Why a White Wedding Dress?

So a few of my friends are planning their weddings now and trying to decide what color wedding dress they want to have. Huh? Why not white? Well, they wanted to learn WHY it is what people succumb to this tradition of having a white wedding dress. After all, if you don’t understand it, why are you doing it?

Photo from The Wedding Lens!

I suppose “tradition” is a good enough reason, but when you look at the history of the white wedding dress, the “tradition” can only be traced back to 1840 when Queen Victoria of England married Prince Albert of Saxe. She wore a white wedding dress…. but why? Well, it has nothing to do with virtue and everything to do with money. After all, even in 1840 you couldn’t re-wear a white dress! Not only because there were no events to where them to but also because white clothing was harder to clean. So it was very extravagent and prestigious to wear a white wedding dress.

So people were getting married in any ol’ color except for those who wanted to show their wealth and take after the British monarchy. And yet, slowly but surely the white wedding dress took a strong hold and everyone wanted to have that sort of glamour as part of their wedding.

During the Depression, women would marry in white — and then dye their dress so that they could rewear it. Or, they would marry in their fanciest of clothing out of necessity.

Anyway, the point is that the white wedding dress is not at all what I thought it was. It has nothing to do with virtue and a long, deep-seated history. It’s all relatively recent and has more to do with showing off money than anything else. Interesting, right? Especially since even today the wedding attire is “supposed to be” at least 5% of the total wedding budget.

With that in mind, I point out that there are other colors to marry in, if you’re looking for something that bucks with the recent tradition. An old poem explains the meaning of the wedding dress color:

Married in white, you will have chosen all right.

Married in grey , you will go far away.

Married in black, you will wish yourself back.

Married in red, you’ll wish yourself dead.

Married in blue, you will always be true.

Married in pearl, you’ll live in a whirl.

Married in green, ashamed to be seen,

Married in yellow, ashamed of the fellow.

Married in brown, you’ll live out of town.

Married in pink, your spirits will sink.”

Incidentally, we did a post a while back about colorful wedding dresses — take a gander if you’re thinking about changing your wedding dress color from white to… something else.

What color will you marry in?

~ Natasha

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2 Responses

  1. Wow, that was really interesting. I had no idea! Thanks!

  2. […] & Groomsmen? Posted on April 19, 2010 by nlcf28 So last week I wrote blog post about why brides wear white wedding dresses and it’s led to a lot of other questions about the wedding planning process. In light of […]

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