We all know the saying: “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a silver sixpence in her shoe.”
Many brides have scrambled at the 11th hour of their wedding countdown to find just the right items to keep true to this old English tradition. The five elements are considered tokens of good fortune for the bride to carry on her wedding day. Originating from a charming Victorian rhyme, these small personal treasures are typically unique to each bride and rarely obvious to anyone but those who know and love her most.
The meaning behind the symbols
Something old represents continuity; something new offers optimism for the future; something borrowed symbolizes borrowed happiness; something blue stands for love, and fidelity (usually in the form of an item from a friend or family member in a good marriage); and a sixpence in the bride’s shoe is a wish for good fortune and prosperity.
Most modern brides happily keep up this tradition, because they still value vintage items and ideas. This may be partly due to a desire to hold onto something timeless, to grow together as a couple while creating their own timeless mementos.
As is the case in many wedding traditions, this one has its roots in superstition. Even if you are not a believer in luck, this tradition is a fun one to follow as it allows us to think about some of the symbolism involved. This tradition also helps to bridge the generations and bring a bride into a closer relationship with friends and relatives who help provide these five elements.
Fun ideas to inspire the bride…
- Something Old: A great way to incorporate something old into your wedding is simply going vintage. Use a vintage veil, wedding dress, or even a wedding garter. There are quite a few ‘old’ items that you can stylishly incorporate into your wedding look. Many brides keep things traditional by wearing their mother’s or grandmother’s gems on the big day as it is both sentimental and practical. Or use a photo locket to display antique photos of loved ones that are no longer with you or couldn’t attend your big day.
- Something New: Whether it’s a gift to yourself or from someone else, accessories are the best way to add something new to your wedding. Try having champagne flutes monogrammed with your initials and use them at your wedding to toast to your future as husband and wife. Or have your wedding invitation engraved on a plate from Tiffany’s to display in your dining room. A bride’s wedding gown or jewelry is often chosen as the “new” item, conveying the message that the couple is creating a union that will endure forever.
- Something Borrowed: Borrowing is so easy, especially if you have friends and family with great fashion sense. To help expand it from the wedding garments, try borrowing something simple such a beautiful pen for your wedding guest book or a gift box for your gift table. Traditional church-length veils make for a wonderful “something borrowed” as they’re a good classic item that never goes out of style. For the modern bride, a vintage clutch (from a mother or grandmother) can bring a little flare and sophistication to her wedding-day look.
- Something Blue: There are some really gorgeous wedding garters that incorporate blue ribbons, or come completely blue. Great for the bride who doesn’t have blue in their wedding theme and would like to hide their something blue. Or use blue stitching to have your wedding date and initials monogrammed on the inside of your veil or dress.
- A Sixpence: Traditionally this was given to the bride to keep in her left shoe on the day of the wedding to symbolize great wealth for her and her future husband. Unfortunately this British coin is no longer in circulation, but faux sixpences can be ordered online from David’s Bridal (www.royalmint.com) and a handful of other sites for brides willing to go that extra mile. Instead of wearing it in your shoe, try having a hole made in the coin and thread it onto a strand of pearls to wrap around your bouquet.
Whether or not you believe in superstition, this tradition can add layers of fun and intrigue to your wedding day. Start planning early, and generate all the good fortune you can muster.