Making Old Traditions New With "a Silver Sixpence in Your" Shoe
"Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a silver sixpence in your shoe."
There countless wedding traditions that have developed over time, cross cultures, been combined, redefined, and made anew with each new bride that says I do (did you enjoy my rhyming?). Most people remember -at least vaguely- the tradition of having something old, new, borrowed and blue at the wedding, but they forget the whole "silver sixpence in your shoe" ending. While putting a large coin in your shoe may not sound so appealing in term of comfort walking down the aisle in already hard to walk in heels, the old-new-borrowed-blue tradition truly is incomplete without it. Each item of the old-new-borrowed-blue are meant to be tokens of luck and wishes gifted to the bride on her wedding day and each item has its own individual significance: including the sixpence.
The something old is meant to be a symbol of the past moving forward or looking to the future. Then, the something new is representative of the new life the bride and groom are starting together, and the something borrowed is meant to represent borrowing happiness. Next, the something blue is symbolic of good fortune and fidelity, and finally, the sliver sixpence is meant to encourage and wish prosperity on the couple.
Contemporary brides are known to pick and choose which wedding traditions to uphold based on what is most important to them, but if you want to uphold the old-new-borrowed-blue traditions(and yes I am aware that I am ironically leaving it out in my coining of the title to represent it), then you really ought to include the sixpence in your shoe in some form or fashion. You don't necessarily need to put it in your shoe either. A lot of brides will have it sewn in to the hem of her wedding dress or attached to her bridal bouquet. There have been other modifications from the sixpence to using a lucky penny, a minted coin, or an old coin from the country of the bride's ancestry.
Wedding traditions, like the sixpence, are a fun way to include cultural traditions and to take a look at your own past and future. You do not need to be boxed in by tradition, but can instead make it your own. By doing so, you may even be paving the way of new traditions for brides to come.
The Tradition of the Bride's Wedding Handkerchief
The wedding handkerchief is one tradition that has stood the test of time, although it's meaning has changed and is in contemporary times somewhat lost. It is claimed that the tradition goes as far back as the days of ancient Rome where brides would soak the handkerchief (or a version of one) in perfume and wear it around their necks on the wedding day. In early America, it was said that a bride's tears were lucky and when caught would bring rain to crops and others said that if a bride cried on her wedding day, then she would never cry over her marriage again (ie. a happy marriage). Wedding handkerchiefs are often passed down from generation to generation and bride to bride becoming a family heirloom. Part of what makes the wedding handkerchief an important wedding tradition is that it almost acts as a marker for the marriages in the generation's passed that have come down to create the lives of the new bride and groom and how this bride and groom will continue the family line. Also, more recently the bride's wedding handkerchief will be monogrammed with her new initials or embroidered with her new name, a poem, or the date of the wedding. Again it is a symbol of marriages passed and the uniting of a new family, but it is almost also a symbol of tradition itself. The wedding handkerchief given to the bride is usually gifted by a close family member, but can also be given by a close family friend.
The above wedding hankie is a beautiful combination of both the wedding handkerchief tradition and also incorporating your something blue ( if it were passed down it could also be your something old, and if you bought it new....then it can also be your something new). This hankie also includes a poem to the bride. By combining these traditions you give added meaning to both and you help yourself out economically in not having to buy or find separate items for each.
Wedding Garters: Don't Blush!
Tossing the wedding garter is a fun tradition that has come to be thought of as the male version of tossing the wedding bouquet, but it has some interesting roots. There are two slightly varied roots for this tradition. The first was that in order to gain proof that the marriage was consummated a witness would be given the garter. Then along side the "as proof" tradition, the garter was seen as good luck and it was seen as good luck to get pieces of any of brides undergarments. This became quite obviously problematic in a way that no bride appreciated as people tried very desperately to get a hold of the garter. The tradition has thus tamed down to not giving it out from the bride and grooms bedroom on their wedding night to some witness and to having the groom toss the garter to the single men rather than them take it from the bride.
With that background being laid to rest in the past, the wedding garter is now a playful and teasing tradition that is fun at any wedding. Typically a bride will have two garters; one to keep and one to toss. We recommend not spending as much money on the one you will toss and to make sure the elastic has a lot of bounce. Also, the garter is a perfect opportunity to get your something blue! The garter is to be worn above the knee and during the reception with the bride sitting on a chair the groom removes it with his hands to then toss it. More...adventurous grooms with brides that won't punch him in the nose may even decide to snag the garter with his teeth, but we recommend reading your audience on whether or not this will be appropriate or if you will be making enemies with your new in laws.
The garter is to be tossed to the single men at the wedding (much like the bouquet is tossed to the single ladies). The gentlemen who catches the garter is said to have good luck and to be the next man to get married (which is seen as a lucky thing...). Sometime people will have the gentlemen who caught the garter put it on the lady who caught the bouquet, but this might be a tradition that would make the two uncomfortable and you wouldn't want to discourage anyone from participating in all the fun! However you do it, keep it fun, full of laughs, and PG (Don't forget who your guests are!!!).
The adage that asks that a bride should have “something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue” is one of the most adhered-to contemporary wedding traditions that’s been around almost as long as the modern idea of marriage. It asks a bride to combine good luck charms from the heritage of her family, her new future with her partner, and the successful marriages of her friends. It’s a rhyme that many couples still try to stick closely to, with many families having “Something ________” traditions of their own. But if you’re having a hard time adhering to the specifics of this adage, here are a few suggestions for the two suggestions that are the hardest to fill – something “borrowed” and something “old”:
The point here is to find a good luck charm from the happy marriages of the married couples in your life. While some families have traditions specific to them, now is always the right time to start a new tradition. Instead of wearing a bracelet or headpiece that was borrowed from a friend or family member, consider instead “borrowing” a wedding detail from their day to highlight your own. In addition to a rockin’ pair of borrowed white sunglasses, dance to the song used as your sister’s first dance to her partner, or use your aunt’s secret chocolate chip cookie recipe for the favors. This creative twist will keep you from loading up with old, new, borrowed, and blue anklets for lack of a better option. Even though you won’t be wearing all of your “borrowed” items, you will have a chance to give the suggestion your own modern twist.
“Something Old” is the requirement of the rhyme that asks brides to carry a token or charm taken from the heritage of their families. Some brides choose instead to carry something from their partner’s family to represent a new connection with the history of their family tree. Either option is meaningful, and even something you found from an antique store carries with it it’s own history. Like “something borrowed,” the point is to keep with the spirit of the adage. There are no wedding police that with confiscate your “something blue” if it’s really more “blue-green.”
As for your “something old,” earrings and necklaces work well, but make sure you have clasps inspected and repaired by jewelers before you walk down the aisle; you don’t want to lose your great grandmother’s pearls this early on. Also, check aged lace and metals against the fabric of your gown to make sure the antiqued colors don’t look harsh and aged against the rest of your outfit. Antique jewelry makes a wonderful “something old,” but there are inherent problems with the age of certain pieces. Skip garters (whose elastic tends to deteriorate quickly and with little notice) in favor of pieces that can be easily repaired.