When it comes to planning a modern wedding, many couples like to pay homage to the past with the time honored tradition of "Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue, and a Silver Sixpence in Her Shoe." As popular as this tradition remains, what many couples don't know is how this tradition came to be.
Like many of the lasting wedding traditions still used today, this rhyme comes from an Old English folklore most likely dating back to the 19th Century. Here is some explanation as to where this tradition came from, and some ideas of how to incorporate this custom in a personal way for your big day.
Originally, the "something old" line is said to have referred to securing protection of the bride's future baby. Today, many brides like to incorporate something old into their wedding to honor and connect their wedding day with their past. Family heirlooms are a great "something old," and can even be passed down through generations of brides. For the bride looking for her own something old, thrift stores and antiques shops offer a plethora of options for old items. Brides can use an old broach or pin in their bouquet, or find decades old jewelry to complete their bridal look.
While "something new" is perhaps the easiest item to incorporate into your wedding, it is just as important as the other items. Your "something" new should be something that speaks to you and represents you as an individual. Your wedding day is all about celebrating you and your special someone, make sure you have something unique to you and let that shine through. Whether it's your dress, your shoes, or even your bouquet, let your "something new" reflect you.
One of my personal favorite traditions, "Something Borrowed" was originally intended to be a good luck blessing from a bride who has had a happy marriage. It would ensure the bride a happy and prosperous life with her beloved. Today, this tradition can be a special way to connect a bride to her family. Wearing the veil of a mother, sister, aunt, or grandmother can connect the bride to her past, and keep those she holds most dearly close to her as she celebrates a new chapter of her life. Other options include a borrowed dress, jewelry, bouquet, or even a borrowed date, such as the bride or groom's parents' anniversary.
Finding "Something Blue" can be a challenging feat sometimes if it doesn't match your wedding colors, but think of it as a challenge to see how subtly you can incorporate a bright color into your wedding. The traditional origins of this one are a little more superstition-based, but essentially the blue was to "baffle the evil eye" according to Charlotte Sophia Burne, president of London's Folklore Society in the late 19th century. Today brides can add something blue like a garter, bouquet, necklace, nail polish, or even shoes. A new trend popping up rather than having completely blue shoes is to have nude, silver, white or whatever bridal shoes the bride desires, but add blue soles. This makes the blue less obvious, but no less special to the bride.
A Silver Sixpence in her Shoe
Last but not least, this portion of the little rhyme seems to get left out, perhaps because it seems a little uncomfortable and impractical. While many brides forgo putting currency in their shoes, the meaning is essentially for a prosperous marriage. Similar traditions are used in various countries all over the world, most notably in Sweden where a bride will place a silver coin given to her by her father in her left shoe, and a gold coin given to her by her mother in her right. Brides that really want to stick to traditions can keep this funny little practice, just be careful your coins don't fall out while you're walking down the aisle!