Trousseau tea – A Historic Tradition by Andrea Rankin

1885 Street

Trousseau Tea

The word ˜trousseau’ (trous·seau, n.) may refer to any of the following:

a)    A dowry, A hope chest, glory box or its contents OR

b)    The outfit of a bride, including the wedding dress or similar clothing OR

c)    A name for the Bastardo grape in some regions

For our purposes here at FortEdmontonPark however, we’re only referring to the first two.

This summer, FortEdmontonPark featured a program called ˜Weddings through Time’ that involved elaborate weddings in every era. As part of the festivities, the ladies of 1885 Street held what’s called a ˜Trousseau Tea’ to celebrate the bride-to-be’s entrance into the world of marital bliss.

Young Victorian women, to prepare for their change in marital status, would create what’s called ˜a trousseau’. Stored in a chest, a trousseau would include everything the bride had accumulated to start her new life. For the Victorians, extravagant trousseaus were a sign of wealth and social standing and would include accessories, fine china, jewelry, lingerie and toiletries plus bed linens and bath towels for her new home. The trousseau also included outfits to see the bride through her wedding, honeymoon and newly-wed days. These garments were often hand-sewn by her mother, aunt or grandmother and sometimes even by the girl herself.

On 1885 street, the Trousseau Tea was held at the home of bride-to-be: the Kenneth MacDonald house. On the bed she placed her things in attractive arrangements; pillow slips and fancy sheets, the table linen alongside her prettiest lingerie and negligee. After the guests had admired all of her things, they were taken downstairs and served light refreshments and enjoyed some Parlor games.

It was certainly a beautiful afternoon, but if you missed it, don’t fret. If you come down to the Park the new bride will show you her trousseau individually.