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Old, New, Borrowed and Blue

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The traditional four things a bride must carry at her wedding:

Something old,
Something new,
Something borrowed,
Something blue.

The final line "...And a silver sixpence in her shoe" is all but forgotten nowadays, at least in part because sixpence pieces aren't used anymore in Britain and never were in the USA. Some people buy antique coins especially for the purpose (and for considerably more than 6p); whether that also counts towards their Something Old is up for debate.

For Shotgun Weddings, the Something New is the baby.

The Something Blue is usually a ribbon, or brooch, or some other minor accessory. Before 1840, blue was the choice colour for wedding dresses as it was the colour for purity (being associated with the Virgin Mary). The white gown only became popular that year, when Queen Victoria wore a white lace gown for her wedding to Prince Albert, and has remained a traditional western wedding costume ever since.


Wedding episodes are frequently named after this, occasionally split into Cross-Referenced Titles for a multi-parter.


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     Anime and Manga  

  • Manga series The Embalmer refers to this tradition in its opening episode. The embalmer's client's fiancé is killed in a car accident shortly before the wedding - the embalmer conceals the stitching of the woman's reattached leg with a blue garter (an item also borrowed from a friend), so that when the body is displayed during her funeral it completes a symbolic wedding to offer the client some solace.
  • The Plot Coupons in Wedding Peach, called the "Saints Something Four." Each of the four girls gets one and they become a Holy Hand Grenade in the second Season.
    • Wedding Peach Abridged spoofed this in an Omake, with Momoko thinking it was the penny in the shoe, and telling all the girls to check their footwear.
  • A rare non-wedding example in Bartender in chapters 136 to 143 features "Treasures of the Bar" which uses the same wedding criteria for the purpose of collecting specific mementos to as good luck charms for reopening a new bar. This is somewhat a prank by another veteran bartender to the apprentice Tsubasa, because Ryu and Tsubasa opening a new bar together is kinda parallel to starting a new married life together. Even their nameplate has "R&T" in it.

     Comic Strips  

  • An Ivy the Terrible strip where Ivy tries to get the four things for a friend's wedding. First she goes into a fish and chip shop to ask for something really ancient, and gets chased out. She later gets a vase from an antique shop for something old, and borrows a baby blue whale as something new, borrowed, and blue.
  • Astonishing X-Men: When Northstar and Kyle get married, Northstar's sister Aurora gifts him with his old Alpha Flight pin (something old), season passes to the Habs (something new), and a Northstar bobblehead (something borrowed). Since Beast is officiating, she counts him as the something blue.

     Fan Works  

  • Factors into the first installment of the Elemental Chess Trilogy. Winry decides to carry her wrench as her 'something old,' and it later turns out to be a Chekhov's Gun.
  • When Lydia gets married in the Contractually Obligated Chaos series, this gets discussed after the fact. While her new dress and blue shoes cover those aspects nicely, the other two are a bit stranger; the groom is her 'something old,' and for 'something borrowed,' she has a library book.
  • In the The Lord of the Rings fanfic Making It Right, the hobbits are shocked that the four things were not present at Aragorn and Arwen's wedding, so they remedy the situation by presenting the things as wedding gifts. 'Something old' is Merry's map of the city, 'something new' is a song Pippin wrote (and sung), 'something borrowed' is a collection of recipes Frodo "borrowed" from Aragorn's mother, and 'something blue' is a bird feeder Sam helped Gimli make.



  • A plot point in the 1956 psychological thriller A Kiss Before Dying. The sister of a murder victim is able to deduce that her pregnant but unmarried sister's "suicide" had been staged, and that she had actually been murdered, when she realizes an odd collection of clothing items her slain sister was wearing included "something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue". The sister hadn't gone to kill herself; she had (she thought) gone to marry the father of her unborn child. Instead, the sister's murderous boyfriend lured her to a deserted building on the pretense that they would get married, then pushed her off the roof, having already taken steps to make her death look like a suicide.
  • In the film of In Her Shoes, Rose's grandmother lends her - big surprise - a pair of shoes: old, but not to Rose (new), not given to her (borrowed), with little blue decorations on the inside.
  • In Disney's Babes in Toyland, Mother Goose is helping Mary Mary Quite Contrary make her wedding dress and recites the "Something old, something new, something borrowed..." Upon which the film's Big Bad shows up, causing Mother's pet goose Sylvester to crack, "Something old and ugly, too!"


  • In the Babysitters Club book Kristy's Big Day, Kristy's mom gets married, and her underwear is her "something blue." Too Much Information.
    • Later in the series, Dawn's mother marries Mary Anne's father, and does the same sort of thing.
  • Laura invokes the trope in These Happy Golden Years when her mother objects to her getting married in the new black dress they are making for her. "Marry in black, you'll wish yourself back!" Laura cheerfully suggests that she can wear it with a blue-lined bonnet that she's owned for several years and her mother's gold brooch, to which Ma Ingalls concedes that there's probably no truth in these old sayings anyway.
  • In the Doctor Who Eighth Doctor Adventures novel The Adventuress of Henrietta Street, the Doctor has to get married because it'll somehow save the world from extra-dimensional baboons. Fitz mentions it's too bad they can't bring the TARDIS into the chapel, because it would count as all four.
  • In Breaking Dawn, Bella gets roped into a fancy traditional wedding as a favor to Alice. "Something old" and "Something blue" are the sapphires that Charlie and Renee have put into a set of her grandmother's hair combs, "Something new" is her dress, and "Something borrowed" is Alice's garter.

     Live Action TV  

  • Our Miss Brooks: Miss Brooks prepares for her role as proxy in "June Bride" as if she were really getting married.
  • How I Met Your Mother does it twice:
    • The final two episodes of season 2 that show Marshall and Lily's wedding are titled 'Something Borrowed' and 'Something Blue'.
    • The final two episodes of season 8 that lead to Barney and Robin's wedding are titled 'Something Old' and 'Something New'. In addition, a locket Robin buried in New York as a child to be her "Something Old" when she grows up and what it would mean to find it is a major plot arc surrounding the wedding.
  • Frasier has a season finale titled 'Something Borrowed, Someone Blue.'
  • Also used as a joke during the wedding arc in Ugly Betty, in which one character says the bride herself is "something old," to which the bride replies, "Well, with your varicose veins I certainly have something blue."
  • Friends:
    • When Chandler and Monica decide to get married in Las Vegas on impulse, they shoplift a blue sweater to count as something new, borrowed, and blue. For something old:
    Chandler: I have a condom in my wallet that I've had since I was twelve.
    Monica: That'll work!
    Chandler: I don't think so.
    • Phoebe gets married outside in the snow - when asked if she's going to be cold, she says, "I don't care. I'll be my something blue!"
  • There was an episode of Touched by an Angel where this appeared.
  • In an episode of 30 Rock, Liz reluctantly agrees to be one of Cerie's bridesmaids. Cerie then hugs her and cheerfully says "Now I have my something old!"
  • On Roseanne she and Darlene argued about whether Darlene should bother with it; Jackie's failure to adhere to the superstition and subsequent marriage implosion is used as evidence.
  • On The Nanny, Fran's friend Val fails to find her a something blue and she freaks out, resulting in:
    Gracie: "Fran, you're choking her!"
    Fran: "Well, then, at least I'll have something blue, won't I?"
  • Played with in a 3rd Rock from the Sun episode in which Sally almost got married. Harry ends up getting her an old guy whom he borrowed from the tip top club. This guy played the blues and was Harry's new friend.
  • The episode of Torchwood wherein Gwen and Rhys get married is called "Something Borrowed" and in this case it refers to the alien fetus that Gwen has accidentally had transferred to herself.
  • In the Doctor Who episode The Big Bang, Amy Pond at her wedding to Rory Williams quotes "something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue" in regards to the TARDIS, which is all of them. All of which was carefully planned by the Doctor to avoid being permanently forgotten.
  • Similarly, the Buffy episode where Buffy and Spike get hit by one of Willow's accidental spells and fall madly in love is called "Something Blue."
  • An episode of Top Chef was based around 4 teams, each having to make food based on one of the four categories for a wedding reception.
  • The Sabrina the Teenage Witch finale has a Running Gag of Sabrina trying to find her four items. Finally they decide her dress counts as New, they paint one of her toenails Blue, Morgan borrows $10 from the flower girl and hands her a bracelet she grabbed from her jewelry box as Old. Unfortunately the bracelet is significant in reminding Sabrina that Harvey is the one she loves, and she runs off with him.
    Roxie: I guess that's the Something Old she needed.
  • In Grey's Anatomy's season 5 finale, when Meredith and Derek decide to get married, Cristina gives her an old grocery list, a new Post-it, and her favorite blue pen (which also counts as borrowed, since she wants it back).
  • Source of much drama in Mad Men, when Roger's second wife gives some very expensive jewelry to her stepdaughter for her wedding.
    Margaret: in tears Well, it's blue. And it's new.
  • The Cheers episode where Rebecca is about to marry Robin Colcord references this with Lilith giving Rebecca her "something new".
    Rebecca: Now, I just need something old, something borrowed, and something blue.
    Carla: How about Norm's liver?
    Norm: I am almost finished with it.
  • The BBC's adaptation of Agatha Christie's The Sittaford Mystery (extensively rewritten from the source material) involves the protagonists realizing that a suspect was married to the murder victim due to the fact she was wearing something old, new, borrowed and blue the day before.
  • On The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Ted and Georgette were hastening their wedding plans and trying to throw together a ceremony at the last minute. When asked about what she would wear, soft-voiced ditz Georgette paused and reflected wistfully, "Well... I'd always dreamed I'd be married in something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue." Beat "But what the hell, we're in a hurry."
  • The Golden Girls used this a few times.
    • When Dorothy's son elopes with his much-older and pregnant fiancée, the mothers and friends make it in time to give them these items. The baby is the "something new".
    • When Dorothy almost re-marries Stan, she is trying to work this out with Rose and Blanche, and suggests her varicose veins as the "something blue". Sophia, who until this point had refused to support the wedding, appears as the "something old."
  • Once Upon a Time: in a flashback scene in "A Tale of Two Sisters" (the first episode in the Season Four Frozen arc), as Anna is preparing for her wedding to Kristoff, Elsa presents her with their mother's wedding dress, and adds a snowflake necklace, mentioning the 'something old, something new' trope. Several episodes later, Elsa learns that the pendant contains a Wishing Star. Elsa's wish to be with her sister brings Anna and Kristoff to Storybrooke, just in time to avoid being drowned by order of Prince Hans.
  • When Naomi marries Vint on Mama's Family, her wedding dress is her something new, and Mama gives Vint his father's antique sapphire ring as a wedding present, which Naomi uses as her old, borrowed, and blue. Unfortunately, it was also the ring that Eunice had always wanted, prompting her to throw one of her famous hissy-fits in the middle of the ceremony.

     Puppet Shows  

  • In the episode of The Muppet Show guest starring Marisa Berenson, Miss Piggy attempts to trick Kermit into marrying her in a wedding 'sketch' that was actually legit. She insists that the wedding be traditional: "Something old, something new, something borrowed... and something green."
  • During Huxley's Villain Song in The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland, the villain begins to list off some of the things he hordes in his hideout.
    Huxley: Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, things that once belonged to you, like this plastic telephone? I love this traffic cone, this wedding cake for Jill and Jake, this rake, this giant rubber snake, this chippendale, don't let it breaaaak! (Crack!)
    Bug: Whoops! It's true! Love is a many splintered thing!

     Video Games  

  • Referenced in Animal Crossing, of all things; occasionally the "Perky" animals will ask girl players if they've chosen theirs yet.
  • In Escape from Monkey Island, the four heirlooms which are the key to finding the Ultimate Insult are something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue respectively. (They were intended as wedding gifts.)
    • Following a similar scheme in rhyme and purpose (in Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge), in order to make a voodoo doll, you need Something of the Head (dandruff, hair, lice, what have you), Something of the Thread (a thread or cloth sample from the victim's clothing), Something of the Body (spit, phlegm, blood...whatever), and Something of the Dead (a bone or something from a dead relative).
  • While not quite a wedding ceremony, a magical ritual in City of Heroes calls for the participation of a old mage, a young witch, a powerful psychic in a borrowed body, and somebody whose name is Cerulean.
  • Occurs in World of Warcraft in the Twilight Highlands zone, where Alliance players must help along a dwarven marriage for political reasons. Of course, being dwarves, the gifts are slightly different, being "something bold, something brewed, something stolen, something stewed".
  • In the Borderlands 2 DLC Mad Moxxi and the Wedding Day Massacre, Moxxi and the Vault Hunters make a love potion using the recipe "Something new, something old, something borrowed, something gold." They end up using the tears of a baby they kidnapped (something new and borrowed), an aged whiskey (something old) and parts from a golden robot (something gold). At one point, Ellie questions whether the recipe is actually meant to include something blue, referencing the real-world saying, but Moxxi shoots her down, arguing that blue doesn't rhyme with gold; ultimately, it's left ambiguous which of them is correct, since while the potion does rekindle the romance between the bride and groom, it also causes the wedding to go spectacularly off the rails.
  • Referenced in Mystery Case Files: Escaped from Ravenhearst: in order to enter the replica of the gazebo in which Charles Dalimar asked Emma Ravenhearst to marry him, the Master Detective has to find the cranks of four music boxes, each one referencing one of the somethings.


  • PvP had Skull the Troll as the blue thing.
  • Something*Positive had main character Davan give his best friend Aubrey a bruise (blue) when she was freaking out about not having something for it.

     Western Animation  

  • A Peanuts cartoon had Snoopy getting married to Fifi the poodle. The girls go through the whole process of old, new, borrowed, and blue while helping Fifi dress for the wedding. (They were all bones.)
  • The Simpsons:
    • In the flashforward episode where Lisa marries Hugh (almost), Lisa's pearls are old, her dress is new, she borrows a locket from Hugh's mother, but she can't find something blue. Marge gets a pair of scissors, clips a lock of her hair, and gives it to Lisa.
    • There's also an episode where Bart has to marry Cletus's daughter, who brings the four things to her wedding, although instead of something blue, she has 'something stew.'
  • In the DuckTales (1987) episode "Til Nephews Do Us Part", Scrooge is about to marry a bitchy Gold Digger (and is unaware of her bitchiness; his nephews are of course trying to convince him to no avail), and just before she walks down the aisle, she says, "Something old: my money. Something new: his money. Something borrowed: more money. And something green... ALL the money!"
  • In the Thomas And Friends episode, "Happy Ever After", Percy is asked to help find the "Good Luck Package" at the last minute for the wedding of Mrs. Kindly's daughter. Old Slow Coach was Something Old, a set of buffers right from the factory was Something New, the flat truck the new buffers were on was Something Borrowed, and Thomas of course made an appearance as Something Blue.
  • In Ben 10: Omniverse episode "Rules of Engagement", we learn that Tetramand brides have to collect four items to present to the groom's parents: something conquered, something bruised, something severed, and something blue. Princess Looma Red Wind, with whom Ben got into an Accidental Marriage in a previous episode, returns and collects Ester, proving she conquered the Kraaho, Julie, who was bruised during the fighting, Fistina's forearm (a robotic arm), and Rook.


  • This Gag Sub of The Movie of Mahou Sentai Magiranger has a reference to this trope added to the 'script' - after Groom Bridon kidnaps a human girl, Meemy dresses her up in a goth wedding dress and hands a magic ring to Bridon:
    "There's your Something Blue... here's your Something Borrowed."
  • Veteran comic Bob Monkhouse was once dismissed as a comedian in possession of a stage routine that was "mainly old, seldom new, often borrowed and sometimes blue"