White window star from Harvest Moon by Hand
Many brides are unfamiliar with the origin and meaning behind the old-new-borrowed-blue custom though. This tradition stems from an old English rhyme "Something olde, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a silver sixpence in your shoe."
Family members and the bride's attendants gave old, new, borrowed, and blue items and a sixpence to the bride as tokens of love on her wedding day for good luck just before her marriage.
What does each item represent?
Something old - Continuity
Something new - Optimism for the future
Something borrowed - Borrowed happiness
Something blue - Purity, love, and fidelity
Sixpence in your shoe - Wish for good fortune and prosperity (although this remains largely a British custom). Sometimes this is adapted in the United States to be "a penny in your shoe."
Today brides are working the old, new, borrowed, and blue objects into their weddings themselves. Here are some ideas for brides to personalize the old-new-borrowed-blue custom for their weddings.
The old item can be an antique, an heirloom object, or a sentimental piece that represents the bride's past.
- A locket containing a picture of the bride's grandparents
- Antique combs, pins, or barrettes
- A baby bracelet from a family member used around the base of your bouquet
- Place an antique bookmark to mark ceremony readings
- Use a childhood pillow for the ring bearer's pillow
- Display wedding photographs of parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents at the reception
- Have the bride carry a childhood treasure she has saved (like a ring, bracelet, locket, etc.)
- Bring out the heirloom jewelry to wear like an engagement ring or wedding band, a brooch, earrings, a bracelet, a necklace, or some sparkly hair pins
- Sew a button from one of the bride's father's old coats on the inside of the bride's gown at the hem or place it in her purse
- Give the bride a vintage compact mirror for her purse
- Wear a headpiece, tiara, or veil that has been handed down
- Take some of mother's or grandmother's wedding gown fabric or lace and sew it inside the bride's gown or to her petticoat
- Display a photograph of the bride as a little girl or carry it in the bride's purse
- Carry a wedding photo of parents' or grandparents' in the bride's purse (it can be copied to reduce the size if necessary)
My mom and dad when they were married in 1964.
- Find a lucky penny minted in the year of the wedding
- Buy a new lipstick in a pretty shade (the bride does not have to wear it on her big day)
- Have a custom perfume designed for the bride
- Purchase a new makeup bag or new purse to use on the day of the wedding
- Select a new jewelry item to wear on the day of the wedding like a bracelet, earrings, or a necklace
- Purchase a special guest book with extra room for guests to include a personal note at the wedding
- Pack some mints or a stick of gum
16 point window star from Harvest Moon by Hand
Some brides use a borrowed item from a long-time happily married couple for this item, but it also can be something borrowed from a friend or other relative who is symbolic of happiness.
The borrowed item should be returned to the owner following the wedding day. It is helpful if one of the wedding attendants or mother-of-the-bride returns the borrowed item to the loaner to relieve the bride of this duty. A thank you note is always appreciated and appropriate when the borrowed item is returned.
A flower in the garden can be incorporated into a bridal bouquet.
This flower is one that I helped my dad plant this year.
(He has Alzheimer's Disease and needed help planting flowers in containers.)
- Include flowers from the bride's parents' or grandparents' garden in floral arrangements at the wedding or in the bride's bouquet
- Let the groom borrow grandfather's pocket watch or have the bride carry it in her purse
- Borrow the song from the bride's (or groom's) parents' wedding to dance to
- Use sister's silver knife to cut the cake with at the reception
- Borrow a book from the library that has a poem or reading that will be used in the ceremony or borrow a reading that was used at your sister's wedding. (See the end of this post for a book that is available at the library that has a great selection of classic and contemporary readings.)
- Borrow a button-down shirt or robe for the bride to wear while getting her hair and makeup done
There are unlimited ways the color blue can be incorporated into the wedding day. Keep in mind there are many shades of blue and one may work better than another for the bride depending on how the blue item will be used.
Some brides will not want blue to be a dominant wedding color and so they will prefer to limit the blue color to less visible areas. The something blue item is also an opportunity for the bride who loves blue to embrace the color blue as one of her wedding colors.
- The sash on your dress
- A bouquet of blue blooms
- A blue garter
- Sapphire jewelry
- A blue pen, for signing the marriage certificate
- Use blue confetti
- Use blue ribbon or flowers in the bride's bouquet or on the groom's boutonniere
- Wear sapphire, tanzanite, opals, or aqua marine jewelry
Blue window star from Harvest Moon by Hand
A Sixpence in Your Shoe
- Buy a silver sixpence (an English coin) to use for the wedding
- Use an old coin from the country of the bride or groom's ancestry (this could also double as the something old item)
- Get a mint coin for the bride to carry (this could also double as the something new item)
By choosing items of significance to the bride for something old, new, borrowed, blue, and the sixpence; this English tradition of good luck will be a significant way for brides to have with them on their special days.
To see what other members of the UWIB team created for the "Wedding Bells" theme, please take a look at the follow links:
Rita Wetzel http://ritascreativenest.com/
Judy Woodley http://wellspringcreations.blogspot.com/
Ann Rinkenberger http://harvestmoonbyhand.blogspot.com/ (you are here now)
Cory Trusty http://aquarianbath.blogspot.com/
Nancy Pace http://nancyswildwirejewelry.blogspot.com/
Trudy Miller http://mommagoddesstreasures.blogspot.com/
Linda Stranger http://capecoddreamer.blogspot.com/
Wendy Kelly http://blog.vintageday.com/
I was at the library a few days ago and Bartlett's Words for the Wedding was displayed. Since the UWIB Blog Hop was coming up, I thought I'd check out the book. There are some lovely poems and thoughts expressed in the book - classic and contemporary. Here's one that I liked:
Apache Wedding Prayer
~*~ Printed in Bartlett's Words for the Wedding ~*~
Edited by Brett Fletcher Lauer and Aimee Kelley
Now you will feel no rain,
For each of you will be shelter to the other.
Now you will feel no cold,
For each of you will be warmth to the other.
Now there is no more loneliness,
For each of you will be companion to the other.
Now you are two bodies,
But there is only one life before you.
Go now to your dwelling place
To enter into the days of your togetherness.
And may your days be good
And long upon the earth.