“Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue”

Every bride getting married knows the Old English rhyme, “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a silver sixpence in her shoe.”  The exact origin of the poem is unknown but the tradition can be traced back to the Victorian era.  According to the tradition, usually the items are given by the bridal couple’s family and friends but more recently the modern bride will collect some of these items herself.  This is a perfect opportunity to add special meaning to a wedding and the items used should be personal and sentimental to the bride and groom.

In this post I will discuss this sentimental bridal tradition and I will offer ideas and suggestions on what items to collect.  A good time for these items to be given to the bride would be at the bridal shower or bridesmaid luncheon which often takes place in the weeks before the wedding day.  I suggest that the gifts should be given in a special way, perhaps beautifully wrapped, and I would have the bride open each item separately and to make it even more very meaningful it would be a good idea to explain the story behind why that particular item was chosen.

“Something old” ideas and suggestions

Something old represents a link to the bride or her family.  This is probably the easiest item to acquire; usually a mother or a grandmother of the bride will have a special piece of jewelry such as a first communion cross or locket to give to the bride.

Clothing items can also be used in a clever way for the “something old”, such as a piece of fabric from one of the bride’s old childhood dresses or from a mother or grandmother’s dress can be used to wrap around the handle of a bridal bouquet.  Maybe the button from an old suit of the bride’s father can be sewn into the bridal dress. (I think it goes without saying but … always ask permission to use these clothing items before cutting them!)

This vintage cake topper is an example of “something old”  

This old rosary wrapped around the handle of a bridal bouquet can be “something old”

Two examples on how to use a “something old” cameo brooch –
attached to a bridal bouquet (left) or attached to the wedding dress (right)

Two examples of how to use a “something old” pearl necklace –
attached to a bridal bouquet (left) or woven into the bride’s hair (right)

Here is an idea on how to use a “something old” brooch or earring
as an embellishment to attach to a fabric flower to be worn on the wedding dress

Two examples of “something old” silverware and china –
a silver teapot used as a floral arrangement for the welcome table (left)
and a china teacup used as a floral cake topper (right)

“Something new” ideas and suggestions

Something new represents a hope for the future of the bride and the groom on the occasion of their marriage.  The obvious choice for most brides will be her wedding dress, headpiece or shoes, consider adding a personalized label with the bride’s name and date of the wedding sewn into the bridal dress.  Perhaps the bride’s future husband will have purchased a special piece of jewelry to mark their wedding, such as a pair of earrings, necklace or a bracelet with a special charm to commemorate the wedding day.  Another fabulous choice for “something new” would be that the bridal couple could purchase a brand new car to use on the wedding day for transportation from the ceremony to the reception or later as they drive away to their honeymoon.

An example of “something new” –
a white satin robe to wear on the morning of the wedding as the bride gets ready,
the robe can be personalized with “the bride” or “the future mrs. ???”

An example of “something new” –
lingerie that the bride bought for herself
or that she possibly received at the bridal shower

An example of a wonderful smelling “something new” can be perfume

If you are at a loss for finding “somethng new”
try searching for a penny made in the year of the wedding

“Something borrowed” ideas and suggestions

Something borrowed is traditionally an item that comes from a happily married person who is letting the bride “borrow some of their martial success”. The borrowed item could be something as sentimental as a wedding dress or veil that was worn by a parent or grandparent.  Another idea could be a piece of jewelry loaned from a family member, a parent, grandparent or even a great grandparent.  The important thing to remember is that the something borrowed needs to be returned after the wedding.

An example of the ultimate royal “something borrowed” would be the Cartier Halo Tiara which Catherine Middleton wore when she married Prince William.  The tiara was commissioned by King George VI in 1936 for his wife, Queen Elizabeth (later known as the Queen Mother).  For their daughter (the current Queen Elizabeth II)’s 18th birthday she was given the tiara and many years later she lent it to her grandson’s bride to wear on her wedding day.

Catherine Middleton wearing the Halo Tiara

Alas, for a bride who cannot “borrow” from a queen’s royal collection, she can ask a family member, such as a mother, or a close friend to use their wedding veil to wear on the wedding day.

Maybe for “something borrowed” the bride can ask the groom or her father for a tie which can be wrapped around the handle of the bridal bouquet and secured with straight pins.

Another suggestion is that an old family bible can be used by the ring bearer for the “something borrowed”, just attach the wedding rings with ribbon, string or a leather strip.  Another romantic idea for a “borrowed” book is to visit a local library and check-out a poetry book to use for the reading at the wedding ceremony (of course it should be returned by the due date or a fine will need to be paid!)

An example of a sentimental “something borrowed” item would be a military medal either from the groom, father or grandfather which can be pinned to the bridal bouquet.

“Something blue” ideas and suggestions

Something blue represents fidelity and loyalty; this item can be a fun way to express the bride’s personality or her quirky sense of humor.  This item can be something that is hidden from sight, such as a blue thread monogram inside the bride’s dress, or it can be used as a bold fashion statement of the bride’s style, such as a blue sash.  Traditionally a “something blue” item is a blue garter decorated with blue ribbon and white lace.

An example of “something blue” jewelry for a bride to wear on the wedding day –
sapphire earrings

Two examples of “something blue” shoes –
formal blue pumps for the ceremony
and casual blue Converse shoes for dancing at the reception

Here is a rather intimate “something blue” –
blue lingerie for the bride to wear under her bridal dress on her wedding day

… or if the bride cannot find “something blue”,
perhaps she can simply tie a blue ribbon around her finger!

The sixpence

The final item mentioned in the old English rhyme is the sixpence which represents good fortune and prosperity for the bridal couple.  The sixpence is traditionally an item carried by British brides and it is placed in the bride’s left shoe.  Today’s brides can have a sixpence or another special coin sewn into the hem of her bridal gown or she can carry it in the purse used on her wedding day.  Two ideas for a different type of coin could be from the year of birth of the bride and groom or a coin from the country of their parents or grandparents ancestry.