Did you know that the white wedding dress as a symbol of the bride’s chastity and purity is barely 100 years old? Reviewing the history of the wedding dress may help you decide which side you are on. While we do so, let’s get inspired by gorgeous white wedding dress designs and non-white but equally divine ones! 😉
Weddings today are a unique expression of the couple’s personalities. As such, brides must decide in favor of or against the famous white wedding dress tradition. A tradition that started in the 1920s when brides began to choose a white wedding gown as a symbol of purity and chastity. Before this, marriage was a business transaction, the union of two families, two fortunes; sometimes powerful, sometimes not powerful at all. The bride’s dress represented the whole family and sometimes entire countries and as such, it needed to show their wealth. The richer the family, the more fabric and more colors (or the whiter) the wedding dress had to be. Hand dyed fabrics meant that the family had the means to afford them. Also, in those days, the process of bleaching fabric was tremendously expensive and, therefore, there was no way to keep it clean. The dress could only be worn once. All of this represented wealth and power.
The meaning of purity for the white wedding dress started as a tradition barely 100 years ago. Despite being the color of choice for most brides, brides also choose different shades of white such as ivory, ecru, eggshell and others that are more favorable to the female figure. Nowadays, designers incorporate color in their collections and brides have started to add a pop of color in the details, shoes and accessories to accompany the traditional white wedding dress. I am certain that in five to seven years, wedding dresses in colors other than white will be seen not as an act of rebellion but as an everyday occurrence. And then brides shall be free to choose their dresses in their favorite color, whatever it might be.
The Interesting Story of the White Wedding Dress
In 1559, Mary Queen of Scots dressed in white for her wedding to Francis Dauphin of France, not because it symbolized purity, but because white is the color of mourning in France. It was a way for her to show how she felt about the union.
In 1840, Queen Victoria married in a white wedding dress because she wanted to use her favorite piece of white lace on it. Her “selfie” of the time, her portrait, became famous and a symbol of what’s fashionable. From then on all brides wanted to wear a white wedding dress to mimic the Queen’s display of wealth. Let’s remember that in those days a white wedding dress was impossible to keep clean and could be used once, which made them extremely expensive. Only the very rich could marry in a white wedding dress.
In the 1920s, the white wedding dress started to be seen as a symbol of purity and chastity.
Using another color, was considered bold and rebellious. Examples of this are the purple wedding gown designed by Vivienne Westwood Dita Von Teese, the famous burlesque dancer worn at her wedding with Marilyn Manson, or Anne Hathaway, Jessica Biel and Reese Witherspoon who married in pink. Every year, more and more designers, like Oscar de la Renta and Vera Wang, add non-traditional bride dresses to their collections, marking a radical movement in the conservative industry of wedding gowns.
But what’s really important to keep in mind is that equality and respect are what really matter in a marriage and not what you wear at your wedding. So, feel free to choose the wedding dress that pleases you the most and that best represents you for who you are!
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