For many, part of planning your wedding involves getting acquainted with the many traditions passed down over generations. Part of the fun of designing your big day is deciding which traditions to follow to the letter and where you want to break the mold. 

The saying “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” is probably one you’ve been familiar with since long before you got engaged. If you’ve ever wondered where the time honored practice came from, read ahead for all of the details on this custom’s centuries old history. And if you’re wondering how to embrace the tradition yourself, you’ll find “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” ideas to inspire you.

What’s the history of “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue?”

The well known wedding rhyme began in Victorian England, with its first mentions dating back to the 1870s. The saying has superstitious origins, as the list of “somethings” was meant to be a recipe for warding off the “evil eye.” The original limerick also concluded, “and sixpence in her shoe,” to protect the newlyweds’ financial future. 

As this wedding tradition has carried on through the years, each item has continued to signify good luck in some way. The combination of things is meant to pay homage to your life before marriage and offer good fortune in your next chapter.

Who gives the bride something old, new, borrowed and blue?

Historically, these lucky items were meant to be given by the bride’s friends and family members. Since these accessories are supposed to transfer good luck to a newlywed, the original custom stipulated that they come from someone in a successful marriage.  The “old, new, borrowed, and blue” items were usually from women in the bride’s family or friend circle, while the bride’s father usually provided the sixpence

Nowadays, you can make the rules as to how you want to honor this tradition, whether or not you’re a bride. Incorporating this pastime into your wedding can offer a great opportunity to bond with your chosen family over gifts with personal significance. Some people may even choose to buy or find these items for themselves. What could be a better excuse to treat yourself to that gorgeous piece of vintage jewelry that goes perfectly with your big day outfit? 

What each component means

So what exactly does each thing represent? Below you’ll find full details on the symbolism of each item, along with some ideas for potential “somethings” to incorporate into your special day. 

Something old

“Something old” honors your life before saying “I do.” This piece of the wedding tradition uses things from the past to celebrate your pre-marriage self and bless you in your next adventure. Originally, a bride’s mother or grandmother would contribute this part and hand down a treasured piece of jewelry or family heirloom. “Something old” is of course a great excuse to don a stunning antique necklace or bracelet down the aisle. 

There’s no rule that “something old” has to be jewelry, though. You can incorporate your loved one’s legacy into your wedding day ensemble in many other ways. If you’ve always dreamed of wearing your mother’s wedding dress, you can easily check this item off the list. Or you can add a more subtle embellishment to your outfit, such as your grandparent’s shoes or father’s cufflinks. 

Anything sentimental with a special connection to the past will do. Pay tribute to a family member or friend who is no longer with you and carry a photo or personal item of theirs. Of course, it doesn’t have to be a physical object, either. If there’s a piece of literature or an old poem with personal significance for you, consider having a loved one read it during your ceremony. 

Something new

As you may have guessed, “something new” represents hope for the future. This part serves as a way to symbolically wish you well in this exciting new phase. It tends to be the easiest item to obtain for this practice, as a wedding already requires you to invest in new things. Your “something new” could simply be your wedding rings. You can also use this opportunity to customize one of your accessories with embroidery or an engraving for an extra personal touch. 

If you prefer having one less thing to carry to the altar, you can get creative with how you honor the “something new” on your day. For example, writing your own vows can fulfill this piece of the custom. Some couples even choose to mark the occasion with new matching tattoos

Something borrowed

The “borrowed” part of this practice is where it’s most obvious that the original custom was intended to chase off misfortune. The borrowed item is meant to loan you good luck on your wedding date, particularly from someone already in a longstanding happy marriage. Jewelry is common with this part of the list as well. 

If your wedding plans involve a lot of DIY design, consider incorporating your “something borrowed” into your ideas. Your family or friends can lend you decor for the venue, or you can borrow your grandparents’ cake knife to cut your cake. 

Something blue

The color blue is meant to represent fidelity, hence its inclusion in this nuptial blessing. Once upon a time, blue was even the preferred wedding dress color before white took over as the primary choice. A pale blue garter was generally the traditional option for this item, but again, you get to make the rules here. 

You might add a pop of bold blue to your hair accessory or wear jewelry with stunning sapphires. You could even have fun and add some blue to your wedding day manicure. And if it fits your decor and theme, blue flowers such as irises or blue hydrangeas look lovely. Incorporate them into your bouquet or use to accent your venue. 

Something you: say yes to forever at Trademark Venues

While this luck bestowing practice has certain guidelines to follow, you can customize however you see fit. Pay homage to tradition and stick to tried and true suggestions such as vintage jewelry and blue undergarments. Or defy convention and incorporate items that are special to you on your big day. 

And once you’re ready to plan a wedding that embodies everything uniquely you, Trademark is here to help with our unique wedding venues. From artisanal culinary experiences to one of a kind natural views, we’re here to make your dreams come true. Reach out today to start planning your handcrafted wedding.