20 Nov Why most brides wear white on their wedding day
We all grew up to see brides beautifully dressed, looking elegant in an all-white attire. It’s more like a custom to see brides wearing a white wedding gown; this is as weird as it looks, seeing a bride putting on a different colour on her big day. You obviously might have wondered “why do brides wear white? “ or “what does a white wedding gown symbolize? ”. I taught you’d never ask.
Stay put as we unravel the shocking history of the white wedding dress together.
Contrary to what you might be thinking, white wedding gowns haven’t always been a tradition for brides, especially in the 1700s and 1800s when white dresses were strongly associated with mourning. As a matter of fact, white happened to be the least chosen colour for a bride’s dress. The early brides were believed to have worn virtually any colour, with red being the favourite. A good number of these brides preferred heavily brocaded dresses with silver and white embellishments.
However, things took a new turn when 20 years old Victoria, Queen of the united kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, walked down the aisle with the love of her life; Prince Albert. A new trend was set as she stepped out of the carriage in the chapel royal of St. James palace London dressed in an elegant white gown of Spitalfields silk and Honiton lace in 1840 [about 180years ago].
Queen Victoria has always been seen as a fashion-loving young lady, and on her wedding day, she made a firm fashion statement– one that is very much relevant even till this very day. It is necessary to note that Queen Victoria wasn’t the first to wear a white wedding dress on her wedding day, Mary Queen of Scots did so in 1559, but Queen Victoria’s style is widely recognized as the trendsetter.
There have been several accounts as to why Queen Victoria chose to wear a white wedding gown on her wedding day. While some maintained that it was purely for the sake of love, many suggested it was a symbol of purity and innocence. Still, the historians were keen on the fact that at that time, white dresses depicted wealth rather than virginity.
Then, wearing a white dress was an act conspicuously associated with flamboyancy because only the rich could afford the expensive laundry techniques available at that time and it was no news that white dresses could easily be ruined by literally anything it came in contact with. It only made sense to make a wedding dress that will be used over and over again. Even the stylish queen had her breathtaking wedding dress restyled and put to use a few more times, so it was evident that laundry services were inevitable, and this was a no-go area for the middle class.
Being a royal wedding, Queen Victoria’s nuptials to Prince Albert remains one of the most heavily photographed weddings, and it was only a matter of time before the accounts of her marriage spread like wildfire across all of Europe and the Atlantic. The royal family is known to be a pacesetter, and it didn’t take much time for other royal and wealthy families in Europe and America to hop on the trend. By the end of the 19th century, white had become the colour of choice for elite brides on both sides of the Atlantic.
However, this trend was a no-no for brides from the bourgeois families who would simply wear their best dress on their wedding day as it didn’t make much sense to spend so much on a dress they were likely to wear only once.
The place of white as a sacred colour for wedding gowns was solidified in the 20th century with the remarkable increase in prosperity after the second world war. Clothing became relatively cheaper than before, and the white wedding dress trend, which later metamorphosed to single-use was fully adopted by the middle class British and American brides.
Other notable events that helped cement the white wedding style was the portrayal of weddings in Hollywood movies where the bride wore white wedding gowns.
This trend was also given a significant boost when Lady Diana Spencer opted to wear a white taffeta gown with a 25-foot-long train during her marriage to Charles, Prince of Wales in 1981 in what was said to be the most publicized wedding with over 750 million viewers and 3,500 guests in attendance.
Today, white appears to be the most widely won colour for wedding gowns. Even though Red is still the traditional colour for brides in most of Asia, we still see a more significant percentage of Asian brides change into white dresses for official photographs especially in China.
It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t love to see a white on weddings as it has become a tradition and has even gone as far as giving the event its name; “white wedding” as it is called in most part of the world.
It’s funny how closely related the colour black and white is, it also happens to be the summation of Queen Victoria’s massive impact on fashion. But luckily, we won’t be talking about the dark side of romance today.
So if you’ve been an ardent fan of the white wedding dress, having known the its history, you sure have to appreciate Queen Victoria for being an inspiration to us all.