Wedding Traditions: To Be An Authentic Old School Bride, Don't Wear A White Dress

10 August 2015
 Categories: , Blog


If you want to wear a wedding dress in any color except white, the world and history are on your side. That's because pure white gowns are a relatively recent development in the matrimonial fashion world, and they still haven't caught on in many parts of the world.   

You have a queen to thank for the white bridal gown.

In 1840, at her wedding to Prince Albert, Queen Victoria disappointed a lot of the English public when she wore a white wedding gown she designed herself. Many people found the color plain and boring, and they wondered why she chose such a bland hue for her special day.

Back in those years, a bride would choose a dress she could wear again to other functions, so wedding dresses might be made in any color that was popular at the moment. It seemed wasteful and indulgent to have a dress sewn for use at only one formal occasion.

But Queen Victoria started a trend when she wore white. Not long after she dismayed some in her court with her simple dress, wedding guides were adamant that white was the only color one should consider truly appropriate for a marriage dress. People in the British Isles and America have been wearing white ever since.

Around the world, brighter wedding garb is the norm.

In more than a few cultures, wedding customs are ancient and nearly immovable. The bride wears this getup. The groom wears that one. End of story. This rigid protocol may take away more adventurous wedding garment choices, but it has also preserved traditions nearly as old as time. That's how we know brides around the world have historically worn nearly every color of the rainbow.

The traditional fashions for marriage ceremonies in some places might seem garish or shocking to Westerners accustomed to boring white-bedecked brides and black-coated grooms. What would your guests think if you appeared at the altar in a bright red bridal dress? In China, Turkmenistan, Sri Lanka, India, and Macedonia, they'd have to deal with it, since red is the favored hue of wedding gowns in those countries. An Afghan bride may wear an emerald green dress, since the color represents paradise and prosperity. Other brides wear richly embroidered blue or yellow gowns or flowing dresses in shimmering gold fabric.

It's true that brides in many cultures around the globe have adopted the modern versions of Queen Victoria's all-white style, but it's also clear to see--from other cultures' strict adherence to colored wedding gowns--that brighter gowns are here to stay.   

Try out all the colors of wedding gowns at a professional bridal shop (such as Bridal Extraordinaire). If anyone gives you grief about your rainbow-beaded dress, tell them you've decided to be super-traditional because white is simply too modern of a color for you.