You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.’ But … did you know that’s not the end of the quote? It actually comes from an ancient nursery rhyme, and the last line of this little poem is … ‘a sixpence in your shoe.’
It’s not likely that a bride will agree to put a coin in her shoe. She probably has a hard enough time making it down the aisle without having a cold, shiny bit of metal on the inside of her elegant bridal high heels.
That said, many brides are still willing to play out the other four sections of the nursery rhyme. Usually, the four items come from female friends and relatives that are dear to the bride. The four items may be gifted in advance, or they may be offered on the wedding morning as she dresses up for her grand ceremony.
Each of these items has its own significance, and they are all intended to give the bride good luck in her marriage. Ideally, they are items that she can add to her outfit so that she actually has them on her person during the wedding.
‘Something old’ could be a family heirloom or a childhood trinket. It’s a symbol of continuity, linking the past to the present. It might even be a long-forgotten gift given by the groom in their early courting days. In a way, it may be a blessing to prolong the family line through children, so it’s a good idea to get the ‘old’ gift from the bride’s mother, or even from her mother-in-law. An accessory or a piece of family jewellery works well here. It could be a necklace, earrings, a brooch, a tiara, or even a veil.
‘Something new’ is all about the future. It focuses on the new life that the bride and groom are beginning, this wondrous joint journey they are starting. A good option for ‘something new’ is a gift from the groom, or from her future in-laws. It symbolises the relationship they are embarking upon, now that they are family. The ‘something new’ could be subtle so that it doesn’t clash with the rest of the bridal ensemble. It could be an embroidered handkerchief, a sash … or a fancy pair of bridal shoes. The latter make a great gift because shoes are a huge part of the bridal budget.
As for ‘something borrowed’, it implies something that should be given back. Initially, it referred to ‘borrowed happiness’, which sounds a little morbid. The spirit behind it is one of happiness though. It could be a gift from a happily married sister or aunt, an invite to share in her joy. It offers the bride a sense of goodwill, a prayer that her marriage becomes as fulfilling as the marriage of whoever loaned her the gift. One interesting way to offer this gift is through song. The bride could walk down the aisle using the same song that her aunt used, or she could use the song for her first dance. If the aunt has musical genes, she could even perform the song live.
These days, blue is seen as a sad colour, which is strange because few things are happier than a bright blue sky on a sunny day. Back then, ‘something blue’ was a sign of fidelity, loyalty and love. This explains why one of the most popular options for ‘something blue’ is a garter.
Garters represent a related wedding tradition that has (fortunately) been gentrified. Initially, the tradition was related to proving the purity of the bride. Today’s garter ceremony is a lighter, more playful, and more symbolic version of that particular practice. On the off chance that you’d like to carry the nursery rhyme to its conclusion, you could always design a Louboutin-filled with silver coins and use it as bouquet accessory, cake topper, table centrepiece, or wedding party favour. After all, the sixpence signified wealth and good luck, and every couple could use some of that.