Wedding Tradition Breakdown: “Something Old” Rhyme

There are a lot of wedding traditions out there, but one that continues to stand the test of time is the old rhyme “something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue”. Almost everyone, whether they’ve been married or not, has heard of this tradition. But where did this old rhyme come from and what do the various parts symbolize?



This tradition is an old British rhyme that can be dated back to the late 1800s. The full rhyme is actually “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a sixpence in her shoe”. It describes four items that are meant to bring the bride luck, with the sixpence (a British coin) symbolizing prosperity. The last line has mostly been dropped in modern times, likely due to the rhyme becoming international.


Something Old

Back in the day, the “something old” was meant to ward off the Evil Eye. It was also meant to protect any future children of the couple, as the Evil Eye was thought to cause infertility. These days “something old” has a more lighthearted meaning. It’s used to represent continuity, and it’s a chance to honor the family by wearing something sentimental. Often the parents of the bride will gift her with “something old” such as an heirloom to wear for the day.


Something New

The “something new” item symbolized optimism for the future. A wedding is a new step for a couple, so it only makes sense that they would walk into that new part of their life with something new. Luckily most brides already have a ton of new items that fit the bill from the wedding dress to the ring. These days grooms often give a gift to the bride, such as jewelry, which can be the “something new” they wear on the big day.


Something Borrowed

The “something borrowed” aspect of this traditional rhyme was meant to bring good luck to the couple. The item was meant to be borrowed from a happily married relative or a friend with the hopes that some of that good fortune would rub off on them and their new marriage. Traditionally there was a superstition that brides should borrow undergarments from female friends or relatives that have a happy marriage and kids. Thankfully that aspect of the tradition has died down today, although some brides do borrow garters from friends that recently got married. These days most brides opt to borrow something sentimental from a loved one for a touch of good luck on their wedding day.


Something Blue

The color blue representing love, purity, and fidelity, and for many years was the color of choice for brides to wear on their wedding before white gown became popular. Traditionally the “something blue” item was the bridal garter worn beneath the bridal gown. These days, brides tend to opt for other blue items, from blue shoes to blue jewelry.


Final Thoughts

This is one of the most fun wedding traditions. Brides can customize this old-timey rhyme to fit their needs and styles. It’s not meant to be taken seriously these days, and it’s something to have fun with. If you opt to follow this tradition let your wedding photographer know! Our wedding photographers love capturing the four times (five if you opt for the coin!).


If you’re looking for a Toronto wedding photographer contact us today!

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