The bride of today is a very lucky individual, for, besides her wedding presents, she has all sorts of delightful affairs given by her intimate friends. There are “stocking,” “handkerchief,” “plate and cup and saucer,” “linen,” “book,” “flower,” “kitchen” and “novelty” showers. Some or all of these functions are likely to fall to the lot of a girl who announces her engagement, and who gives her friends this opportunity to show their good will. Great care should be taken that only one’s nearest and dearest friends are asked to parties of this kind; strangers or mere calling acquaintances should not be asked to contribute, for it would be embarrassing both to the giver and the recipient; this is one of the instances where a hostess must be sure of who the bride-elect would like to be present. Remember that the “gift without the giver is bare.”
One of the very latest fads is a “turnover collar shower.” Each guest is asked to bring material for a turnover and her thimble, and at the conclusion of an afternoon the fair (we take it for granted that adjective applies, as it seems to be the prerogative of a bride to be termed thusly) bride-to-be will have a number of these useful accessories to her trousseau.
The “book shower” must be arranged by a person who can find out what volumes the recipient does not possess, so there will not be duplicates. The name of the donor, with an inscription, will greatly enhance the value of the gift, and it is safe to say that this collection will be more than prized when placed upon the bookshelves of the new home.
The handkerchief and linen showers are both pretty. Each article can be thrown at the bride until she is fairly buried under the white offerings.
A unique way was devised for the stocking shower by having a large “shoe” candy box in the center of the luncheon table with a ribbon going to each plate. When the ribbons were pulled all drew out favors except the honored guest, who drew out a number of white packages, all rolled tight in white tissue paper—a pair of silk hose from each guest present.
A flower shower is the very prettiest of all, and should be given the day before the wedding. Each guest brings a bunch of flowers, and the bride is literally showered with blossoms from a huge floral ball suspended in a doorway. Have a large ball made of wire covered with moss, and fill closely with flowers; carnations make a perfect sphere. The ball is made in halves and filled with rose petals. When farewells are being said the hostess pulls the ribbon which separates the two halves, releasing the petals, which fall upon the young woman who is about to leave the realm of single blessedness, for the new and unknown way. This scattering rose leaves in the pathway of a bride is a very old custom.
A Silhouette Party for the Bride Elect
A Silhouette Party given for a bride elect was declared by the guests to be one of the most delightful and amusing affairs they had attended. Each guest was given a small square of black paper (procured at a stationer’s or picture framer’s) and a pair of scissors, with instructions to cut a silhouette of the bride elect performing some household duty. The subjects were: “Her First Baking Day, “Saturday She Scrubbed,” “Monday at the Tub,” “Tuesday She Ironed,” “Thursday Is Sweeping Day,” “Friday She Dusted.” One of the girls posed for the amateur artists, sitting or standing as she was requested. Of course every one protested that she never could cut out anything recognizable, but the results proved the contrary. After the figures were cut out, they were pasted on white mats, given the titles they were supposed to represent, signed by the artist, and all given to the bride-to-be — a souvenir of a most delightful afternoon. When refreshments were served, the table was decorated with a baking pan which was filled with flowers; a scrubbing brush bore the guest of honor’s place card; a small flatiron held her napkin down; while a miniature broom and a half-dozen cheesecloth dusters were on her chair. This was a very practical bridal shower and was much appreciated.
A Handkerchief Shower
This affair for a prospective bride was arranged in a very clever manner. Twelve intimate friends were invited to luncheon, with the request to bring the gift mouchoir rolled up into the smallest package possible. Before going to the dining-room the hostess took all the packages and disappeared. When luncheon was announced, with one voice the guests exclaimed “How pretty!” Suspended from the chandelier there was an inverted Japanese umbrella; from each rib there was a smaller umbrella; and from the centre, hung by ribbons, there was a gilded watering can, the sprinkler of which had twelve holes with baby ribbons of different colors coming out. At the end of each ribbon there was a tightly rolled package. The effect was lovely. The place cards were miniature Japanese parasols with the cards tied to the handles. The candle shades were ornamented with these same tiny parasols, and a small lantern filled with candied puffed rice was at each place.
An Apron Shower
An apron shower given for a bride elect proved to be a most enjoyable affair, and the little bride-to-be, was delighted with her supply of aprons. The hostess asked the guests to bring material for any kind of an apron, with their thimbles; the hours were from two until five. On arriving, the girls were taken upstairs into a spacious room, which contained two sewing machines. There were two kitchen aprons; two of dainty white, made long to cover the best gown while preparing Sunday night tea; two work aprons with bibs and pockets; three of lawn, trimmed with ruffles and lace for serving afternoon tea, and one with sleeves. Amid merry chatter and exchange of confidences so dear to girlish hearts, the hum of the machines and flying fingers, the hours passed so rapidly that when the hostess called time as the clock struck five it was impossible to realize that ten aprons had been made and piled into a basket made by a Dutch peasant, and which henceforth was to be a market receptacle for the new housekeeper.
“Dame Curtsey’s” book of novel entertainments for every day in the year, Ellye Howell Glover, 1907
UNIQUE BRIDAL SHOWER
A washday shower was the name of an affair given in honor of a bride-to-be. She was ushered into the parlor in which a clothes line was suspended after the manner of washday, and on it was hung the various gifts. She was provided with a big clothes basket and ordered to take in the wash, which was neatly pinned on the line. The wash consisted of various articles needed for daily domestic tasks. There were dish towels, dust cloths, ironing blankets, kitchen aprons, a clothes-pin bag, in which she had to collect the pins, and a frame on which to roll the line when she had taken it down, and as a climax the tin tubs stood in one corner.
Duluth [MN] News-Tribune 18 January 1914: p. 8
Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: One can scarcely bear the thrill of the tin tub revelation. Mrs Daffodil wonders if any brides were ever smothered into insensibility by the showers of white offerings or rose petals, a la the feast of the Emperor Heliogabalus.
While social and household roles were still quite defined in 1907 and 1914, it seems somewhat dismal to celebrate gifts of dust cloths and clothes-pins in honour of what was supposed to be a romantic, companionate love-match. A silhouette depicting “Saturday She Scrubbed,” is more a reminder of “household duties,” than a pleasant souvenir of a delightful afternoon. Perhaps showers were really meant as a warning of the drudgery looming beyond the veil of the wedding-day.
Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,” where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdotes
You may read about a sentimental succubus, a vengeful seamstress’s ghost, Victorian mourning gone horribly wrong, and, of course, Mrs Daffodil’s efficient tidying up after a distasteful decapitation in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales.