Wedding Traditions, A Series: The White Wedding Dress

American brides and grooms follow a remarkable number of wedding traditions.  Due to America being the melting pot of the world, most of them have come from the other cultures.

This is the first of a series of blog posts that will explore some of the most popular traditions and touch upon how they have come to be as well as how some of them have evolved over time.

The White Wedding Dress

Since the Roman era, white was seen as a symbol of celebration but white was not necessarily connected to weddings as a traditional color. Creating pure white fabric was difficult in previous centuries and keeping the fabric clean was even more difficult prior to modern fabrics and cleaning agents.  Hence, white was seldom chosen for clothing.

In historical terms, the wearing of a white dress for a wedding is a relatively new tradition.  In many cultures brides wore whatever their best dress was.  In fact, marriages centuries ago were not particularly elaborate affairs and were rather private, hence there was no need for a particularly elaborate dress.

One exception was the Royal Courts.  Royalty usually wore colorful brocaded and embroidered gowns for their weddings.   But that changed when Queen Victoria married Prince Albert in 1840 and created quite a stir by wearing a white dress.  She is credited with starting what would have most certainly hit the tabloids as a Fashion Trend!

Much like how US celebrities set fashion, this idea quickly took hold!  The wearing of a white dress was quickly taken as a status symbol by the European elite at least in part because white was seen as something you could only wear once (due to the inability to clean it!).

Sometime around the same time, white became a symbol of purity and innocence and by the start of the 20th century white became a popular tradition on both sides of the Atlantic.  Today, white is still the most popular color and still is enjoyed as a way to set off the bride as the center of attention.

There are obviously numerous shades of white including a whole list of new descriptive and branding names for white such as: stark white, natural white, diamond white, silk white, ivory, eggshell, candlelight white, “quite” white, champagne white; the list goes on and on!

Whatever your choice, white is certain to set you apart from your guests and place you as the center of attention; and that is ok as this is YOUR DAY!

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