Skip to Content

When did wedding dresses change from black to white?

Wedding dresses are an important part of any wedding ceremony. They are a symbol of love and commitment between two people and often reflect the cultural and religious traditions of the couple. Today, wedding dresses come in a variety of styles, colors, and designs, each unique in its way. However, have you ever wondered why we wear white wedding dresses instead of black or other colors? In this blog post, we will explore the history of wedding dresses and how they evolved from black to white.

Black Wedding Dresses

Before the mid-1800s, brides wore colorful wedding dresses, mostly black, which was the trend at the time. Brides could choose to wear any color dress that they felt most comfortable in, and black was a popular choice since it symbolized simplicity and elegance. Besides, many brides also wore their Sunday best or best dress for their wedding, often made of black material.

In Europe, black wedding dresses were standard for centuries, and they were meant to signify a bride’s devotion to her husband-to-be. For instance, in Scandinavia and Denmark, black wedding dresses were significant during the Middle Ages, symbolizing the bride’s fidelity to her husband until death. In other cultures, black wedding dresses signified a family’s wealth or social status.

The Rise of White Wedding Dresses

Although history books suggest that white wedding dresses have always been the standard, this simply isn’t true.

One of the earliest recorded instances of a white wedding dress was that of Philippa of England when she married King Eric of Pomerania in 1406. However, it wasn’t until Queen Victoria’s wedding to Prince Albert that white wedding dresses became even more popular.

In 1840, Queen Victoria married Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, donning a white gown with Honiton lace trim. The wedding grabbed significant interest from the public while its beautiful photos graced the pages of newspapers and magazines across Europe. Many brides soon adopted the trend, and white wedding gowns became more fashionable. Victoria’s wedding dress was considered a symbol of purity, symbolizing the innocence and virginity of women. Besides, white wedding gowns symbolized other essential attributes, such as prosperity and social status.

Another reason for the rise in popularity of white wedding dresses was the Industrial Revolution, where mass production of clothing became widespread, making it cheaper for brides to buy new dresses. In addition, white cotton fabrics became affordable and widely available, and the design style made it easier to create simple and elegant gowns.

Other Colors

While white wedding dresses remain the standard, brides today can wear any color of their choice for their big day. Fashion designers and fashion houses often showcase gowns in a wide range of colors, such as soft pastels, blues, greens, reds, and even black.

White still remains the most popular color, but many brides choose other colors to represent their cultural heritage, celebrate their personality, or showcase their unique style. For instance, Asian brides may choose red wedding dresses, while Hispanic brides may choose traditional rainbow-colored quinceañera gowns.


There’s no specific reason why brides started wearing white wedding dresses in the 1800s. However, Queen Victoria’s wedding dress and the Industrial Revolution likely played a significant role in their rise in popularity. Today, brides can wear any dress color they choose, and it’s all about expressing their personality, individuality, and uniqueness. Still, white wedding gowns remain the most popular choice, symbolizing love, commitment, and purity, and they will probably hold this position for many years to come.


What was the original color of a wedding dress?

The question of what color wedding dresses were originally is a topic of some debate among historians. The belief that brides should wear white on their wedding day is a relatively recent phenomenon, dating back to the mid-19th century. Before that, brides wore dresses in a range of colors.

In fact, for brides in the lower classes, a black dress was often the most practical choice. Black was a color that could be worn again and again, making it a more cost-effective option. It was also a color that would hide stains and marks, which were more likely to occur during the long celebrations that often accompanied weddings.

As the middle class grew in the 19th century, women began to have more choices in terms of fashion. Showier gowns were made in lush fabrics and often featured gold and silver embroidery, as well as fur. These dresses were often worn only once, but they were still not necessarily white. Colors like red, blue, and green were all common choices.

It wasn’t until Queen Victoria wore a white dress for her wedding in 1840 that white became a popular choice for brides. At the time, white was considered a symbol of purity and innocence. It was also a way for Victoria to showcase her wealth, as white dresses were more expensive to clean and maintain than dresses in other colors.

Over time, the popularity of white wedding dresses grew, and by the early 20th century, they had become the norm. But it’s important to remember that this was not always the case. In fact, white is just one of many colors that have been worn by brides over the centuries. the choice of wedding dress color reflects the time and culture in which it is worn.

What was the traditional wedding dress color before white?

The traditional wedding dress color before white was not limited to any particular color. In fact, the idea of wearing a white wedding dress is a relatively new phenomenon in human history. Before the mid-19th century, brides from all over the world would wear dresses in various colors depending on their cultural traditions and personal style preferences.

For example, in ancient Rome, brides would wear a yellow dress made of wool to symbolize fertility. In China, red is the traditional wedding color because it is considered to be a lucky color. In India, brides would wear heavily decorated sarees in red, green, or gold as a symbol of good luck and prosperity. In Medieval Europe, brides would wear blue, which was considered to be a symbol of purity, or red, which was associated with love and passion.

It was not until Queen Victoria wore an influential white dress for her own wedding ceremony in 1840 that the trend of wearing white wedding dresses started to catch on. The idea of wearing a white dress was initially seen as a display of wealth, as it was not practical for everyday wear and was difficult to keep clean. However, over time, the white wedding dress became a symbol of purity and innocence, and it eventually became the standard dress color for Western brides.

Today, brides have the freedom to choose any color for their wedding dress, although white remains the most popular choice. Many brides choose a dress in a color that complements their skin tone or reflects their personal style. Some brides opt for non-traditional colors like black, blue, or pink, while others choose to wear traditional dresses in their cultural colors. The choice of wedding dress color ultimately depends on the individual bride’s preferences and cultural traditions.

Can a non virgin wear a white wedding dress?

Traditionally, the white wedding dress has been associated with purity and virginity. In the past, it was considered a social norm for brides to wear a pure white dress on their wedding day, symbolizing their purity and innocence. However, times have changed and societal norms have evolved. While the idea of wearing a white wedding dress may have been associated with virginity in the past, that association has become increasingly outdated and is no longer commonly thought of in that context.

Today, many women who are not virgins choose to wear white on their wedding day. They may have been married before, had children outside of marriage, or simply do not subscribe to the traditional notion that virginity is a requirement for wearing a white wedding dress. In fact, many brides now choose to wear white simply because it is a timeless and traditional color for weddings.

The decision to wear a white wedding dress as a non-virgin is a personal choice. While some may believe that wearing white on your wedding day is inappropriate or disrespectful if you are not a virgin, that view is becoming increasingly outdated. Instead, many brides see wearing a white wedding dress as a way to honor the special traditions and customs associated with weddings, regardless of their sexual history. The most important thing is that the bride feels beautiful and confident on her special day, regardless of what color dress she chooses to wear.