Brides have been honoring the tradition of wearing something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a six pence in her shoe for centuries. In fact, this tradition dates back to the Victorian era. The idea is that each item brings the bride good luck and by carrying them on her wedding day, her marriage will be a happy one. Part of the fun of this tradition is knowing that many prior brides have also followed the same tradition.
“Something old” symbolizes the closeness she’ll continue to have with friends and family from her past. To symbolize this link, brides may choose to wear heirloom jewelry or their mother’s wedding gown. Some may also choose to carry a wedding handkerchief passed down from the family or one that they wore during their baptism as a bonnet. This handkerchief can then be sewn back into a bonnet for their child’s baptism.
Handkerchiefs are an ideal choice to incorporate into a wedding because they carry significance and meaning. Handkerchiefs are used as a way to wipe away tears of happiness. In the early days, farmers used to believe that the bride’s tears on her wedding day were lucky and would signify more rain for their crops. Others believed that by crying on her wedding day, brides would shed fewer tears during their marriage as all the tears had already been shed.
“Something new” symbolizes good luck in a bride’s future married life. A new item is probably the easiest to obtain as anything purchased new for the bride’s wedding attire, such as their wedding gown, wedding jewelry, or wedding bouquet all work perfectly. The idea is that by wearing this new item on her wedding day it will symbolize the new union she has with her husband and the new traditions they will create together as a married couple.
“Something borrowed” is a representation that friends and family will be there for the bride in the future when help may be needed. This item should be borrowed from a happily married friend. The idea is that by borrowing from her friend, her marital happiness will be transferred unto the bride. Anything can be borrowed but it must be returned afterwards. One way to incorporate this is by borrowing a piece of jewelry from her friend, ideally something she wore on her own wedding day.
“Something blue” symbolizes love and fidelity. One of the most common things to carry is a handkerchief monogrammed with the bride’s initials in light blue. Another is to have the bride wear a wedding garter trimmed in blue. Typically two garters are worn by the bride, one to be tossed and one to be held as a keepsake. The tradition of the garter was started in Europe where it was the belief that having a piece of the bride’s gown was considered especially lucky. Instead of cutting or ripping the gown, the garter was created as a way for others to have a piece of the bride’s wedding attire.
Finally, the six pence is the most literal and represents financial security and prosperity. All of these tradition put together equal a long and happy marriage.