When you think of a wedding dress in the US, the first thing that comes to mind is probably a long white or ivory gown. Historically, however, that hasn’t always been the case, and more and more lately, colorful wedding dresses are starting to become a regular occurrence.
The History of a White Wedding Dress
Prior to the 19th century, it was customary for brides in Western cultures to wear her best dress. Regardless of what color it was, women would choose her favorite dress they already owned. Black was a popular option in Scandinavia and women from across Europe who came from wealthy backgrounds would often choose a bright and bold color. It wasn’t until the ruling elite chose white as the color of their wedding gown that it suddenly became the norm.
The most well known trendsetter was Queen Victoria when she wore a white dress during her marriage with Prince Albert in 1840. Following their wedding, white seemed to become the “official” color for brides. While there are many shades of white - eggshell, ivory, cream, etc. - it all boils down to what it symbolizes- purity. White also demonstrates luxury and wealth since it is typically difficult to care for such a light color.
Colorful Wedding Dresses
While white wedding dresses are still the most overwhelming choice for brides in the US, don’t be surprised if a bride decides to feature a colored wedding gown. In fact, according to The Knot Real Wedding Study, 18 percent of couples who wed last year opted for a colorful outfit.
Here are five celebrities you may know that ditched the traditional white and wore a bold color on their wedding day!
Mandy Moore - pink dress
Reese Witherspoon - pale pink sweetheart dress
Kristen Bell - black jumpsuit
Sarah Jessica Parker - black dress
Elizabeth Taylor - out of her 8 weddings, 5 of them were non-white dresses!
Where you live and the culture you’re a part of can also dictate the color of a bride’s gown. For example, in Eastern cultures such as China and India, brides typically choose to wear red to represent good luck and fortune. In Japan, you’ll often see brides wear a white kimono lined in red. And in Korea, brides wear a traditional wedding dress called Hanbok, which is embroidered with flowers.
At the end of the day, whether white, red, pink, black, or floral, a bride should wear what makes them feel beautiful!