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What does a white wedding dress symbolize?

A wedding dress is one of the most important garments a woman will ever wear. It is the epitome of elegance and beauty and symbolizes the purity and sacredness of marriage. Traditionally, wedding dresses have been white, but where did the tradition of a white wedding dress come from and what does it symbolize?

The History of White Wedding Dresses

The history of the white wedding dress can be traced back to Queen Victoria’s wedding in 1840. Victoria wore a white dress to her wedding to Prince Albert, which was considered a radical departure from the norm at the time.

Before Victoria’s wedding, brides wore a variety of colors to their weddings, including black, red, and even yellow. In fact, white was seen as a symbol of mourning, and most brides opted for more colorful dresses. However, Victoria’s choice of a white dress set the trend for white wedding dresses that continues to this day.

The white wedding dress quickly became popular among the elite, as it was seen as a symbol of wealth and status. However, it wasn’t until the 20th century that white wedding dresses became ubiquitous among brides of all social classes.

The Symbolism of White

So, why did Queen Victoria choose a white wedding dress, and what does the color white symbolize?

White has long been associated with purity and innocence. In Christianity, white is associated with the Virgin Mary and is often used to represent holiness and virtue. In many cultures, white is also associated with new beginnings and rebirth.

For Queen Victoria, the white wedding dress was a symbol of her purity and innocence. At the time, the idea of marrying for love was still a new concept. Marriage was seen as a business arrangement, and brides were expected to bring wealth, property, and social status to the marriage. By wearing a white wedding dress, Victoria was signaling to the world that her marriage was one of love, not just a business transaction.

Today, white wedding dresses continue to symbolize purity and innocence. Brides wear white to their weddings as a symbol of their commitment to their partners and to the sanctity of marriage.

Other Colors and Their Meanings

While white is the most traditional color for wedding dresses, many brides today are choosing to wear dresses in a variety of colors. Here are a few of the most popular colors and their meanings:


Ivory is a popular alternative to white. It has a warm, creamy tone that many brides find flattering. Ivory is often associated with softness, elegance, and luxury.


Blush is a light pink color that is becoming increasingly popular for wedding dresses. It is a soft, feminine color that is associated with romance and love.


Champagne is a warm, golden color that is associated with celebration and joy. It is a popular choice for brides who want a dress that is elegant and sophisticated but not as stark as white.

In Conclusion

The tradition of the white wedding dress dates back to Queen Victoria’s wedding in 1840. Victoria’s choice of a white dress set the trend for white wedding dresses that continues to this day. White wedding dresses symbolize purity and innocence, and brides wear white as a symbol of their commitment to their partners and to the sanctity of marriage. While white is the most traditional color for wedding dresses, brides today are choosing to wear dresses in a variety of colors, each with their own meanings and symbolism.

No matter the color, the wedding dress is a symbol of beauty, elegance, and the sacred bond between two people. It is a reminder of the joy and celebration of the wedding day and the commitment to love and honor one another for a lifetime.


Where did the tradition of white wedding dress come from?

The tradition of wearing a white wedding dress on a bride’s big day is a relatively recent phenomenon in human history. For centuries, brides wore their best dresses, regardless of their color, and styles varied from one region to another. However, the idea of the white wedding dress as a symbol of innocence, purity, and virginity can be traced back to the early modern period.

Some historians pinpoint the origins of the white wedding dress to Anne of Brittany, a queen of France, during her marriage to Louis XII in 1499. While the wedding had been a political move to unite France and Brittany, Anne’s dress became the talk of the town. The dress was not entirely white, but it had a white underdress, and all of the silk embroidery was done in white. The idea of wearing a white dress on one’s wedding day gradually gained popularity, especially among European nobility.

However, the real catalyst for the white wedding dress tradition was the most famous royal wedding of all time- the wedding of Queen Victoria to Prince Albert in 1840. Victoria wore a white lace dress, which was groundbreaking at the time, as many brides tended to wear gowns in bold colours or rich fabrics that they could use again for other occasions. The gown was designed to be purely white to showcase the fine delicate craftsmanship of lace and also to highlight Victoria’s youth and beauty. The image of the young queen in her white lace dress was widely printed in newspapers and quickly spread throughout Europe.

Queen Victoria’s choice of a white wedding dress was widely imitated in Europe and America in the following decades. White came to signify not only purity and innocence but also wealth, as only those who had servants to launder their clothes could afford to wear such delicate fabric and maintain its pristine condition. By the 20th century, white wedding dresses had become a fashion staple for many brides globally, even those who did not wish to conform to the traditional symbolism.

The white wedding dress tradition has evolved over time, from a wardrobe choice of an aristocrat to a timeless symbol of purity, innocence, and prosperity. As bridal fashion continues to evolve, the white wedding dress remains an iconic garment, with the power to charm and captivate brides and grooms worldwide.

Can a non virgin wear a white wedding dress?

In the past, it was considered to be a tradition that only virgins were allowed to wear white on their wedding day. It was believed that white symbolized purity and innocence, which were highly valued qualities in a bride. However, this belief is outdated now, and the idea that you must be ‘pure’ in order to wear a white dress is gradually fading away.

The concept of ‘virginity’ as a prerequisite for wearing a white wedding dress is steeped in traditional beliefs that have been passed down through generations. It’s important to remember that a wedding dress is just another article of clothing, and it’s up to the bride to decide what color and style they will wear on their big day. Wearing a white wedding dress, even if you’re not a virgin, does not diminish the significance of the day or indicate moral shortcomings in any way.

Nowadays, the decision to wear white is more about honoring tradition and adhering to cultural expectations than anything else. Many brides choose to wear white simply because it’s traditional, and they wish to follow the norms of their society. There is no hard and fast rule that dictates what color a bride can wear on her wedding day, and it’s essential to remember that ultimately, the choice is up to the individual.

Wearing a white wedding dress is a tradition that has been around for centuries. In the past, the belief that only virgins could wear white was prevalent, but this notion has become outdated. Nowadays, the choice of what color to wear is ultimately up to the bride, and wearing a white dress on your wedding day, even if you’re not a virgin, does not signify any moral shortcomings. Every bride deserves to feel beautiful on their big day, regardless of their past experiences.

Why would a bride not be allowed to wear white to a wedding?

There are a few reasons why a bride might not be allowed to wear white to a wedding. First and foremost, white is typically seen as a bridal colour. It’s a colour that symbolizes purity, and is traditionally worn by brides on their wedding day. Therefore, if a bride wears a white dress to a wedding, it may come across as disrespectful or attention-seeking, as if she is trying to overshadow the actual bride.

Secondly, white is a colour that can be difficult to pull off without looking like a bridal or wedding dress. It’s a bold choice, and unless the wedding invitation specifically calls for guests to wear white, it’s best to play it safe and avoid wearing a white dress altogether. This will also ensure that you don’t clash with the bride or the wedding party and that you don’t attract unwanted attention.

Lastly, wearing a white dress to a wedding can also be seen as a breach of etiquette. It’s viewed as a lack of consideration for the bride and groom and their special day. Wedding guests are expected to dress appropriately for the occasion, and part of that means avoiding any attire that might be viewed as inappropriate or disrespectful.

In short, while there may be some instances where it’s okay for a bride to wear white to a wedding, in general, it’s best to avoid it altogether. Opt for a different colour or style that is more appropriate for the occasion, and consider the bride and groom’s feelings when selecting your attire for the day.