Something Old, Something New… Wedding Traditions

I think every bride knows of the saying, “something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue,” but not a lot of people know where it comes from and the meaning behind it.  The full poem goes:

Something old, something new

Something borrowed, something blue

And a silver sixpence in your shoe.

A sixpence is a coin that was minted in Britain from 1551 to 1967 which proves the tradition comes from the English, and many sources say it began in the Victorian era.  Each item in the poem represents a good-luck token for the bride and if she carries all of them on her wedding day she will have a happy marriage. :)

“Something old” symbolizes continuity with the bride’s family and the past.  “Something new” represents optimism and hope for the bride’s new life ahead.  “Something borrowed” is an item from a happily married friend or family member whose good fortune in marriage is supposed to carry over to the new bride.  The borrowed item also reminds the bride that she can depend on her friends and family.  As for “something blue,” the color blue has been connected to weddings for centuries.  In ancient Rome, brides wore blue to symbolize love, purity and fidelity, and before the late 19th century blue was a popular color for wedding gowns!  And keeping with old English tradition, a silver sixpence in the bride’s shoe represents wealth and financial security.  The coin is harder to come by these days (especially in the United States!), so a dime or a copper penny may be substituted.  Of course most American brides leave out this last part as it is largely an English tradition.

Now that you know the meaning behind the poem, it’s time to start collecting items for your own wedding!

1. Here are some ideas from Glamour Weddings for your “something old:”

- Wrap a vintage handkerchief around your bouquet.

- Wear a locket with old family photos around your neck on your wedding day, or attach the locket to your bouquet.

- Include a note card with an old family recipe with your wedding favor.

- Borrow your parents’ or grandparents’ cake topper.

- Wear your mother’s wedding band on your right hand during the ceremony.

- Have your groom wear his father or grandfather’s cuff links.

2. A bride’s wedding dress is the most common “something new” item.  This may seem like an obvious and maybe boring choice, but it’s traditionally been that way for a reason.  The search for the perfect wedding dress is a big deal!   Each bride is looking for a dress that will represent their personality and style, a dress that they feel beautiful in and the one they will walk down the aisle t0 their new husband in!  A brand new dress is the perfect item to represent your new life as a married couple. :)

3. The “borrowed” item is commonly a piece of jewelry or a veil from a family member or friend.  Some bride’s do borrow their mother or grandmother’s wedding dress, whether they wear it as is or take pieces from it and incorporate it into their own dress.  I once had a bride who cut a heart out of the shirt her father wore at his own wedding and had her seamstress sew it inside her dress, over her heart. :)  You can get creative with this one!  Remember, it’s an honor for your family and friends to be part of your special day.  They want to lend you items that are meaningful to them!

4. Your “something blue” is usually an accessory like jewelry, shoes or a garter, but this is another one where you can get really creative and have fun with it!  The Knot has some great ideas for some new and unique “something blue” items:

- A pair of earrings in aquamarine is a chic and subtle way to add blue to your look.  Blue Topaz and Sapphire are also pretty blue stones that could be incorporated in your wedding jewelry.

- For the unconventional bride, a veil made of dusky, light-blue tulle will give your bridal look a whimsical yet edgy vibe.

- Save your “something blue” for your new husband only and find a lacey lingerie set in a romantic cornflower blue, or choose one with blue accents.

- Hike up your skirt to show off flirty blue heels for a great photo op, or pair them with a mini dress for your reception look!

TLC’s wedding website has some more great ideas for these traditional pieces that will bring you luck on your wedding day, and atCharlotte’s we carry some great jewelry designers that have some beautiful blue pieces. :)

- Lindsey