My sister has the "Word of the Day" app on her iPhone. The other day the word was trousseau (pronounced "true sew"). I would venture to bet that today most brides do not have a trousseau, but at one time this was very important.
Throughout history, single young women all over the world have prepared for their change in marital status by accumulating a trousseau. A traditional trousseau -- stored in a hope chest -- included bridal accessories, jewelry, lingerie, toiletries and makeup, plus bed linens and bath towels for her new home.
From Victorian times till today, the trousseau also has consisted of brand-new outfits to see a woman through her wedding, honeymoon, and newlywed days. Often the garments in a trousseau were hand-sewn by a mother, aunt, grandmother, or the girl herself, if skilled with a needle. Wealthier families used the skills of a professional seamstress to outfit the bride-to-be.
While beautiful cedar hope chests are still manufactured and sold, many who purchase this furniture item simply use it for everyday storage. Today, a woman preparing for a wedding, honeymoon, and new life certainly needs new things (as well as a place to store them).
For most brides, gifts for the home accumulate quickly at engagement, shower, and wedding parties, thanks to the generosity of friends and family. Cash gifts and items taken from one's former home help to fill in the balance.
So what's left to purchase for the modern trousseau? New clothes, vacation wear, sports gear, luggage.
What belongs in your own trousseau? Things that make sense for your lifestyle, and things that you love. Remember, shopping for a trousseau shouldn't call for an image makeover; you're just collecting some new things you probably need anyway.
On the wedding night, if you normally sleep in a T-shirt, you may feel silly in a long, flowing negligee or nightgown. Try a short, sexy, white-satin chemise that can certainly help you feel like a bride on that special night. And that's one instance when the groom will likely appreciate your new trousseau, too.