The History of the Something Old Wedding Tradition | Saphire Event Group

We’re sure most of you have heard this catchy wedding rhyme before “Something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue.” It lists five items (more about the forgotten item later) a bride must carry with her down the aisle if she wants a happy, successful, and fertile marriage. But, we’re willing to bet most don’t know the history of the something old wedding tradition or where the phrase came from (There’s no shame, neither did we)!

This rhyme’s origin story starts during the middle 1800s in Lancashire, a region in North West England. Well known as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, this region is also responsible for coining this familiar wedding phrase… a peculiar fact considering wedding traditions and the British economy don’t go together AT ALL.

It’s important to recognize the cultural climate in which this phrase originated because therein lies the key to why each of these items is so important in any wedding ceremony. Gender roles dictated men were breadwinners and women were homemakers, making marriage to a fertile woman essential. Thankfully, marriages have since been modernized and are more about love than popping out heirs.

Something Old

Something old doesn’t have to be about wearing your grandma’s dress but instead about honoring the generations in your family. Old, in this sense, can also symbolize continuity, like passing protection and good health from one successful couple to the other. Our favorite ideas for this include sewing in a patch of your mother’s dress into the back of your own or carrying a bouquet wrapped with a gold locket and a picture of your loved ones tucked inside.

Something old wedding tradition honoring loved ones on bridal bouquet
Simi Rabinowitz Photography

Something New

Let’s be real, thinking of something new you’ve purchased for your special day is not going to be very hard. The dress, the suit…the list could go on. Your new item can be anything that symbolizes optimism as you move into this next chapter of life with your love. One trending idea we love is purchasing a luxurious fragrance you wear to all your wedding events, like your engagement shoot, shower, and dress rehearsal so the scent alone can transport you back to the special memories you’ve created. Think of this as a wedding time capsule!

Diamond rings for something new wedding tradition
Lynne Reznick Photography

Something Borrowed

If you’ve ever seen the rom-com “Something Borrowed,” we’re definitely not implying that falling for your best friend’s fiancé fulfills this wedding requirement. Instead, something borrowed is intended to represent borrowing happiness, luck, and fertility from a successful married couple. To keep your nuptials playful and lighthearted, dancing to your parent’s wedding song or being whisked away in your grandpa’s vintage Mustang will do the trick.

Bride and Groom with Vintage Rolls Royce
Nicole Pelissier Photography


Something Blue

The color blue carries a lot of meaning, most common being tranquility and authentic love. The English believed in many curses and this color was believed to ward off “The Evil Eye.” This wise tale warned that one glance from a bride’s scorned suitor could foreshadow the couple is doomed to misfortunes. To glamorize your something blue, past SEG brides have donned sapphire bright blue heels similar to the Manolo Blahnik’s Carrie swoons over in “Sex and the City.” What? A girl can dream.

Something blue wedding tradition with heels
Rachel Halsey Photography

A Sixpence in your Shoe

Oh, did we forget to mention there’s one more piece to this puzzle? Often forgotten, the final verse goes, “…and a sixpence in your shoe.” A sixpence? Don’t worry if you have no idea what that means—sixpences haven’t been in circulation since the late 1900s. Today it’s equivalent to six pennies. And since you’re probably not going to find a sixpence walking along the sidewalk, brides have sewn pennies on the backs of their heels for a pop of bling or stamped their invitations with a copper penny-inspired wax seal. The bouquet below actually has a sixpence attached, leaving us to wonder… where did she get it?

Wedding tradition sixpence in shoe for luck on bridal bouquet
Mary Polleys Photography

It’s interesting to see that even after centuries, this rhyme continues to stay relevant in the wedding world. Whatever you choose to represent these items, even if you choose nothing at all, remember to get creative with the smaller details that just feel right to include in your day.

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