What They Carry
● By Aimee Cormier
By Shanna Perkins
Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue. It’s both a tradition and a superstition that on her wedding day a bride must carry one item matching each description. At this point, it isn’t so much a tradition as it is a rule. A rule not to be broken. But why? What is it about the combination of old, new, borrowed and blue trinkets that ensures good luck and a lifetime of happiness?
This is actually an Old English rhyme that originally read “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a silver sixpence in her shoe.” Because a sixpence isn’t legal currency in the United States, we dropped that line. Side note: Sixpence continued to be legal currency in the United Kingdom until June 30, 1980.
It’s said that this poem was often recited in the Victorian Era, which falls in line with the first printed evidence of its existence. The line first appeared in American print in 1894 when the Pennsylvania newspaper, The Warren Ledger, listed it as “a Puritan marriage custom.” As it turns out, the Puritans might have known what was up because each item is attached to a very special representation.
The something old is meant to represent the bride’s past. Her past as an individual and with her future spouse before their marriage. It also symbolizes the couple’s past together. It’s a way to honor the families of the bride and groom. Carrying something old is the bride’s way of acknowledging her family’s history and agreeing to carry on their traditions.
This object symbolizes a promise that the couple’s future is a happy one. It also represents the bride taking recognition of the newness of her relationship and her vow to protect it.
The bride is supposed to borrow something from someone who is in a marriage she admires. The borrowed item is meant as a promise to follow in the footsteps of the couple the item is borrowed from.
Historically, it was not uncommon for brides to wear blue dresses. It was rare that a new gown was purchased; most brides just wore their best dress. Blue was popular because of its connection to the Virgin Mary, which represents purity. Blue also symbolizes trust, loyalty and confidence.
If you don’t collect all four, or any at all, it’s pretty fair to say your wedding and marriage won’t end in disaster. And if they do, it probably won’t be because you didn’t follow a nursery rhyme from the Victorian Era. These items are usually little knickknacks given to the bride by her family members or friends at the zero hour of the big day. Basically, it’s just a fun tradition. Brides have become increasingly creative (thanks, Pinterest) will all wedding traditions and this one is no exception.
Old: My great-great-grandmother’s hand embroidered handkerchief.
New: My wedding dress, veil, bracelet, necklace and shoes.
Borrowed: Pearl earrings that I borrowed from my daughter.
Blue: My great-great-grandmother’s handkerchief served as my something blue, too. She had hand stitched it with a blue flower and border.
Karla LeBlanc Robicheaux
Old: My bouquet was composed of artificial flowers and brooches from my great-grandmother, grandmother, mother and great-aunt. This piece meant the most to me. It was full of special jewelry from some very special ladies.
New: My dress.
Borrowed: The flowers from my bouquet were borrowed from a good friend who was also a bridesmaid.
Blue: My shoes.
Old: The groom’s great-great-grandmother’s handkerchief. My husband Blayze’s great-great-grandfather, Creighton Broussard, gave the handkerchief to Blayze’s great-great-grandmother, Naomi Broussard, on their first date. It was later given to Blyaze’s mom, Terrilyn Romero, on her wedding day by her great-grandmother. On May 30, 2015, she decided to pass the handkerchief down to me.
New: Cowgirl boots. Our wedding was a country rustic theme.
Borrowed: Rhinestone boot bracelet from my mom, Jennifer Turner, to put on top of my cowgirl boots.
Blue: A blue and silver Dallas Cowboys garter. They’re the groom’s favorite football team.