Someone asked me if I was familiar with wedding traditions and customs from around the world this past weekend....which gave a great idea! I am going to start doing a weekly blog post featuring different cultures and nationalities and their courtship and wedding traditions. My favorite is the age old, most well-known "something old..." but not everyone knows what each part represents so here is a repeat of a blog I did a while ago that is perfect for this topic!
When it comes to bridal traditions, there are lots of them. Today, I want to talk about my favorite of all wedding traditions – “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a sixpence for your shoe”. When I got married, I had all of those things. My something old was a ring my paternal grandmother had gotten from her grandmother that I wore on my pinky. My something new was my dress. I borrowed earrings from one of my mother’s friends daughter. My blue was a pin my maternal grandfather that had sapphires and diamonds in it that he had gotten for a years of service award for working for the phone company. I think maybe my sixpence was a penny from the year I was born. I had all of the things that were supposed to be lucky, but never really knew why or how they came about as a tradition to begin with.
As it turns out, because of the mention of the word “sixpence” it is presumed that this started during the Victorian ages. Each item in this poem represents a good luck token for the bride. If she carries all of them, her marriage will be happy. “Something old” symbolizes continuity with the bride’s family and the past. “Something new” means optimism and hope for the bride’s new life ahead. “Something borrowed” is generally from a happily married friend or family member whose good fortune in marriage is supposed to carry over to the new bride. It also reminds her that she can depend on friends and family.
My two favorite parts of the rhyme are the “something blue” and the sixpence for the shoe. As it turns out, in Roman times, brides wore blue to symbolize love, modesty and fidelity. Christians depict the Virgin Mary in blue, so it is also a symbol of purity. Before the late 19th century, most wedding dresses were blue, so much so that proverbs were written – “Marry in blue, lover be true”. The silver sixpence is to symbolize wealth and financial security. It may have been derived from an old Scottish tradition of the groom putting a silver coin under his foot for good luck. They say that for optimum fortune, the sixpence should be in the left shoe. I never could find out the reasoning behind that and I am not one to question the fates!!!
When you are planning your wedding, you might have a hard time incorporating blue into your wedding colors but you still want to make sure you represent all parts of the poem. One part of your wedding ensemble that sometimes gets overlooked is the bottom of your shoes. Sounds weird, I know, but when you are kneeling during part of your wedding ceremony or kicking up your heels at your reception, the bottom of your shoes will be seen. What a great place to sneak in your something blue!
If you are a DIY bride, it is actually not that hard to do. First, spread out some newspapers to work on. Then what you do is coat the bottom of your shoes with modge podge, a white gluey substance you can buy in your local craft store. You do not want it to be too thick but you do want it to be even. While the modge podge is still wet, you sprinkle the bottoms of your shoes with blue glitter. My personal favorite is the Martha Stewart extra fine glitter that you can buy at Michaels Arts and Crafts. It comes in various shades of blue, but I like a good traditional blue. Shake off the excess glitter (if you have done this over newspaper, you can fold the paper on the crease and shake the extra glitter back into your bottle — waste not, want not!) and let dry. After they have dried all the way (about an hour), then coat the shoes again with another layer of modge podge. This will help to “seal” the glitter to the shoes so that you are not leaving a sparkly trail every where you walk.
I do offer glittering the bottom if your shoes in my etsy shop and even provide the sixpence to go along with it. But here is a twist - mention that you read this blog AND have me address your wedding invitations and I will do your shoes for free! Yes!!! And if you are a planner, florist or friend who shares this information with a bride who has me address their envelopes and get a special gift card from Starbucks or Target - your choice! Just make sure I know you referred them to me!