Wedding advice - It's important to be true to yourself when creating a modern trousseau
PUBLISHED: 09:45 22 January 2014
You might not have a hope chest or be able to embroider your beloved's initials on a pillowcase, but you've probably already begun gathering treasures for your trousseau without even realising it.
Throughout history, single women have been preparing for the next stage of their lives by collecting linens, crockery, lingerie and the component parts of their all-important ‘going away outfit’ in the weeks, months and, occasionally, years before the big day itself.
This hopeful bundle – trousseau roughly translates from the French for bundle – was once part of the bride’s dowry; an indication of both her family’s position in society and her own skills as a would-be homemaker.
For the modern bride, however, it’s less about sewing and reflecting her heritage and more about buying and reflecting her personality. It’s about showing what she can bring to the marriage, literally and metaphorically.
Yes, it still revolves around towels and sheets and plates and slinky bits of silk, but the contemporary trousseau is not just another excuse to indulge in a spot of retail therapy.
It’s a statement of intent; a way of saying ‘this is who I am, who we are and how I see us living out our days together’. It’s not just about stuff; it’s about stuff that matters.
Going away outfit
Traditionally, whether the bride was going to Blackpool or Barbados, she had to do it in a neat little suit. This has waned slightly in recent years, but there is still something cockle-warming about prolonging the warm wedding feeling with a bit of dress-up as you jet off into the sunset (or hop into the back of a campervan) with your new hubby.
The key to a great going away outfit is a gentle touch of feminine formality – think Kate Middleton stroking a kitten while sipping Earl Grey from a china cup and you’ve got it nailed
Your honeymoon clothes should air on the side of pretty, feminine and fun. Yes, you can be a foxy vixen in the honeymoon suite but an array of slightly understated floral dresses and separates provide the perfect just-married vibe for when you’re flashing your new band of gold around the hotel dining room.
You might usually wear a pair of well-worn Wonder Woman PJ pants and a thermal vest at home, but only the silkiest silkies will do for your honeymoon and the early months of your marriage. After the first anniversary, you can opt for your flannelette passion-killers again if you wish, but for now, think sensual elegance that helps you retain a modicum of mystery (you know what we mean – don’t make us spell it out).
There’s no point in buying a host of beautiful clothes if you’re going to lug them about in an Asda bag. Lovely luggage is de rigueur when it comes to honeymoon etiquette. You don’t have to spend a fortune or go matchy-matchy with your new hubby, but good luggage tells the world that this is not just a holiday, it’s a honeymoon.
There was a time when a bride and her mother would spend the weeks, months and sometimes years before the wedding preparing a linen chest for the happy couple’s new home. They would embroider table linens, press (and re-press) carefully chosen bedding and build a vast collection of matching towels to rival John Lewis.
While most modern couples tend to have pretty much all they need in terms of homeware, it’s still nice to start your new life together in crisp cotton sheets.
He likes his tea from a Man United mug and you think your coffee tastes infinitely better when drunk from a cup adorned with a grinning picture of Olly Murs in a hat that looks slightly too small for him, but that doesn’t mean there’s no room in your cupboards for a special set of elegant crockery.
It’s the set you’ll be using for countless anniversaries, birthdays and Christmases to come, so make sure you choose something simple, stylish and unmistakably you.