Fabulous Ideas for Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed and Something Blue Wedding Traditions


Weddings at the Westminster Hotel - photo by Dean Michaels Studio

Weddings and tradition go hand in hand, with our modern culture embracing the same symbolic wishes for luck, fortune, fidelity and happiness as brides and grooms from ancient eras. So many of our current wedding elements come from old-world superstitions, with each of them getting a twist to personalize the meaning and style. That’s what’s happening with the well-known tradition of Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed and Something Blue.

You’ve heard the rhyme before, probably with the ‘penny for your shoe,’ and countless brides before you have excitedly planned to have the Old, New, Borrowed and Blue traditions as a part of their wedding preparations. On the morning of her wedding, the bride would be surrounded by her closest and most special female relatives and friends, and they would present her with the four symbolic items representing the Old, New, Borrowed and Blue items. There’s a lot of sentiment in receiving your grandmother’s handkerchief or the same necklace your mother wore on her wedding day, and getting to wear or carry these important heirlooms during the walk down the aisle can make your day all the more meaningful when you’re entrusted with a symbol of family harmony and happiness.

Here’s what Old, New, Borrowed and Blue represent:

Old: This item represents a link to the bride’s family traditions and relationships, culture, religion, her life before this new union with her groom.

New: This brand-new item represents hope, happiness, fortune and success in her new life.

Borrowed: This item is most often one borrowed from a happy bride or a long-married female loved one, bringing the luck and happiness of her marriage as a good luck charm to the bride’s marriage

Blue: Borrowing from some religions’ symbolism, the color blue may represent holiness, purity, fidelity and other wishes for the marriage.


Here are some creative ways to incorporate your Old, New, Borrowed and Blue into your wedding day:

Wedding day jewelry can be something old, new, borrowed or blue - Westminster Weddings

Something Old

  • Jewelry of your mother’s, grandmother’s or other female relative’s that has now been handed down to you as a wedding gift and your Something Old
  • The shawl or wrap your mother or grandmother wore at her wedding. More brides are happily accepting the wedding shawl or wrap from their sisters, and even from their mothers- or sisters-in-law.
  • Your mother’s, grandmother’s or great-aunt’s wedding day tiara or headpiece and veil.
  • An heirloom headband or headpiece to which a new veil has been attached.
  • An heirloom charm that is attached to the handle of your bridal bouquet. It might be your mother’s, or it might be yours from when you were a little girl.
  • Incorporating an old family tradition into your wedding ceremony or reception, such as a toast, a reading, or a song.
  • Incorporating an old cultural tradition, or both of your culture’s marriage traditions, as your ultra-valued Something Old.
  • Incorporating family-honored religious or spiritual rituals into your wedding day.
  • Marrying at the same church where your parents or grandparents were married.
  • Using the same music in your ceremony that your parents had in their wedding ceremonies.

Pandya Photography - Westminster Wedding


Something New

  • The jewelry you wear on your wedding day – perhaps a gift from your groom or from your parents
  • Your wedding gown
  • Your wedding shoes
  • The flowers you carry as your bouquet
  • A meaningful charm that you and your groom have selected as your first charm in a new collection you’ll start; you’ll attach this charm to your bouquet, then wear it as a pendant, to be joined by future meaningful charms
  • The decision not to have the same wedding style or location as everyone else in your family, breaking from tradition to have what you really want for your big day


Something Borrowed

  • The prior bride’s headpiece, tiara or veil [one of the most commonly borrowed items between brides!]
  • An heirloom wedding gown, perhaps your grandmother’s or mother’s, given a freshening and perhaps a bit of a restructuring by a qualified seamstress
  • The bride’s gloves for a formal wedding
  • The bride’s handkerchief, to be carried at the handle under the bouquet
  • ‘Borrowing’ the same reading or song from your parents’, grandparents’ or in-laws’ weddings
  • Borrowed jewelry, including necklace, earrings or bracelet
  • Borrowed jeweled hair clips or jeweled barrettes worn by the prior bride
  • A religious medal or symbolic charm that has been in the family for generations
  • A pretty wrap or shawl worn by the prior bride
  • A pretty bridal purse carried by the prior bride
  • The ring pillows used by the prior bride and groom

Braunschweiger Jewelers blue topaz wedding jewelry

Something Blue

  • A little blue bow on your garter
  • A little blue bow sewn into the underside of your train
  • A little blue bow sewn into the underside or handle of your bouquet
  • An ultra-light blue hem sewn on your veil
  • Blue embroidery on your bodice, skirt or train
  • Blue toenail polish
  • A surprise, blue temporary tattoo on your hip or ankle
  • A bit of blue color in the flowers of your bridal bouquet
  • At a beach or destination wedding, your Blue could be the color of the ocean
  • At an outdoor wedding, your Blue could be the color of the clear, blue sky
  • If you have blue eyes, your Blue could be the smile in your eyes


And a Penny For Your Shoe

The traditional ‘penny (or sixpence) for your shoe’ has been a longtime good luck charm to bring fortune, abundance and security to the wedding couple. These days, many brides like to tuck a penny from the year they met their groom or from the year of the wedding into their shoe, so that it’s there for good luck during the ceremony. Then, they remove it during the standing, walking and dancing hours of the reception so that they don’t experience pain or discomfort. That fortune charm penny is tucked away someplace safe, perhaps glued into a scrapbook and otherwise held as a wonderful good luck charm from the wedding day.



Winter Wedding Inspiration

We’re so inspired by winter celebration style, we created our Winter Wedding Inspiration Pinterest board, and we’d love for you to see it!

Weddings at The Westminster Hotel have been designed with dazzling design details, lots of sparkle and glitter, and gorgeous lighting, and we know you’ll love the images of our own weddings and parties here, as well as some additional winter wedding ideas we’ve found to help you plan your own winter wedding or party with us!

Winter wedding and party inspiration from Westminster Hotel Weddings and Events - photo by Andy Foster Photo

5 Goals of Great Rehearsal Dinners – By the Westminster Hotel Weddings Team

Westminster Weddings rehearsal dinner private room at Strip House at the Westminster Hotel

Your rehearsal dinner is where your wedding really kicks off as an amazing experience from start to finish. When you treat your guests to your rehearsal dinner, they get their first taste of your taste level, and especially since so many of your loved ones may live far apart from one another, this get-together is even more special for all of you. There’s a tremendously happy energy at a rehearsal dinner, and the details you plan for it elevate your celebration to the best rehearsal dinner anyone in your group has ever attended.

New Jersey Bride named us as one of the best rehearsal dinner venues in New Jersey, and they’ve named us to their Love It! list. We’re so proud to be recognized for our team’s fine work.

Westminster Weddings rehearsal dinner at Strip House at the Westminster Hotel

Westminster Weddings rehearsal dinner at Strip House at the Westminster Hotel

Here are the top 5 goals of a fabulous rehearsal dinner, created for you by our Westminster Weddings team:

  1. Group bonding. Whether it’s the first time your sides of the family have ever met, or the fiftieth, your rehearsal dinner gathers everyone together for excellent bonding time, when you become one big happy family. The same goes for your bridal party members and circles of friends. At this exciting rehearsal dinner event, your friends will get to know one another, chat, mingle, find common interests, and set the stage for all future friend gatherings once you’re a married couple. All of your favorite people are here in one place, toasting to your happiness, and by virtue of this VIP quality time will likely have an even better time together at your wedding. Toasts are an important part of group bonding at the rehearsal dinner, and while wedding etiquette rules apply – the hosts propose the first toast of the evening – anyone can raise a glass to your happiness, and of course it’s wonderful when the two of you propose a toast to your rehearsal dinner guests as well.
  2. A fabulous dinner. Treat your VIP rehearsal dinner guests to an amazing, unforgettable meal designed and created by our outstanding chefs. You can set the bar high with an ultra-gourmet rehearsal dinner meal – enjoying your chance to spoil your loved ones with an elaborate menu – or plan a rehearsal dinner menu that departs from the elaborate menu plans you have for your wedding day, instead planning something more casual like an outdoor tailgating party menu. Themed party menus such as tacos and other dishes are also popular for rehearsal dinner catering options. Family-style meals also tie into the family-bonding goal of a great rehearsal dinner.

Westminster Weddings rehearsal dinner at Strip House at the Westminster Hotel - photo by Andy Foster Photography

Westminster Weddings rehearsal dinner at Strip House at the Westminster Hotel - photo by Andy Foster Photography

Westminster Weddings rehearsal dinner at Strip House at the Westminster Hotel - photo by Andy Foster Photography

Westminster Weddings rehearsal dinner at Strip House at the Westminster Hotel - photo by Andy Foster Photography

3. Personalize it. Again, you can personalize your rehearsal dinner menu with your favorite tailgate menu options, or with themed stations like a nachos bar, tacos, fajitas and sangria, or you can choose a theme related to your favorite shared interests like a movie, television show, or era. You’ll notice that the famed Strip House at the Westminster Hotel has an Old Hollywood vibe to it, so that may be a jumping-off point to help you choose your rehearsal dinner’s theme. Further personalizing your rehearsal dinner can be signs – just like you may be planning for your wedding – announcing your signature drinks, or a lit marquee sign featuring your choice of word or your initials.

4. Stress-free time. Forget about wedding day nerves and stress. Your rehearsal dinner is your stress-free break from all that, a time to just relax together and enjoy, laugh, clink champagne glasses together with your family and friends, and let our excellent staff treat you like the wedding royalty you are to us!

5. Privacy. Use our private party room at Strip House, or gather outdoors in a tented rehearsal dinner on our grounds, or on our Zen garden terrace with fountains, or book one of our smaller party rooms for your rehearsal dinner. You can also arrange to ‘take over’ a section of our Strip House dining room for your rehearsal dinner celebration, or take over the entire Strip House restaurant for your larger rehearsal dinner!

Westminster Weddings rehearsal dinner in the private VIP room at Strip House at the Westminster Hotel

Contact us to begin planning your rehearsal dinner (and wedding! And bridal shower!) today. And don’t forget to share your rehearsal dinner images with us for a feature on our Facebook page.

Some of the Delectable Desserts at Westminster Weddings and Parties


These are just some of the delectable desserts that your wedding and party guests can feast on at your unforgettable celebration, ending with your choice of plattered, station or individually-plated desserts. We invite you to come in and talk to our wedding and event planner, meet our chefs and plan the perfect choices for your wedding menu and dessert hour!

NJ wedding favorite mini pastries at Westminster Weddings

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Wedding Vow Renewal Trends for 2017

Vow renewals at Westminster Weddings - photo by Andy Foster Photo

Renewing your wedding vows is a milestone moment in your relationship, and cause for a wonderful celebration that gathers your family and friends for a happy occasion. It’s a time to celebrate your years of marriage – no matter how many years it’s been – and many couples who have renewed their wedding vows say that this meaningful celebration not only reaffirms their commitment to one another, it also serves as a wonderful example to the younger generations of what goes into a healthy and happy marriage.

Couples who renew their wedding vows very often plan their ceremony and reception to be very much like a wedding, with a ceremony held in their venue’s gardens and their reception held in their venue’s ballroom. From wedding gown to wedding flowers to wedding cake, this vow renewal may even be a bigger, more elaborate, more indulgent event than the couple’s original wedding. Some couples certainly see this as an opportunity for a wedding do-over, the chance to have the wedding of their dreams in one of the best wedding venues in NJ. They want to celebrate in grand style, treating their guests to a spectacular celebration.

Wedding vow renewal events at Westminster Weddings - photo by Andy Foster Photo

Here are some of the top wedding vow renewal trends:

  • An outdoor vow renewal ceremony, complete with aisle runner, and their kids walking down the aisle as part of the processional.
  • A vow renewal ceremony led by anyone they choose, since a NJ-licensed officiant is not necessary (but may be hired.)
  • A vow renewal ceremony including new vows the couple writes themselves, often as a surprise reveal to their partners and guests. Or, the couple may choose to recite their original wedding vows once again. Favorite songs, poems, quotes and other writings may be included in the vow renewal program or in the ceremony themselves, to personalize this centerpiece of the day.
  • Vows may be taken as a family, including the kids in the ceremony, with promises and messages of appreciation spoken to them as well.
  • Hiring a NJ professional photographer to capture the highlights of the day means you’ll get top-quality photos and editing, archival-quality photo albums, images on a drive, and other benefits of professional wedding photography…and with a professional photographer working your event, none of your guests will be responsible for taking all of those important photos.
  • The wedding vow renewal ceremony may be followed by a lavish cocktail party outside in their wedding gardens or inside their event venue, with the cocktail party menu impressive, garden-fresh, locally-sourced and beautifully prepared and served by the event’s catering team.
  • A First Dance lets you re-dance to your original wedding song, or you may choose from the top wedding songs 2017 listed online by the top NJ wedding entertainers for your own new ‘our song’ for this first dance.
  • Wedding vow renewal couples are dedicating songs to their kids, as well as to their guests, as a gesture of appreciation and love.
  • Favors are given at this event, or a donation may be made to charity, adding an element of ‘giving back’ to your celebration.
  • Gifts are not required, but most guests will bring them. It’s not considered etiquette-appropriate to make a gift registry, nor to include gift registry information on the invitation. But when a donation to charity is suggested, it’s perfectly acceptable to mention that on your event’s personal website, much like a personal wedding website – the URL of which is okay to include in a Save The Date announcement for your wedding vow renewal event.
  • A wedding vow renewal may be planned as a surprise for a partner, or guests may be surprised when they arrive at your event venue to find that this is, indeed, your wedding vow renewal.
  • Champagne toasts, sabering and champagne towers have also become a top trend at wedding vow renewal celebrations.
  • A sit-down dinner treats guests to a sensational meal. Dinner may be part of a larger wedding do-over, or you may plan for just the sit-down dinner at our fine dining locations.
  • Vow renewal décor ideas include lavish floral centerpieces, floral arches, specialty lighting effects, fine linens, signs, and other wedding-style décor items. Signs that you make or buy for your vow renewal, such as bar signs and menu signs, can come home with you to be added to your home décor for a daily reminder of this perfect celebration.
  • Bar menus include signature cocktails, His and Hers drinks, and theme drinks to suit the style of your celebration.
  • Catering menus may include trendy dishes and of-the-moment flavors, as well as cultural dishes that your event venue’s chefs prepare for your personalized party.
  • The cake is as important a focal point at a vow renewal celebration as it is at a wedding, and renewal couples enjoy planning for their dream wedding cake and desserts, for an elaborate dessert hour that completes a stunningly impressive and delicious menu.
  • A band or deejay may provide the entertainment for your ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner and dancing hours.
  • And yes, taking a second or third honeymoon is a trend for wedding vow renewals, with some couples opting to plan a family vacation.

Get your Wedding Published in a Top Wedding Magazine or Bridal Blog

credits for website new 2013 njb

Your wedding will be so lovely and elegant that it can appear in the top wedding magazines and on the top wedding blogs. You’ll be an international star! Your friends and family will be thrilled to share the excitement of your wedding featured as among the very best and most beautiful weddings of the year! Especially in the biggest-name bridal magazines and on the top wedding blogs that all your friends follow. Celebrity brides have their weddings in the media, so why not you?!

One of our weddings was recently featured on New Jersey Bride! See the post here:

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We’re happy to help you achieve wedding stardom! Here are our top tips for submitting your wedding story and photos to wedding magazines and blogs:

  1. Submit to one magazine or blog at a time! They very often require exclusive submissions, so that your wedding isn’t accepted into a competitor’s magazine or blog before they can feature you, or afterwards. So choose your favorites well, and expect that it can take weeks to hear back from each of your chosen dream magazines or blogs. Most bridal magazines and blogs will feature weddings from up to 2 years prior, so you have plenty of time.
  1. Follow the directions on each site’s Real Weddings submissions page carefully. Incomplete applications will be rejected.
  1. Get your photographer’s permission to share your images. He or she will need to submit high-resolution images and grant their okay to have your photos published, with credit given to him or her.
  1. In your submission letter, entice the editors with your wedding description. Share unique details of your wedding location, menu, décor items and ceremony style. For instance, if you used eco-friendly wedding décor, be sure to call attention to that in your letter. Editors receive thousands of submissions a month, so help yours stand out with details that are ‘publish-worthy.’
  1. Share details about your relationship. Editors love it when you’ve known each other since grade school, or if you overcame any obstacles to reach the altar. They’re looking for inspiring love stories as well as beautiful wedding designs.
  1. Tell them that you can provide information on all of your wedding experts; editors love it when you help them do their jobs. If you supply the URLs for your pros, editors will love you.
  1. Make your initial submission concise. A busy editor won’t take the time to read a seven-page rambling application story with no paragraph breaks. Editors say, “That hurts my eyes!”
  1. Use perfect spelling and grammar in your submission. Don’t give them a reason to reject you.
  1. Don’t attach a hundred high-resolution photos in your submission unless the online application form asks you to. Submit the number they ask for, in the format they ask for, and submit a link to your online gallery, so that editors can pick out which images they want for the story.
  1. Make sure your wedding fits with the magazine’s or blog’s topic or location. A regional magazine, for instance, only wants to publish weddings taking place in that region.
  1. Come up with a catchy title for your Real Wedding story. You’ll stand out, and again, editors love it when you make their jobs easier.
  1. Follow all of the bridal magazines and bridal blogs you love on Facebook and Twitter. They often put out requests for new Real Wedding stories to their followers, which can better your odds of being published by them.
  1. Find out when you can submit your wedding to OUR blog, after it appears in a bridal magazine or on a blog. The editors will let you know how long you’ll have to wait to give them exclusivity; then just let us know when your wedding can be featured here!

What Are the Top Wedding Blogs to Consider?

We of course are happy to send you right to New Jersey Bride to submit your wedding here 

BrideTide.com names their best wedding blogs of the year annually, and here is the link to their newest list:  Most of these blogs feature Real Wedding stories, so look for their ‘Be On Our Site’ or ‘Real Weddings’ pages to get their submission requirements.

This year’s Best-Of blogs include names you know, like:

* Style Me Pretty

* The Knot

* Grace Ormonde Wedding Style

* Offbeat Bride

* Ruffled Blog

* 100 Layer Cake

* Offbeat Bride

* Polka Dot Bride

* One Fab Day

* Emmaline Bride

* DIY Bride

* Ritzy Bee

* Junebug Weddings

* Bride Chic

* Eco-Friendly Weddings

* Pretty Pear Brides

* Bridal Bar

And more…

What Are the Top Wedding Magazines to Consider?

All of the top print wedding magazines feature Real Weddings, so look to these national magazines – they may be looking for your wedding as well!

* The Knot

* Brides

* Bridal Guide

* Martha Stewart Weddings

* Elegant Bride

And more…

And keep in mind that your photographer may submit your wedding to Two Bright Lights, a site where your wedding images and details are posted, and editors go there to find their next gorgeous wedding to feature! Talk to your photographer about how he or she may plan to submit your wedding for publication, and make a plan together!

Gorgeous Wedding Gowns From The Claire Pettibone Runway Show at Bridal Fashion Week

Bridal Fashion Week took place in NYC this past week, and we spotted some gorgeous wedding gown trends for 2017! We’re happy to share with you now some highlights from the Claire Pettibone collection:

Claire Pettibone The Four Seasons Preview from Claire Pettibone on Vimeo.

We love the ethereal look that Claire is known for, and we couldn’t do a better job of describing this collection better than Claire herself:


I had this idea for a collection inspired by the four seasons some time ago, and this fall, it all came together. Creating four looks to epitomize the season they represent, while maintaining the versatility to be worn by brides for any time of year, was a really interesting project. I was able to immerse myself in the beauty of nature, and delve into the variety of color, texture, and motifs that have been painted by artists, sung and written about, and even worshiped, over the history of mankind. Honestly, this has been one of my favorite collections to design. I love that each season has a very defined mood, although I believe a dress from spring could certainly be worn for a fall wedding, and a winter gown could be perfect for a summer soiree. I present this collection as an inspirational starting point, and leave it to the creativity and individual personalities of my brides to make these dresses their own.

Dresses literally blooming from head to toe with delicate floral embroideries, laces and carefully placed appliques. These romantic dresses are a dream for any season, and bring the fresh beauty of Spring to life.

Lazy Summer days in a grassy meadow with nothing to do, but dream and fall in love. Cotton embroideries, breezy tulle and linen composed with sheer details, intricate touches and a bohemian spirit epitomize the perfect summer mood.

There is a mystery about Autumn, and a rich beauty in the changing of the seasons. Texture, detail and a glimmer of precious metals woven into luxurious embroideries and laces offers up a decadent statement for our bride.

A time of quiet reflection, snow dusted on winter’s branches, and a touch of sparkle create the magic of Winter. Elaborate embroideries, layers of lace and tulle, and the subtle shimmer of sequins and crystals are statement pieces for any season.