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( Originally Published Early 1900's )
How shall I announce my engagement?". The engaged girl we have always with us, and the next step after the engagement is the announcement of it. Most girls like to have some kind of little social function to break the news to their special circle of friends. Usually a mother or a sister or a chum does the entertaining, though a girl herself may perfectly well plan and carry out such a party.
There are several sorts of affairs which may serve as a setting for an announcement. A favorite kind is a luncheon for a group of girl friends. Even less work is an afternoon tea and to that a girl's men friends may be asked also, though it's really easier to have girls only. Another kind of announcement party is the evening affair to which both men and girl friends are invited and at which the announcement should be "sprung" as a total surprise as in all other announcement affairs.
After the engagement is known, immediately the friends of the bride-to-be begin to think of showers for her. One friend or a group of friends or her club may be hostesses and give such an affair.
There are different ways of planning them. For instance, they may be appropriate to the month, like a Christmas Tree Shower in December or an Indian Summer Shower in November or a Rainy Day Shower in April. Or they may take as keynotes the engaged girl's special likes, as in the case of an apple shower, a kitty shower or an old rose shower. And then again, they may be just plain, ordinary, handkerchief showers, or linen showers, or kitchen showers, with an original touch somewhere.
"A LITTLE BIRD TOLD ME" LUNCHEON
AT a recent engagement luncheon the announcement was made in a unique -way.
A large wooden embroidery hoop was hung from the ceiling over the table and in the ring perched a gaily painted wooden parrot, the kind that rocks back and forth when touched.
From the parrot streamers of colored baby ribbon led to the different places, and tied to the ends of the ribbons were tiny notes in envelopes. These on being opened showed the names of the engaged couple and a short rhyme reading thus:
A little bird told me
The refreshments followed somewhat the parrot color scheme, with halves of grapefruit garnished with cherries, chicken a la King, pimento, walnut and cream cheese salad, orange ice, and little cakes with colored frosting.
Small celluloid parrots perched on the rims of the glasses were appropriate souvenirs.
A HAPPINESS TEA
Sing a song of sixpence,
When the pie was opened
Thus did one girl announce her engagement in the month of May. She had asked twenty-four of her best friends to come to a bluebird tea one Saturday afternoon, and nobody suspected her secret, although they did remember that the bluebird stands for happiness.
The party was held out on the hostess's big porch, which was decorated with jars of pink and white apple blossoms. Everybody had a very good time dancing to the music of the phonograph until it was time for the tea to be served. The waitresses were Betty's two little sisters, ' who wore as insignia big blue bows on their hair and cunning little aprons made of bluebird cretonne.
The tea was iced and served with lemon and mint in tall glasses. The sandwiches were tiny and round and filled with pink strawberry jam which made them seem like delectable apple-blossom petals. Betty happened to have bluebird plates and she used paper napkins with a bluebird motif.
After the sandwiches came little pink and green and white frosted cakes and last of all the surprise. It appeared to be a great pie with bluebird heads peeking through the crust. In reality the crust was just brown paper touched up with a bit of water color paint and pasted across the top of a big open pan. The bluebirds soon showed what they were when the guests in turn pulled them out of the pie by means of the narrow white ribbon attached to each one. They were really flat pasteboard bluebirds and served as the excuse for the rhyme announcing Betty's engagement.
As a souvenir each guest had a tiny bluebird May basket filled with pink and white Jordan almonds. Small square boxes formed the foundations of the May baskets, the sides were then covered with bluebird crepe paper and the corners tied with wee blue bows. Little cut-out bluebirds hung from the slender handles and bore the names of the individual guests.
When they said good-by, the guests all declared that they had had a bluebirdy time, which in other words meant that Betty had planned very happily.
A HELLO PARTY
The invitations to this party read as follows:
Hello! hello! hello!
The affair was planned by one girl to announce the engagement of a chum, and of course the object of the party was not revealed in the invitations.
All kinds of jolly games were played to pass the evening, and one pleasant feature was "A Telephonic Conversation" by Mark Twain rendered by a good reader.
The telephone was the keynote of the evening and played a prominent part in the table decorations. A big blue paper bell such as one sees in front of telephone booths hung over the center of the table. Beneath it was a low bowl of forget-me-nots of which the guests did not see the significance till later.
The candles were white with blue bellshaped shades, and at each person's plate as a favor stood one of the tiny glass telephones seen in candy stores, full of candies.
The place-cards each bore a mock telephone number, such as Sing 1236, Circle 6320, Joke 5156, Shiver 9315, Groan 231.
The menu was mostly white and served on blue dishes. It consisted of chicken patties, hot rolls, cream cheese and white grape salad, and vanilla ice-cream in blue frilled paper cases.
Toward the end of the ice-cream course the hostess asked the guests to announce their telephone numbers, in turn. Whereupon, each person was requested to rise from the table and act out his number. This was comparatively simple and made everyone quite hilarious.
When it came the turn of the hostess, she said that her number was Springit 42. The two (2), she said, were Elizabeth and John, and this was the time she had chosen to spring the announcement of their engagement.
- Another way in which the announcement could be made is to prepare telephone messages of the news and tie them to the ends of blue ribbons hanging from the tongue of the bell. The hostess may announce that the "bell tolled" when the guests are allowed to open and read their messages.
AN APPLE SHOWER
A GIRL who was very fond of apples in every form, so much so that all her friends knew about it, was given a clever shower after she became engaged.
The invitations were cut in apple shape and tinted a little with red and green water colors. The following verses voiced the plan of the party and notified the guests:
Invitation to a Shower
Apples, apples everywhere
The first amusement of the afternoon was an apple-guessing contest, the names of different varieties of apples to be guessed from literal definitions, thus: The Royal Apple - King. After that there was an apple-peeling contest in Hallowe'en fashion and each girl threw the peeling over her left shoulder to discover the initial of her future husband.
Immediately following this, the hostess, with the help of one of the other girls, brought in a big bushel basket apparently filled with huge rosy apples, and set it down before the guest of honor.
When the green ribbon around the stem of each make-believe apple was untied, the red crepe paper opened out, disclosing, in wrappings of soft cotton, a variety of gifts for the apple-loving girl.
There was an up-to-date corer and a plate for baking apples, a fat plush apple pincushion for the kitchen, a red apple "bank" with a slit for savings, one of the beautiful Wallace Nutting photographs of a New Engiand apple tree in full pink and white bloom, an artistic brown basket for apples to be kept on the buffet or used for the breakfast table, and a delightful fruit bowl with an apple border.
One girl had contributed a little booklet of choice apple recipes, a jar of apple butter and another of home-made apple sauce. One artistic member of the group had stenciled a crash table runner for the porch table with a conventional apple design in yellow and orange and green, and another girl put the same design very decoratively on a round box of painted tin.
Two of the prettiest gifts were a cunning sports handkerchief with a cluster of apples stamped in one corner, and a smart flat silk hat ornament in the shape of three apples.
Before the happy bride-to-be had finished exclaiming over her gifts, the hostess served buffet refreshments that were as pretty as they were delicious. There were little individual molds of pink apple tapioca, topped with whipped cream and accompanied by imall home-made cakes, frosted uniquely.
Each one had in the center of its white icing a miniature apple bough as a decoration, made from two red maraschino cherries, two leafshaped pieces of green angelica and a bit of citron.
As a surprise for each girl, the hostess had provided a tiny bunch of apple sachets, easily made from scraps of apple-colored silks.
"I like apples more than ever now that I've begun to see their possibilities," the guest of honor declared.
AN OLD ROSE SHOWER
For a girl who was very fond of everything rose-colored, her friends planned an "old-rose" shower on Valentine's Day.
As a result, among the gifts were rosecolored silk stockings, a rose-flowered silk party bag, an old-rose boudoir cap, slippers to match, and towels with old-rose initials. Each gift was wrapped in white tissue paper and tied with old-rose ribbon, and they were all presented on a big tray, the bottom of which was rose-flowered cretonne under glass.
The refreshments were raspberry ice and tiny cakes frosted in rose and white, and each guest carried away as a favor a wee glove handkerchief with an old-rose border.
A KITTY SHOWER
It sounds odd, but the engaged girl for whom it was given was so very fond of pussy cats that her chum knew that a kitty shower would just exactly suit her.
The invitations, written on cats cut from heavy paper, read this way:
Since Elizabeth -An is so fond of the kitty Don't you agree that 'twould be a great pity If we missed a good chance now for making a hit
By each bringing her some kind of a kit?
The bride-to-be suspected nothing when she was asked to a kitty luncheon at her chum's house.
The table had as decorations a centerpiece of pussy willows and yellow tulips, and the candle shades were made of yellow parchment paper with black silhouettes of cats running around them.
At each girl's place was a tiny china cat with a yellow ribbon bow on its neck to which was tied the place-card.
There was no attempt to carry out the kitty idea in the menu, but it was yellow throughout. The first course was grapefruit, then followed scalloped oysters garnished with lemon slices, chicken and mayonnaise salad, individual baked custards, and sunshine cake.
Upon withdrawing from the table, it was announced that "Pussy was in the well," and forthwith a deep cylindrical waste-basket trimmed with pussy willows was brought in and set before the guest of honor, who was requested to be the one to "pull pussy out."
With a dawning understanding of the meaning of this, the bride-to-be reached in and drew one by one from the waste-basket the "kits" which had been placed there for her. Each one was tied with yellow ribbon and had a black cat pasted on it.
The gifts were all very clever. There was a traveler's sewing kit, a small blacking kit, a wee laundry kit for motoring, a handy kit containing baggage tags, rubber bands, and the like, an emergency kit with safety pins and threaded needle for her handbag, a guest towel with a cross-stitch kitty on one end, a cream pitcher and sugar bowl with a kitten border, a quaint kitten door stop, a painted wooden kitten twine holder, a pair of Angora skating gloves, an odd little sewing apron with linen cats appliqued on the corners, and a knitting bag of cretonne which pictured Pussin-Boots prominently among other Mother Goose People.
When the excitement of the shower was over, a guessing contest was played, each answer being a word in which the syllable "cat" figured. This very jolly afternoon ended with a really hilarious game of Pussin-the-corner.
A CAMP FIRE SHOWER
A jolly crowd of young people who had been camping together a great deal gave a lively shower to two of their number who were announcing their engagement.
The affair took place in the city in the winter time and was very informal.
After the "bunch" had gathered, someone suggested that they play charades, one of their favorite diversions.
The engaged persons were chosen to sit with the hostess before the open fire and pretend they were in camp. The word selected was not made known to them, however.
The others all retired into the next room and came back shortly, wrapped in raincoats and sou'westers, each one carrying a knobby package.
"Shower!" they shouted in chorus, throwing their bundles at the group by the fire.
The parcels contained all kinds of camp conveniences. There was a camp kit containing knives and forks and spoons, a collapsible drinking cup, a thermos bottle, a pocket compass, an electric flashlight, a folding mirror, a pocket corkscrew, a folding camp grate, a folding camp stool, a folding alcohol stove with a pot, and a pocket camera.
The engaged couple were taken entirely by surprise, for they had supposed the party to be only one of many sociable evenings which the crowd were in the habit of having.
The refreshments were reminiscent of camp and were served on wooden plates around the fire in picnic fashion. The menu consisted of hot bacon and roll sandwiches, dill pickles, coffee, and marshmallows toasted over the flames.
A "ONE I LOVE" SHOWER
The invitations were made of white water color paper cut in the shape of daisies, with centers tinted yellow. Scattered over the petals were the following lines:
One I love,
On all the invitations but the guest of honor's was added: "In honor of Marion's engagement. Please send your remembrance to me the day before."
This direction was put on so that the gifts could all be wrapped in advance by the hostess in white tissue paper, tied with yellow baby ribbon and a big artificial daisy tucked into the knot. Piled on a tray they were brought to the surprised little bride-to-be on the afternoon of the party. The entertainment fulfilled the promise of the invitation in this way:
A large paper daisy with many petals was hung against the wall and each guest was given a pointer and asked to select a petal at random. On the back of each petal was written a little fortune rhyme somewhat on the order of this one:
"Five! he loves -good pumpkin pie,
The refreshments were served in buffet style in the dining room. In the center of the table was a blossoming pot of marguerites. There were individual daisy salads, formed by little mounds of chicken salad covered with yellow mayonnaise and surrounded by a fringe of petals cut from the whites of hardboiled eggs. With the salad simple bread and butter sandwiches were eaten.
As a second course, frozen custard in paper cups with borders of. white paper petals was served with squares of angel cake, frosted in yellow, and squares of sunshine cake, frosted in white.
The principal feature, however, and the final one, was the favor pie. A big imitation daisy was made from a round basket, by covering the top with yellow paper and surrounding the edge with as many petals as there were guests. Each guest was asked to pull a petal from the daisy, and in so doing drew from the basket a tiny doll dressed like a "rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief, doctor, lawyer, merchant or chief." The girl whose fate was already assured had been guided to choose a particular petal and her favor doll proved to be dressed in the garb of her fiance's profession.
FORTUNE RHYMES FOR A "ONE I LOVE" SHOWER
1. If you'll only wait a while Some one nice will make you smile.
2. You will have to choose between Walking or a limousine.
3. If you only ONLY knew Who was thinking much of you.
4. At a motion picture show From the screen your fate you'll know.
5. Something nice you'll sure know In about a week or so.
6. Don't despise Hazel eyes.
&. Far across the briny sea Comes thy lover now to thee.
8. Your career you'll surely ship And substitute a wedding trip.
9 A dance, a ride, a moonlit lawn, Your heart will be completely gone.
io. One - two - three - The third it will be.
11. Beware, beware the eyes of blue Or they'll surely capture you.
12. Your intellect will meet its equal, Happy though will be the sequel.
13. A word, a smile, a bow, Married in a year from now.
14.. Try a smile For a while To beguile.
15. You will travel far away Sixteen years from yesterday.
AN INDIAN SUMMER SHOWER
For the girl who is to be married in the winter, an Indian Summer Shower might be given some November evening. The cards of invitation can have a little brown Indian wigwam painted in one corner, or cut out of brown paper and pasted on; or the invitations can be written on pieces of white birch bark, if you happened to have gathered and saved any from the summer vacation. Paper imitation of birch bark might also be used. Put all the gifts, wrapped in brown tissue paper and tied with gay ribbons, in a toy wigwam which you can make with three sticks and a piece of brown burlap. When the right time comes, the engaged girl is led up to the wigwam and asked to receive the gifts. If there is a small brother or cousin who can be dressed up in an Indian suit to hand out the presents, so much the better.
The hostess may make this any kind of shower she wishes.
After the wigwam has been sacked, it would be fun if you could sit around the open fire to pop corn or toast marshmallows and play the Indian Summer game of "Pipe Dreams." Each girl writes out an imaginary dream of the bride's future. The dreams are read by the hostess, and then each dream paper is consigned to the fire.
The refreshments ought to be very simple, and may consist of hot chocolate and little chocolate cakes, cone-shaped to simulate wigwams, or they may be merely apples, nuts, pop-corn, and sweet cider. Serve the nuts and apples in Indian baskets.
A CHRISTMAS TREE SHOWER
For the bride who announces her engagement in December, a Christmas tree shower might be given Christmas week. Send out cards of invitation in the shape of small Christmas trees, or else paste or paint little evergreen trees on white cards. Ask the guests to bring something small enough to be hung on a little Christmas tree. The bride should be asked to come a little later than the others, so that they may have time to hang their gifts on the tree.
The tree may be as elaborate as you wish to make it. Where trees are hard to procure, a cunning little one on a table is quite large enough. It can be decked with gold and silver hearts and candy kisses, and on its branches should hang the shower gifts, prettily wrapped and tied.
When the bride arrives, she must strip the tree. Among its treasures may be English walnut shells, gilded and tied together, with fortune verses inside. The hostess provides one of these for each guest.
The refreshments may consist of sandwiches cut in the shape of Christmas trees and filled with green pepper and cream cheese; caraway cookies cut in the shape of Christmas trees; and hot chocolate, with a sprig of evergreen tied by a tiny bow of red to each cup-handle.
This affair could be planned specifically as a handkerchief, hosiery or kitchen shower.