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Weddings Good Things: Something Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue

The Martha Stewart Show, January 2008

The often unquoted last line of the traditional bridal saying gives a hint at its origin. The complete phrase is: "Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a silver sixpence in her shoe."

A sixpence is a coin made of silver and worth six pennies that was minted in Britain from 1551 to 1967, indicating that the wedding tradition of the bride wearing something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue is English. Many sources say that it began in the Victorian era.

Each item in this poem represents a good-luck token for the bride. If she carries all of them on her wedding day, 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 usually an item from a happily married friend or family member, whose good fortune in marriage is supposed to carry over to the new bride. The borrowed item also reminds the bride that she can depend on her friends and family. Blue has been connected to weddings for centuries. In ancient Rome, brides wore blue to symbolize love, modesty, and fidelity. Christianity has long dressed the Virgin Mary in blue, so purity was associated with the color. Before the late 19th century, blue was a popular color for wedding gowns, as evidenced in proverbs like, "Marry in blue, lover be true."

And finally, a silver sixpence in the bride's shoe represents wealth and financial security. It may date back to a Scottish custom of a groom putting a silver coin under his foot for good luck. For optimum fortune, the sixpence should be in the left shoe. These days, a dime or a copper penny is sometimes substituted, and many companies sell keepsake sixpences for weddings.

Something Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue
-Wrap an old handkerchief that belonged to someone close to you, like a grandparent, around your bouquet as you walk down the aisle.
-Print an old family recipe on lovely note cards as a simple party favor for guests.
-Wear a locket containing old family photos around your neck on the big day.
-Borrow a charm from a close friend or family member, and hook it onto your bouquet as you walk down the aisle.
-Place party favors for your guests in a delicate blue thank-you bag.
-Select a blue guest book or place cards for your guests.

Small Goodie Bags Kit
Customizable for any occasion, these bags make beautiful packages for edible treats, as well as for gifts like soaps and candles. Embellish bags with coordinating labels, stickers, and other ornaments from our collection.

Blue Dot Stickers
This mix-and-match assortment of round stickers is great for decorating cards, scrapbooks, school notebooks, and more. They make great backgrounds for other stickers, stamped images, or written messages.

Floral Burst Tissue Paper Roll
Great for wrapping edible gifts and stuffing gift bags, this cheerful, patterned tissue paper coordinates with our food packaging and embellishments. It's also great for punch art, card making, and other paper crafts. The set includes three sheets each in peony, water green, nasturtium pink, and turquoise.

White Square Goodie Boxes
Package treats to use as favors, place holders, stocking stuffers, and more. Decorate these handy goodie boxes with our coordinating embellishments to customize them for any occasion. You'll find one of our favorite recipes on the back of the package.

Get more ideas for something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue at Special thanks to Darcy Miller, editorial director of Weddings, for giving a copy of the magazine to our studio audience. Special thanks to Romero Designs for giving a custom-designed charm to our studio audience. Monogram handkerchiefs are available at Lockets can be found at Fortunoff's, 800-367-8866. Bridal shoes are available from Vanessa Noel, 212-906-0055.

Guest Books
-Custom guest books, blue stripe and solid blue with embossed letter "B," by Michael Roger Press.
-Light blue journal by Bookbinders Design, from Flicka Boutique.
-Stripe cotton shirting on guest book from Rosen and Chadick, 800-225-3838.
-"Color Spectrum" solid blue cotton fabric on guest book by P and B Textiles, "Allure blue bows" by Freespirit, and "Coccinelle" in blue wildflowers by Kokka, from Purl Patchwork.
-"China Blue" pattern by Windham fabrics, from Marshall Dry Goods.

Stationery and Gift Bags
-"Uu, luccello" gift card by Linea Carta.
-"SOS" blue matte paper bag, from Paper Mart.
-"Thank you" lettering on blue favor bag by Nancy Sharon Collins, 917-392-1417.
-Foil printing ("thank you") on bag, by For Your Party.
-Baby-blue and white stripe ribbon from the Store Across the Street, 212-354-1242.
-Invitation suite cards and envelopes, Verve de France by G.Lalo, from Exaclair.
-Invitation suite two by Paper+Cup Design.
-Vintage postage stamps from Champion Stamp.

Seating Card Display
-Calligraphy by Gail Brill Design and Deborah Delaney, 212-877-8773
-Small assorted enclosure cards in blue, by Les Papiers Jean Rouget, from Cursive at ABC.
-Silk ribbon on envelopes from YLI Corp., 800-296-8139.

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