Everyone is familiar with the traditional wedding superstition: “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a silver sixpence in her shoe.” It’s relatively easy to find something old, new and blue (such as blue wedding shoes), but something borrowed can leave you a bit stumped.
We’ve explored the significance of having something borrowed and asked real brides, including a few industry experts, what they had as their something borrowed for their own weddings.
These shoes from Charlotte Mills are something blue, new and have sixpence in the shoe.
Why Something Borrowed?
Originally the bride was expected to borrow something from another woman who’d had a long and happy marriage – by borrowing an item of theirs, she was in effect borrowing some of their happiness for her wedding day, which would then hopefully stay with her throughout her own marriage.
The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, borrowed one of the Queen’s tiaras for her 2011 wedding to Prince William. If you want to ‘borrow’ her wedding style, check out our round up of celebrity wedding dresses (heirloom tiara not included).
What Was Your Something Borrowed?
If you’re stuck for ideas about what to borrow, why not be inspired by what other brides have used in your situation?
To start, we asked the editor of hitched, Caroline Bradley, what she used: “My husband has a tight knit group of friends he’s grown up with, almost all of whom are now married. The girls in the group lend each other a special sixpence to have on their big day – I was honoured to be included in that tradition.”
Image credit: The Royal Mint
The editor of You & Your Wedding, Julia Scirrotto, also shared her something borrowed story: “For my ‘something borrowed’, my mother-in-law kindly lent me an amethyst ring, which was a family heirloom. However I completely forgot to bring it to the ceremony! Whilst my dad and I were waiting to walk down the aisle I realised the error and panicked, and in a pinch he lent me my own grandmother’s wedding ring, which he always wears on his pinky. So my mistake actually took on a really lovely and meaningful twist.”
One of the brides from the hitched forum, Stephisaur, will also be borrowing something with family significance: “I’m borrowing my mum’s petticoat – it’s still in pristine condition from her wedding to my step-dad 15 years ago. It really suits the shape of my dress.”
Real bride Lesley followed suit, borrowing something for her dress: “My best friend got married a year before me, and her something borrowed was the underskirt which the hoop of your wedding dress is attached to. I then borrowed it on my wedding day.”
Heather Hulbert, designer at hitched, followed tradition and borrowed something from her mum: “I borrowed a pearl necklace and bracelet from my mum. The necklace actually originally belong to my late gran, who was my mum’s mum. The pearls really suited my vintage style wedding dress!”
Image credit: Beki Young Photography
Senior Features and Travel Writer at You & Your Wedding, Hollie Bond, also used her mum’s jewellery: “I borrowed my mother’s jewellery – a diamond bracelet and earrings – both of which had been gifts from my dad to her.”
Hitcher DreamsComeTrue2015 is using her something borrowed as a way to include her late great-grandmother in her big day: “I’m having the wedding ring that belonged to my great-grandmother, who died when I was 10, sewn into the lining of my wedding dress.”
Mrshappygirl, a bride from the hitched forum, found an unusual something borrowed which is perfect for her: “I’m borrowing a tiny silver horseshoe that my mum and dad had on top of their wedding cake – I’m planning to tie it to the stem of my bouquet with a silk ribbon. It’s such a lovely thought to know that I will be carrying a little piece from their wedding and 35 years of happy marriage around with me on my own wedding day – and an added bonus that I love horses!”
Image credit: Joy by Corrine Smith
Forum bride MrsL242be is lucky her mum has similar taste to her: “I’m borrowing my mum’s wedding veil – it goes great with my dress!”
Digital writer at You & Your Wedding, Penny Travers, has a seriously sparkly something borrowed for her upcoming wedding: “I’m borrowing my grandmother’s diamond stud earrings.” Stud earrings will always look timeless, so they’re the perfect choice for a stylish something borrowed.
Sheila, who was a bride in the 60s, borrowed her wedding cake knife: “The cake knife was bought for my parents by my uncle. I borrowed it for my wedding and when I later inherited it I was able to lend it to both my son and daughter on their wedding days.”
Image credit: The Cutlery Commission
Vixy1987’s something borrowed has lots of significance to her: “I am borrowing my Auntie's tiara. I was bridesmaid at her wedding so it's a special link.”
As you’re supposed to borrow something from a woman with a long and happy marriage, it makes sense that so many brides turn to their mothers or grandmothers. Soon-To-Be-Riley’s wedding honours her grandparents’ wedding, so it was only natural she’d borrow something from her grandmother: “I’ll be having my grandma’s pearl drop earrings as my something borrowed. We are getting married on what would have been her and my granddad’s 50th wedding anniversary, so she offered to lend me the pearl earrings my late granddad gave to her on their pearl wedding anniversary.”
Real bride Jayne had an elegant and practical item – a bridal cover up: “I borrowed a lovely cream pashmina off my mother-in-law for the evening of my wedding. It was trimmed with cream fur balls which looked like snow balls – so it worked well for my snowy winter wedding.”
The traditional rhyme included having a sixpence in your shoe, but as these aren’t so common nowadays it makes sense to double up on the tradition and borrow a sixpence from someone who has one. Forum user NorthernLights is doing the same as hitched Editor Caroline and borrowing a sixpence: “I’m borrowing a silver sixpence off my grandma – she’s had it since she was young and I’m going to put it in my shoe. She’s already given it to me for luck, I’ve just got to keep it safe now until my wedding!”
Pearls help to complete a vintage inspired look and go with everything, so they’re an excellent choice for something borrowed: “I borrowed my friend’s pearls,” explains hitched bride SunnyPinkConfetti30, “I was going to buy my own but she told me not to be so ridiculous and leant me hers!” To be fair, borrowing is a great wedding budget hack to keep costs down – and the fact it’s a lucky tradition makes it even better.
Forum user RomanticBrownFlowers354 will be adding some glitz to her wedding bouquet with her something borrowed: “I am going to borrow a brooch from my great auntie, who has been like my nan whilst I was growing up, and pin it to my bouquet.”
Real bride Emma also borrowed something from an older relative: “My nan surprised me by lending me a sparkly crystal necklace that’s been in her family for a long time. The idea is that all her granddaughters will be able to borrow it, but so far I’m the only one to get married. It’s ready for the next one though!”
Something Borrowed Ideas
If you’re still on the lookout for something borrowed, here are a few more ideas to inspire you.
It doesn’t have to be something tangible – why not ‘borrow’ the first dance song from your parents’ or best friend’s wedding? We’ll even lend you a few first dance tips to get you on your way.
Why should the onus be solely on the bride to bring all the good luck? Share it out with the groom and ask him to borrow something – it could be cufflinks, or perhaps one of his friends had an alternative buttonhole he admired?
Image credit: Beaubuttons
Go all out and rent a designer gown for your wedding day – borrowing your wedding dress isn’t for sentimental types as you don’t get to keep it forever, but it saves you the trouble of having to preserve your wedding dress.
We love dogs at weddings here at hitched so if you know someone with an adorable puppy, why not borrow it to be your ring bearer?
Image credit: Sam & Louise Photography
What about something borrowed everyone can enjoy? Borrow your grandmother’s cake recipe for the wedding cake or a classic wedding cocktail to serve as your welcome drink and call it a ‘something borrowed’.
If you’re now thinking about your something blue, be sure to read our edit of the best blue wedding shoes.