“Something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue”. This wedding charm is a tradition that has been followed many betrothed couples for decades. Brides traditionally incorporate this tradition into their bridal attire, wearing something old, new, borrowed, and blue, typically obtained from loved ones. But where does this tradition come from, and why do we still do it today?
The tradition began in the Victorian era as an English rhyme. Originally it went, “Something Olde, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue, A Sixpence in your Shoe”. The final part of the rhyme is typically a British custom only, and thus largely omitted from the saying.
Each object is meant to bring the couple good luck on their wedding day and encourage a successful marriage.
Brides were traditionally required to incorporate something old into their bridal attire to ward off evil. In the olden times, brides traditionally wore an undergarment of a woman that had already bore children as their something old. Doing this was meant to confuse the Evil Eye, who was said to cause infertility. Through this, the Evil Eye was tricked into thinking the bride was already fertile, thus leaving her alone.
However, the more favoured meaning is that of continuity. By incorporating something old, brides carry with them something sentimental from their past.
Typically, brides opt for heirlooms to represent their something old.
As the betrothed begin their new life as a married couple, the something new acts as a symbol of optimism for the future.
This is the easiest and most straight-forward element to incorporate, as it can literally be anything. The easiest is to have jewellery or the wedding dress itself stand for the something new, as those will most likely be purchased brand new.
Something borrowed works to bring the couple good luck on their wedding day and their marriage. Traditionally, couples are meant to borrow something from a close friend or relative that is already married and ideally has children. This way, the luck of the happily married person will rub off on the newlyweds, thus starting the marriage off on a positive note.
As with the something old, brides were encouraged to borrow the undergarments of a close relative or friend as a positive sign of fertility.
Nowadays, couples generally borrow things of significance from friends or family. Once again, it can be anything, from accessories to shoes.
Blue is said to represent purity, love and fidelity, and as such has become a highly symbolic colour for weddings. It also has the bonus of warding off the Evil Eye, according to legend.
Traditionally, brides incorporated their something blue into their garters. However, today brides can use blue in any aspect of their wedding attire to get the same effect.
The “Sixpence in your shoe” part of the rhyme typically refers to British custom, in which a bride places a sixpence coin inside their shoe for good luck and prosperity.