Why Wear White?

Most brides today look for a white wedding gown, but did you know that this color was not always in style? 

During the Middle Ages Western European brides wore dark, jewel-tone colors made from the most luxurious fabrics.  Blue was a common color since it was the symbol of purity in the day.  This is how we got the “Something Blue” wedding rhyme that we still say today.  These brides wore their social class outwardly in their rich, colorful gowns made from fur, silk, velvet, precious stones, and gold and silver thread.           

Brides from the East, such as China, India, and Vietnam, traditionally wore dresses of red and gold silks.  Red was and is considered a bold color of good fortune in this part of the world.  In China, the traditional gown may be embroidered with a dragon and phoenix design to symbolize the balance of male and female power.  Indian brides can wear most any color since women have traditionally been seen as alluring, beautiful flowers and held in high esteem within their culture. 

In 1840, Queen Victoria of England married her cousin Albert in a large white and lace wedding gown.  With the recent invention of photography, her wedding photo quickly spread throughout the Western world and became a symbol of what was in fashion.  She wore white because it represented a sacramental Christening gown.   Her extravagant white dress also showed her wealth and affluence since it could only be worn once.  Brides of a lesser class often chose a colored dress that they could alter and wear again and again.  However, Gody’s Lady Book of 1849 said that white was now the most fitting hue because, “It is an emblem of the purity and innocence of girlhood, and the unsullied heart she now yields to the chosen one.” 

Many designers today are bucking the norm and offering more and more unique and colored wedding gowns.  Vera Wang, Alfred Angelo, Monique Lhuillier, Maggie Sottero, Marchesa, and others have recently shown collections with dress in almost every color.  Soft champagnes, blushes, buttercups, and silvers are most common, but you may also find pale green, lilac, red, dark pewter, or even black modern wedding gowns. 

Your wedding day is the most intimate and “uniquely you” event that anyone will ever have.  When choosing a colored wedding gown, you must be careful that it looks very elegant and not at all like it could be mistaken for a prom dress.   Singer Gwen Stefani recently wore a stunning white to pink ombre dyed dress that faded from white on the top to hot pink on the bottom.  Color is not something to fear, it should be embraced as a reflection of you and your personality! 


3 Responses to “Why Wear White?”

  1. Joan October 7, 2010 6:26 pm #

    What a great article. Nicely researched. I have seen a bride with a white gown with very pale colors in the train. The colors chosen for their wedding. I liked it as the females in the bridal party had that same idea but in a bow with long trailers of the same color. It was so coordinated thus why I think I liked it.

  2. Sara Meynardie November 30, 2010 8:16 pm #

    Wow, that’s interesting! I had no idea that the tradition of wearing a white dress was so recent. Thanks for sharing!

    (And I can I just say how much I LOVE Gwen Stefani’s dress?)

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