View Full Version : Monday Trivia: Wedding Dress

Star lover
May 14th, 2018, 07:08 AM
When Queen Victoria wore a white dress on her wedding day in 1840, she was actually breaking with tradition.

Almost a decade after the wedding, Godey’s Lady’s Book, one of the first women’s magazines in America, declared that white was the most fitting hue for a bride.

Believe it or not, Victorian brides often wore red!

Her husband, prince Albert, started the trend of royal grooms wearing military dress, a tradition that Prince Harry is expected to preserve.


While contemporary weddings are often a symbol of love and commitment between the bride and the groom, for most of history, weddings were more like a business deal in which two families joined forces for a beneficial arrangement or alliance. Wedding dresses, then, were chosen to present the bride’s family in the best light, especially in terms of wealth and social status.


For most of history, brides rarely purchased a dress specifically for their wedding day. The bride would typically wear her finest dress to the ceremony, even if it was a dark color. In fact, many brides wore black during this time.
Only a few colors were avoided, such as green, which was then considered unlucky. Blue was a popular choice as it represented purity, piety and a connection to the Virgin Mary, plus the dark color easily hid stains and imperfections and could be worn again.

From Queen Victoria's day on, brides interested in showing off their wealth and social rank made sure to wear white dresses made from excessive amounts of fabric (made that much easier following the sewing innovations brought forth by the Industrial Revolution).

Since white was a hard color to obtain and preserve, only wealthier women could afford such a dress. Still, white dresses worn during the 1800s were a far cry from eggshell, as at that time people lacked the necessary means to bleach fabrics.

The white-dress trend grew scarce during the Great Depression, when times were hard and it was difficult for most people to spend money on a gown they would never wear again.

Instead, brides returned to the tradition of wearing their best outfit, which was usually a darker color instead of white. Following an economic boom in the second half of the 20th century, white became a popular color once more, as evidenced by the weddings of Grace Kelly, Princess Diana and other iconic women who married during this time.

In Chinese, Indian, and other Eastern cultures, brides often wear red or a white-red combination, as the color red symbolizes auspiciousness and good luck. In Japanese weddings, brides often don multiple colorful dresses throughout the ceremony and the following festivities.

When Princess Elizabeth married Philip Mountbatten on November 20, 1947, she used ration stamps to buy the fabric for the dress designed by Norman Hartnell.


May 14th, 2018, 08:12 AM
Very, very interesting. I would have thought White was the color to wear. Thank you, I enjoyed this.

May 14th, 2018, 08:19 AM
In some cultures, white is the color of funerals

May 14th, 2018, 09:12 AM
That is very interesting. My mom wore a floor length navy blue velvet dress with a mid blue satin ribbon (1941). My ex MIL wore a pink suit.

I wore traditional white dress and 12' veil the first time. For my second wedding, I wore a light aqua dress and jacket, one of my favorite colours.

May 14th, 2018, 09:15 AM
I enjoyed reading this. When my son married his Okinawan bride, she wore a traditional white dress, but they also had a picture of them in traditional wedding garments. Hers was red and yellow, his was a black and white patterned robe.

May 14th, 2018, 09:16 AM
Where did the story of you can only wear white if your a virgin come from then?

My mom wore a suit. I wore a two piece pink floral skirt set I made myself, very boho. lol

Star lover
May 14th, 2018, 09:38 AM
Where did the story of you can only wear white if your a virgin come from then?l

By 1849, women’s magazines were already proclaiming that not only was white the best color for a wedding dress, but that it had in fact always been the best and most appropriate choice. In a bit of revisionist history, Godey’s Lady’s Book announced that “[c]ustom has decided, from the earliest ages, that white is the most fitting hue [for brides], whatever may be the material. It is an emblem of the purity and innocence of girlhood, and the unsullied heart she now yields to the chosen one.” Victorian ideals of weddings, romantic love, and purity were projected backwards to rewrite the white dress as a symbol of innocence and virginity rather than wealth.

The trend caught on and .......the rest, as they say, is history!

May 14th, 2018, 10:13 AM
Thanks Anita!

When I had my cake business at home a customer asked for a black cake because they were getting married on Halloween. We compromised on black ribbon and black silk flowers because black cakes are hard to make look nice, well back then. Anyway she was wearing a black dress when I delivered it. It was a very fun wedding party.

May 14th, 2018, 10:30 AM
For the cost of some weddings, they could have bought a new home.

May 14th, 2018, 10:35 AM
I have my great gma's wedding dress (long sleeves high collar of course) from the 1800's and it is all black!! It has about 500 buttons all fabric covered. I pulled it out once and wanted my daughter to try it on bc she is so tiny, only about 100#. She could not get into it bc the wrists were way too small!!! I was so surprised that that was why she couldn't try it on. I just wanted to see what it looked like on somebody. I dont have any pics of gg in the dress or otherwise. That same daughter got married a few yrs later and had black roses for her wedding, but wore a white dress. I was so mad, I warned her they are bad luck and she just laughed at me. 5 years later they got divorced and I said it was the jinx of the black roses. My mom had passed by the time of the wedding but she would have rolled over in her grave if she knew her gd chose black wedding flowers. She was very superstitious.

May 14th, 2018, 12:14 PM
Very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

May 14th, 2018, 12:38 PM
I have seen beautiful black wedding dresses of the late 1800s in museums here in Spain. My mother married during the hippy times and sewed a very simple dress from a big flowery print.