Traditional brides incorporate something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a sixpence in their weddings. Many brides are unfamiliar with the origin and meaning behind the old-new-borrowed-blue custom though. This tradition stems from an old English rhyme "Something olde, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a silver sixpence in your shoe." Family members and the bride's attendants gave old, new, borrowed, and blue items and a sixpence to the bride as tokens of love on her wedding day for good luck just before her marriage. Today brides are working the old, new, borrowed, and blue objects into their weddings themselves. Here are some ideas for brides to personalize the old-new-borrowed-blue custom for their weddings.
Something Old The first of the five items or "Something Old" represents continuity of the past moving to the future. The old item can be an antique, an heirloom object, or a sentimental piece that represents the bride's past.
- Use a classic car for wedding day transportation - Decorate with vintage silk ribbon or use it in the bride's bouquet - Place an antique bookmark to mark ceremony readings - Use a childhood pillow for the ring bearer's pillow - Get a relative's monogrammed handkerchief - Display wedding photographs of parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents at the reception - Find an antique tussy mussy (a conical hand-held bouquet vase) for the bride's bouquet - Get a vintage purse to match the bride's gown - Have the wedding at a historic location - Have the bride carry a childhood treasure she has saved (like a ring, bracelet, small doll, locket, etc.) - Bring out the heirloom jewelry to wear like an engagement ring or wedding band, a brooch, earrings, a bracelet, a necklace, or some sparkly hair pins - Tuck an antique hat pin into the bride's bouquet - Carry a vintage pill box - Sew a button from one of the bride's father's old coats on the inside of the bride's gown at the hem or place it in her purse - Give the bride a vintage compact mirror for her purse - Get a champagne glass to smash during the ceremony from a relative's wedding or anniversary - Wear a headpiece, tiara, or veil that has been handed down - Wear vintage white gloves - Take some of mother's or grandmother's wedding gown fabric or lace and sew it inside the bride's gown or to her petticoat - Display the parents' cake toppers or use it as the wedding cake topper - Tuck a love letter saved by the bride's mother from the bride's father into the bride's purse - Carry a wedding photo of parents' or grandparents' in the bride's purse (it can be copied to reduce the size if necessary) - Display a photograph of the bride as a little girl or carry it in the bride's purse
Something New The second of the five items or "Something New" represents optimism for the future and the new life the bride will share with her groom.
- Buy a new lipstick in a pretty shade (the bride does not have to wear it on her big day) - Have a custom perfume designed for the bride - Purchase a new makeup bag or new purse to use on the day of the wedding - Get a bouquet made of silk flowers, a new tussy mussy to hold a fresh flower bouquet, or a crystal bouquet - Find a new charm for the bride's charm bracelet - Select a new jewelry item to wear on the day of the wedding like a bracelet, earrings, a necklace, or an anklet - Treat the bride to a pair of new luxurious silk stockings - Give the bride new lingerie to wear under her gown or on her honeymoon - Get a sun parasol to keep the bride cool in between all of those photographs - Treat the bride to a new haircut, new highlights, or new hair extensions - Purchase a special guest book with extra room for guests to include a personal note at the wedding - Drive a new car for the bride's wedding day transportation - Pack some mints or a stick of gum - Experiment with a new henna tattoo kit - Give the bride a new fancy collar or outfit for her pup or kitty
Something Borrowed The third of the five items or "Something Borrowed" represents borrowed happiness. Some brides use a borrowed item from a long-time happily married couple for this item, but it can also be something borrowed from a friend or other relative who is symbolic of happiness. The borrowed item should be returned to the owner following the wedding day. It is helpful if one of the wedding attendants or mother-of-the-bride returns the borrowed item to the loaner to relieve the bride of this duty. A thank you note is always appreciated and appropriate when the borrowed item is returned.
- Let the groom borrow grandfather's pocket watch or have the bride carry it in her purse - Include flowers from the bride's grandparents' garden in floral arrangements at the wedding or in the bride's bouquet - Borrow father's silk handkerchief - Use aunt's prayer book during the ceremony - Borrow a long-time family friends' timeshare for your honeymoon - Borrow the song from the bride's (or groom's) parents' wedding to dance to - Have the wedding at a borrowed location like the bride's parents' backyard or country club - Borrow a cell phone - Use a best friend's strapless bra for the day - Borrow a headpiece or hair baubles - Use sister's silver knife to cut the cake with at the reception - Wear borrowed jewelry from a happily married gal pal - Use the same wording as the bride's (or groom's) parents' ketubah (Jewish wedding contract) - Borrow a book from the library that has a poem or reading that will be used in the ceremony or borrow a reading that was used at your sister's wedding - Use a wedding attendant's sunscreen to protect the bride from the sun during all of those photographs - Borrow a button-down shirt or robe for the bride to wear while getting her hair and makeup done - Borrow the flower girl or ring bearer from a friend's wedding
Something Blue The fourth of the five items or "Something Blue" represents love, good fortune, and fidelity. There are unlimited ways the color blue can be incorporated into the wedding day. Keep in mind there are many shades of blue and one may work better than another for the bride depending on how the blue item will be used. Some brides will not want blue to be a dominant wedding color and so they will prefer to limit the blue color to less visible areas. The something blue item is also an opportunity for the bride who loves blue to embrace the color blue as one of her wedding colors.
- Paint the broom blue, tie a blue ribbon on the broom, or decorate the broom with blue flowers for the Jumping the Broom custom - Use blue confetti - Wear a blue Garter - Decorate with blue balloons at the reception - Have the groom wear a blue suit - Wear an ice-blue wedding gown or a blue sash on the wedding gown - Use blue ribbon or flowers in the bride's bouquet or on the groom's boutonniere - Make the huppah (a Jewish ceremonial canopy) with blue material or decorate it with blue flowers - Paint the bride's toenails or fingernails with blue nail polish - Have the florist use blueberries in the table centerpieces - Apply blue eye shadow - Wear blue-tinted contact lens - Sprinkle the bride's skin lightly with sparkly blue body glitter - Wear blue shoes - Dress in a blue underskirt or petticoat - Wear sapphire, tanzanite, opals, or aqua marine jewelry - Use a blue-stone tiara - Drive a blue car for transportation - Carry a blue Purse - Pack blue lingerie for the honeymoon - Get a pretty new blue scarf or handkerchief - Tie a blue thread around your finger
A Sixpence in Your Shoe The fifth, and last, item traditional brides have with them on their wedding day is a silver sixpence in their shoe. The sixpence represents good fortune and prosperity. The sixpence is traditionally placed in the bride's left shoe, but it can also be carried in the bride's purse or sewn into the hem or lining of her gown. Including the sixpence in your shoe is largely a British custom today. Silver sixpence coins can be purchased from various online stores that sell them specifically for weddings, but many brides have found other ways to interpret this wedding custom by using different items and carrying the item instead of placing it in their shoes.
- Buy a silver sixpence (an English coin) to use for the wedding - Use an old coin from the country of the bride or groom's ancestry (this could also double as the something old item) - Get a mint coin for the bride to carry (this could also double as the something new item) - Pack travelers checks if the newlyweds are honeymooning out of the country - Carry another valuable object like a different coin, jewelry, or a bill in the denomination of the bride or groom's ancestry
By choosing items of significance to the bride for something old, new, borrowed, blue, and the sixpence; this English tradition of good luck will be a significant way for brides to have with them on their special days.