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Why do brides wear white wedding dresses?


Why do brides wear white wedding dresses?

Back view of a young woman in wedding dress looking at bridal gowns on display in boutique

I remember when I got married eleven years ago starting to think about what dress I was going to wear – the thought of me wearing white just sent me into fits of giggles.  I’m not the smallest of women and I would never dream of wearing white in normal daily life so why would I for such a special day? There is nothing wrong with white dresses but I knew it just wasn’t for me.  I could picture myself in a white dress having spilt something all the way down my dress  –  it is a daily hazard for me with my large boobs (Ladies with large chests will understand exactly what I mean!).

I remember some of my friends questioning the fact that I was having a purple dress, they would say to me “you can’t do that it’s not tradition” Yes it is tradition (but only recent tradition) but why uphold tradition so strictly?

Just over 175 years ago red was the most popular colour for wedding dresses.  Probably because of the roses are red romantic connotations.  White was worn but because of the association of white as a mourning colour not everyone wanted to wear it, it was also extremely expensive colour and difficult to keep clean! Blue was also popular as it was associated with the Virgin Mary.

It wasn’t until Queen Victoria decided to rip up all the fashion rule books that white became popular.   On February 10, 1840, Victoria wore a lacy white gown with an orange blossom wreath for her wedding to Albert – despite members of the court questioning her colour choice.  It became a hit, and like today royal inspired dresses became all the rage.

Victoria wore white because she liked it, not because of the pure nature or virtue of the colour.  Only later in Victorian times did white become linked with innocence and purity.

A Poem from the Farmer’s Almanac in the mid-1800s:

Married in White, you have chosen right

Married in Grey, you will go far away

Married in Black, you will wish yourself back,

Married in Red, you will wish yourself dead,

Married in Green, ashamed to be seen,

Married in Blue, you will always be true,

Married in Pearl, you will live in a whirl,

Married in Yellow, ashamed of your fellow,

Married in Brown, you will live in the town,

Married in Pink, your spirit will sink.


Not sure where my purple dress would fit into this poem!

Wear what you are most comfortable in don’t feel that you have to follow tradition!

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© 2016 Emma Bovington


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