Old-fashioned bridal shower ideas for party decor, food & more

A bride from 1920

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Weddings have changed a lot in the past century — and so have the parties for the bride-to-be! Here’s a look back at some sweet old-fashioned bridal shower ideas from the first decades of the 20th century.

Cakes and candy flowers for the bridal table (1911)

Cakes and candy flowers for the bridal table (1911)

Old-fashioned bridal shower ideas: A trousseau tea party (1920)

The Evening Missourian (Columbia, Mo.) June 2, 1920

Whether it is to be the simplest of ceremonies, with only the necessary witnesses, or a formal function attended by all the pomp and ceremony with which time and tradition have invested the occasion, the trousseau is an all-absorbing subject to the bride-to-be and her friends.

“Oh, Madge, you are going to show me your linens and trousseau before you are married, aren’t you?” is the persistent question familiar to all brides-to-be.

A bride of last season complained that she almost wished she had not collected such a trousseau, because she had to take out all of the things to show friends, and then replace them so often.

One girl thought on the question, and finally decided to give a trousseau tea.

A pretty trousseau tea party for bride-to-be (1920)

The tea party for the bride-to-be

All of her friends who asked to see her things, or who she knew would see her things, or who she knew would, they arrived she had all of her linen, lingerie, house dresses and aprons pressed and looking their best.

MORE: What should you put in a hope chest? A look back at this old tradition

On the tables, she placed them in attractive arrangements. On one bed were all the pillow slips and fancy sheets, on another the table linen, and on. Still another was her prettiest lingerie. On hangers around the rooms were placed her house dresses and negligee. (For more on that topic, see this article: 1920s lingerie, women’s underwear, corsets & more: Take a peek!

After the guests had admired all of the things, they were taken downstairs and served light refreshments. Thus in one afternoon, the bride-to-be had saved herself the time and trouble of showing her trousseau to each friend individually, and all the things had looked their nicest. She had also given a small social affair with a minimum of work.

Bridal ideas for announcements, showers and weddings – Table decorations (1914)

New bridal ideas for announcements showers and weddings (1914)

Old-fashioned bridal shower ideas for the traveling bride

The Ogden Standard (Ogden City, Utah) August 14, 1913

Here is a clever suggestion for the hostess to the bride-to-be, whose honeymoon will include a trip abroad.

A pretty shower I went to last year I was carried out with Jean Inglelow’s verse:

Heigh, ho! daisies and buttercups,
Fair yellow daffodils stately and tall.
A sunshiny world full of laughter and leisure.
And fresh hearts unconscious of sorrow and thrall.

The hostess used white cards written with gold ink, and explained it to be a sunshine shower for the bride, who was to cross the sea on her honeymoon. She asked each guest to do up her gift in white with yellow ribbon and send to her the day before the shower.

Vintage dresses from the 1910s - party clothing

The centerpiece was a steamer bearing the colors of the line on which the bride was to sail, also the stars and stripes. The gifts were put on the steamer, each fastened with a yellow ribbon hung over the side of the boat. At either end of the table were brass vases filled with daffodils, daisies and buttercups. The candles were yellow in brass candle holders, with shades of yellow. The place cards were anchors of gilted paper with name in blue ink with a good wish for the bride-to-be.

When refreshments were served, the girls pulled a ribbon, bringing the packages off the ship, then put in a pretty box, tied with gold cord and gold seals: each girl put on a seal for good luck. The packages wore marked to be opened one each day while on the boat (if more than eight girls, you may open two each day). Then we all put a few stitches on the bride’s lingeries for a good omen from her dearest girl friends.

Laundry bridal shower

I attended a “laundry shower” recently. Each girl guest was told to bring a laundry gift — such as basket, clotheslines, clothespins and bag, clothes horse, boiler, iron board, irons, covers for ironing board, etc.

One end of the dining room was fitted up as a laundry, and after the luncheon, each guest had to give an illustrated talk of how to use the article she brought. It was more than amusing, as it showed how few really knew just the proper use of the laundry articles.

Personal gifts for the spring bride (from 1915)

Personal gifts for the spring bride (from 1915)

A bride’s luncheon – Party menu ideas from 1901

A bride's luncheon - Menu ideas (1901)

Bridal party lunch menu ideas from 1901

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