A person's life is a treasure trove of memories. Little pearls of special moments string together and make a beautiful collection that brings smile to our face when we are grey and ancient.
For me, one particular moment has always stood out in all of my twenty-something years. I must have been about eight or nine when one day my mother took out a wooden box. Its insides were lined with maroon velvet, and a set of gleaming silver cutlery lay nestled in the luxurious cocoon of the luscious velvet.
My mother disclosed that these were a very special set of heirloom cutlery her mother gave her when she got married. "And now, I'm saving them up for your wedding," she whispered, polishing each piece of flatware with a cloth like they were precious jewels.
I was too young to understand the value of those cutlery pieces or my mother's words then, but it became clear to me when years later that precious wooden box and its contents accompanied me after I got married and moved to a new house. These days, when I entertain guests, those cutlery become the star of my beautifully laid dining table. Compliments abound, and I secretly thank the thoughtful women who bequeathed such priceless treasure upon me!
That's the beauty and value of a trousseau. Collected over years, they are not only beautiful objects but hold priceless sentimental values passed down to posterity. A wedding marks the most important transition in a woman's life, and such objects of desire help her start a new life and tackle its challenges on a right note.
A thing of beauty is a joy forever, Keats said, and it rings especially true for trousseau. Traditionally, a trousseau consists of beautiful saris, handmade shawls, linens, jewellery, precious china, crystal objects and any other object a new bride may find desirable and useful for her new life and role. Such items and more have always been considered crucial for a bride's initiation into her new life.
A modern Bangladeshi bride is a woman of the world who is urban and sophisticated while rooted in tradition. She is well-travelled and well-versed in different cultures, which contributes to her global outlook on life.
It is all well that her mother and grandmother has collected twenty kataan saris with silver and gold threadwork for her, along with heavy Jamewar shawls but she needs a whole host of other things to equip her for a new life.
The modern bride needs a bridal wardrobe that is versatile and practical, interspersed with fancy, opulent items. A selection of different materials and fabrics will not only allow for more diversity, but it will ensure one gets a good deal of wear out of it.
A couple of French chiffon, Crepe de Chine and lace saris in interesting colours and blouses are essential, as is a couple of muslin and lightweight cotton saris in pastel shades. Net saris with crystals and pearls look glamorous and fun. Try to include traditional, timeless elements such as Jamdani and Benarasi saris, along with the requisite Kanjeevaram and heavy brocade ones.
In terms of salwar kameez sets, choose a few heavily embroidered options alongside regular day wear, but try not to go overboard as trends tend to change rapidly. Opt for a gown-style lehenga instead that is fabulous, trendy alternative to a heavy sari. Include interesting details such as Pashmina shawls, and French lace stoles for colder evenings.
For honeymoon and overseas trips, keep in mind the location. Pack flowing kaftans, maxi dresses and cotton cover ups along with swim wear if you are honeymooning by the beach. Pick denims, tailored pants, interesting blouses, tops and scarves if you are heading to a vibrant city. A smart cocktail dress or a sheath dress may also come in handy for dinners and night-outs so plan accordingly.
Accessories make or break an outfit. Footwear is crucial for new brides. A few fancy, bejewelled high heels as well as flats in metallic shades such as gold and silver are essential for pairing with traditional ensembles.
For honeymoon, opt for flat sandals in bright colours and patterns if you are heading towards the beach. For all other purposes, a few sensible shoes in shades such as beige, black and brown with medium or low heel will do. While travelling do not forget to pack comfy ballet flats or loafers.
A few dainty clutches in metallic shades should see you through all those post-wedding parties you will be invited to. For other night outs and gatherings, pick a medium-sized purse with chain straps that are trending right now.
Opt for an interesting print or colour, such as burgundy, navy or beige. A faux python or alligator skin purse looks really chic too. Pack a bright, breezy tote that will hold your beachside essentials during honeymoon, or alternatively invest in a designer leather handbag if you are heading to a chic city destination.
A very important element that is sometimes overlooked by brides is sensual lingerie in luxurious materials like lace, satin and silk. Pick a few matching sets of undergarments with rhinestones and sparkles that will speak to your inner diva. A couple of negligee and nighties in rich colours like gold, red, maroon and pink will add extra sparkle to those special nights!
Apart from wardrobe, there are other essential elements that make a trousseau complete. Linens may not have been a part of your wish list before but a few special sets in pretty colour and design will add elegance to you living quarters. Embroidered bedspreads, pillow cases and cushion covers with silk, satin and lace inlays look beautiful and are perfect for special occasions. Do not forget to pick some simple options too.
Table linens and napkins should also be a part of your trousseau, along with runners, silver candle stands and flatware. If traditional elements are not your style, then go for simple, modern styles that will reflect your personality. Beautiful photo frames that will hold your wedding pictures can also be included in your trove. Last but not the least; choose a carrier that will hold all your valuables. A smart suitcase in bridal red will announce your arrival at your new house with style and panache!
Wardrobe: HUMAIRA KHAN FOR ANOKHI