Monica: Okay, come on, I can’t get married until I get something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue.
Chandler: Okay, all right, all right, all right! Okay! (Picks up a blue sweater.) Okay, here’s something, here’s something blue and new.
Monica: You’re so efficient. I love you!
Chandler: Let’s go! (Starts to leave.)
Monica: No-no-no! We need something old!
Chandler: Ohh, great, I have condom in my wallet I’ve had since I was twelve.
Monica: That’ll work!
Chandler: I don’t think so.
Monica: Okay, now we just need something borrowed!
Chandler: (looks around) Here just…take this. (Hands her the sweater.)
Monica: That’s stealing!
Chandler: No, we’ll-we’ll bring it back! Just put it under your dress.
It’s a fun little diddy to say: “Something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue.” You are told you’re supposed to have one of each of these things on your wedding day, but what the what?! Is this rhyme fo’ real? Does it make sense? Why does it exist and do you have to oblige?
The whole phrase comes from an Olde English rhyme: “Something Olde, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue, A Sixpence in your Shoe.” Back in the day, all these things were given to the bride just before walking down the aisle in order to wish her good luck.
It’s definitely not a requirement you follow this and there’s also nothing particularly Jewish about it for your Jewish/interfaith/Jew-ish wedding, but as far as old — I’m sorry — olde traditions go, it’s kind of a fun and cutesy initiative. It’s kind of like the not-yet-married version of traditional anniversary gifts; Mr. Yenta and I enjoy the challenge of satisfying the traditional gift each anniversary as it gives us a boundary for a present in addition to giving some history to our modern, mainstream marriage. So for the first anniversary of paper, I gave him concert tickets to the Hollywood Bowl. So, in theory, the old/new/borrowed/blue initiative is good practice for selecting items that coordinate with categories!
So, what does each “something” refer to?
The “something old(e)” is meant to represent moving on to the future as you say bye-bye to the past. Keepsakes that have rich history in your family, like heirloom jewelry or milestone accessories can fulfill this category. Think of things like bubbie’s earrings from her wedding day or mom’s dress made into a hankie.
The “something new” is all about looking ahead and the fresh start you’re about to have with your new spouse. Usually this can be achieved easily. You’re wearing new shoes? Your dress has never been worn and is straight out of the boutique? Think about something purchased exclusively for your wedding day and there you go!
A “something borrowed” is supposed to be a little nod to happiness and luck. Usually, you’ll borrow something from a friend or relative who is also happy or is in love. This concept is to say that they are lending you an item that will give you happiness because it came from their life which is also happy. You can think of a “something old” that you didn’t use and apply it to “something borrowed.” These things aren’t always exclusive, so something that is borrowed will probably also be old, which is unavoidable. Don’t fret too much about this. So borrow a friend’s bracelet or an aunt’s hair clip.
“Something blue” is in reference to friendship, love, and purity. Or maybe it just rhymes with “new,” I don’t know. But in order to go with it, you may consider wearing jewelry with a blue stone like a sapphire, cute light blue lacy panties, or maybe sport some bright blue shoes to peek out from under your dress (which, by the way, looks great in photos, especially during your Horah!).
The whole thing with the sixpence is obviously a British thing. It’s supposed to symbolize prosperity. You know, because if you walk on money, your bank account will grow??? Sure, why not? But I’ve seen American brides adapt with a penny in their shoe or even decorate the bottom of the shoes with rhinestones or glittery markers.
If all of this seems like hooey to you, then do whatever you think is appropriate. I just wouldn’t necessarily follow Monica and Chandler’s M.O.!