Hope Chests?

posted 5 months ago in Traditions
Post # 2
195 posts
Blushing bee

Hope chests were very practical because a woman would often arrive in a marriage with little to nothing of her own. It was a lot less frequent for people to move out on their own and have independent lives before marriage; they’d go directly from family home to spousal home. I do know people who still do hope chests, but they’re friends who belong to an extremely conservative religious order where their whole identity is tied to homemaking and they’re typically married before 22 or thereabouts. Sewing projects, baby clothes, family heirloom quilts, plus little decorations and things they want on their mantlepiece when they move into a new home. 

I don’t think Pinterest is a good analogue for that.

Post # 3
6627 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: January 2050

ladyspectrum :  That’s an interesting way of looking at it. One big difference though is that the hope chest contains actual stuff. Pinterest is things you want, a hope chest is things you have. When my husband’s grandma passed away, her hope chest went to her oldest granddaughter. I agree with you that it’s a dying tradition.

Post # 4
4993 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

ladyspectrum :  Pinterest is just a wishful thinking list, to me.  Nothing you pin there is something that you can take with you in reality to your marriage.  As mentioned above, we’re talking about quilts and doilies and the like with a real hope chest.  And yes, my grandmother did have one, it’s in my mom’s room now.  I did not, but I did have some inherited things that were mine, to go for when I got married, like a quilt and good china that was my grandma’s.  Had I not gotten married, I presume I’d have still been given them when I purchased a permanent home.  They were just in storage at my parents’ house.

Post # 5
79 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: December 2017

I think I have more of a ‘hope rubbermaid’ lol. Theres a few items I’ve collected over the years, and have always dreamed of having a nice cedar chest to put things in but have never been able to afford one.

Post # 6
119 posts
Blushing bee

My mom has a hope chest, but she uses it to store priceless/sentamental posessions and memorabilia (photos, keepsakes, etc.). Like you, I use Pinterest to help plan and organize things (home improvements, clothes, recipes, and yes, bridal planning stuff), but some are posts are just wishful thinking, not actual “I am going to buy and use this in the future” things.

Post # 7
1490 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2019

I have one! My dad made it for me when I was a little girl and I take it with me wherever I go (I even made space for it in my dorm room). Mine is fairly large so during my senior year of high school, I crammed it full of things for my dorm room. After moving back home, my FI (bf at the time) decided to move in together so we filled the chest with home necessities. It now sits at the end of our bed FULL of wedding related things that we have been acquiring for about the last year or so.

Mine is obviously very sentimental to me because my dad made it with his own hands especially for me. I plan to fill it with baby items when the day comes and then use it as a way to store special things for our children and eventually pass it on to one of them. 

Post # 9
281 posts
Helper bee

I think this is a very sweet tradiiton and I could see doing something like this for my (future) children, because I have inherited a lot of ancestral jewelry and what not.

…But the first time I heard the words ‘hope chest’ was in a less inoccent context on ‘Mad Men.’ I believe that was a reference to a suitcase/bag a woman would have with her in the event that she slept over at a date’s house. 🙂 

Post # 10
2205 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

ladyspectrum :  I’m Australian born but my parents migrated as small children from Italy with their parents. (My grandparents) My siblings and I all had a hope chest of sorts which both of my grandmothers contributed to over the years. Every time they found good quality linen ware, bedding, tablecloths, towels etc they would buy them in quantity for each of their grandchildren. They would also make stuff like crotchet blankets or tablecloths to add to the collection.

It is/was pretty custom for this to happen within my migrant background. Younger generations  don’t but older ones did. I actually loved receiving my hope chest when I got married. My grandmother’s have passed and every time I use one of the things from my hope chest, it reminds me of these two very different but amazing women who shaped who I am and I really feel the link to my past and heritage.  Lots of this stuff was from many years ago and the quality is amazing. They just don’t make them like they used to with linen type items. So not only are they lovely but it causes us to think of these people when their items make its way into use. It also makes you realise how lucky you are to have been thought of by these women and how much they loved you. Ours was never dependant on when we got married. It was for life when you establish a home of your own. My grandparents did it for both boys and girls which isn’t so customary. I had traditional but modern grandma’s!! 😉 It may be outdated to some but to me it’s a beautiful tradition…

As for Pinterest being a modern substitute, I actually don’t think that is true. Its stuff you pin that you like. A true hope chest is home making stuff you or others purchase/make to put aside for your future. 



Post # 11
2017 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 29th, 2016

ladyspectrum :  Hope chests used to be a big thing and some of my cousins (mid 20s) still have/had them. My mom told me to start one but all I bought were two baby outfits that I thought were cute lol Some women buy things like lingerie, bedding, china, etc. to go in theirs. It’s a nice idea, I just never really got all the way on board. It was fun making a registry with my husband and picking things out together, so I wouldn’t have really used one for future housewares. I don’t think you can really compare Pinterest because it’s just a site/app for inspiration and ideas. 

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