Something Old, Something New,
Something Borrowed, Something Blue
is a rhyme
and a tradition that has been part of the wedding
scene in English speaking countries since Victorian
times. These are the things that a bride is
advised to wear or carry on her wedding day to
ensure the success of the marriage and her own
happiness. There are various interpretations of what
The first written record we have of the first two
lines is from a short story "Marriage
Superstitions and the Miseries of a Bride Elect"
published in 1871. Five years later a newspaper
report of a wedding held in Lancashire, reported
that the bride wore something old, something
new, something borrowed, something blue
has lead to the assumption that the tradition
originates in Lancashire whereas it was far more
widespread in rural environments. There is evidence
that this tradition was also known in Northern
France. It could well have originated there.
Some interpretations suggest that something old
provides protection for the babies to come. An 1898
compilation of English folklore mentioned the rhyme
and suggested that,wearing something old (usually an
undergarment borrowed from a married woman who has
children) transfers fertility to the bride and,
along with something blue,
the Evil Eye.
More generally, something old
continuity with previous generations in the bride's
family together with the support of her family. It
is very common in Australia that brides borrow a
piece of jewellery from their mother or one of their
grandmothers, rather than their knickers.
Something new is a symbol of hope, an expression of
optimism about the future. There has never been any
prescription about what it might be.
Borrowing something from a happily married woman is
believed to guarantee happiness by ensuring that a
bit of her happiness and good fortune rubs off on
the new bride. Remembering, of course, that in
earlier times it was considered good fortune to
marry at all! It is double insurance - if it is
borrowed, it is not new, and brides were urged to
borrow undies from a fertile married woman.
Nowadays, honouring this tradition is about
honouring a loved one or using something of
sentimental value that comes down to you from an
was the bride's garter - something she
wore in expectation of it being taken off (a custom
developed to stop people tearing bits off the
bride's clothes for luck!). The colour blue has been
associated with loyalty, faithfulness, and purity
for centuries. It is also the colour that is
believed to ward off the Evil Eye, a belief still
honoured by charms, particularly in the Middle East.
Putting a modern spin on
Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed,
firmly puts the happiness and
success of the marriage on the bride! In the 21st
century we know that the success of a marriage
relies on a joint effort. There are two ways to
honour the tradition in an evolved way that fits
much more comfortably with 21st century values of
equality in a marriage - Duplicate and Merge.
- Duplicate, so that each of you
honours Something Old, Something New,
Something Borrowed, Something Blue in
your own way
- Vintage clothing
- Vintage, antique, pre-owned and/or
borrowedjewellery for her, accessories such as
cuff-links or something attached to or worn
instead of a boutonniere for him. One of my
grooms wore on of his mother's brooches.
- Blue shoes, flowers, jewellery, accessories,
or items of clothing. For example, a blue tie
and pocket square, a blue dress (coloured
wedding dresses are very in at the moment), or
something blue and hidden. For brides this has
been a small blue bow sewn inside her dress.
no reason why a blue ribbon shouldn't be sewn
inside a groom's suit. Or go the whole hog and
wear a jacket with a blue lining.
- Merge, so that each part of the
tradition is represented in something that is
incorporated in your wedding without being
specific to either of you
- Incorporate blue in the ceremony styling.
Blue sashes on the chairs. Blue flowers. I had
posies of fresh blue and white flowers tied
with blue satin ribbon as my aisle decorations
(in test-tubes filled with water to keep them
fresh). While a red carpet for the aisle is
sort of traditional, perhaps have a blue one
instead, or overlapping Persian style rugs
that are predominantly blue for a Boho vibe.
- Use a blue handfasting cord
- Hire or borrow a vintage car. Blue if you
can. Decorate with blue ribbons.
- Go for blue icing on your cake
- Do a toast using Bombay Sapphire!
- Choose something blue for your favours - and
spread the luck. Very topical at the moment,
personal size hand sanitiser. I've bought a
couple of brands where the sanitiser is
coloured blue. Miniature bottles of
Bombay Sapphire or local gin brands (Ink Gin
comes to mind), blueberry sauce, or chocolates
wrapped in blue foil, perhaps.
- Have place cards and menus printed in blue
ink on white, or white on blue - just make
sure that there is enough contrast so older
guests can read them easily
- If you decide on fireworks, choose blue
Thanks for reading!