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If you’re getting married, if you know anyone who is getting married, or if you’ve seen any late ‘90s movie about getting married, you’ve definitely heard the phrase “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.” This wedding tradition invites good luck if the bride wears something old and something new, plus something borrowed and something blue. Pretty random, right? So where did this arbitrary phrase come from, and why is it still a thing?
Let’s start with the saying’s origin. The tradition is old school — it stems all the way back to 1871. The Olde English rhyme went, “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a sixpence in your shoe.” While the whole sticking money in your shoe part of the saying is long gone, the rest of the tradition remains a part of many weddings.
But it’s not 1871, it’s 2018, and this tradition doesn’t have to be limited to brides anymore. Grooms and LGBTQ+ couples can reclaim this specific collection of good luck tokens as well.
Before thinking about how to incorporate this Victorian tradition into your modern wedding, let’s break the old-timey phrase down. Why so many different components? Incorporating “something old,” into your wedding day is a reference to the couples’ shared history, while “something new,” is meant to represent the couple’s future. The “something borrowed,” part is about involving your family members’ history — especially the happily married ones — and then “something blue,” stands for fidelity and purity.
Even if you don’t totally buy into the reasoning behind this tradition, it’s a sweet way of thinking about your wedding day in the context of your entire relationship — past, present, and future. Think of it as an homage to all of the moments that got you and your partner to the big day, and to all of the moments that are yet to come. Plus, if you’re even the slightest bit superstitious, why risk bad luck? Here are some novel ways to incorporate this little rhyme into your nuptials.
For the “something old,” portion of the tradition, you can default to wearing your mother’s veil or your father’s tux, or you can get a little creative. You could incorporate a small piece of a relative’s wedding dress as a handkerchief for those tears that are bound to flow. Another adorable gesture? Place framed photos of you and your partners’ parents on their wedding days on the card table. Really want to blow it out? Drive from the ceremony to the reception in an antique convertible. (With your betrothed, of course.)
There are bound to be a lot of new things at your wedding, including your rings, but it’s nice to give your partner something special — and new — to ensure good luck on the big day. Accessories like a fresh pair of cufflinks or new earrings are a great way to cover this category, even if the bride, brides, groom, or grooms are wearing vintage attire.
“Something borrowed,” is the part of the rhyme that doubles as a great excuse to borrow something fancy like a watch. It’s also a fun place think about who else you want to incorporate into your big day. Does the person who set you and your partner up on a blind date have an amazing collection of shoes in your size? Borrow a pair. Want to involve a couple you see as #goals? Borrow their wedding song for your first dance.
The most fun way to bring the color wheel into your wedding: blue underwear. Or you can go for a navy tux or blue bow tie if you’re having a more casual affair. For brides, think about a blue ribbon on your bouquet. Having an outdoor wedding? Find some trendy blue sunglasses to wear in between photos. Have blue eyes? Lucky you, you’re all set.