Weddings and tradition go hand in hand, with our modern culture embracing the same symbolic wishes for luck, fortune, fidelity and happiness as brides and grooms from ancient eras. So many of our current wedding elements come from old-world superstitions, with each of them getting a twist to personalize the meaning and style. That’s what’s happening with the well-known tradition of Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed and Something Blue.
You’ve heard the rhyme before, probably with the ‘penny for your shoe,’ and countless brides before you have excitedly planned to have the Old, New, Borrowed and Blue traditions as a part of their wedding preparations. On the morning of her wedding, the bride would be surrounded by her closest and most special female relatives and friends, and they would present her with the four symbolic items representing the Old, New, Borrowed and Blue items. There’s a lot of sentiment in receiving your grandmother’s handkerchief or the same necklace your mother wore on her wedding day, and getting to wear or carry these important heirlooms during the walk down the aisle can make your day all the more meaningful when you’re entrusted with a symbol of family harmony and happiness.
Here’s what Old, New, Borrowed and Blue represent:
Old: This item represents a link to the bride’s family traditions and relationships, culture, religion, her life before this new union with her groom.
New: This brand-new item represents hope, happiness, fortune and success in her new life.
Borrowed: This item is most often one borrowed from a happy bride or a long-married female loved one, bringing the luck and happiness of her marriage as a good luck charm to the bride’s marriage
Blue: Borrowing from some religions’ symbolism, the color blue may represent holiness, purity, fidelity and other wishes for the marriage.
Here are some creative ways to incorporate your Old, New, Borrowed and Blue into your wedding day:
- Jewelry of your mother’s, grandmother’s or other female relative’s that has now been handed down to you as a wedding gift and your Something Old
- The shawl or wrap your mother or grandmother wore at her wedding. More brides are happily accepting the wedding shawl or wrap from their sisters, and even from their mothers- or sisters-in-law.
- Your mother’s, grandmother’s or great-aunt’s wedding day tiara or headpiece and veil.
- An heirloom headband or headpiece to which a new veil has been attached.
- An heirloom charm that is attached to the handle of your bridal bouquet. It might be your mother’s, or it might be yours from when you were a little girl.
- Incorporating an old family tradition into your wedding ceremony or reception, such as a toast, a reading, or a song.
- Incorporating an old cultural tradition, or both of your culture’s marriage traditions, as your ultra-valued Something Old.
- Incorporating family-honored religious or spiritual rituals into your wedding day.
- Marrying at the same church where your parents or grandparents were married.
- Using the same music in your ceremony that your parents had in their wedding ceremonies.
- The jewelry you wear on your wedding day – perhaps a gift from your groom or from your parents
- Your wedding gown
- Your wedding shoes
- The flowers you carry as your bouquet
- A meaningful charm that you and your groom have selected as your first charm in a new collection you’ll start; you’ll attach this charm to your bouquet, then wear it as a pendant, to be joined by future meaningful charms
- The decision not to have the same wedding style or location as everyone else in your family, breaking from tradition to have what you really want for your big day
- The prior bride’s headpiece, tiara or veil [one of the most commonly borrowed items between brides!]
- An heirloom wedding gown, perhaps your grandmother’s or mother’s, given a freshening and perhaps a bit of a restructuring by a qualified seamstress
- The bride’s gloves for a formal wedding
- The bride’s handkerchief, to be carried at the handle under the bouquet
- ‘Borrowing’ the same reading or song from your parents’, grandparents’ or in-laws’ weddings
- Borrowed jewelry, including necklace, earrings or bracelet
- Borrowed jeweled hair clips or jeweled barrettes worn by the prior bride
- A religious medal or symbolic charm that has been in the family for generations
- A pretty wrap or shawl worn by the prior bride
- A pretty bridal purse carried by the prior bride
- The ring pillows used by the prior bride and groom
- A little blue bow on your garter
- A little blue bow sewn into the underside of your train
- A little blue bow sewn into the underside or handle of your bouquet
- An ultra-light blue hem sewn on your veil
- Blue embroidery on your bodice, skirt or train
- Blue toenail polish
- A surprise, blue temporary tattoo on your hip or ankle
- A bit of blue color in the flowers of your bridal bouquet
- At a beach or destination wedding, your Blue could be the color of the ocean
- At an outdoor wedding, your Blue could be the color of the clear, blue sky
- If you have blue eyes, your Blue could be the smile in your eyes
And a Penny For Your Shoe
The traditional ‘penny (or sixpence) for your shoe’ has been a longtime good luck charm to bring fortune, abundance and security to the wedding couple. These days, many brides like to tuck a penny from the year they met their groom or from the year of the wedding into their shoe, so that it’s there for good luck during the ceremony. Then, they remove it during the standing, walking and dancing hours of the reception so that they don’t experience pain or discomfort. That fortune charm penny is tucked away someplace safe, perhaps glued into a scrapbook and otherwise held as a wonderful good luck charm from the wedding day.