In modern society, white wedding dresses dominate. There are stock rooms and racks full of white dresses, hundreds of feet of lace and tulle in various shades of white and off white. And while we can (and should!) ask why dresses aren’t made of super comfy t-shirt material, the bigger question is why white?
There is a common misconception that white has always been the standard color for bridal attire. But that’s not true. White has been a significant and symbolic color throughout history. Just not in the way we’re used to. In Ancient Chinese culture, white was associated with funerals and periods of mourning. Early Christianity strictly reserved white for the celebration of infant baptisms. Neither tradition screams glamorous. So how did white become the standard color for wedding dresses? Like many fashion trends, it started with a statement.
Remember the insanity that was the most recent royal wedding? Well, the impact of Kate’s wedding was nothing compared to the influence of Queen Victoria’s wedding. The short (5’ 0”) monarch made big waves when she donned an extravagant white dress in 1840.
Before Queen Victoria, brides simply wore their “best”. And best simply meant versatile and practical. A bride’s dress became a regular part of her wardrobe and was expected last. Keeping white clothes clean was a pain. So, brides simply opted for low maintenance colors. Victoria wore pieces of her dress again, but the white color and her ability to maintain it was a declaration of wealth. As the fashion statement endured in early fashion magazines, being able to wear a white wedding dress came to be #goals. The continuance of this trend has made white dresses a tradition for most modern brides.
But white wedding dresses aren’t for everyone; if you prefer another color, make your own statement. I think the Queen would approve.
Read more about Queen Victoria here