Old, New, Borrowed, Blue
This rhyme originated in Victorian times, although some of the customs referred to in it are much older.
"Something old" represents the couple's friends who will hopefully remain close during the marriage. Traditionally this was an old garter given to the bride by a happily married woman in the hope that her happiness in marriage would be passed on to the new bride.
"Something new" symbolises the newlyweds' happy and prosperous future.
"Something borrowed" is often lent by the bride's family and is an item much valued by the family. The bride must return the item to ensure good luck.
The custom of the bride wearing "something blue" originated in ancient Israel where the bride wore a blue ribbon in her hair to represent fidelity.
The placing of a silver sixpence in the bride's shoe was to ensure wealth in the couples married life. Today some brides substitute a penny in their shoe during the ceremony as silver sixpences are less common
Why the Bride stands on the Left
During the marriage ceremony, the bride stands on the left and the groom on the right. The origin of this goes back to the days when a groom would capture his bride by kidnapping her. If the groom had to fight off other men who also wanted her as their bride, he would hold his bride-to-be with his left hand allowing his right hand to be free to use his sword.
Bridesmaids and Ushers
Bridesmaids and ushers originate from the Roman law that demanded ten witnesses were present at a wedding in order to dupe evil spirits who were believed to attend marriages with the view to causing mischief and disharmony. The bridesmaids and ushers all dressed in identical clothing to the bride and groom so that the evil spirits wouldn't know who was getting married. This explanation ties in with the bride's veil being an anti evil spirit device!