7 Something Borrowed Ideas for a Memorable Ceremony

From your wedding attire to your cake, here are seven creative ideas for your “something borrowed” that will be special and meaningful for your big day.

By Emily Forrest & Monica Mercuri

wedding shoes and accessory
Photo by Jennifer Larsen Photography

“Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a silver sixpence in her shoe.” This old saying originated as a British wedding tradition and has continued on through many couples and weddings. Each element of the phrase represents a sort of good luck charm for the couple to carry on their new journey together.

If you’re starting to think about your ‘something borrowed,’ you’re in luck! There are a variety of extra-special something borrowed ideas to incorporate into your wedding day. From wearing a veil that was passed down to donning a family member’s piece of jewelry, here are a few thoughtful ideas to kick off your search for inspiration.

Creative something borrowed ideas for your wedding

Check out some of our favorite something borrowed wedding ideas that you can uniquely make your own.

1. Wedding attire

Perhaps the most popular way to incorporate something borrowed into your wedding is through attire. This could include wearing the dress or veil that your mother or grandmother wore, tucking the pocket square of your father or grandfather into your suit, or wearing the shoes of your best friend down the aisle. Nothing is more touching to a beloved friend or family member than reusing a part of their special day in your very own wedding.

One of our absolute favorite something borrowed wedding ideas is to take a piece of an heirloom tablecloth, a vintage dress, or any meaningful fabric and sew it into the lining of your wedding dress or suit. You could also use the same material to create a fresh and modern new accessory like a clutch if that’s more your style. This method allows you to incorporate pieces of that fabric into your big day while allowing you to have your own unique attire.

2. Heirloom lace

Similarly, incorporating a relative’s or friend’s lace into your ceremony can be a beautiful way to pay tribute to that individual. This can be an especially gorgeous way to use something borrowed if the lace is vintage or antique. You may find lace as part of an old garment or veil, a decorative doily, or a handkerchief.

Wrapping a piece of lace around your bouquet is a sweet addition to your wedding florist's work, and it includes your family in a unique way that will be so meaningful to them. Similarly, have a tailor add the lace added to pocket square or simply wrap it around a boutonniere yourself. However, if you don't want to wear or carry the lace, it can also be incorporated into your decor. For example, if you have a large lace table runner, you may choose to use it on a display table or as part of the decor for your head table.

3. Keepsake jewelry

One of the most traditional something borrowed ideas is to wear jewelry from a friend or family member. The conventional approach is to simply wear earrings, bracelets, necklaces, cufflinks, or other similar items. However, there are many modern twists on this idea that take the concept a step further.

For example, you can gather brooches from a person who continually inspires you, and use them to create a one-of-a-kind brooch wedding bouquet. As you walk down the aisle, you can look down at the sparkling bouquet in your hands and know that the amazing people in your life are there. Similarly, you could wrap a string of pearls around the bottom of your bouquet for a more subtle approach.

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4. Family tableware

If you have fond memories of sitting down at your grandmother's table for holiday dinners where she pulled out her favorite china set, those sweet moments can be easily included in your wedding day by using your family's vintage dishes in your wedding decor. Chances are that you won’t have enough place settings to use them for your entire reception. However, using them at your head table or just for you as the couple will allow you to incorporate these special dishes into your celebration.

Alternatively, you could use large platters, bowls, or a cake stand at a dessert station or for your cake display. However you choose to utilize heirloom tableware, you'll have a beautiful and memorable something borrowed at your once-in-a-lifetime event.

In search of new decorations to compliment the antiques? Shop wedding decor on Zola.

5. Treasured rings

Using the rings of another couple you admire is a beautifully symbolic way to carry their love with you throughout the ceremony. Borrowing the rings during the ceremony, you can tie them to your bouquet, wear them on a silk ribbon around your neck, or sew them into your suit jacket pocket.

However, if the rings belong to family or friends who have passed, you may choose to use them as your own during the exchange of rings as part of your ceremony. Regardless of what you decide, borrowing the rings of a couple who inspires you lets you quite literally borrow the symbol of their love.

6. Meaningful songs

Something borrowed doesn't always have to be something the couple wears or even a tangible object. We adore the idea of borrowing the first dance song of a couple you admire. Not only is it a fabulous way for you to show them how much their marriage has inspired you, but it's also a special opportunity to remind the lovebirds of their very own wedding day. We foresee no dry eyes in the house.

Alternatively, if you’d like to have your own first dance song, you could choose to incorporate the song of another couple into your ceremony. Find an instrumental version or have your instrumentalist(s) play their song as you walk down the aisle. This lets you walk into your life as a married couple with that reminder, and it’s a fun way to add even more personality to your big day.

7. Cake flavors

Another unique way to incorporate something borrowed is with your cake. You could choose to use a favorite family recipe of a classic cake your grandmother used to bake or even use the same recipe or flavors your parents had at their own wedding. However, if you already have your heart set on a specific cake recipe, you could consider borrowing a friend or relative’s cake knife. Traditionally, many couples have kept the cake knives from their weddings, sometimes even having them engraved, so using the utensil at your own celebration is a simple yet meaningful way to borrow from a happy couple.


For more wedding traditions, check out 42 Unique Wedding Traditions Around the World.

FAQ about something borrowed

Below, we answer your most-asked questions about the something borrowed tradition.

What does something borrowed mean?

Something borrowed comes from the traditional English rhyme, Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a silver sixpence in her shoe. “Something borrowed” refers to when a couple receives a sentimental item from a married couple they admire. This is to represent “borrowed happiness” from another happy couple to guide their own union.

What is a good idea for something borrowed?

Some popular ideas for something borrowed include a piece of attire, such as a dress, veil, tie, or handkerchief from a loved one. You can also wear jewelry that has been passed down, like a wedding ring wrapped around a bouquet or cufflinks. Other ideas include incorporating your family’s vintage tableware into your decor or opting for non-tangible “something borrowed,” like replaying your parents’ first dance songs.

Whatever you choose for your borrowed item, make the most of the tradition by ensuring that your choice is really special and meaningful to you, your story, and your journey.

Who gives the couple something borrowed?

Traditionally, your borrowed item comes from a family member or a friend of the couple who are happily married. The item—which can be clothing, an accessory, or a decorative item—can be loaned by your grandparents, parents, or any loved one whose relationship you admire.

Ready to start planning even more of your big day? Why not dive deeper into wedding shower traditions or traditional wedding gifts? Couples have been getting married for centuries, and learning about the past is fascinating. However, you have one advantage couples of yore didn’t have— Zola!

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