Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue: How We Came To Follow Wedding Tradition

Spring is the season of love – it’s when most animal species breed, and it’s the most popular wedding season.

Weddings have a long list of traditions; varying by culture and what previous generations did before them.

One that has stuck around, primarily in England and in the United States, is the bride wearing something old, new, borrowed, and blue during the ceremony.

As the rhyme goes: Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a sixpence in your shoe.

While women love to do the first four things in the rhyme, I have never heard of anybody putting a sixpence in their shoe – maybe because it sounds horribly uncomfortable in heels.

So, why go through the trouble of collecting these items, and what does it all mean?

Apparently, it is good luck to follow through with the age-old advice; and with divorce rates as high as they are women figure they could use all the help they can get.

Although we know the true key to a happy marriage, as Mommy Underground has previously reported.

The origins of the custom are in a Victorian-era rhyme that flourished from the county of Lancashire, according to the Reader’s Digest.

During that time, the “something blue” was typically a garter. The blue and old items protected the bride against the Evil Eye; a curse that was said to make the bride infertile.

The “something borrowed” was the undergarment of a woman who already had children.


It is easy to understand why this custom has morphed into borrowing a less intimate item.

Legend holds that wearing the used underwear would confuse the Evil Eye, making it think the bride was already fertile.

Now she couldn’t be cursed, and the couple was free to be fruitful and multiply.

These ideas of curses and the Evil Eye are superstitious, to say the least. As culture began to stray away from the ideas of old, new meaning was given to the custom.

The Knot reveals the new meaning behind the timeless tradition.

The “something old” stands for continuity; “something new” demonstrates optimism for the future; “something borrowed” represents borrowed happiness; and “something blue” stands for purity, love, and fidelity in the marriage.

The sixpence in the shoe was to wish for good fortune and prosperity, but brides are not as concerned with this forgotten accessory.

Assigning new meaning to the Victorian rhyme may be a clever marketing ploy, but humans do love tradition.

Some great ideas for “something old” are a piece of antique jewelry, such as a necklace your mother wore on her wedding day.

For “something new” you could be wearing a custom wedding dress or wedding rings.

To get “something borrowed” you could ask your maid of honor for a pair of earrings to wear, or use a garter that has been passed down from your mother.

Getting “something blue” can be the fun part of the tradition. Maybe get blue pedicures with the bridesmaids, or slip sapphire bobby pins into your hair.

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

You may be wondering if women still adhere to this custom.

The answer is yes!

The Hitched Wife surveyed UK brides and 78% of them said they plan on sticking to the Victorian custom.

Only 16% of the women surveyed were undecided, and 6% were reported to remain the select few who ignore the tradition altogether.

There are many wedding traditions that didn’t make the cut into modern society, such as men being the only ones who could give a toast, and pelting rice at the happy newlyweds as they tried to escape the chapel.

It’s unknown if and when the tradition discussed will be kicked to the curb in lieu of traditions that hold more of a meaning relevant to today, but it doesn’t look like it’s anytime soon.

Unless there is a protest to bring awareness to the age-old custom, or liberals decide that it’s too traditional, we will probably see women flaunting that hint of blue for years to come.

Please let us know in the comments section if you participated in this tradition at your wedding, or if you did one that was just as ancient.


Comments are closed.