In the past decade the bride has begun to wear feathers, fringe, and now even a jumpsuit or two. But what has stayed consistent is that she is almost always in some shade of white. But where did, “And the bride wore white” originate? Family pictures and popular media show it in abundance as if it has always been the case. But we have to wonder, where did it all begin?
The event of a bride wearing white dates back to English nobility in 400 B.C. Wearing white was a sign of wealth and what is more impractical (and thus aristocratic) than wearing an all white gown before people regularly showered or had Tide to Go? It wasn’t until Queen Victoria’s wedding to Prince Albert in 1840 though that brides wearing white became hugely popular around the globe. In today’s world a celebrity pictured at Erewhon in go-go boots can lead to Shein making knock-offs in hours and in the 1800s royalty was the equivalent of an A-List celebrity. So as the images from the wedding started to circulate all brides wanted to look like the most famous woman in the world. People used to think that white was originally chosen to represent the purity of the bride (and thus a bride at her second wedding would need to wear an ivory and or champagne wedding dress). However, upon research it was actually chosen for Queen Victoria’s dress because white helped show off all the intricate details and exquisite lace work.
So why has this tradition stuck around for almost two centuries? A wedding is a special time to feel connected to your family past and present. By taking part in the traditions passed down we feel that we are a part of something bigger. Even the most non-traditional couples will find themselves doing things like throwing the bouquet, ceremoniously cutting the cake, and clearing the floor for the first dance. Also, a bride wearing white is absolutely something that has been stuck in every girl’s mind as soon as she sees it. Most women have imagined themselves in a white dress on their wedding day for most of their lives. Though they may choose to forgo it, it has been a passing thought for all.
There are still trends in wedding dress styles through the decades
. Open any family album and you will see silhouettes that reflect when they were worn. They are some of the best kept relics of those styles of the day because they are often the most well taken care of dresses in a woman’s lifetime. The 80s had a lot of shiny satin and large puffy sleeves. Early 2000s had tiaras and spaghetti strap dresses with tight bodices. These can be found usually in the attic or in the back of any woman’s closets.
And what do we think about the future of brides wearing white? Well. No surprise here but we don’t think they’re going anywhere. Couples expressing their individual style and brea
king the mold is great (pictured here heiress Ivy Getty in a broken mirror mermaid gown). We do think though that couples will always seek out ways to feel connected to something bigger than themselves and that is going to often be in bridal gowns. It’s all a mix of fairytale, upbringing, and cultural significance that will keep wedding dresses one of the most significant representations of classic and contemporary.