You probably have heard the adage that you need “something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue” for your wedding day. This axiom has inspired one of the most popular wedding traditions. Many couples who don’t follow other wedding conventions might make an effort to add something old, new, borrowed, and blue to their wedding in various fun and creative ways. This article will outline the meaning and origin of this rhyme and how to include it in your wedding.
The History of the “Something Old, Something New” Rhyme
The famous wedding medley derives from the Old English rhyme, “Something Olde, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue, A Sixpence in your Shoe.” These objects were considered necessary for brides to incorporate into their wedding dresses or carry with them on their wedding day, with the belief that they would bring good and happy marriages. The rhyme came about in the Victorian era from Lancashire, a county in England. Most of the themes in the rhyme are meant to ward off the evil eye.
However, don’t be too concerned about this antiquated guide for marital success. The objects in the rhyme shouldn’t dictate your wedding style or take up too much of your precious wedding planning time. They’re usually small tokens of love that your mother, sister, or other guests will give you as you prepare to walk down the aisle (although you can give them to yourself too).
The Meaning of “Something Old”
In past times, including something old in your bridal ensemble was a sure way to ward off the evil eye and protect any future children that the couple might have. In both Victorian through present times, something old represents continuity. Contemporary couples use this as a chance to wear a sentimental piece of jewelry or item of clothing belonging to an older relative. Often the parents of the bride will gift her a family heirloom before the ceremony.
The Meaning of “Something New”
This one is fairly unequivocal: something new offers optimism for the future. The couple is about to enter into a new chapter in life, so walking into marriage with something new makes complete sense. Don’t worry about an exhaustive search for something new—it can be anything, like your wedding dress, veil, jewelry, or shoes. It’s up to you whether your something new is a gift from someone or something that you bought for yourself.
The Meaning of “Something Borrowed”
The something borrowed brings the couple good luck. By borrowing something from a happily married friend or relative, the bride or couple ensures that some of their good fortune will come to them and their marriage. Today, it’s all about honoring a loved one or holding onto something of sentimental value. For example, your mother’s pearl earrings can be worn for a touch of good luck as you say your “I do’s”.
The Meaning of “Something Blue”
In conjunction with something borrowed, something blue was also meant to divert the evil eye. The blue stands for love, purity and fidelity that Old English considered to be three key qualities for a solid marriage. Traditionally, something blue was a blue wedding garter worn beneath the bride’s white dress. However, you don’t have to wear something blue to ward off wicked spirits. Sprinkle blue clematis into the bridal bouquet, pick out a gorgeous pair of blue shoes, or locate a powder blue bowtie. These are just some ideas for incorporating blue into your wedding.
The Meaning of “Sixpence in Your Shoe”
Often forgotten, the sixpence is the final ingredient in the old rhyme. This British coin represents prosperity for couples as they start their lives together. Though the sixpence was decommissioned in the U.K. in 1980, couples who are sticklers for detail can still obtain a sixpence and tuck it in their shoes. If you can’t find a sixpence coin, you can substitute it for a penny, which you can put in your shoe or tuck somewhere else into your outfit.
Traditionally, the father of the bride presents her with the sixpence (or the penny) just before she walks down the aisle as a gift of good luck. Some brides make this token extra special by using a penny from the year they were born or from the year they met their future spouse.
While the evil eye is a thing of the past, “something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue” can be an entertaining tradition to follow at your wedding in whatever way works for you. Have fun with it as you put the finishing touches on your special day.