Wednesday, June 8, 2011

"Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue"

I got a text today that said "Do you have something blue, new and borrowed already?? And what's the other thing you need??" It made me laugh out loud. The urgency (note the double "?") with which it was asked and then followed up with "whatever the other thing is". I replied with the poem in the correct order and my plan to borrow my mother's sapphire earrings. I had made this request years ago when I first started planning. I figured they were old, borrowed and blue.

I may have some issues with name changing and being given away, but this silly superstition is so fun. I was a theater actor for a long time and you don't leave the theater world without a healthy respect for at least the tradition of superstition. It was after replying thus, it occurred to me that I couldn't remember the origins of this little diddy.

Several sources on the internet agree that the original poem was:
Something old, something new
Something borrowed, something blue
And a silver sixpence in her [left] shoe.

Apparently, having these items on your wedding day will grant you a happy marriage. As with most fun traditions I say "couldn't hurt." These internet sources go on to say each item represents something important to a happy marriage.

•Something old - continuity with the bride's family and the past
•Something new - optimism and hope for the bride's new life ahead
•Something borrowed - an item from a happily married friend or family
member, whose good fortune in marriage is supposed to carry over to the new bride
•Something blue - In ancient Rome, brides wore blue to symbolize love, modesty, and fidelity. Before the late 19th century, blue was a popular color for wedding gowns, as evidenced in proverbs like, "Marry in blue, lover be true."
•Sixpence-financial stability

Upon consideration of that information I dare not count my mom's earrings as my something borrowed. I'll keep them as my something blue for sure though. It's interesting to note the sixpence in the shoe has to be in the left shoe to work. I think that's notable because the wedding ring goes on the left ring finger because ancient folks believed blood flowed from that finger directly to the heart.

I searched and searched and found nothing that tells me why the left shoe for sure. But I found this tidbit from interesting:
The lucky sixpence is an English wedding tradition that is also common in the United States. Traditionally, the bride's father gave her a sixpence coin and placed it in her left shoe. The coin was meant to bless the couple and symbolize a marriage filled with health, wealth and happiness. The same sixpence was kept in the family, passed down from one generation to the next
This made me giggle. "No Harold don't spend that! That's the wedding coin." The internet goes on to say that most American brides substitute a dime, but according to my mathematically inclined fiance they're getting the conversion all wrong. A sixpence would be worth 1/20 of a US dollar so it's roughly a quarter. On top of which, at the time when this was the custom a sixpence was a days wages for a rural worker. That's a pretty significant amount of money for daddy to put in your shoe. The true modern equivalent would be if your dad put a fifty in your shoe which would be a lot more comfy to walk on all day!

Let's hear it, brides past, did you have all these items? What were they? Or did you ditch all or part of the tradition?


  1. My family has a sixpence that has been at every wedding that I know of. I forgot to actually put it in my shoe before heading out to the ceremony though. :) Alyssa

  2. Guess you'll never win the lotto now

  3. Who are you getting your "something borrowed" from now? Diana

  4. Yes, I think its a fun tradition. And you never forget. I wore a blue(looked like saph and diamond, not real) it was my grandmothers. But for something old, I have a great idea. I inherited an antique emerald necklace, it even has green gold. It was my grandmothers, grandmothers. It will go with your emerald wedding<3Instead of the saphire earrings. Think about it. Mother of the Bride

  5. Honestly, I was going to talk to you about it. You guys are the longest married, happily married folks I know (on your first marriage).

  6. That sounds beautiful mom! It puts me back to square one for something blue though...hmmm...

  7. Katie, one idea I've seen in wedding photographs is to embroider your wedding date into one of the inner layers of your wedding dress, near the feet. If you like, we could do this, using blue embroidery floss on a layer where it wouldn't be visible unless you lifted your skirt a bit to show it off.

    Here's an example of what I had in mind:

    Here's another option, a machine embroidered tag which is stitched in:

  8. I did! I only remember (35 years ago) that my new was my rings, and the blue was my garder. Prob. borrowed jewelry from my mom. I wore a sixpense in my left shoe also..still have it! Cindi

  9. Something old: Our wedding rings. We used my mom and dad's wedding bands and engagement ring (though we found an antique ring as well, and had the diamond and setting placed on my mom's ring, and her original diamond made into a pendant for her to keep).

    Something new: Double veil from David's Bridal (one blusher veil and one standard elbow length veil) These were actually bought by my uncle the morning of the wedding because I couldn't find the old veil I had set aside months prior. Make sure you have a checklist, Katie, of EVERYTHING you will need on your big day, and put them all together the week before, in one place, no exceptions. It'll make your life so much easier.

    Something borrowed: Dean Harris for Target green quartz vine earrings (borrowed from my mom, I didn't know the logic behind the tradition but she got twenty happy years so if I have that I can't complain too much)

    Something blue: Lunar Puzzle heels from Anthropologie

  10. Old: fabric in my wedding dress from my grandmothers dress and her best friend's dress

    New: my dress (my mom made it)

    Borrowed: earrings from my mom with moonstones in them.

    Blue: my toenails (polish that is)


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