Thursday, 7 March 2019

Which Came First...

...the hen or the egg-cup?
That's not the usual riddle I know, but bear with me. 
A friend posted about her breakfast and included a picture of her boiled egg, in a charming egg-cup. When I commented on the e-c she said it was the last of the set she had as an engagement present. I started thinking about engagement presents, and brides-to-be, and How Things Have Changed Since My Day.
Back then, a high proportion of women lived at home till they got married- and so the marital home was the first time they'd 'properly' lived away from Mum and Dad. So an engagement was often the time when people started collecting homewares for their "Bottom Drawer". The orange tablecloth pictured is the one I embroidered for my bottom drawer when I was 18. I was at Uni, and my landlady's sister ran the Kenilworth Woolshop. They gave me this cloth, and the silks so I could make something for my BD. It was the 70s, so it was trendily orange. Only 36" sdquare, the cloth is quite small. I used it on our tiny table when we were first married, but it has been in a box in the loft for years! As far as I can remember nothing else was ever made for my BD. And when I met Bob a few years later, we only received one engagement present.

The Celery Jar. Unfortunately when it was given, it was in a box, wrapped up, and I was told "Be careful, it is heavy and breakable". I mistakenly thought I was getting a colourful chunky glass vase. To unwrap an olive green pottery face with hairy eyebrows, which looked rather like Dennis Healey, was a teensy bit disappointing! But I have kept it all these years anyway.

Do people still receive engagement presents? So often these days, couples have lived away from home for years, maybe already living with their intended- so they already have all the bits and pieces needed for setting up home.
When I was engaged and about to be married, I never had a Hen Party, but 'Hen Dos' are much more popular now. I have some photos of Lucy's Tea Party. There were a couple of dozen of us, and we sat either side of a long table. There was one tired stand of food between every set of three guests. Sandwiches, scones and cakes. Kelly, Lucy's friend had prepared a quiz "How well do you know the Bride" [which Steph won] and we also had to write down good advice for newlyweds. We signed a card with a kiss [what a range of lipstick colours!] to "Kiss goodbye to the Miss" and generally had fun.
Don't ask me about the other guests - I've no idea!
Were you given engagement presents?
And did you have a Hen Party?


  1. I have three daughters and they seem to be attending endless hen parties, often over a weekend and sometimes abroad. It’s costs them a fortune. Then there is the wedding. Now they are commencing the next round: baby showers. I’ve never had that level of celebratory impulse.

  2. That celery jar is very unique! My daughter attended an engagement party, for one of her friends, and she bought a set of stemless wine glasses with a saying on them, about happiness being homemade and paired it with a bottle of wine to give as an engagement present. I didn't receive any engagement presents, but then, I didn't have an engagement; I just got married! LOL!


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