Something old, Something New

“Something old,

something new,

something borrowed,

something blue,

and a silver sixpence in her shoe.”

This old rhyme from England has been around for thousands of years, beginning as a Puritan Marriage Custom and originating sometime in the 1870’s as part of an old poem. One particular reference to this rhyme comes from a compilation of English folklore in 1898 that tells a bride that in England the old couplet dictates that a bride should wear ‘something old’ to represent continuity in the marriage; something new to represent optimism for the future of the new couple; something borrowed symbolizes borrowed happiness; something blue stands for purity, love and fidelity and a sixpence in your shoe represents a wish for good fortune and prosperity. The tradition with the silver sixpence has since been mostly abandoned as the sixpence piece was only minted until the 20th century in England and has remained a British custom, failing to really make it overseas.

A more detailed list of meanings for the rhyme’s stanzas:

  • 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 – Before the late 19th century, blue was a popular color for wedding gowns, as evidenced in proverbs like, “Marry in blue, lover be true.”

This tradition of having something borrowed, blue, old and new can be combined into one item of clothing, a garter. The tradition of taking a garter off of the bride is another long standing tradition. A garter is traditionally passed down from mother to daughter and has a hint of blue on it to help “battle the Evil Eye” from making the bride barren. This is only counter measured by wearing something borrowed, usually an undergarment (such as a garter) from a woman who has been blessed with children (the bride’s mother) and therefore can also be considered to be an old item. The something new is traditionally the bride’s dress or a piece of jewelry.

Here are some other ideas of things you can use to fulfill the rhymes directive:

Something Old

  • A relative’s wedding gown or using a piece of the fabric to sew into your own gown or wrap the bridal bouquet
  • A family heirloom: jewelry, veil, headpiece, handkerchief
  • A piece of fabric from an old childhood doll or article of clothing, either sewn into your gown or used as a wrap for your bouquet.
  • A garter passed down.
  • A locket with photos of your parents, grandparents or a loved one.

Something New

  • New shoes
  • New jewelry
  • You might consider your “something new” your dress, if purchased new.
  • New lingerie or garter

Something Borrowed

  • Often, this is jewelry belonging to someone close to you: earrings, a watch, pearls, etc.
  • A veil or headpiece
  • A brooch or hair comb
  • A purse

Something Blue

  • Monogram in blue thread sewn into wedding dress
  • Blue shoes
  • Blue underwear or lingerie garter
  • Blue crinoline
  • Blue nail polish
  • Jewelry accents in blue: earrings, rings, bracelets, anklet, toe rings, necklaces containing sapphires, topaz, aquamarine, Swarovski crystals, etc.
  • Blue bouquet accents: ribbon wrap, brooches, cameos, lockets
  • Blue sash for wedding gown
  • Blue embroidery on wedding gown
  • Blue hair accessories: hair clips/barrettes, headband, etc.
  • Blue handkerchief (for tears of joy) or handkerchief with blue monogram/embroidery
  • Blue rhinestones glued to bottom of wedding shoes in shape of initials


Let us know what you have used or will be using for your wedding so we can add it to the list! Or send us pictures!




The Knot


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By: Clare Rhine

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