The Bridal Trousseau ~ A Daydream for the Modern Bride…

Hello lovelies! Lovely Franky, my Intern, has been researching busily behind the scenes to bring you interesting new content.  Today, Franky shares with us her findings on the 'bridal trousseau'.

By the way, you can view Franky's glorious, cinematic inspired wedding in full here.  You can also visit Franky's own blog here and read more features by Franky on Love My Dress here.

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Our bedroom is spacious and airy. Sunlight pours in through the large window on the far wall, drenching the polished wood of the floor below in an array of golden hues. The walls are painted a pale duck egg blue, selected for its calm, serene appearance.

An enormous bevelled mirror sits proudly above the ivory painted wood of the old, long defunct, fireplace. My perfume and makeup is arranged neatly on the mantelpiece below. To the right of this, books are stacked carefully on shelves, providing a literary backdrop for picture frames, ornaments and other precious objects. Just left of the door, my jewellery nestles atop a large chest of draws, glistening whenever the sunlight creeps over it.

This space is my haven in a house usually overrun with children’s toys, bulging school bags, abandoned coats, muddy shoes and a never ending mountain of dirty washing. Our ivory bedstead, lovingly adorned with Laura Ashley linen, is my favourite hangout, an island in the sea of chaos that is our home.
Except during the 18 months we were engaged that is, when I let a little of the wedding world, or rather the clutter it can create, encroach on my calm.

A ‘wedding stash’ from another time ~ Grace Kelly packs for her wedding in Monaco and inspects her wedding trousseau.

Image credit The Foxling

Grace Kelly packing for wedding

Grace Kelly inspecting trousseau

My collection of ‘wedding junk’ grew at an alarming rate. A small box of charcoal grey ties for the boys had soon developed into a whole suitcase stuffed with pashminas, drinking straws, luggage tags, wedding rings, clutch bags, picture frames and my Dad’s collection of vintage cameras. Stowed safely under our bed were multiple pairs of wedding wellies, pretty umbrellas for me and my maids, and boxes and boxes of tea light holders.

Come to think of, the marital stash wasn’t just contained within the four walls of our bedroom. The kitchen played host to countless jam jars, stacked haphazardly in anticipation of their eventual adornment with ribbon. There was a vast pile of vintage linen in our dining room while my Mother’s home became a temporary residence for our collection of cake stands. Craft supplies accumulated beneath my desk and the children’s wardrobe overflowed with the clothing for our entire bridal party.
Our wedding was everywhere.  Not only had its organisation taken over my entire brain space, the paraphernalia it required had taken over my home.

Collecting things for your wedding day is nothing new, but it has certainly come a long way over the course of the last century…

The bridal trousseau from a Royal Wedding in Coburg, 1894 {from an issue of The Illustrated London News}

Royal Wedding Coburg Trousseau

The word trousseau comes from the French word trousse which means ‘bundle’. And what a precious bundle it was! For the young Victorian bride, the items gathered together for the trousseau were considered almost as important as the wedding itself.

In wealthy families, a bride’s trousseau might have contained velvet dresses, lace to loop over skirts, dresses for walking, ball gowns, travelling dresses, linen robes for the garden and games of croquet, dresses to wear to the races, gowns that could be worn at breakfast and dinner, and dresses suitable for receptions and parties. That’s a lot of frocks!

By the end of the century concentration had shifted from extravagant clothing to underwear. The tendency was to amass enough to last the bride the rest of her life {can you imagine never buying any new knickers?!}. Around this time there was also a move towards collecting linen for the marital home.
Young girls from poorer families would often begin working on their collection years before they were engaged, in order to allow enough time to create the carefully stitched items. In my imagination, the hope chests used to store a trousseau overflowed with exquisitely embroidered linens, underwear, nightgowns and dresses.

A bride’s trousseau continued to be an important feature of preparations for marriage well into the thirties. The April 1930 issue of Good Housekeeping itemised a fashionable trousseau at a cost of $386.15. It included a satin wedding gown, a veil, a 3-piece going away outfit, and a suitcase of additional dresses, jackets and lingerie.

Sadly, although gathering items for a wedding trousseau is still a valued practice in some cultures {for example, it remains an important part of many Indian weddings}; the tradition has largely vanished today.

What if I could have replaced my stash of wellington boots, IKEA candles and stripy straws with something altogether more glamorous? There may be little call for numerous dresses at the beginning of married life these days, but if there was, what would the trousseau of a modern bride consist of?
Allow me to daydream for a moment…

Bridal trousseau 

Image Credits: 1.‘Elsa’ by Sally Lacock 2. Carol Lombard 3. L’Wren Scott RTW Fall 2012 via 4. Ralph Lauren RTW Fall 2012 via 5. 1930s Vintage Gown by Suzannah 6. Ginger Rogers 7. Vintage Lace Corset by Tallulah Loves 8. Ralph Lauren RTW Fall 2012 via}

What about all that linen, carefully stitched by the bride-to-be? Now, I can’t sew and I can’t knit, but if I had a hope chest, or indeed the beautiful suitcase pictured here, I’d have filled it with the items below…


Image Credits: 1. Afternoon Tea Hooped Sign from The Vintage Drawer by Vicky Trainor 2. Crochet Coverlet 3. Luxury Crochet Stitch Trunk by Le Trousseau 4. Bunting from The Vintage Drawer by Vicky Trainor  5. Hamman Towels by idyllhome via Not On The Highstreet 6. Crochet Blanket by Rocket and Bear 7. Bunting from The Vintage Drawer by Vicky Trainor
So readers, what are your thoughts on the wedding trousseau?

How’s your wedding stash looking these days? Taken over your bedroom yet?

Would you like to join me in my daydream and replace your current collection with something altogether more glamorous too?!



You can see more features by Franky here and more discussion posts here.  Franky and I would love some feedback on this post and look forward to your comments…