What exactly is an heirloom? It’s an item that’s been passed down many generations of a family, to enjoy on special occasions, such as your wedding day!

vintage heirlooms mattbowenphotography

What wedding treasures do you have?

For the rest of us, where can we find heirloom accessories in our own family and how can we start the tradition of passing on a wedding heirloom ourselves?

One item that could be a family heirloom might be a wedding veil. Chapel and cathedral length veils tend to be fairly classic in style, so if you let it be known that you’re on the lookout for a wedding veil, you may find that a cousin or aunt has just the thing tucked away somewhere safe.

Another heirloom you may come across is a vintage beaded handbag belonging to a great grandmother or great aunt. You’ll need a small bag to carry your bits and bobs, so a vintage bag that matches your dress would be ideal! Don’t forget to ask on your partner’s side of the family, too. They’ll probably be delighted to help you by lending some of their own family heirlooms and it’s a great way to make them feel involved with your special day.

heirloom brooch navyblur

Another heirloom that might be quite easy to find is a brooch. Use it on the handle of your wedding bouquet pinned onto a ribbon. A cameo brooch always looks pretty and if other brides in your family have used the same brooch for the same purpose then that’s perfect, and you’ve begun a new family tradition.

Another item to think about is your bridal jewellery. A string of pearls always looks divine, and you might even find a bracelet to match. Pearls don’t date, they’re a classic piece and can be worn over and over. Maybe somebody in the family already has some pearls they can lend you – or you could look out for a set to buy for yourself and treasure forever.

One thing to remember is, if you’re using an heirloom that’s been in the family, you’re going to have to take great care of it and return it in excellent condition. For example if it’s a veil, make sure it’s packed away afterwards clean and ready for the next bride-to-be in your family.

Creating your own family heirlooms

Now if you’re looking to start a tradition of passing down a family heirloom to you children, there are a few things you should think about before you start.

One beautiful idea would be a jewelled bouquet. These have become really popular with brides in recent years and can look absolutely dazzling. Commission a jewelled bouquet and we’re sure you’ll have requests from other brides in the family in the years to come to ‘borrow’ it for their wedding day. How lovely it would be for you to see it being enjoyed in future wedding photographs too.

If you don’t have a family tiara ready and waiting for you, then maybe this is the time to think about one of your own. Obviously it doesn’t need to be made from real diamonds, although that would be fabulous of course! You can find some stunning replica styles, which are ready made or you can talk to a designer about creating one especially for you. How lovely would it be to see your own daughter wearing a family tiara on her wedding day?

heirloom hairclip dottiephotography.co.uk

If you’re getting married in the UK then you can’t always depend on the weather. A wedding dress isn’t always the warmest garment and a wrap is a good way to keep the chill off your shoulders on the way to and from the ceremony and the reception. If you choose a classic style of wrap, maybe a velvet cape or a marabou feather-trimmed stole, then it would be a beautiful investment piece. You could wear it to parties again afterwards and then maybe tuck it away in a trunk for a future family bride to enjoy.

Heirlooms are a timeless way to personalise your big day, but don’t be surprised if your granny gets a bit weepy when she sees you wearing something she wore herself on her big day!