“Something old...Something new...Something borrowed...Something blue.”
It’s one of the oldest wedding traditions: four symbolic items that predict different things for your marriage. The rhyme originated in England long, long ago. It made its way to America, dropping off the last line (“and a six pence in your shoe”) which has remained primarily an English tradition. Usually, these are little things that your family will give you at the last minute, and each represents something different.
Continuity. From the old wearer to the new wearer, from your old life to your new one with your partner, continuity is key. It is a symbol of the bride’s past, her family, the people who raised and loved her into the woman she is now, ready to start her own family, and the role they played into helping her get ready for this new life.
When my mother was younger, she used to spend every Friday night with her grandmother, who lived just down the road. Her grandmother told her stories about her mother, Rachel, and eventually my mother promised that if she ever had a daughter, she would name her after her grandmother’s mother.
Fast forward two daughters (neither named Rachel), and Mom finally realized, after learning that little baby me was going to be a girl, that she was going to be cursed with girls until she finally named her daughter Rachel. (I’m inclined to believe this is true, since their first grandchild was a boy.) So here I am now, baby Rachel, all grown up and about to get married.
I grew up hearing stories about my grandma Rachel. When I finally feel ready, I will inherit some special items from her. One, a beautiful broach, one of her favorite possessions. On my wedding day, I plan to pin it to my skirts, a gift from the very first Rachel. What better way to remember my family, my history, than by sharing a special connection with the woman I was named after?
Your something old is the something that will travel with you from your old life to your new one, from the warmth and safety of the life you’ve always known into the unknown that stands before you, a new storybook to fill with your own tales. And one day, maybe, you’ll give something old to your daughter to carry your family with her into her own new life. A symbol of the love you raised her with, of the hope that you have for her future, and of the part of her that will always be with you.