28.1.09

The Vanishing Trousseau

Elena-Maria Vidal has a nice article which speaks to the vanishing trousseau of a new bride, more disappearing however is the vanishing dowry. My daughter Genevieve escaped from our home with enough pots, pans, glass ware, appliances, and linens to supply the needs of a small business.

The trousseau is another feminine custom that has practically fallen into disuse. While the trousseau presently seems to be limited to the apparel of a bridal party and the collecting of lingerie, it once consisted not only of clothes but of everything a young lady would take with her into her new life as a matron. Often it would take years to gather together the treasures meant for adorning a future home, as well as embroidering linens and making quilts. There would be special heirlooms passed down from grandmothers and usually it would all be stored in a cedar chest until the bride set up her new residence with her spouse. According to the 1969 Vogue's Book of Etiquette:

Traditionally, the bride has not only a clothes trousseau, but one for her new house as well. This includes her good china, silver, glass; bed, bath, and table linens; and the necessary pots and other cooking utensils for her kitchen. Like many traditions, however, this one is observed or not, depending on individual circumstances. Most brides try to acquire at least a minimum of these appointments, for three reasons. First, a minimum, regardless of quality, is essential for even the simplest way of life unless one lives in a hotel. Second, handsome household appointments tend to become a luxury after marriage, and if a woman does not start out with them she often finds that she never gets around to buying them later. Third and last, quality endures and quality shows. It is true that fine china can get broken, but not as easily as pottery.
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We know the great importance God has placed on marriage by remembering that His son began his ministry on Earth at a wedding. The taking of a trousseau has the added function of instilling the permanence of the sacrament, and the beginning of one's own family.

We loose so much through the abandonment of traditional things.

Dieu le Roy!
de Brantigny

‘The Wedding Morning’ 1892 John Henry Frederick Bacon (1866 – 1913) National Museum Liverpool.

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