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What did brides wear before white?

Nowadays, when we think of a wedding dress, it’s most likely to be in the shade of white. But, did you know that before Queen Victoria made the white dress famous, brides used to wear all sorts of colors and styles on their wedding day?

In this blog post, we are going to explore the history of wedding dresses and take a look at some of the different colors and styles that brides wore before white became the norm.

History of wedding dresses

Weddings have been an important part of human culture and society for centuries. However, it wasn’t until the mid-19th century that the white wedding dress became popular.

Before that, brides would typically wear their Sunday best or even their everyday clothing to say their vows. Wealthy brides would sometimes wear specially made dresses, but they were usually in brighter colors.

It wasn’t until Queen Victoria’s wedding in 1840 that the white wedding dress became fashionable. She wore a gown made of white satin and lace, and it was instantly embraced by the public.


Before white, brides wore all sorts of colors on their wedding day. Here are some of the most popular colors:


In many cultures, red is a symbol of love and good luck. In China, brides would wear a red dress that was heavily embroidered with gold thread. In India, a red saree is often worn by the bride, which is thought to bring fertility and prosperity to the couple.


In ancient Rome, brides would wear blue to symbolize love, modesty, and fidelity. Blue was also considered to be a symbol of purity in the Middle Ages, and it was often worn by brides in Scandinavia.


Pink was a popular color for wedding dresses in the 18th and 19th centuries. It was seen as a symbol of youth, femininity, and romance.


Believe it or not, black was actually a popular color for wedding dresses in the Middle Ages. It was seen as a symbol of wealth and sophistication, and it was often worn by wealthy brides.


In addition to color, wedding dress styles have also evolved over the years. Here are some of the most popular styles from past centuries:


The empire style was popular in the early 19th century. Dresses in this style had a high waistline and a flowing, loose skirt. They were often made of lightweight fabrics, such as muslin or silk.


In the later part of the 19th century, the bustle style became popular. These dresses had a lot of fabric in the back, which was gathered up and held in place with a framework of wire or horsehair.


In the 1920s, the flapper style became popular. Dresses in this style were short, with a dropped waistline and loose, flowing fabric. They were often made of lightweight fabrics, such as silk or chiffon.


Ballgowns have been popular for centuries and are still popular today. These dresses have a fitted bodice and a full, sweeping skirt that falls to the floor.


In conclusion, the white wedding dress that we know and love today is a relatively recent invention. Brides used to wear all sorts of colors and styles on their wedding day, and it wasn’t until Queen Victoria’s wedding in 1840 that the white dress became fashionable.

Whether you choose to wear a white gown or something more colorful, your wedding dress is a reflection of your personal style and the traditions that are important to you.


When did it become common for brides to wear white?

Throughout history, the color of wedding dresses has varied depending on the culture and social norms of the time. However, white wedding dresses as we know them today did not become popular until the mid-19th century.

Prior to this, brides typically wore dresses in colors such as red, blue, or even black, as it was not seen as necessary for a bride to wear a special dress solely for her wedding day. In fact, during the 18th and early 19th centuries, it was common for women to simply wear their best dress, regardless of color, for their wedding.

It wasn’t until 1840 that the trend of wearing white wedding dresses really took off, due to the marriage of Queen Victoria to Prince Albert. Victoria wore a white gown with Honiton lace trimmings, which was very unusual for the time, as white was not commonly worn as a symbol of purity or innocence.

However, Queen Victoria’s choice of a white wedding dress was seen as a symbol of her devotion and commitment to her husband, and as a result, many brides began to follow this trend and chose white dresses for their own weddings.

The widespread popularity of white wedding dresses was further cemented when photographs and illustrations of Victoria’s wedding were widely published, both in the United Kingdom and internationally.

Today, white wedding dresses continue to be popular and are seen as a traditional choice for many brides around the world. However, there are still many cultures where brides choose to wear brightly colored dresses or garments that are significant to their cultural or religious traditions.

Did brides wear white in 1800s?

In the 1800s, traditional wedding attire for brides in Western cultures varied widely depending on socioeconomic status and region. However, the trend of wearing white wedding dresses is often associated with the Victorian era, which spanned from 1837 to 1901. During this time, Queen Victoria donned a white gown for her wedding to Prince Albert in 1840, which not only set her apart from previous royal brides but also ignited a fashion trend.

Before the Victorian era, brides often just wore their best dress for their wedding day, regardless of color. Wealthy brides, however, would typically wear formal gowns made of rich fabrics such as silk or velvet. While white was not the predominant color for bridal gowns prior to Victoria’s wedding, many wealthy brides in the 1820s did wear white satin, tulle, and lace. It is also noted that some middle-class women of the period wore white for their nuptials as well, often in the form of cotton muslin dresses.

The white wedding trend continued throughout the remainder of the 1800s and the beginning of the 1900s. By the early 20th century, the white wedding gown had become the ultimate symbol of the modern Western wedding, and the trend remains popular to this day. However, it is worth noting that some cultures and religions have their own traditions when it comes to wedding attire, which might not include the Western-style white gown.

Where did not wearing white to a wedding come from?

The tradition of not wearing white to weddings started in the late 19th century, and it is mainly attributed to Queen Victoria. In 1840, Victoria wore a white wedding gown to her marriage to Prince Albert, which was quite unusual at that time. In the past, brides would wear various colored gowns on their wedding day – red was a popular choice as it symbolized happiness. However, Victoria defied tradition and opted for a white silk-satin and lace gown.

After the photographs of the wedding were widely published, brides began copying Victoria’s style by wearing white gowns to their own nuptials. White gowns became associated with purity and innocence, which is why it was considered inappropriate for anyone other than the bride to wear white to a wedding. The idea of wearing white also came to represent wealth and status, as only the affluent could afford to keep such a dress clean.

As a result, guests were expected to dress modestly and not upstage the bride on her special day. This included not wearing white, cream, or any other shade resembling the bride’s gown. While the tradition has evolved over the years, the idea of not wearing white to weddings is still upheld by many.

Today, there is more flexibility in wedding attire, and brides are seen wearing gowns in different shades and hues. Guests are also allowed to wear white, as long as it’s not the same or similar color as the bride’s dress. However, the tradition is still observed in many cultures and some individuals may consider it a faux pas to wear white or anything too flashy to a wedding. the idea of not wearing white to a wedding may have stemmed from Queen Victoria’s choice to wear a white gown in 1840, but it has become a long-standing tradition to honor the bride’s special day and avoid any potential social faux pas.