Brides the world over + through the centuries have celebrated their wedding with special dresses + ceremonies. During certain periods of time + in certain countries, the ceremony celebrated the marriage but also marked the bride maturing from girl to womanhood.
Colorful Wedding Dresses
Both Indian + Chinese brides traditionally wear red. In ancient Rome, a bride would wear a new white tunic + yellow sandals. During the Renaissance, the bride’s dress reflected the wealth of her family. Rich brocades, sumptuous silks, vibrant colors, fur + even jewels were incorporated into the dress.
Hail the Queen, Queen Victoria
Prior to the Victorian age wedding dresses were not usually white + were worn not only on the wedding day. Most brides of this time wore their best dress as their wedding dress + continued to wear the dress long after the wedding ceremony was over.
Because the dress had to last, it was often of a dark color + heavy material. The styles reflected the fashion of the times. While the dress was dark colored, brides in the early 19th century would often wear a long white veil.
Thanks to Queen Victoria, wedding dresses became wedding gowns + white was the color of choice. Her Spitalfield’s satin dress had a narrow waist with a scoop neckline that bared her shoulders. Full sleeves were caught above the elbows + flared. The dress was accented with handmade Honiton lace.
More than 200 people worked on the lace alone. The pattern was destroyed after the lace was completed for her dress so no one else could ever wear the same lace. Her lace veil fell nearly to the floor. Photos show that her gown was caught + draped with fresh flowers around the hemline.
Queen Victoria set the standard for breathtaking gowns + set a trend among brides. Although she wasn’t the first queen to wear white, Mary Queen of Scots wore a white dress for one of her weddings. Queen Victoria’s choice become the color of choice for brides in the Western world from that moment forward.
The second half of the 19th century marked the beginning of the professional couture houses in France so Paris became the center of fashion. The Paris designs filtered down to the mass markets through inspired dressmakers + retailers.
The industrial revolution signaled an era of progress. Due to technological advancements, ready-made garments were offered through catalogs. Brides could now order their wedding dress for their very special day.
Today’s Wedding Dress
Most brides still carry on the tradition of wearing a white, or at least an off-white or champagne, wedding gown. Modern times require modern measures, however, so there are brides that decide to wear colors that veer off from the traditional white tones.
The only true “rule” about wedding dresses today is that there no rules. Brides choose various colors, styles, materials + more.
What color + style wedding dress did you choose for your wedding? Drop a comment + a photo of it in the comments below. We all want to oooooooo + ahhhhhhhh over it!
I’m Kristie McCauley, a former certified wedding planner + lover of wedding planning. I share tips, advice + how-tos with brides + grooms that are planning their own weddings. Check out The Wedding Workshop, a self-paced course that walks couples step-by-step through the process of planning their own wedding.