Chances are that you’ve heard the rhyme “Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue” at one point or another. If you are engaged and planning a wedding you may be wondering where this rhyme came from and why so many couples participate in the tradition. If it’s something you are considering participating in, you want to know why.
The rhyme originates in England in the 1800’s and the full rhyme reads:
And a shiny sixpence in her shoe…”
Each line of this poem stands for something that is given to the bride on her wedding day for her to carry with her or to make a part of her outfit from a specific person close to her. But what? And who? And why? Let’s find out.
The “something old” that the bride carries with her is usually something that is passed down to her through the family. Traditionally, it is something from the mother’s side but it doesn’t necessarily have to be. It symbolizes the bride’s old life that she is leaving behind.
The “something new” is usually given to the bride from a friend in her wedding party. It symbolizes the new life that the bride is starting on that day as she takes her vows. This new item can be anything at all that the bride can carry with her or make a part of her ensemble on her wedding day.
The “something borrowed” is something borrowed from a close family friend or relative that already has or has had a long and happy marriage. This symbolizes a “passing down” of a long and happy marriage to the new couple on their wedding day so that they will enjoy one as well.
The “something blue” that the bride carries with her can be given by anyone close to her. It can be incorporated in any way as long as the bride can carry it with her down the aisle. The color blue symbolizes purity, love, and fidelity and carrying something blue with her is meant to bring all of these things to the new marriage.
While not typically done outside of England, placing a sixpence in the bride’s shoe is thought to bring the new married couple much prosperity and fortune throughout the rest of their years. Sometimes, in other countries such as the US, brides will find a comparable coin to place in their shoe. In some families, a specific coin is passed down through the generations to use with every bride that is married off, whether it be a sixpence or a penny.
Whether you believe that participating in the tradition will bring these things or just marrying the right person is bringing them to you, you will most likely be asked many times over on your wedding day what you are carrying that is old, that is new, that is borrowed, that is blue, and if you have a coin in your shoe. So, you may want to carry them with you so you can tell them. Or, if it’s something that is traditional in your family, you can participate to keep the traditional alive.
Written for Bridalosophy by K. Thayer
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