The History of the Wedding Dress

Surrounded by tulle and satin and lace, you twirl about in front of the mirror before you. You’ve thought about this moment for a long time, even maybe tucked away a few magazine cutouts. Joined by the special women in your life, the day has come for you to pick out the dress you will walk down the aisle in.

Now if I’m guessing correctly, you are probably looking for a white or ivory dress for your wedding. But have you ever wondered why white is the color of the day? Where did this tradition come from?

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The white wedding dress as we know it came into style following Queen Victoria’s marriage to Prince Albert in 1840. Ironically, what is a pretty common tradition today, was a trend-setting choice back in the day.  Rather than wearing a colored gown, or one of silver and gold, Victoria chose to have her dress made out of white lace, and wore an orange blossom wreath rather than a crown. Interestingly enough, the type of dress that we now associate with matrimony, was thought to be boring and plain at the time.

Part of the decision to incorporate lace into her wedding dress was both an effort to support the lace trade in England, and make her dress with only British-made goods.  Pieces of her dress were then incorporated down the road into her other dresses, a custom that was quite popular during the time for economical reasons.

Looking back, it is interesting to see the irony of the precedent she set in light of today’s traditions.  However, her public figure coupled with the added influence of the time’s lady’s magazines, Queen Victoria made history. While styles and trends have come and gone, the iconic white color has lingered for the last 176 years.

So what will the future bring? Will someone else come along and change tradition down the road? It’s hard to tell. What’s important, though, is that when you walk down the aisle on your wedding day, you feel special and beautiful in a dress that is perfect for you, no matter the color.

Image provided by:Your Still Life Photography