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Something Borrowed, Something Blue – What the Popular Wedding Rhyme Means

Good Luck Charm, Something Blue

“Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a silver sixpence in her shoe.”

This tradition goes back to the Victorian era and is still a popular theme in wedding movies and current customs. The “old” is a symbol of the bride’s past. She is separating herself from her family, childhood and past. The “something old” is frequently from her family, like a piece of jewelry or other family heirloom. In contrast, the “something new” is a symbol of the future the bride is beginning with her groom. This is usually the wedding gown.

“Something borrowed” should be an item from a happily married woman. The borrowing will give the new bride good luck, (which is why the “loaner” needs to be a happily married woman). Something borrowed” also reminds the new bride to look to her friends and family when she needs help.

“Something blue” represents purity, faithfulness and loyalty. Many brides wear a blue garter or trims on their undergarments. (Victoria’s Secret released a “Sexy Little Bride” lingerie line which combined sexy white lingerie, tank tops and panties with blue trims and accents.) Blue has been a color symbolic of purity, love, modesty and fidelity in many cultures. For example, blue is the color associated with the purity of the Virgin Mary and is used in many period paintings. Brides from ancient Israel wore their “something blue” as a ribbon in their hair and ribbons on the borders of their dresses. Also, before the 19th century blue was a common color for wedding gowns. Another wedding folklore says “Marry in blue, lover be true” for this reason.

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“A silver sixpence in her shoe,” most often represented by a penny, is just to bring good luck and wealth to the new bride. The sixpence was a British coin minted from the late 1500s until 1967. It is worth six pennies, or six . . . pence. This English saying is borrowing the Scottish tradition for grooms to place a silver coin under his foot for luck. And, to make sure you get the most wealth out of this good luck charm, place the “sixpence” in the left shoe. If you want to do something really special, or maybe start a family tradition and heirloom of your own, find a company which sells a keepsake sixpence for the wedding. The keepsake sixpences usually come in a special box or lace pouch. Sometimes they have a frilly wedding pillow to keep the sixpence in after the wedding. They are also accompanied by a card with the inspiring rhyme printed on it.