This month we look at the meaning of the good luck tokens that every bride should traditionally have on her big day.

'Something Old' is the first line of an old English rhyme which details what a bride should add to her outfit or carry with her on her wedding day – 'Something Olde, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue, A Sixpence in your Shoe'. It is often recited as the four “somethings”, not including the sixpence in your shoe, which is a wish for good fortune and prosperity and is largely only a custom in the UK. The objects are tokens of good luck and traditionally are given to the bride on the eleventh hour by their mother, sister, other relatives or wedding party attendants. 

So what do the sayings mean? Something old signifies continuity; something new suggests optimism for the future; something borrowed represents borrowed happiness and something blue stands for love and fidelity. Blue has actually been connected to weddings for centuries – in ancient Rome for example, brides wore blue to symbolise the same values. If you are wondering what items you should chose, then the 1898 folklore suggests the something blue should be a garter. This is a key component of a bride’s wedding day attire, and should be plucked off by the groom and tossed to all the single men at the reception, before the bride performs the bouquet toss. 

This tradition stemmed from hundreds of years ago when it was believed that owning a piece of the wedding dress would bring good luck, leading to wedding guests almost attacking the bride to rip off a piece of her gown. It was this that led brides to wearing garters to be given out as the lucky piece. Another belief was that the garter was a symbol of the newlyweds consummating their marriage. Again according the Victorian rhyme, something borrowed should be the undergarment of a woman who has been blessed with children, which communicates fertility to the bride.

Of course, there are plenty of new takes on the traditional objects and each small personal treasure should be unique to each bride, but here are a few ideas if you are short of inspiration: 

Something old

  • With vintage in, this could be either your mother’s or grandmother’s wedding gown
  • An antique photo locket with photos of loved ones who could not attend your special day
  • If you cannot find an heirloom, go for repurposed jewellery, such as a 1950s-style hair comb

Something new

  • Your wedding gown or jewellery can count as a new item
  • Personalised champagne flutes to toast your future at the wedding breakfast
  • Lingerie is perfect, as it upholds tradition and will give your new hubby a nice surprise later

Something borrowed

  • A church-length veil is ideal as it is a classic accessory that does not go out of style
  • A sequined clutch can bring sophistication and flair to your wedding day look
  • An old brooch from your mother-in-law is ideal for decorating your bridal bouquet 

Something blue 

  • Pair your white gown with a pair of gorgeous royal blue pumps 
  • Have the date of your wedding and initials stitched in blue on the inside of your dress
  • If blue jars with your colour scheme, serve Aquatini cocktails to your guests