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Why Is The Wedding Dress White?

July 20, 2020 4 min read

Bohemian Wedding Dress

On the wedding day, the choice of dress colour is important for the bride. To respect tradition, some women continue to wear white. The rules have become more flexible and colourful and fancy wedding dresses have appeared. However, white is still a very popular traditional colour. However, the white dress has not always been the norm in the US, as elsewhere. It is finally a fairly recent tradition. In this article, find out why the wedding dress is white

bohemian style wedding dresses

The white dress, a custom in Antiquity

In antiquity, the white dress was common. In Ancient Egypt, white is a colour that has many symbols. It represents light and joy. It is worn for any celebration, whether for a wedding or for mourning. On their wedding day, women wear a long white or ecru linen tunic. In Ancient Rome, the dress is codified: it is a white, long tunic that symbolizes purity. It is closed by a large knot representing chastity, which only the groom will undo on the wedding night. However, the colour white will then disappear from the ceremonies and will return much later in history.

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Wedding gowns of different colours until the 19th century

In the Middle Ages, most families were poor. The wedding dress was not worn on that one day of their lives. Women had few toilets. They wore their best dress, often the Sunday dress. White was not a very common color. Indeed, it was difficult to maintain and bring back. It was also unsuitable for women's work at home or in the fields. Usually red or black was used. But sometimes, it was the traditional regional dress that was worn. In wealthy circles, luxury was displayed with rather colourful dresses, with touches of gold and noble materials, such as ermine fur. The first white wedding dress in history was worn by Mary Stuart I in 1558, at her wedding to Francis II. However, this has no connection with today's tradition. The bride's dress reflected the colour associated with her family, the De Guise family. 

vintage bohemian wedding dress

The tradition of the white dress settles in the 19th century

Queen Victoria I married Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha in 1840 in Great Britain. On this occasion, and to everyone's surprise, she wore a white dress. She was very fond of this colour, and frequently wore it at various events. A dress of sober elegance, enhanced with lace, which will cause a sensation. But it is the Catholic religion that will give its symbolism to the white dress, by associating it with purity. In 1858, when Bernadette Soubirous claimed to meet the Blessed Virgin in the cave of Lourdes, she said that the Immaculate Conception was dressed entirely in white. The Church immediately associated this colour with virginity. White was then adopted more frequently in well-to-do families. But it is more a symbol of wealth than of purity. The family shows that they are making an effort by buying a dress that will only be worn once. The white dress is therefore a sign of bourgeoisie above all. It is simple enough, adorned with lace, and provided with a veil. The rise of the department stores in the second half of the 19th century and the progress in design created a market and a fashion, which then became anchored in tradition.

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Symbols, traditions and elegance

During the 20th century, wearing a white wedding dress became the norm. For traditional Catholic weddings, white became the symbol of the chastity of the bride before the wedding. She then commits herself before her husband and before God, to offer her life to her husband. White is therefore unavoidable. Marriage to the Church and the ceremony naturally impose it. But the white dress is no longer always appropriate, especially from the 1980s onwards. The evolution of society, no longer brandishing virginity as a value of marriage, tends to relax the rules. However, the tradition of the white dress persists for several reasons.

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Respecting traditions

The wedding dress is a dress you only wear once. Aware of the symbol it conveys, women take special care in choosing their outfit. In the collective imagination, the dress has a symbolic value. White, traditionally considered as the colour associated with the bride, is still appreciated. When the wedding takes place in church and when the family has a Catholic tradition, this type of dress remains common. In addition, some women like to follow the family tradition, when their mothers and grandmothers were married in white, it is also a way of paying tribute to them. It all depends on the history of the family and also on the bride's imagination.

The white dress, a sign of elegance

White, a neutral colour, is a sign of elegance. Very easy to wear, the white dress fits all women and harmonizes with all seasons. Luminous, easy to accessorize, pledge of sobriety and elegance, it remains appreciated for these reasons. Moreover, the white wedding dress is extremely photogenic. This makes it an ally of choice to preserve memories of this special day in all its beauty. Today, it is often a purely aesthetic choice. If you are looking for a beautiful wedding dress, we advise you to turn to a special bohemian dress. The wedding dresses from Bohemian Fashion are specially designed for this special day.

The white wedding dress is therefore a relatively recent tradition. If its origin dates back to antiquity, as well as its virginal meaning, it is not the one that has persisted in our society. In the past, even though the wedding dress was not only intended for the wedding day, white was uncommon. It finally became a symbol of purity under the impetus of the Catholic Church and began to be a religious symbol. Then, over time, wearing a white wedding dress becomes more of a personal choice and not dictated by anyone. Women then want to respect a tradition or an aesthetic.

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