Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue...this week I had a bride from Australia, whose parents are from Greece and Malta and she was talking about this very old wedding rhyme, which got me thinking about Cayman wedding traditions again.
I am often asked if there are wedding traditions and customs unique to Cayman. One such tradition has to do with the champagne cork, and I have written about this before. In Cayman we have customs which are handed down by word-of-mouth, the origins of these have been lost in the mists of time.
Perhaps it has to do with the fact that in those days, everything had to be imported from somewhere else, usuallly the port town that Caymanian men frequented like Port Arthur, Texas, Mobile, Alabama etc. Caymanian men were sailors and they would buy and bring the bridal trosseau home when they came home on leave. My mother once told me that her entire trosseau was bought and brought home by three of her uncles.
The brides-to-be, would store these items in their "Hope Chest" sometimes for years, before the happy event. I remember one of my cousins showing me her Hope Chest when we were still
teenagers. I can still remember the hand-crocheted antimicasters, since you also collected household linens etc to take to your new home.
When I was a bride, 37 years ago, one such tradition was "the laying out of the Bridal Trosseau"
I have never seen this written about anywhere else, certainly the modern Caymanian brides don't seem to know about it. After her engagement, but before her wedding the Bride-to-be would lay out all her finery on her bed, yes, everything including lingerie, and invite her friends to come over to see it. There was a proscribed number of things you were supposed to have. I remember I had seven nightgowns. Then there was the matter of "The Second Dress", or the going away dress you changed into after the reception. My Second Dress was a pink hot-pants number, those were the first mini-dress years, and everybody found it very daring. After the inpection of the trosseau, everybody had punch and corn-beef sandwiches, and cake of course, so it was sort of like a bridal shower.
I don't hear very much about Bridal Showers today, but years ago it was unheard of not to have one. The most important thing was that it was supposed to be a surprise! No men were allowed anywhere near the event, since they would have been shocked to hear the bawdy jokes and see the pranks the girls got up to. Of course the BTB sat under a decorated umbrella. The idea of a Bridal Register was very new in those days, so the gifts were very ordinary, every day things like towels sets, and pyrex dishes.
For my shower, the Maid of Honour was coming in from New York, and my sister was too young, so I planned the whole thing myself (and then looked suitably shocked, and delighted)!