Skip to Content

Wedding Traditions: Something Old, Something New...

Discover the true meaning of the old faithful wedding traditions.

'Woe betide' the bride who does not religiously follow the usual wedding traditions. It may break the poor grooms back but he is still required to the carry the bride over the threshold, for fear of bad luck. Most couples follow the traditions but don't know the significance or origins of them. Read on to discover the true meaning of the old faithful wedding traditions.

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, & Something Blue
The full wording of this popular bridal rhyme, which dates back to the Victorian times is 'something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a silver sixpence in your shoe.'

Something old refers to the bride wearing an item that represents a link with the bride's family and her single life. The bride may chose to wear a piece of family jewellry or perhaps her mother's or grandmother's wedding dress, style permitting!!! The 'something new' part to the rhyme represents good fortune and success in the bride's new married life. The bride's wedding dress is usually chosen, if purchased new, but it can be any other new item of the bride's wedding attire.

Brides wear something borrowed, which has already been worn by a happy bride on her wedding day. This is meant to bring good and longevity to the marriage. Brides traditionally will borrow an item of bridal clothing, a handkerchief or a piece of jewellry.

Wearing something blue dates back to biblical times when the color blue was considered to represent the virtues of purity and fidelity. Over the years this has evolved from wearing blue clothing to wearing a blue band around the bottom of the bride's dress and to modern times where the bride wears a blue-trimmed garter or even blue toe nail polish!!!! The part of the rhyme that many may not be familiar with is the carrying of a Silver Sixpence in the Shoe Placing a silver sixpence in the bride's left shoe is a symbol of wealth. This does not symbolize material wealth only but also a wealth of happiness and joy throughout her married life.

The Veil Tale
The wearing of a veil is said to originate from the day when a groom would throw a blanket over the head of the woman of his choice when he captured her and carted her off. Alternatively it may have had its origins in the times of arranged marriages, the bride's face was covered until the groom was committed to her at the ceremony - so it would be too late for him to run off if he didn't like the look of her! These origins have all evolved into the tradition that the veil covers the bride's face throughout the ceremony until the minister pronounces the couple man and wife.

Carrying the Bride over the Threshold.
There are two ideas on where this tradition emerged from. Traditionally the groom carries his bride over the threshold when entering their home as a married couple for the first time. The first 'school of thought' believe it is to protect the bride from evil spirits that were thought to be lying in wait under the threshold. The second explanation relates to Roman times when it was believed that if the bride stumbled when entering the newlywed's home for the first time, it would bring bad luck and harm to their marriage. So carrying the bride across the threshold would prevent this from happening (although we haven't established the likely outcome to the marriage if the groom stumbled while carrying the bride!).

Proposals During Leap Year
The right of every women to propose on 29th February each leap year, goes back many hundreds of years to when the leap year day had no recognition in English law (the day was 'leapt over' and ignored, hence the term 'leap year'). Thus it was considered, that as the day had no legal status, it could be assumed that traditions also had no bearing on that day. Women who were concerned about being 'left on the shelf' took advantage of this and proposed to the man they wished to marry.

Throwing the Confetti
The origin of throwing confetti over newly weds originates from the ancient Pagan rite of showering the happy couple with grain to wish them a 'fruitful' union. Pagans believed that the fertility of the seeds would be transferred to the couple on whom they fell. The throwing of rice symbolizes the same thing. Despite the longevity of this tradition, it is on the verge of extinction because the throwing of confetti is not permitted at most register offices and churches due to the mess it makes. A common substitute these days is bird-seed.

Lets hope an Irish tradition of using the website to plan your wedding will emerge over the years and become as common as bridal flowers. Cheeky plug eh!!!





Image found on:


Have something to say about this article? Leave a comment!

Supplier Directory