Ask a Real Bride: Ideas for Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed and Something Blue
Meta: Real brides share their ideas for incorporating this traditional poem into your wedding ensemble!
Even as wedding traditions change and sometimes disappear, one quirky tradition holds strong. Though most brides aren’t sure why they do it, most (83% of the ones we surveyed) made sure their wedding ensemble included:
This superstition dates back to an Olde English rhyme, and while you might not be British or believe in luck, the four items are a fun way to honor relatives and friends–and a little bit of luck never hurts!
Collecting these lucky items is nothing to stress over. Often, one or more are given as last-minute gifts from the parents of the bride, her grandparents, or bridesmaids.
In need of inspiration? Our real brides are sharing how they fulfilled this time-honored tradition in their wedding day ensembles!
What it means: Traditionally, “something old” was meant to guard against the Evil Eye and protect against infertility. Now, brides wear “something old” as a way to connect their family history with the new family they’ll begin with their spouse.
What to wear: This is a perfect opportunity to wear a sentimental piece of jewelry, and some of the brides we heard from wore earrings, rings, and brooches that had once belonged to their grandmothers.
But don’t fret if heirloom jewelry isn’t an option! Here are some unique ideas for something old:
“I carried my grandmother’s Bible down the aisle. My mom used it in her wedding, too!” -Kristen F.
“One of my daughters included items from her great-grandmother and grandmothers in the bouquet. She honored her great-grandmother by including a button from her wedding suit, and added a hankie from one grandmother and a birdcage veil from the other. It was special and beautiful.” –Carolyn R.
“I used a piece of lace from my mother’s dress to make my garter!” –Robin P.
“I added lace from my mom’s veil to my dress.” –Jordan C.
“I wrapped a piece of my mom’s veil around my bouquet” –Anna R.
“I carried a pearl clutch from my grandmother.” –Jenny D.
“I tucked my mom’s handkerchief into my dress!” –Tiffany P.
Many brides used one item to fulfill both categories. For example, your “something old” might be a handkerchief from your grandmother that also happens to have blue embroidery, making it your something “blue,” too–that’s my bouquet above, wrapped in my grandmother’s handkerchief.
What it means: The “new” item symbolizes optimism for the future, and is probably the easiest one to execute!
What to wear: Almost every bride I surveyed counted their wedding dress, veil, jewelry or shoes as their something “new”–that was easy!
What it means: Your borrowed item symbolizes good luck. The concept is that if you borrow an item from a happily married friend or relative, their good luck will carry over to your new union!
What to wear: I loved the responses in this category, because each borrowed item is symbolic of a special bond between the person who lent it and the bride!
One of the most commonly borrowed items were veils, often from a mom, sister, or best friend. I also heard from a few brides who borrowed their mom’s garters!
Another special “borrow” is jewelry! My grandmother graciously lent me her diamond earrings to wear on my wedding day, and reminded me multiple times that they were only “on loan.” I was so nervous I would lose them that I returned them to her before I left the reception!
What it means: Long ago, the color blue was believed to ward off the Evil Eye, but now, it symbolizes love, purity, and fidelity. Who knew?
What to wear: This was definitely the most creative category! There are so many ways to incorporate “blue” into your look: shoes, jewelry, garters, handkerchiefs–even your underwear (one of the most popular responses)!
“I had a friend whose grandmother couldn’t be at her wedding, so her grandmother embroidered blue flowers on a ribbon that she tied into her bouquet. I thought it was very special.” –Vanessa C.
I had a flower crown made with blue and white flowers. –Stacy R.
“I forgot my “something blue,” so at the last minute I added a very tiny blue wildflower tucked into my bouquet (in the back)” –Stephanie D.
“My garter had my college colors: orange and blue!” –Camile L.
“Toe nail polish!” –Olivia R.
“Betsey Johnson makes wedding shoes with blue soles!” –Victoria B.
“My old borrowed and blue were all the same handkerchief which I pulled out of my bodice and used during the ceremony!” –Rachel P.
“I added blue ribbons to my bouquet”–Jordan C.
“Undies!” –Megan P.
“I wore the Dolce & Gabbana perfume called ‘Blue!” –Jill B.
Bonus: A Sixpence in Your Shoe!
Confession: I had no idea that the “something old, something new” poem ended with this line until my friend Jordan shared that she wore one on her wedding day!
What it means: A coin in the bride’s shoe was meant to represent future prosperity.
What to wear: You can find a special wedding sixpence on Etsy, or simply wear a penny in your shoe. Some brides choose to find one with their birth year for extra luck! Often, the father of the bride gives the coin as a gift right before the ceremony begins.
The Bottom Line: Make the Tradition Your Own!
Like any tradition, wearing “something old, something new” isn’t a requirement, but now that you know the meaning, I hope you feel inspired to make it your own. While we know that these items don’t guarantee good luck and prosperity, they’re a fun way to honor your past and look to the future!
Have a Question for our Real Brides?
Let me know what topic you’d like us to tackle next! And if you’re interested in learning more about etiquette, gift giving, and celebrating in style, be sure to subscribe to the RegistryFinder GiveIt blog for weekly posts on wedding etiquette, bridal showers, wedding trends, and of course, wedding registry guidelines and tips! And as always, be sure to refer your guests to RegistryFinder.com, where they can conveniently locate all of your registries in one place!