Wednesday, May 11, 2011

French Inspired Wedding Custom #1 - The Wedding Trousseau


If you haven't heard (that's a joke in itself!) My Darling Daughter (MDD) is getting married in September! While traveling in France recently I learned that several of our wedding traditions actually originated in France.

For example,  The Wedding Trousseau:

In French, Trousseau actually means "little bundle." 

Trousseau [ˈtruːsəʊ]   n pl -seaux, -seaus [-səʊz]
the clothes, linen, etc., collected by a bride for her marriage
[from Old French, literally: a little bundle, from trusse a bundle; see truss]

Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

The trousseau would contain a "bundle" of clothing and linens ("little bundle") that the bride would take with her to her new husband and her new home. It would contain Sunday dresses, everyday dresses, night clothing, lingerie and linens. The bride or the mother of the bride might have embroidered the linens with the initials of the bride's future family.

Monogrammed Linens

According to French tradition, a wedding armoire, also known as "a hope chest" was used for the bride's trousseau. It was often hand-carved with symbols of wealth and prosperity by the father of the future bride and given to her when she was still an adolescent. As the young girl grew up, she would fill the armoire with her own wardrobe and linens. The armoire would then be given to the bridal couple as a gift from the bride's parents at the time of the wedding.

The concept of the trousseau has also influenced the modern bridal shower where friends and family give the future bride gifts helping her to assemble the household articles she needs for her future home and family.

I love customs and tradition, but I especially love understanding why we do what we do, and from where customs originate. The French were the originators of many of our wedding customs and I'll share more examples of their influence with you in the weeks to come.

Have a wonderful day,

Au revoir, Mitty


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