Tradition of lucky sixpence in a shoe

Written by alice post
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Tradition of lucky sixpence in a shoe
Traditionally, the father of the bride places a sixpence in her left shoe. (wedding day shoes image by Mat Hayward from

Some traditions have their origins in simple, practical needs and are tied to the most elaborate of occasions, such as a wedding. As the saying goes, "Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a sixpence in her shoe." The British sixpence is worn in the bottom of the bride's shoe on her wedding day as a good luck charm.

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The lucky sixpence is an English wedding tradition that is also common in the United States. Traditionally, the bride's father gave her a sixpence coin and placed it in her left shoe. The coin was meant to bless the couple and symbolise a marriage filled with health, wealth and happiness. The same sixpence was kept in the family, passed down from one generation to the next.

The Rhyme

The rhyme, "Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a lucky sixpence in her shoe" dates back to Victorian England, but the author is unknown. Each line of the saying represents a token of good luck for the bride. "Something old" is meant to link the bride's family and the past. "Something new" -- usually the wedding gown -- represents success in married life. "Something borrowed" serves as a reminder of friends and family staying true to her. Blue symbolises faithfulness, and the silver sixpence in her shoe stands for wealth.

The Sixpence

Made of silver, the first sixpence was minted in England during the reign of Edward VI in 1551. It was last minted in 1967. Many different kings and queens appear on the coins. However, in modern weddings, the coins most often contain the image of Queen Elizabeth II. The reverse side of the coin features the national emblems of Britain: the rose, thistle shamrock and leek. The sixpence is about the size of a dime and is no longer legal tender in England.


In Sweden,the bride places a silver coin from her father in her left shoe and a gold coin from her mother in her right shoe. This symbolises that the couple will never be lacking in luxuries. In the United States, brides commonly substitute a vintage sixpence with a dime.

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