One the many popular wedding traditions celebrated around the world in different ways is the concept of having (or wearing) something old and something new on your wedding day as a sign of good luck. You’ve probably heard the expression “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” a million times—but what exactly does it mean?
The tradition has its origins in a Victorian English rhyme, which goes "something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a sixpence in your shoe." (Fortunately, 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 couples good fortune as well as fertility (which, yes, we know, is a tad bit old-fashioned).
According to wedding historian Susan Waggoner, "something old" symbolizes your lives prior to when they became intertwined and offers a chance to honor your family heritage, too, while "something new" reflects your future shared life together. Meanwhile, "something borrowed" typically means incorporating an item belonging to a family member or dear friend for good luck, and "something blue" symbolizes fidelity and purity. Members of your family (or your partner) might lend or gift you with any of these lucky tokens prior to the wedding, but there's no rule saying you can't also round up a few pieces of your own.
While it's not mandatory to honor all four of these traditions in your nuptials, it's a fun way to creatively blend the past, present and future. Keep in mind that you're not limited to only small, wearable pieces! As a starting point, here are 20 ideas to inspire your "something old, something new."
10 Something Old Ideas
1. Vintage Getaway Car
Forget "out with the old." Make your exit in style with a vintage getaway car! Riding off into the sunset as newlyweds has never looked cooler (and makes for a 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. This bride wore her late grandmother's pearl bracelet and antique drop pearl earrings, while her partner donned accessories to honor both of their grandfathers.
3. Vintage Photo Booth
Put a unique spin on the 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 1960s. 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 incorporate them into your look, perhaps 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. 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.
8. 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 property has been in the family for generations, deeming it certified "old" status by wedding tradition standards.
9. Ceremonial Readings
Your "something old" can also be metaphorical, of course, symbolized by the readings the two of you choose to include in your ceremony. At their wedding in the Basque Country of Spain, Chris and Zachary opted for Love Sonnet 17 by Pablo Neruda, a reading from Song of the Open Road by Walt Whitman and John 15:9-12. After their first kiss, the newlyweds recessed down the aisle to “Here Comes the Sun,” by The Beatles.
10. Vintage Dog Collar
If your pooch is lucky enough to earn ring bearer status, celebrate your "something old" with a one-of-a-kind dog collar. For their Colorado elopement, country musician Shelly Fairchild and her partner, Deborah, took fabric and buttons from one of their late grandmother's collections to customize their border terrier's ring-bearing neckwear.
10 Something New Ideas
1. Last Name Ring
Add to your wedding day bling with a modern, multi-finger ring featuring your new last name or, if that's too long (or you're not planning on changing your last name), how about simply "Mrs" or a meaningful four-letter word, such as "love"? 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 custom wedding jacket, such as this black leather moto 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. Sentimental Handkerchief
Have a little fun with the "something new" tradition and remind yourselves not to shed any (wink, wink) ugly tears on the big day. For relatives looking for a thoughtful gift for the couple, this is suitable for both partners. And with blue stitching, an embroidered handkerchief can also double as your "something blue."
5. Unique Cufflinks
Grooms can share the love by wearing a set of cufflinks representative of their style—which, while "something new" on the wedding day, is also something they'll be able to wear for many years to come.
6. Matching Tattoos
While going in for matching wedding tattoos before your actual wedding day is somewhat unconventional, if the two of you go this route, you can definitely count these as your "something new" on the big day.
7. Monogram Embroidery
To commemorate her wedding day, this bride had her new initials stitched into the lining of her gown. Other monogram ideas include the date of your wedding or you and your partner's first initials, joined by an ampersand.
8. Cozy Cover-Up
Tying the knot during chilly temps? Layer up with a cool white jacket or a chic cape to keep the look bridal and stay warm in style. As a bonus, every time you pull your warm and cozy cover-up out of the closet, you'll be reminded of all of the happy memories from your wedding day.
9. Embroidered Pillow
One option for any bride who doesn't want to necessarily wear her "something new" is to have the ring bearer carry a custom embroidered ring pillow, to keep in line with the tradition—and also ensure that the rings stay safe and sound.
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.