In Western culture, most brides choose to wear white on their wedding day. It’s a time-tested tradition, but it’s probably not as old as you think it is. Wearing a white wedding dress first rose to popularity after the 1840 marriage of Queen Victoria to Albert of Saxe-Coburg. Queen Victoria chose white because she had some lace she wanted to incorporate into the dress, and ever since then brides have been imitating her choice in color.
Wedding dresses have also changed styles throughout the years, and it wasn’t until the 1960s that they began to look reminiscent of Victorian times. Before that, wedding gowns tended to fall in line with current trends and styles.
Many believe that wedding dresses are white to symbolize virginity and purity, but that was not the original reason the color rose to popularity. Indeed, blue is more traditionally used to symbolize purity, piety, and faith.
And while it may be strange for us Westerners to imagine, other cultures don’t necessarily fall in with the white wedding dress trend. In Eastern cultures, wedding dresses are often red, which symbolizes auspiciousness and luck. Gowns might be saris, kimonos, or other types of traditional dress, sometimes complete with a crown or headdress.
These days in Western culture, ivory is actually the most popular color for wedding gowns. But the trend of wearing colored gowns is growing—last year both Jessica Biel and Anne Hathaway were wed in pink gowns. More brides are choosing blush pink, pale blue, or other colored dresses than before.
Are we finally breaking the white dress trend? Our guess is, not very fast—but that’s okay. We like white gowns, but we also like feeling like there’s a choice in the matter.