Among the many widely-held wedding traditions is the concept of having (or wearing) something old and something new for the big day as a sign of good luck. You’ve probably heard the “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” expression a million times, but what exactly does this custom entail, and how can you tie these themes into your wedding?
The something old, something new routine stems from an Victorian English rhyme dating all the way back to 1898, which goes “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a sixpence in your shoe.” Fortunately for brides in the U.S., a sixpence isn’t an easy currency to come by, so you don’t have to worry about sticking something in your footwear. But the other four must-haves are believed to bring brides good fortune…and fertility (just a tad bit old-fashioned to say the least).
According to wedding historian Susan Waggoner, something old represents the couples’ past lives. Something new naturally reflects the bride and groom’s future shared life together, something borrowed typically means incorporating an item belonging to a happily married woman (like your mom, grandmother, or sister) for good luck, and something blue symbolizes fidelity and purity. Your family members (or groom) might gift you with any of these lucky tokens prior to the wedding, but you can also round up a few pieces of your own.
While it’s obviously not mandatory to honor all four of these traditions in your nuptials, no matter how superstitious you might be (your wedding will be just as lucky regardless), it’s a fun way to creatively blend the past, present, and future. Whether you’re a family member shopping for the bride or the bride-to-be herself, check out our roundup of ideas for both the old and new pieces of the famous wedding trope. And, keep in mind that you’re not limited to only small, wearable pieces for this custom—get creative!
Something Old Ideas:
1. Vintage Getaway Car
Forget “out with the old.” Make your exit in style with a vintage automobile. Riding off into the sunset with your new spouse has never looked cooler (and makes the perfect photo-op).
2. Family Heirloom
Accessorize your wedding day ensemble with a sentimental family heirloom, like a string of pearls or diamond earrings, that’s been passed down for generations.
3. Vintage Photo Booth
Put a unique spin on the traditional photo booth trend with an old-timey inspired camera that still produces digital prints (because actual film cameras are a little too old for weddings these days).
4. Relative’s Wedding Dress
This bride took something old to new heights and surprised her grandmother by wearing her wedding dress from the 19060s. This first look was one for the books.
5. Fabric From a Relative’s Gown
If borrowing an entire wedding gown from your mother or grandmother isn’t feasible (maybe it’s too delicate for alterations), don’t fret. You can still take pieces of fabric from a sentimental family wedding dress and easily add it into your look, like as a lace belt or chic choker.
6. Antique Lockets with Family Photos
Keep deceased relatives close to heart on the big day by including their photos in antique lockets. You can wear them on your person, or attach them to your bouquet, like this bride did with photos of her late father. She also wore his Purple Heart in the lining of her dress.
7. Wedding Venue
There’s no grander way to honor the something old tradition than in the wedding venue itself. This couple tied the knot in Oregon at the bride’s family farm, where her parents also wed (making it something borrowed, as well). The locale had been in the family for generations, deeming it certified “old” status by wedding tradition standards.
8. Your Father’s Tie
This bride’s father passed away after she graduated college, so she honored his memory by tying one of his Hermes ties around the stems of her wedding bouquet.
9. Vintage Dog Collar
If your pooch is lucky enough to earn ring bearer status, transfer the something old theme onto its dog collar for the big day. These brides took fabric and buttons from one of their late grandmother’s collections to customize their border terrier’s ring-bearing neckwear.
Something New Ideas:
1. Last Name Ring
Add to your wedding day bling with a modern multiple-finger ring featuring your new last name (or your hyphenated or current last name depending on what direction you decided on!). It’ll garner just as much attention as your gorgeous engagement sparkler.
2. Custom Moto Jacket
Stay cool (in both senses of the word) with a customized leather jacket, featuring “Just Married” embroidered on the back in a contrasting color.
3. Embellished Belt
Add an extra dash of pizazz to your dream wedding gown with a new, sparkly belt. Or, err on the “something borrowed” side and recycle a belt that your sister or close friend wore on her wedding day.
4. Funny Handkerchief
Have a little fun with the something new tradition and remind yourself not to shed any “ugly” tears on the big day (pass the message on to your partner, as well). This makes the perfect playful gift for the bride from a relative, and can also double as the something blue.
5. Unique Cufflinks
The bride isn’t the only one who can soak up the something new custom. Grooms can share the love through a set of cufflinks unique to his style, which he can also wear post-wedding.
6. Matching Tattoos
While matching couples tattoos before the wedding defy the tradition of wearing wedding rings, you can definitely cross this off the something new checklist.
7. New Last Name Embroidery
To commemorate your new last name, stitch yours and your soon-to-be partner’s monogram into the lining of your gown.
8. Cozy Cape
Tying the knot during chilly temps? Layer over your dress with a cool white jacket or cape to keep the look bridal and stay warm in style.
9. Embroidered Pillow
If the bride doesn’t want to wear something new, gift the ring bearer with an original new embroidered pillow to keep in line with the tradition (and ensure that the rings stay safe and sound).
See more: Wedding Garter Traditions, Old and New
10. Glam Tiara
Accessories designer Arden Wohl wore a jade and rose quartz headband-cum-tiara as her something new, which was a gift from her wedding planner’s mother, jewelry designer Karen Erickson.