Something borrowed, something blue. An old rhyme told to every little girl and recited to every new excited bride to be – something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue. The 4 things a bride must have on her wedding day. The tradition of decking out a bride in these 4 things has been tradition for centuries, but a question often asked in more modern times is why? It’s an easy set of instructions to follow, and more brides usually manage it without even realising it – but what do these tokens mean to the modern bride?
The first part of the rhyme, something old, is a trinket to represent the bride, her family and her past. A way of looking back on your life, and all the decisions and turns that have brought you to that happy point. Not all of them will be cheerful, but every one of them matters. A decade or so ago, a bride would honour this by wearing her grandmothers (or mothers) wedding dress – but nowadays brides want to be more individual, and that’s not always an option. So instead wearing a piece of family jewellery is a popular choice. If you have lost a loved one who you wish could be there with you on that happy day, putting an old photograph of them in a frame attached to your bouquet is becoming very common – letting you keep them with you during the day.
The reverse of something old, something new is to symbolise the fortune, success and momentum in the brides life. It is a way of looking into the future and the happiness that lies there with her new husband or wife. A wedding is a brand new chapter in the bride’s life, and something brand new on the day is a way of turning over a new leaf and celebrating a fresh start. Quite often, the bride chooses her wedding dress to be her something new, as a symbol for everyone to see.
Something borrowed is the part of the rhyme to remind the bride that her friends and family will always be there for her when she needs them. An olive branch from those around her, and way of remembering those important in her life. It’s a very personal touch to the wedding, and a lovely way of including friends in the day. Something borrowed might be a handkerchief, a piece of jewellery or even a hair pin.
And finally, something blue, which isn’t quite as straightforward as the rest. In the biblical times, the colour blue represented purity, and it was believed that a bride should be pure on her wedding day. Times have changed since then, and it’s not such an issue anymore. Arranged marriages aren’t so prevalent, and couples know each other well before marriage. So today, something blue symbolises the bride’s faith and loyalty to her new partner for the rest of their lives together. The garter is the most common thing to be chosen as the bride’s something blue, as it is easily concealed, followed closely by hairpins.
A Silver Sixpence In Her Shoe…
The original rhyme also had an extra line – ‘a silver sixpence in her shoe’, which is often left off more modern versions. The sixpence was in order to with the bride and groom wealth and financial happiness, and would often be sewn in to the lining of her shoe behind the heel. Heel heights have soared since then, and unsurprisingly this part of the tradition has been abandoned.