Something Borrowed, Something Blue: History and Tips for This Tradition | Wedding History

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. It's a phrase that everyone seems to know, yet pinpointing the moment we first heard it seems nearly impossible. The catchy phrase is as much a part of wedding vernacular as saying I do, and for many brides, it's an absolute must! To walk down the aisle with one of each of these items is good luck, so it's important not to neglect any category.


Something Blue for Wedding
Danielle Harris Photography

History

During the Victorian era in England the rhyme, plus and added "and a sixpence for your shoe" at the end, became popular for brides looking for a promise of good luck and a happy marriage. The Victorian Era, which was also the peak of the Spiritualism movement, was steeped with superstitions around all of life's biggest moments, so it only makes sense that the wedding day would have a few too. At the time it wasn't a playful rhyme, but a necessity of the day. With each segment of the rhyme, a bride could add another element of luck to her upcoming marriage all with the goal of warding off the evil eye, which at the time they believed could make a bride infertile. By the time the somethings old, new, borrowed, blue, and the sixpence for the shoe were in tow, a bride could walk down the aisle free of fears of the evil eye cursing her and her marriage.


These days the true meaning has taken a bit of a backseat and it's all about good luck for good luck's sake. The Knot broke it down perfectly, and in a way that may better speak to modern couples. "'Something old' stands for continuity; 'something new' shows optimism for the future; 'something borrowed' symbolizes borrowed happiness; and 'something blue' represents purity, love, and fidelity." For couples who may look to skip other traditions, when you look at the phrase like this, it seems like such a sweet, meaningful way to incorporate some positive energy and time-honored good luck into a wedding day, even if the constant threat of the evil eye looming nearby has passed.


Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue
Stoffer Photography

Tips and Tricks

For most couples, the day is filled with brand new items, so ticking off the box for something new is just about as easy as it gets. The other parts of the phrase offer a lot more space to imbue your wedding day with meaningful elements. The good news is that many of these items can crisscross the categories, and there are no rules when it comes to picking your special little somethings. Even if you just decide to walk down the aisle with one item, that's fine too! Here are a few of our favorite options.


Something Old

Since, as The Knot noted, the something old is all about continuity, this is the place to work in an item from a parent or grandparent. This is also the time to shine for our lovers of all things vintage!

  • Jewelry or watches - If you're lucky enough to have a loved one who has handed down a beloved piece of jewelry or a watch to you, the wedding day is a perfect time to pay homage to their legacy and keep them with you on the day.

  • Handkerchiefs - Easy to carry with you, and functional once the waterworks start!

  • Vintage gown fabric - A tiny piece of a loved one's gown can be sewn into your wedding day look or used to wrap your bouquet. An extremely subtle, extremely meaningful way to incorporate something old.

  • Family heirlooms - The sky is the limit on this one, and the more meaningful the better! Think buttons from old clothing, a veil that every bride in the family has worn, etc.

  • Vintage purse, hair comb, jewels, etc - A perfect option for the person who loves vintage and knows just where to find the best pieces.


Something Old Wedding Tradition
Danielle Harris Photography

Something Borrowed

Is there a couple who's love story is #goals for you and your fiancé? Whether that's your grandparent, parent, or best friend, we love the idea of borrowing something from a couple who has a marriage worth emulating, and we think that they'd be honored to be thought of in that way! If nothing comes to mind, don't be surprised if someone approaches you with an item they'd like you to borrow for the day. Sharing is such a special part of weddings and people are often jumping at the bit to share their favorites!

  • Ring box - A good ring box makes for the most beautiful detail shots on the wedding day. Check in with friends and family to see if they have a favorite. Pro tip: If no-one in your close group has one of these, your BDE Team comes prepared with some that your photographer can borrow for detail photos.

  • Jewelry - Oftentimes a necklace or bracelet is a perfect item for someone to lend out, and it takes one big item off of your shopping list. We've even had brides borrow their grandmothers or bridesmaids wedding rings to attach to her bouquet.

  • Veil - This is such an easy piece for a family member to loan out to make your wedding day and theirs feel forever connected.


Vintage Ring Box
Chloe Luka Photography

Something Blue

When it comes to something blue, there are so many fun options that can be as bold or as subtle as you like. From your accessories

  • Wedding clutch - Whether it's that dreamy shade of Tiffany blue or a deep sapphire, a blue clutch is a perfect addition to a bridal look. Plus it will photograph beautifully!

  • Shoes - Most of our favorite wedding shoe brands have put their stamp on this tradition, and we can't get enough. These are stylish, classic, elegant options that will be a perfect addition to your wedding day look.

  • Bouquet - Pop in a few blooms or a silk ribbon to carry your something blue down the aisle.

  • Hem of the dress - Much like with the vintage fabric, sewing a little blue into the inside hem of your gown can be a really subtle way to honor this trend.

  • Handkerchief - If you plan to carry a handkerchief, whether it is something borrowed or new, you may opt to find one that has blue in it's stitching.


Something Blue
Danielle Harris Photography

For those who are looking to keep this tradition going for many years to come, the sky is the limit and it's always a treat to see how a couple will intertwine these items into their day. Be sure to key in your photographer and planner to ensure that each of your special items is photographed as well! With this Victorian era practice, like every wedding tradition, couples should choose whether it really makes sense for their day. As fun as it can be to try to incorporate different time honored traditions, it's also important to determine your own vision for the wedding. If something old, something new, something borrowed, or something blue doesn't fit with that, it's always okay to leave things out!


If You Loved This, Find More Wedding Planning Guides Here:

Top 10 Wedding Shoes

The Bouquet Toss: History of the Tradition and Tips for the Modern Couple

The Tradition of NOT Seeing the Bride Before the Ceremony


Photos:

Danielle Harris Photography

Stoffer Photography

Chloe Luka Photography


Sources:

The Knot

Pioneer Woman

The Knot

Victorian Era

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