Since the dawn of time, wedding dresses have been a major consideration for any potential bride. After all, this is one of the most important moments in a person’s life. The wedding dress is one of the first things people think of when they think of a wedding ceremony. Little girls have often played dress up with white gowns, placing plastic crowns on their heads dreaming about their big day. The traditional white wedding dress has a long and varied history that is rich with tradition and culture.
Women have been getting married for hundreds of years. However, not all of the wedding dresses were white and large in shape. Before the Victorian Era, wedding dresses were varied in terms of color and the fabric used was dependent upon the woman’s social class. Still, no matter the color or style of the wedding dress, it has always been a special consideration for the bride.
During the Medieval time period, women took great care when choosing their wedding dress. After all, during this time, it wasn’t just a union between two people but between families. Women of high social status usually wore the brightest of colors and the most expensive of fabrics: Velvet and silk were most common. Poorer women still wore their best dresses, but they were rarely made with such materials. The more additions to a wedding dress, the higher up in class a bride and her family were. Thus, it was not uncommon for women to add long trains, elaborate sleeves, and items like lace to their dresses.
The traditional or white wedding dress that we know today came as a result of Queen Victoria’s wedding in 1940 to Prince Albert of Saxe. A common misconception is that white was initially chosen because it symbolized purity. In fact, blue was the color that symbolized purity: white symbolized wealth.
No one thought Queen Victoria would walk down the aisle wearing white. Her wedding was already the social event of the year. The fact that she married in a white dress only added to the moment. Soon, other women followed the Queen’s lead and chose white wedding dresses for their big day. The elaborate lace-laden dress soon became all the rage. As time went on, the color white and the white wedding dress came to symbolize virginity and purity.
Though white wedding dresses continued in popularity, certain events throughout history affected what women wore for their wedding day. For example, during World War II, it was not uncommon for women to marry in their Sunday or church dresses. This changed after the war, during more prosperous times.
Today, the wedding dress is still a major consideration, though women have a lot of flexibility in regards to the length, color, and materials used for the garment. Expensive fabrics like silk are still common, and so too are elaborate additions like beaded bodices. However, many women today are married in everything from elaborate ballgowns in bright colors like red to short ivory-colored suits.