Many brides are unfamiliar with the origin and meaning behind the old-new-borrowed-blue custom. The “Something Olde, Something Blue” tradition comes from an Old English rhyme (“Something Olde, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue, A Sixpence in your Shoe”). These five objects that the bride adds to her wedding outfit or carries with her on her wedding day are simply good luck charms.
Something old – continuity with the bride’s family and the past
Something new – optimism and hope for the bride’s new life ahead
Something borrowed – an item from a happily married friend or family member, whose good fortune in marriage is supposed to carry over to the new bride
Something blue – Before the late 19th century, blue was a popular color for wedding gowns, as evidenced in proverbs like, “Marry in blue, lover be true.” In ancient Rome, brides wore blue to symbolize love, modesty, and fidelity.
A Sixpence in your Shoe – The coin represents financial security
A sixpence is a British coin worth six pennies that was minted from 1551 to 1967. Sixpences were also minted and used in Maryland, USA from the same date. The coin represents financial security. The belief was that if the bride carries each of these objects on her walk down the aisle she will enjoy a happy marriage. There’s printed evidence in the 1894 edition of the Pennsylvania newspaper, The Warren Ledger, which listed it as a Puritan Marriage Custom.
Something old symbolizes her connection with her family and the past. Something new represents her commitment to the future and her new family with the groom. Something borrowed plays double-duty – it usually comes from a happily married friend or family member and is supposed to transfer that positive mojo to the bride, and it shows the bride that she can rely on her support network to help her out. As for something blue, blue was a common color for bridal gowns before the late 19th century. Most brides interpret this tradition in a similar way, with a blue garter, some borrowed and old jewelry, and a new wedding dress.
Here are a few ideas to get your creative juices going:
• A relative’s monogrammed handkerchief
• Find heirloom jewelry to wear like an engagement ring or wedding band, a brooch, earrings, a bracelet, a necklace, or some sparkly hair pins
• A vintage compact mirror for her purse
• Give the bride new lingerie to wear under her gown or on her honeymoon
• Let the groom borrow grandfather’s pocket watch or have the bride carry it in her purse
• Select a blue guest book or place cards for your guests
• Use a relative’s silver knife to cut the cake with at the reception
• Use blue confetti
• Dress in a blue underskirt
• Wear a locket containing old family photos around your neck on the big day
• …Use your imagination
Wearing these items is supposed to symbolise good luck for the bride, they are also just a fun tradition that gives the bride an opportunity to express her admiration for a few special people in her life on her special day.
Copyright © 2014 – Larry James. This information is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website and Wedding Blog. Larry James is a non-denominational minister and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. You will find more than 475 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Check Larry’s availability.
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