Why Do Brides Wear White on their Wedding Day?
09 August 2017
If you’re getting ready for your wedding day, and if you’re reading this blog then one can assume so, you’ve probably already picked out a gorgeous white dress for the big day and if you haven’t, we are 99.9% certain that you’ll be in one by the time the wedding date arrives. But why do brides wear white on their wedding day?
The idea of brides wearing white on their wedding day isn’t actually one that’s lasted for centuries and can in fact be pinpointed to one specific point in time. Before we get to that though, we should probably highlight that brides used to wear red on their wedding day – presumably because of romantic connotations - and white was only really worn by ‘unconventional’ brides. The idea that hipster brides existed in the 1800s is one that certainly delights us, whilst the notion that they were deemed so because of wearing white on their wedding day is downright hilarious.
The idea that wearing white was a bad choice had persisted for years though; when Mary Queen of Scots got married in 1559, she wore a white gown. This was widely condemned as inappropriate by the press at the time and the calls only got louder when he died a year later. The reason? Officially he died from an ear condition, thought by many these days to have come from meningitis, but Mary was held to account back then as having cursed the poor man due to her choice of wearing a white wedding dress. Oh my.
“But every bride wears white,” we hear you say, “When did a white wedding dress become the norm?” We are glad you asked! Brides wear white not because it suggests innocence as many seem to think, but actually because Queen Victoria happened to like the colour. Yes, rather than pick a red dress, Victoria opted instead for a white gown with an orange blossom wreath, ignoring the protests from members of her court. The wedding dress turned out to be a huge hit with both the public and the newspapers and soon women all across the land were choosing to get married in a white dress.
That’s not the end of the story however, because one can add in another little fact for why brides may opt for white when picking their dress. Just a few years after Queen Victoria married Prince Albert, a popular women’s magazine by the name of the Godey’s Lady Book stated that white was the most fitting hue for a woman due to be married, with the material used of little consequence. In this article, it was stated that white was an ‘emblem of purity’ and ‘the unsullied heart she now yields to the chosen one’, but this line of thinking went completely unheard until Queen Victoria chose the colour for her wedding day.
“What become of red?” Good question! Red became less and less popular immediately after the royal wedding and was in fact quickly demoted to being thought of as an awful choice. So bad in fact, that the Farmer’s Almanac (a must read by all of those who worked the land back in the mid-1800s) published a poem on wedding dress colours:
Married in White, you have chosen right
Married in Grey, you will go far away
Married in Black, you will wish yourself back,
Married in Red, you will wish yourself dead,
Married in Green, ashamed to be seen,
Married in Blue, you will always be true,
Married in Pearl, you will live in a whirl,
Married in Yellow, ashamed of your fellow,
Married in Brown, you will live in the town,
Married in Pink, your spirit will sink.
Not exactly Keats, but there you have it. Why do brides wear white on their wedding day? Because a white wedding dress was the choice that Queen Victoria made for herself!