Wedding Wisdom Wednesday: More About Your Old, New, Borrowed & Blue

Local wedding pros share insight and tips for planning your wedding.

Tanya Hartman
An assortment of old, new, borrowed and blue, with the added inclusion of a sixpence in the shoe

Presenting the first in a new web series: Wedding Wisdom Wednesday, in which local wedding experts from various corners of the industry share their insight to help you plan every detail of your wedding day.

You’ve heard the Old English rhyme for wedding-day luck: “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.” But did you know that it actually ends with, “and a sixpence in your shoe”?   

These five items have been accompanying brides down the aisle for over a century. Meant to bring good luck, fertility, and prosperity to a marriage, they have become one of the wedding world’s most long-standing traditions. What I love about this tradition is it gives the bride an opportunity to be intentional about what might be the most important ensemble she may ever wear. Having real thought behind each part makes it that much more special and memorable. 

Brides have been putting their own twist on these treasures more and more in recent years. When you’re thinking about which of these items you will carry with you that day, it can be helpful to know the original meaning behind each one. But, don’t let that constrain you! Let it foster your creativity. 

Start thinking about these pieces when you are shopping for your wedding gown. Planning early may help drive your fashion decisions. For example, if you know you are going to wear a particular heirloom necklace or borrow your sister’s veil, having these accessories in mind or with you when you shop will help you choose the perfect gown. 

Something Old 

Your “something old” is meant to represent continuity. Traditionally, it’s a family heirloom. To give it an updated look, take the piece to a local jeweler to make it your own. Perhaps the stones can be reset into a modern setting or an old ring can be turned into earrings. 

Another classic is to incorporate fabric from an older generation’s wedding gown into your own ensemble. This could be as simple as taking a small swatch from the gown and sewing it inside your own or as dramatic as turning the fabric from the dress into a belt or topper. 

Something New 

Your “something new” represents optimism for the future. This one is easy—almost every bride is wearing something new. But if it’s your dress, it can be hard to photograph together with all of your other accessories. 

Have a drawing made of your dress, keep a swatch of the fabric when you have it altered, or print a photo from the moment you found the dress. Plan to photograph this with your accessories, instead of trying to fit the gown into the picture. When each of the items are similarly sized, it makes for a perfect shot. 

A feminine assortment of old, new, borrowed and blue

Something Borrowed 

Your “something borrowed” in olden days was an undergarment from a woman in your family who had been particularly fertile. That may not be the most modern option, so instead use this opportunity to honor someone in your life who isn’t part of the wedding party or participating in the ceremony. Borrow a handkerchief from your fiancée’s dad or wear your grandmother’s bracelet. 

This is also a great place to save money. Plan to borrow something that you may otherwise have to purchase to complete your look. A veil or jewelry can be easy pieces to borrow. That said, resist the urge to combine your “something old” and “something borrowed.” Make sure that you’re giving each item its due! 

Something Blue 

Your “something blue” stands for purity, fidelity and love. Admittedly, this can be tricky if blue is not one of your wedding colors. Think of a way to wear something under or inside your gown, like a silk flower, ribbon or other small detail. Embroider your wedding date in blue on your lining, or wear a blue garter (the most traditional something blue). Ask your bridesmaids to sign the bottom of your shoes in blue paint marker, or have your florist tuck one small blue flower into your bouquet. 

A Sixpence in Your Shoe 

The “sixpence in your shoe” (or penny for us Americans) represents prosperity and is often forgotten! Though the British sixpence hasn’t been produced since 1980, one is easier to find than you would think. The most traditional brides can purchase sixpence coins on eBay or at many resale shops. 

Another way would be to find a coin with some significance. Ask to go through the coin jar on your grandpa’s dresser to find one from the year you and your fiancée met or the year you were born. It doesn’t have to be a sixpence or a penny, just a small coin that goes with you down the aisle. PRO TIP: Tape it inside your shoe before the wedding day so you don’t forget. 

An elegant arrangement of accessories with an invitation suite

Some Final Tips

Tell your photographer about all these items! Together, they’ll make a beautiful, artistic photo. And, after giving them so much thought, you’ll want to cherish their memory for years to come. 

Tell your guests, too! This is a fun little tidbit to include on your ceremony program, especially if you’re honoring VIPs by carrying these items. 

A cute note can tell guests about your accessory selections.

Sweet traditions like this one bind us together as a culture. They’re a way for us each to show our individual style while carrying on the same ritual that’s been done for generations. 

The author on her wedding day
The author's own old, new, borrowed, blue and sixpence

Tanya Hartman is the owner of Gilded Social. The Columbus-based boutique styles brides, bridesmaids, mothers, flower girls and fancy occasion guests from Ohio to Wyoming to the comfort of your own living room. Their designer, special order dress shop carries over 1,500 styles from top international designers such as Amsale, Jenny Yoo, Anne Barge, Rosa Clara, Dessy Group and Watters, with bridal collections showing exclusively at pop-up locations in Granville and Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Gilded Social also provides wedding day styling and detailing, space rental, and garment care services for brides, bridal parties, and their families. Share how you carried out this time-honored tradition of something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a sixpence in your shoe on your wedding day by emailing hello@shopgildedsocial.com. Your photo may be featured on Gilded Social’s website or social media!