Significance of the Color Blue in Weddings

Any American who has been to enough weddings has likely heard the old saying about "something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue…". It's an idea that has been carried through generations of brides on their wedding day.

But what does it mean? Where does it come from? And what is the significance of having something blue at your wedding? Here, we will break down everything you've ever wanted to know about 'something blue:'

An elegant blue wedding

The history of 'something blue'

As with many American traditions, blue as an important wedding color began in Victorian England in the late 1800s.

The full saying is "Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, a sixpence in your shoe."

There is sincere sentiment behind those words. The hope is that with all of those items on hand, a bride will go into married life with eveStarting oldrything she needs for a happy and successful partnership. Keep reading to understand the meaning behind each line.

Starting old

First, something old. The bride should wear something from her life before she met her future spouse, from her single life. The chosen item should represent something she treasures from her single years that she wants to bring to her marriage.

Here are some popular 'old' ideas for your happily ever after:

  • Family heirlooms or keepsakes 
  • Love notes (an idea for modern couples is to print text messages) 
  • Purse or a smaller bag inside the purse 
  • A favorite book 
  • Photo lockets (most people use an old photo with a new locket. Read: you can still use this option even if you don't have an old heartshaped locket like in a romantic comedy)

Going new

Next, something new. A bride should wear something new for this next chapter in her life, the life she and her spouse will enter together. This new item can be her wedding dress, hairpiece, or jewelry. The 'new element' is one of the easiest traditions to incorporate into your wedding.

A bride holds a dusty blue bridal bouquet

Borrowing power

Then, something borrowed. This part of the superstition is centered around the idea that you will receive a little extra marital luck if you borrow something from a happy married woman. Usually, but not always, this married woman is the bride's mother or grandmother.

Here are some ideas to 'borrow:'

  • Wedding veil or dress  
  • Pair of shoes or jewelry 
  • A clutch or purse 
  • Wedding decor, such as vases, centerpieces, art or books  
  • The getaway vehicle

Something blue

After something borrowed comes something blue. Traditionally, blue was a color that symbolized fidelity and loyalty, especially to one's spouse. Some say the bride needed blue to ward off the evil eye or prevent bad luck.

The color doesn't have to be on your body or person to check the 'traditions' box. It can be anywhere!

Here are some ideas for how to incorporate the color blue into your wedding:

  • Clothing, including socks and undergarments 
  • Pin flowers in your hair  
  • Tie a blue ribbon around your bouquet  
  • Have the groom wear a blue boutonniere 
  • Let your bridesmaids carry a blue floral arrangement 
  • Add the color to your reception table with flower centerpieces
Blue wedding decorations

Sixpence in your shoe

The last item on the list in the saying is a "sixpence in your shoe."

A sixpence is "a coin worth six old pence," a British currency that was retired in 1980. Dropping a coin in your shoe is supposed to bring good fortune both in life and in business. Back in the day, the bride's father would do this for her. In modern times, most brides use a penny or some form of metal currency.

Blue: The traditional wedding color

While white seems to have always been the traditional color of weddings, that is not actually true

Women who were not of aristocracy wore the best dress they had. The elites threw more opulent celebrations, embracing trends and showing off their wealth with the fashions of the time.

Philippa of England, who would also become the Queen of Norway, Denmark, and Sweden, was the first bride on written record to have worn white. As a woman marrying a man of lower title, she wore a modest gown, opposite her elaborate coronation dress, and a crown of flowers instead of jewels. Doing this was to make her future husband feel more comfortable about the power imbalance.

England's Queen Victoria and her daughters cemented the white dress into tradition during the Industrial Revolution. New technology led to a new and growing middle class. Women often sought ways to display wealth and imitate the queen's royal rituals.

Queen Victoria wanted her wedding to be less inaccessible and lavish, so she wore a gown that could be replicated–to some extent–by the common people. She asked the same of her daughters, and because this was when photography was becoming prevalent, their photos were widely spread and heavily influential. By World War II, this practice had become a tradition.

The portray of Queen Victoria

Source: Queen Victoria, via Wikimedia Commons

Blue in modern weddings

While blue may not be a popular wedding dress color today, it has remained a small but important aspect of many weddings because of the saying.

Blue is a beautiful color, so participating in the tradition is something most brides do. Besides, if it is true, bringing the couple luck in love for years to come, then all the better!

The color language of blue

Colors can summon different moods and feelings, and psychological evidence supports this.

Blue represents fidelity and loyalty across many cultures, especially when it comes to marriage and love. To understand why blue has the connotations that it does, let's examine the color in its natural habitat.  

Blue in the natural world

Mother Nature loves the color blue. We can see examples of this in the shifting hues of the sky, a Blue Jay's feathers, or the deep color of Lapiz Lazuli with its mystic golden flecks.  As humans, we interpret color in different ways. Some people would say that blue is calm, bringing a feeling of peace, while others would say the color is cold, icy, and distant.

Truthfully, blue is a bit of both. Picture the ocean's constantly shifting hues, where every shade of blue is represented at different depths, times of the day, and parts of the world.

Blue, for you

Think about this: how does the color make you feel? Do you associate it with anything in particular, including moods, places, people, or situations?

Individual experiences have a huge impact on the moods that colors curate.

Something blue for your wedding: color palettes

A blue wedding color palette is a beautiful way to kick it up a notch.  Here are a few examples of our brides taking the assignment 'something blue for your wedding' to the next level:

Going Royal: Dusty Blue and Navy

You might be wondering if navy blue is a good color for your wedding. The answer is a firm 'yes.'

Darker shades, like navy or royal blue, bring to mind thoughts of tradition and loyalty. In design, navy is often used to add depth and sophistication. Businesses frequently infuse their logo with blue because it is the color of trust, a feeling that builds credibility with their patrons.

The cherry on top of Chloe and Nathan's lakeside ceremony was the vibes of coastal elegance and timeless romance, complimented by their dusty blue and navy color palette.

From a beautiful bridal bouquet of blues to the groomsmen's classically handsome navy suits, the color theme perfectly matched the venue and the lake. Tones of dusty blue and navy tied this serene ceremony to the lake and the natural landscape, creating a peaceful and loving start for the happy couple.

A dusty blue and navy wedding

Rustic vibes: Russet Orange and Denim Blue

Typically, orange is a powerful color, drawing the eye to it immediately. 

This fiery excitement is precisely why orange and blue pair so well together. The two shades are opposite on the color wheel and in meaning. Blue can sometimes be seen as cold, while orange is seen as happy, optimistic, and uplifting.

Our russet orange and denim blue collection is inspired by a chilly fall evening in the countryside. With vivid shades of burnt orange and the comfortably familiar color of denim blue, this collection is both hot and cool.

An orange and denim blue wedding

Timeless: Dusty Rose and Navy

If 'I was born in the wrong time period' was a color palette, it would be dusty rose and navy.  Dusty rose is a shade of pink with purple and beige undertones, creating a unique subdued red. While red and pink are often associated with romance, dusty rose, in particular, represents soft affection, adoration, and purity. Because it's such a muted color, it pairs well with dramatic and moody colors like navy blue.

At Megan and Mark's Southern-inspired wedding, fun accents like Mason Jar centerpieces, wood signage, and burlap ribbons tied in the theme with their palette.

Megan's dusty rose and blue bridal bouquet was a timeless masterpiece of roses, orchids, and pearls. The groomsmen's dusty rose boutonnieres were a lovely contrast to their handsome navy suits. A wooden backdrop of dusty rose and blue garlands, blending with the Southern theme, surrounded the couple at their sweetheart table.

An elegant dusty rose and navy wedding

Romantic with Reds: Burgundy and Navy

The words 'romantic' and 'red' go together so often they are nearly cliches. But there is a reason for this- red is the color of passion, of deep love, of blood flowing through the body, of fire ablaze.

At Kaitlynn and Andrew's estate manor wedding, their chosen colors work together to create a bold and romantic setting. The blazingly romantic, lantern-lit sweetheart table was set in front of a timeless wooden cross adorned with burgundy and navy flowers.

A passionate burgundy and navy wedding

Staying Blue

Whether incorporating blue into your wedding theme colors, wearing a sapphire, or getting hitched beside the ocean, think of your 'something blue' as a time-honored tradition. If you found this post useful and want to show off how you used blue on your wedding day, tag us @lingsmoment on IG!

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