Something Old — Ten Ideas, Old and New, From a Mother of the Bride

Something old -- the cream colored pumps I wore for my 1977 wedding were too long and too narrow for Christina's foot. Photo by Barbara Newhall

Something old — the cream colored pumps I wore for my 1977 wedding were too long and too narrow for Christina’s foot. Photo by Barbara Newhall

Something old. Something new. Something borrowed. Something blue. — Old English Rhyme

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

I thought my 40-year-old shoes would make a perfect “something old” for Christina’s wedding trousseau in May. So did Christina. My wedding shoes couldn’t be more vintage but, given their boxy shape, my daughter and I thought they could easily pass for stylish in 2017.

Too bad that the shoes were too narrow for Christina’s feet. And my lacy 1977 wedding dress was too small.

As the mother of the bride, with lots of years to my credit (my past reaches deep into the twentieth century) I’m feeling an obligation to come up with some cool ideas for Christina’s something old.  Here are ten ideas that came to mind:

Something old -- tatting by Barbara's great-grandmother, Emma Bishop Loomis. Done some time before her daughter, Ruth Bishop's, wedding in 1898. The pillowcases have no side seams. Only seams at one end. The fabric was apparently loomed as a tube. Photo by Barbara Newhall

Something old, really old: tatting on a pillowcase by my great-grandmother, Emma Bishop Loomis, in the late 19th century. Photo by Barbara Newhall

Something Old

Tuck a 40-year-old dried-up rosebud from my wedding bouquet into hers.

Weave the pearl necklace I wore on my wedding day into a pearl and crystal headpiece.

Pin my mother’s wedding ring inside her bodice. Or use the stones in her wedding ring.

Sew a button from her dad’s wedding suit onto her wedding bouquet.

Put one of the 100-year-old doilies crocheted by my grandmother on her head and call it a veil.

Nineteenth Century Tatting

Wrap her wedding bouquet with a piece of the 50-year-old pillow cases my mother made for me. Or use my great-grandmother’s 120-year-old tatting.

Wrap the stems of her bouquet with a strip from the lining of my wedding dress. No. Forget that one. I’m not willing to cut up my wedding dress. I’ve got at least one granddaughter who might want to wear it some day.

My father loaned me a penny to put in my shoe for my something borrowed. For her something old, Christina could do the same with one of the two-dollar bills he used to give her at Christmastime.

Something Old and Outside the Box

Of course, the bride doesn’t necessarily have to wear her something old — it could be

Christina Newhall checks out her wedding venue -- something old. Photo by Barbara Newhall

Christina’s wedding venue is something old. Photo by Barbara Newhall

something in the wedding setting. Christina will be married at a big, old house once owned by her grandparents. Maybe that counts.

Too, the celebrant could read something really, really old. Like a 2000-year-old passage from the Bible. Or maybe something a bit newer, like a thought from the 19th-century poet William Blake:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  — 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NIV)

Love seeketh not itself to please, nor for itself hath any care, but for another gives its ease, and builds a Heaven in Hell’s despair. ― William Blake, “Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience”

Ideas anyone? Feel free to join in — just click on the words “leave a comment” at the top of this post.

Yes, Christina has chosen her wedding dress. Read all about that at “Wedding Dress Shopping — When Your Daughter Lets You Tag Along.” Find out what happened when my daughter-in-law-to-be tried on my wedding gown at “I’m the Mother of the Groom — Now What?” 

Pillowcases with cutwork embroidery by my mother, Tinka Falconer. Photo by Barbara Newhall

Pillowcases with cutwork embroidery by my mother, Tinka Falconer. Photo by Barbara Newhall





  1. These are beautiful ideas. I love the shoes — and love those embroidered pillowcases. I have a set very similar to the one showing cutwork done by your mother. Congrats on the upcoming wedding!

    • Thanks, Cindy. I still like those shoes too. Unfortunately, pregnancy and the passing years have caused my feet to get both longer and wider, so they don’t fit me any more either. Otherwise, I might wear them to Christina’s wedding myself.

  2. Really love the ideas!

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