Advantage - What can be Purchased for £25
She may be a girl who works for her living, and even if she has parents in a position to give her one, she may very probably prefer to pay for it herself rather than inconvenience them in any way. There are many generous fathers and mothers only too willing to cripple themselves for months, perhaps even years, in order to provide their girl with everything she can possibly need in the way of clothes, and, in addition, a good send-off in the shape of a pretty wedding and a reception party, to which all friends of the parents as well as of the young couple are invited. This is a capital thing to do, because it supplies the new menage with a circle of friends and acquaintances.
It has often been set down to a love of show and a sort of snobbishness when parents make an elaborate marriage feast for one of their children who is going to be married. In some instances this may be the moving power, but far more often it is out of pure love and consideration for the member of the family who is about to leave home, probably for ever.
With regard to the trousseau, there are many ways of making it quite inexpensive. No girl would care to go to her husband with an insufficient supply of clothes, and to have to ask him for money to buy more before the end of the first year of married life. Men, perhaps, do not think of this kind of thing, but a nice-spirited girl sees how very uncomfortable she would feel in such a case. Therefore she puts her wits to work to supply herself as inexpensively as may be consistent with thoroughness.
Let us take the various items of the trousseau, and see what a girl with clever fingers and perhaps a sewing-machine may do towards providing herself with the outfit. The very first and most important item is the wedding-gown. It must be white, but apart from that it may be of either expensive or very moderately priced material. Voile, whether silk or wool, is to be recommended, because it looks pretty, wears well, and can be dyed to any colour after it has become a little discoloured. In fact, it may be dyed three or four times.
Another suitable material for an inexpensive wedding-gown is one of the wool-backed satin variety. This is so soft and supple that it drapes to perfection. It also washes well, and will dye for wear later on. As these materials are double-width, their cost, from about 3s. a yard, is not excessive If a "cashmere de soie" (in which the wool is mixed with silk) can be afforded, it is an ideal fabric, and one that will prove of good value to the prospective bride. Trimmed with white ribbon, or embroidery, finished with a white satin belt, and accompanied by white shoes and stockings, it is a wedding gown for the fairest of brides. There are other inexpensive but durable materials that would be eminently proper for the purpose, patterns of which can be had from any draper.
Another means of providing very sensible, and, at the same time, becoming, wedding raiment is to be married in travelling dress. This has become quite the fashion, to a certain degree, in even those classes where expense need not be considered. Several smart brides have chosen to wear travelling dress, and thereby to avoid what is always a most fatiguing experience - namely, the reception after the wedding. In some cases they have driven direct from the church to the railway station. A very smart afternoon costume does excellently well for this purpose, and by the word "smart" I mean relative to the social position of the girl. In this way a "best " afternoon dress is provided which will be useful for at least twelve months, if not more.
With either of the above dresses some kind of coat must be provided, and this is an article of dress which is relatively expensive. It is unwise to buy a cheap one. The material is poor, the cut is indifferent, and consequently the wear is far from satisfactory. Such coats as these come in their tens of thousands from Germany, and from unskilled tailors in our own England. Not less than 25s. should be allotted to the purchase of a really good and well-cut garment. It need not be specially made for the young bride. There are shops in all large towns where ready-made coats of excellent appearance, and up to the mark in every way, can be bought.
Now, as to the trousseau itself, apart from the bridal attire, there are means of reducing it to dimensions that come well within the possibilities of a shallow purse. If a girl sends for one of the lists of the West End tradespeople, she is likely to be terrified by the number of garments set down therein, and the prices affixed to them. But on close examination she will find that many of the articles are unnecessary, and that in some cases the prices are higher than she feels prepared to pay, especially as with a little management she can acquire them for much less money.
Where Money May be Saved
This is an age of cheapness, and underwear can now be bought ready-made almost as cheaply as it can be made at home, even if girls possess the necessary skill with scissors and sewing-machine. But there is another item of the wardrobe in which it is possible to save very largely by home work - i.e., blouses and silk slips. Many girls manage to dress handsomely on a small allowance by making all their blouses at home. They turn out perfectly finished lace, silk, muslin, and embroidered linen blouses at a merely nominal cost.
There are always cheap sales where blouses, slips, petticoats, and even stockings, can be bought at extremely - in some cases almost incredibly - low prices for ready money.