We all know the traditional wedding rhyme:
And a Silver Sixpence for her Shoe.”
For generations the bride has been expected to have all five items on her wedding day, but what do they all mean? Each one is meant as a good luck token to help the bride in her future married life.
The something old represents continuity and protection for any future children. It is meant to help keep the new family strong. Items used as something old are usually family heirlooms passed from parents or Grandparents.
The something new represents optimism for the future. It is meant to highlight the new life that is to begin as a married couple, and give good luck and happiness in that life. Modern brides tend to have jewellery or accessories as their something new. As most brides have a whole new outfit for their wedding day this is the easiest to incorporate.
The something borrowed is traditionally given by an already married couple. The idea is that by having something from a happily married couple, the happiness will be passed on to the newlyweds. Today the something borrowed varies hugely, but is sometimes the same item as the something old.
The something blue is loosely tied into the wedding veil. It is meant to baffle the devil and protect the bride on her wedding day. The colour blue is associated with purity, trust and loyalty; all attributes a bride is said to need to create a happy marriage. The most common way to have something blue is in the form of a garter, however, more and more brides are opting for blue shoes or a ribbon around their bouquet.
A Silver Sixpence
The silver sixpence is often left out of the rhyme, but is equally as important. The sixpence represents financial security and prosperity. It also ensures that a bride walks into her marriage with money that is her own (traditionally the men would take care of all the finances). Today the sixpence is usually kept out of a brides shoe and is instead put in a card as a token of the day.
While many of the meanings behind these items have been forgotten, having something old, something new… is still seen as an important part of a brides outfit as she walks down the aisle.
Next on our Wedding Traditions Explained series, we’re talking about The Wedding Scramble.