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David Stark’s Ideas for Turning Your “Something Borrowed” Into an Unexpected Wedding Detail

As this New York-based event producer, designer, author, and Martha Stewart Weddings contributor shows, carrying a little history down the aisle can add a special touch to your big day.

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Photography by: Abby Jiu Photography
Affix a piece of your grandmother’s jewelry to your bouquet.

Get Sentimental

There are so many ideas for integrating intimate details that are rich in tradition and culture, whether affixing a piece of your grandmother’s jewelry to your bouquet or repurposing a family prayer shawl as the ceiling of a chuppah, the symbolic “first home” of the couple. With her great-grandmother’s brooch adorning the handle of her bouquet, Sally’s ceremony was made even more special knowing that her beloved role model was “with” her as she walked down the aisle.

 

See More Details From Sally and Mark’s Wedding
Carry the family bible or your father’s favorite book of poems down the aisle
Carry the family bible or your father’s favorite book of poems down the aisle. (Image from David Stark’s "To Have and to Hold.")

Consider the Small Details

Is there an accessory you or your groom could wear, such as a father’s tie or cuff links? What about a moment in the ceremony where you could include a sentimental object, perhaps a toast for the happy couple with Champagne flutes that belonged to a great aunt? Another sweet way to include a family treasure is to carry the family bible or your father’s favorite book of poems down the aisle. Add a stem or two of your most beloved blooms for a simple, but poignant “bouquet.”

A Grandmother’s handkerchief makes a charming bouquet wrap
A grandmother’s handkerchief makes a charming bouquet wrap. (Image from David Stark’s “To Have and to Hold.”)

Keep an Open Mind

Whatever the item, keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be fancy, or whole, or pristine. It is the sentiment that will be important to you on your big day. A grandmother’s handkerchief, for example, makes a charming bouquet wrap.

 

See How to Wrap a Bouquet in a Handkerchief
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The bride’s bouquet is embellished with a “ribbon” that was a piece of lace from her great-grandmother’s nightgown.

Think Outside the Ordinary

Personal artifacts can be used in various, unexpected ways, and a trip to grandma’s attic might lead to just the thing. When looking for inspiration, consider a family Kiddush cup, great-grandmother’s cake server, a piece of fabric from a dress to bind a bouquet or make into a pocket square. Here, Frances didn’t shy away from embracing inherited treasures: The bride’s bouquet is embellished with a “ribbon” that was a piece of lace from her great-grandmother’s nightgown. 

 

See More Details From Frances and Andrew’s Wedding
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This bride wore a vintage gown purchased by her grandmother at Saks Fifth Avenue in the 1950s.

Remember It’s More Than Décor

Your wedding day can bring generations together through nuance and context, and by integrating heirlooms, that story gets richer and more textured. It’s not just about decorating. It’s about meaning. Frances, pictured, wore a vintage gown purchased by her grandmother at Saks Fifth Avenue in the 1950s. Also worn by the bride’s mother, the hope is that the tradition will continue into the next generation. 

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