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Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue

Every bride knows she is supposed to wear something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue but how many brides actually know and understand the tradition behind this interesting ritual? Believe it or not, each item has significance and is considered to be a good luck charm. It actually began as an Old English rhyme “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a silver sixpence in her shoe”. While this has become a tradition, like so many old superstitions this one makes little sense. It seems that the combination of all the items will ensure a long, happy and prosperous marriage.

Something old is a symbol that signifies the bride’s happy past. Something old is also thought to be a symbol that will provide protection for a future child and ensure the baby be born healthy. What the bride chooses for this good luck charm can be anything that she owns which holds good memories for her. A piece of jewelry is a typical choice for this.

Something new is a symbol that signifies the bride and groom’s happy future together and for this the bride needs to purchase something new. History does not seem to have an actual reason for the “something new” part of the rhyme so it is thought that perhaps it was slipped in just to make the rhyme work. Again, a special piece of jewelry that she can wear with her wedding dress as she walks down the aisle is a great choice.

Something borrowed should be lent to the bride by someone who has a happy marriage so that their good fortune will rub off on the bride. If the bride’s parents have been happily married the mother of the bride will often provide her daughter with something she can borrow for the day, and if it is something the mother of the bride wore on her own wedding day it is considered extra lucky. In days of old the something borrowed was often an undergarment lent to the bride by a woman who had been not only happily married but birthed many children.

Something blue is a symbol of the bride’s love and fidelity. In years past, and still in some cultures, the bride would wear a blue wedding gown to signify the very same thing. Blue is also supposed to ward of the evil eye which may cause a woman to be barren. A blue garter worn under the bride’s dress is the typical “something blue” symbol favored today for this particular part of this charming ritual.

A silver sixpence in her shoe, although perhaps uncomfortable, is a symbol that is slipped into the bride’s shoe to ensure the couple’s future prosperity.

The modern bride still favors this tradition and given the current trend towards vintage weddings the something old, something borrowed and something blue are usually quite easy to choose. Let’s take a look at some of the options a modern bride has.
Old – Jewelry her mother wore on her wedding day. The veil the bride’s mother wore when she got married. The something old doesn’t have to be an item of clothing or jewelry. It could be the cake topper that graced the top of the bride’s parents’ wedding cake.
New – For a traditionalist bride, an item that she in turn can pass on to her daughter may be worth considering. The bride’s wedding dress can be the something new. Often the groom will present the bride with something new, typically a piece of jewelry.
Borrowed – If the mother of the bride has provided the “something old” it can be a very nice gesture for the future mother-in-law to provide the bride with something of hers to carry down the aisle.
Blue – While a garter is the usual choice for something blue, pale blue shoes look stunning with a white wedding gown as an alternative.