Weddings are chalk full of traditions. Really, a wedding ceremony itself — with the symbolic wedding rings, vows, aisles, white wedding gowns, and a following wedding reception — is all tradition. So, when bride’s start to question if they want to have a “traditional” wedding, by having a wedding it is traditional. But, the little traditional details can of course be picked over to cater to the bride’s beliefs and wants, and each of these traditions can be modified and otherwise modernized. One of the more fun and widely known traditions comes from the Victorian rhyme “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a silver sixpence in your shoe,” listing the popular traditions and superstitions of the time. These traditions pulled together as one is a popular tradition today that is easily tweaked and made unique for the bride-to-be.
What do they mean? The something old in this tradition is meant symbolically link the bride to her heritage and past, a past that then looks forward. The something new is this looking forward: It is a symbol of looking to the future with optimism. Then something borrowed is meant to represent borrowing happiness. The intention is that the bride would borrow something from a woman in a happy marriage and borrowing something from her would then bring happiness and longevity to the marriage of the new bride. Next, something blue is a symbol of good fortune and fidelity. And finally, the sixpence in your shoe is supposed to bring prosperity to the marriage.
Ideas on How to Make this Tradition Unique to You
Typically, the something old will be an heirloom that has been passed down in your family and this is the easiest to make individualized to you. If you have a grandmother that you were close to or there is an heirloom that means a lot to you, then this is where you would want to incorporate it in your wedding. If you don’t have an heirloom in mind, then try using something old that is representative of you as a person or something special about your family or childhood. The way to make this old tradition new is to make sure you make it about you.
- Use a broach or pendant as part of your wedding bouquet wrap
- For your engagement photos have a photo shoot with a restored car or at an old or historic building (maybe even at the place where your parents or grandparents met or went on their first date)
- Display old family photos at the reception (old wedding photos or couple photos)
- Have the wedding at an old church (perhaps even the church your parents were married in)
- Use the bride’s parents cake topper as your wedding cake topper
- Wear a mother’s or grandmother’s wedding dress or use the material from their wedding dress to make yours
For your something new…buy something new. A lot of the accessories and necessities will be new for your wedding, but it is important to designate something you want to buy as your something new.
- Your wedding dress
- New wedding jewelry (A locket with an old photograph would be a cute way to combine old and new together!)
- Treat the bride to new and expensive make up to wear on the wedding day
- Buy a new perfume or have a perfume designed for the bride
Or instead of buying something new, think trying something new.
- Have a daring food choose as part of your menu item (never had escargot? Try it!)
- Never been in a helicopter? Instead of driving off in a car, leave in and for a helicopter ride around the city to check out the lights and be close to the stars. Then have a friend leave you a car where the helicopter lands.
- Go skydiving on your honeymoon.
- Find a world record that you can complete at your wedding reception (I believe there is a record for the longest held kiss…)
- Learn a new dance to perform at your reception.
When thinking of the something to borrow don’t restrict yourself to things the bride can have on her during the wedding ceremony. What can help you make new this tradition is implementing it throughout the wedding day and not restricting it to what the bride wears.
Things to borrow and then return with a thank you note:
- A sister’s veil or petticoat for under your wedding dress.
- Borrow a book with a poem or sweet sentiment that can be used in the ceramony
- If you are having a beach wedding borrow a stone or sea shell from the ocean (no thank you note needed here…that would be littering)
- Borrow the wedding jewelry from a friend or sister
- Borrow the honeymoon location by staying at a friend vacation home
Something blue is by far the easiest aspects of this tradition to adhere to, but that just means you are open to a whole wide world of creativity in your implementation of it.
- Have blue as one of your wedding colors
- Wear blue wedding shoes
- Have a blue sapphire or jewel in one of your wedding accessories
- Have a light blue aisle or a blue glass paved aisle way
- Put a blue flower in the flower girl’s hair
- Use blue colored lights at the reception for your lighting
- Use a blue garter or have a garter with blue on it
- Have your wedding date and names embroidered to the inside of your wedding dress in blue thread
- Have your guest’s sign in with a blue ink pen
- Play music that features the word blue or is blues music at the wedding reception (you can have an MC announce it if you like)
“Sixpence in Your Shoe”
This is one tradition that is often left out of the old-new-borrowed-blue wedding tradition, but if you want to capture everything in this tradition or adhere to the superstition that it will bring your marriage good luck and prosperity, then you don’t want to forget that sixpence!
- You can of course order a sixpence and use it traditionally by placing it in the bride’s shoe
- You can have it sewn into the hem of the wedding dress
- Attach it to the wedding bouquet
- Use a lucky penny instead of a sixpence
- Use a coin in the currency of the country you will be honeymooning in
- Use a coin in the currency of the country your ancestors were from
- Have a coin minted for the bride