared a couple of memories about their grandparents which spoke to the life lessons that they imparted to their grandchildren. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room!

Heirlooms are a fantastic way to honour and celebrate the legacy of our ancestors and ensure that they are a part of your big day. So as you prepare for your wedding day, what heirlooms will you use?