A long weekend leaves a lot of time on one’s hand to consider some things that just would not normally cross our minds in the hustle and bustle of a working day. Have you ever wondered why wedding gowns are widely expected to be white? Well, whether or not you have actually asked this question before, we have decided to fish around for the story behind the now norm. So as you jump right into the delayed working week, here is what we found.
Weddings shortly after the middle ages where more about family or social allegiance, more than anything else. For this reason, brides were expected to dress in a manner that was fitting to their social status. The gowns then therefore, where always the height of fashion, and favored rich and bold colors. Even brides who had no wealth to their names often employed their brightest and choicest wears in order to look their best on the important day.
White at the time, was the least popular of all choices. Although Mary, Queen of Scots wore a white wedding gown in 1559 for her marriage to her first husband, she only did so because it was her favorite color and the trend did not get picked up. It was in fact taken in bad faith because at the time, white was the color for mourning. It was however a different tale entirely when in 1840, Queen Victoria got married to Albert of Saxe-Coburg.
Her choice was led by a desire to incorporate a lace which she prized into her ensemble. The official wedding portrait was widely published in the magazines that existed at the time and that time around, it became a trend.
Brides began to opt for white gowns like the queen’s and a few years later, popular women’s magazine the Godey’s Lady Book proclaimed that ‘custom has decided, from the earliest ages, that white is the most fitting hue, whatever may be the material. It is an emblem of the purity and innocence of girlhood, and the unsullied heart she now yields to the chosen one.’
It is quite interesting to note that one woman’s unusual fashion choice, backed by the media, decided the fate of millions of brides years after, and has brought us to this point in our history where girls grow up believing that any color asides from white for a wedding gown, is a decidedly unconventional one.
So if you are decidedly against the concept of a white wedding gown, wear a smashing gown in any other color, who knows, it may catch on and generations after will be concerned about finding the perfect purple dress.