Wedding traditions: Ideas for wearing something old, new, borrowed and blue
Did you know that the old saying for brides something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue used to include . . .and a silver sixpence in her shoe? Here are a few ideas for what to wear for each.
Everyone has heard the old saying for weddings about the bride wearing something, old, something new, something borrowed and something blue. This old English saying dates back to the Victorian times, and it used to include another item—a sliver sixpence in her shoe. Each of these items has several meanings and various symbols are used to represent them.
When we are talking about a bride wearing something old, it represents a link with the bride’s family and her past. One item that is traditionally used for this is a handkerchief from a mother or grandmother, perhaps an heirloom that has been passed down through the family. The reason that a handkerchief is used is because it was thought that a bride who cried tears of joy at her wedding would never shed another tear during her marriage. Still another tradition was the giving of an old garter to the bride by a happily married woman so that she would also be happily married. Today, some brides also interpret the ‘something old’ as a piece of treasured antique jewelry or wearing their mother’s wedding gown. Whatever is chosen it should symbolize to the bride that the people she loves would always be a part of her life.
In the past and in the present, something new represents good fortune, happiness, health and a successful marriage. Most brides consider their wedding gown as the ‘something new’ item. Another idea is to give her a new handkerchief, so that when she has a baby, it can be made into a christening bonnet for her first child. There is no limit to the things a new bride can choose for this part of the saying. Perhaps it can be some thing chosen by the bride with her mother, sister, or fiancé to wear at the wedding so that it will have sentimental value for her.
Many women also borrowed handkerchiefs for the ‘something borrowed’ part of the saying. Borrowing something reminds the bride that her friends and family will be there for her should she ever need anything. In Victorian times, when the bride returned the token of love that her family had given her, good luck would be bestowed upon her marriage. If she did not return the item, she was destined to have bad luck instead. A borrowed piece of family jewelry, a grandmother’s lace fan, a sister’s hair clip, or an aunt’s white elbow length gloves could be chosen to remind a bride that just because she is getting married does not mean that she will not have family to depend on. Families are forever.
Something blue symbolizes faithfulness and loyalty. In ancient Israel, blue, not white was the symbol of purity. Brides often wore blue ribbons in their hair to symbolize fidelity and loyalty to their new husband. Most brides nowadays choose to wear a garter with a blue ribbon on it. But perhaps a sapphire necklace or blue flowers on the crown of their veil could be another way to have ‘something blue.’
In Victorian England, a bride also had a ‘silver sixpence in her shoe.’ This was to wish her wealth in her new marriage, and to symbolize that she would never be penniless because she had that silver sixpence. The sixpence was given by her husband as token of his love and a promise to take care of her. Today, brides can use a silver sixpence, or if they are unable to get one, a penny. It is traditionally given by her father, instead of her husband, as a token of her father’s love for her. A bride can easily tuck a shiny, new penny into the lining of one of her shoes. Silver sixpences are also available online at some of the wedding sites for this very purpose.
Whatever a bride chooses for her ‘something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a sliver sixpence in her shoe, she can be sure that each item will have sentimental value to her in the future as she looks back on her special day, surrounded by those she loves.