10 Something Borrowed Ideas for the Modern Bride

Bring a new twist to this age-old wedding tradition.

Bride in her wedding dress with mother pinning brooch into the bride's hair

Photo by Stanlo Photography

We're all familiar with the saying "something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue." Did you know, however, that including something borrowed on your big day is supposed to bring a lifetime of marital bliss? It's even better if that item is from someone special (like Mom or Grandma) with a rock-solid marriage. The old superstition holds that borrowing something from a happily married person on your wedding day transfers some of their good fortune to your union.

These days, however, the tradition has taken on a far more sentimental role. It's a way to honor someone who has had a profound presence in your life. Some of the more traditional ideas to check that something-borrowed box off your to-do list include borrowing your mother’s veil, a pair of shoes, a clutch, or a grandparent’s handkerchief. You may even consider wearing the wedding dress your mother or grandmother wore on her big day.

But if you’re looking to add something more out of the box while still following this tradition, there are plenty of options for the modern bride. Read on for 10 ideas to create your own happily ever after.

something borrowed ideas
Jessica Olah/Brides 

The First Dance Song

Cue the tears of joy! Select the first dance song that your parents danced to as your own and surprise them with it. "It will surely bring a tear to their eyes as they recall the wonderful feelings they had when they united as husband and wife," says Florida-based wedding planner Aviva Samuels of Kiss the Planner.

Meet the Expert

  • Aviva Samuels is the founder Kiss the Planner.
  • Stephanie Aspinwall of Pretty Entertaining.
  • Brittany Lo is the founder of Beautini.

A Favorite Recipe

Add a classic touch to your wedding-day menu. Borrow the recipe for a signature cocktail or an appetizer from your favorite restaurant. Or, if you have a favorite dessert your grandmother made when you were a child, incorporate it into your wedding cake or serve it on its own.

Wedding Decorations

Save money and set the scene at your venue with something sentimental and borrowed that also fits in with your theme. For example, D.C.-based wedding and event planner Stephanie Aspinwall of Pretty Entertaining had one couple that borrowed the groom's dad's baseball card collection to use as decor at their reception. Vintage vases, borrowed books, and art are just a few other chic ideas.

Hair Accessories

Borrow from your besties. Think headpieces, hair clips, and yes, even tiaras. Aspinwall shares a sweet story about a group of friends who all married within a few years of each other and were bridesmaids in each other's weddings. "The first bride purchased a tiara for her wedding, then each of the other friends borrowed it for their weddings," she explains.

Lines for Your Vows

Don't worry; we're not suggesting you plagiarize another couple's vows. However, if someone near and dear to your heart penned their own, do consider stealing a line or two that you especially liked (with their blessing, of course). "Feel free to borrow lines from your favorite authors, songwriters, and poets as well," says Samuels.

A Piece of Jewelry

We know that this certainly sounds like one of the most traditional options to check off that something-borrowed box, but there are ways to make it feel a bit more modern. Don't just go with any old piece of jewelry. We love the idea of asking Mom or Grandma for something they either wore on their own wedding day or something that your parents or grandparents were given as a gift from their other half. Wearing these little baubles can hold so much meaning.

Consider incorporating the same idea for your partner by borrowing a meaningful piece, such as cufflinks or a pin, from a special family member.

Items for Your Table Settings

Decked-out tablescapes are definitely in, and there are so many components that can be added to inject personality. Check with family members or friends to see if they might have anything to add to the table, whether it’s beautiful cloth napkins, trinkets, or even your grandmother’s stunning silver or place settings.

The Getaway Vehicle

Planning a grand send-off? Once the fireworks are lit or the confetti has been thrown, you’ll want to get away in style. Borrowing a beautiful vintage car or another decked-out ride can be the perfect way to add something borrowed to your big day.

Bouquet Bling

If you don't want to wear a family member's jewelry, why not incorporate it in another way? Add a pretty borrowed brooch to the back of your bouquet, or delicately wrap a classic string of pearls around the bottom of the flowers, suggests Brittany Lo, founder of Beautini.

Dress up your bouquet with a sentimental tie or ribbon. Consult your florist about adding meaning to your flowers.

A Surprise

If you love to be spontaneous, ask a trusted friend or family member to surprise you with your borrowed item. As long as you’re a go-with-the-flow type of person, this won’t add any additional planning to your list. It also gives someone special in your life the opportunity to add another meaningful piece to your big day.

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