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7 Something Borrowed Ideas

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

By The Zola Team

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, but has continued on for many couples and weddings. Each element of the phrase represents a sort of good luck charm for the bride to carry onto her new journey as a wife.

What Does Something Borrowed Mean?

Something old represents continuity; something new symbolizes optimism for your future; something borrowed is for borrowed happiness; something blue stands for purity, loyalty, and fidelity; and the sixpence is a good luck wish for prosperity. However, many modern couples choose to incorporate these tokens into the wedding as a whole, rather than for one of them to wear, so there is absolutely no reason that a groom couldn't follow the same good-luck guidelines.

Of all five meanings, the sentimental feeling behind "something borrowed" really pulls on our heartstrings. We love nothing more than the idea of borrowing something from a married couple you admire as the guiding force for your own union, so we've decided to share some of our favorite "something borrowed" wedding ideas. Get ready to seriously feel your heart flutter.

What Are Some Creative Something Borrowed Ideas?

Below, find seven unique something borrowed ideas or jump straight to the section you’re most inspired by:

  1. Attire - Incorporate borrowed attire into your dress, veil, pocket square, or shoes.
  2. Lace - Add borrowed lace to your pocket square, boutonniere, or wedding decor.
  3. Jewelry - Wear a loved one’s special jewelry piece or add to your wedding bouquet.
  4. Tableware - Utilize antique tableware as your reception place settings or meal stations for display.
  5. Rings - Borrow a loved one’s rings and add them to your bouquet, neckwear, or suit jacket.
  6. Songs - Include loved one’s favorite songs into your wedding ceremony.
  7. Cake - Use a family member’s classic cake recipe or borrow another couple’s cake knives

1. Attire

Perhaps the most popular way to incorporate a "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, 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. 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, grooms can have the lace added to the pocket square or wrapped around their boutonniere. 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.

7 Something Borrowed Ideas Photo Credit // Meghan Rolfe Photography

3. 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 the earrings, bracelets, necklaces, cufflinks, or other items of another. However, there are many modern twists on this idea that take the concept a step further. For example, you can gather brooches from the women who continually inspire 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 women in your life are there. Similarly, you could wrap a string of pearls around the bottom of your bouquet for a more subtle approach.

4. 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, but 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 antique tableware, you'll have a beautiful and memorable "something borrowed" at your once-in-a-lifetime event.

5. 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. 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 a great way 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 of, or have your instrumentalist(s) play, their song and walk down the aisle to it. 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

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 the cake knife of a friend or relative. 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.

Who said that this token tradition is only for the bride? It's more than lovely to include the groom in on the fun, as well. Borrow a pair of heirloom cufflinks or the tie of a close friend or family member—either way, we encourage grooms to carry or incorporate their own sentimental items into the wedding day, too. Whatever you end up choosing for your "something borrowed," make the most of the tradition by ensuring that your choice is really special and meaningful to you, your story, and your journey. Borrowed love is an incredible thing to have by your side on this extraordinary day.

7 Something Borrowed Ideas Photo Credit // Jessica Miccio Photography

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