A Sixpence In Her Shoe

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.

This old English rhyme, has been followed by many brides over the years. It is said to ensure she has all she needs on her wedding day to bring her good luck.  It is a lovely tradition. 

There is no exact explanation behind the wording. However a nod to the idea of a couple starting newly wedded life together is the gist of it.  The essential ingredients a couple need as they start married life together.

Something old may represent ties to the past, a family hand me down or heirloom. The person responsible for a family heirloom is only ever the custodian.  Whatever the object may be, it does not need to be of great monetary value, it is more the history of the piece and all that it represents. Symbolising continuity is what makes it of family importance. A piece of jewellery perhaps, to be passed on, for safekeeping, to the next generation when the time comes.

Something new; a symbol of hope and optimism for the future. Most brides will have something new as part of their wedding attire;  their dress, their veil or their bouquet.  In getting something new for their special occasion, comes that sense of excitement and anticipation.  Love also comes in the form of the good wishes from family and friends for hope and prosperity in the future, as the newly married couple start a new chapter in their lives.

Something borrowed; the belief to ‘borrow’ from a friend or relative would bring good luck to the couple.  Especially if the borrowed item came from a happily married person.  Transferring some of their good luck into the new couples marriage.  It could be something as simple as an embroidered handkerchief from a grandparent to something as sentimental as the wedding dress itself.

Something blue; many brides incorporate something blue into their clothing or their hair.  Anything from a blue ribbon or blue garter. The colour blue has long been associated with love, purity and fidelity. The vows a couple make to one another before their guests, are very much about love, purity and fidelity.

There is a final line, one that is not often used now.

‘A sixpence in your shoe’

A bride would place a sixpence in her shoe to bring the couple prosperity. Maybe its because sixpences are no longer easily available the line from they rhyme is no longer said.  I do have a sixpence, my mother in law gave us a tiny card with a sixpence inside, when we were married.  The little message read, ‘May you never be broke’.  We’ve still got that card with the sixpence attached.  Perhaps because of it, thankfully, we’ve never been broke.