Something old, something new
Something borrowed, something blue
And a silver sixpence in her shoe.
But where did these traditions come from?
A sixpence is a coin that was minted in Britain from 1551 to 1967. It was made of silver and worth six pennies. So this wedding tradition is definitely English, and many sources say that it began in the Victorian era.
Each item in this poem represents a good-luck token for the bride. If she carries all of them on her wedding day, her marriage will be happy.
“Something old” symbolises continuity with the bride’s family and the past.
“Something new” means optimism and hope for the bride’s new life ahead.
“Something borrowed” is usually an item from a happily married friend or family member, whose good fortune in marriage is supposed to carry over to the new bride. The borrowed item also reminds the bride that she can depend on her friends and family.
“Something blue” has been connected to weddings for centuries. In ancient Rome brides wore blue to symbolize love, modesty, and fidelity. Christianity has long dressed the Virgin Mary in blue, so purity was associated with the colour. Before the late 19th century, blue was a popular colour for wedding gowns as evidenced in proverbs like, “Marry in blue, lover be true.”
And finally, a silver sixpence in the bride’s shoe represents wealth and financial security.
It may date back to a Scottish custom of a groom putting a silver coin under his foot for good luck. For optimum fortune, the sixpence should be in the left shoe. These days, a dime or a copper penny is sometimes substituted, and many companies sell keepsake sixpences for weddings. You can buy the one shown above from the Royal Mint website.
A Modern Bride’s “Something Blue”
Adding something blue to your wedding day can sometimes be a little tricky… and many people go for the blue ribbon on a garter as a safe, hidden option. I actually opted (when I realised last minute that I hadn’t actually considered this old custom!) to borrow my Mum’s Aquamarine ring.
For those of you who are struggling with your ‘something blue’, I absolutely love this idea I recently saw on one of my favourite wedding blogs Before The Big Day. An embroidered Wedding Dress Label… fantastic to have in your wedding dress as a reminder for generations to come.
These customisable labels are available on etsy here from just £10. I think this would be a perfect gift to buy as a bridesmaid for the bride to be.