Do I have to wear white on my wedding day?

Today's bride may find herself asking this question more often than not.  With all the traditions, and old wive's tales, how is it that brides started wearing white?  Is this written in stone?  You decide!

The white bridal gown... it signifies purity and innocence, or so we thought. If you ask your grandmother, this might be what she would say. Many believe that is why brides predominantly wear white. With new trends and new lifestyles, brides are now questioning if that is the right color for them. Well lets dig into history and figure out how this white dress thing got started. A simple search on the internet or visit to the library, perhaps in the fashion history section, you will find fashion trends are not a new thing. As a matter of fact fashion has been around probably since the beginning of time.

Photo courtesy of  Elegance by Marliese Carmona , main blog photo courtesy of  K. Napier Phogotgraphy .

Photo courtesy of Elegance by Marliese Carmona, main blog photo courtesy of K. Napier Phogotgraphy.

--- Have you noticed that any time you see one of those very old wedding portraits of some diplomat or princess, it really does not immediately strike you as a wedding portrait?  Probably because the bride is seldom wearing white.  You may find green, black, blue.... but white? Not often at all.  Not until the 19th century. Why is this?  Well back in the 1700's and 1800's brides wore colors that signified things.  Green for wealth, Black... well because it looked good and it was readily available, red signifying royalty or auspiciousness.  Back then the color of the gown told you if the bride was affluent,  or a  dignitary.  Until a certain queen.  


Queen Victoria

This queen would shake up the fashion norm for wedding attire, for years to come (3).  Prior to marrying King Albert, Victoria had acquired a certain Honiton lace (2).  Honiton Lace is a lace which was hand made with bobbin net in England.  The lace was so beautiful to her that when the time came to order her custom bridal gown, she wanted that lace on the gown.  The gown, which was constructed of Silk Satin, was white to compliment her lace.  Because Victoria was such a public influence.  The fashion world almost immediately adopted her choice as what any dignified woman should wear to their wedding.  In an instance white became the color of choice.  Years passed and new generations really did not know why every one always wore white.  Perhaps that started the stories of purity etc.   But, it is actually blue which signifies purity, that was accredited to the Virgin Mary (1).

So now that we clearly see that white is well.... a trend setting choice of a Queen.  Then maybe it is safe to assume that any color is just fine. Now a days you will find brides are breaking free from Victoria's standard.  We see many in blush, black, and other colors.  What color describes you?  Maybe that should be your bridal color.  Who knows you may start a fashion craze of your own.