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Why are white wedding dresses a thing?

Weddings are one of the most cherished and celebrated moments in many people’s lives, and the wedding dress is often considered one of the most important features of the event. In Western cultures, white wedding dresses have become the norm, with millions of brides donning the iconic white gowns every year. But have you ever wondered why white wedding dresses are a thing? In this article, we’ll explore the history and significance of white wedding dresses and how they became an enduring tradition.

The History of White Wedding Dresses

The practice of wearing white wedding dresses likely traces back more than 2,000 years, with roots in the Roman Republic (509 B.C. – 27 B.C.). During this time, brides wore a white tunic to symbolize their purity and chastity. The color white was also seen as a symbol of celebration, representing the transition of a woman from her single life to a married Roman matron.

However, it wasn’t until the 19th century that white wedding dresses became ingrained in Western culture. Up until then, brides typically wore their best dress or the most expensive outfit they owned on their wedding day, regardless of color. It wasn’t until 1840 when Queen Victoria of England wore a white wedding dress for her wedding to Prince Albert that the tradition really took hold.

Queen Victoria’s wedding dress was designed by royal dressmaker Mary Jane Steward and featured a white satin gown with intricate lace and a 21-foot-long train. The dress was widely publicized and became an instant sensation, sparking a trend for white wedding dresses among the upper classes in England and spreading throughout Europe and eventually, North America.

Why White?

So we know that white wedding dresses have been around for a while, but why is white the color of choice for brides? The answer once again goes back to the idea of purity and chastity. In the 19th century, white was a symbol of wealth and prosperity, as only the wealthy could afford to wear such delicate and easily soiled fabrics. It was also seen as a symbol of purity, with the white representing a bride’s chastity and innocence.

Today, the tradition of wearing a white wedding dress has maintained its symbolic meaning, even though society’s views on chastity have evolved. Many brides view wearing a white dress as a way to honor tradition and feel elegant and timeless on their wedding day.

Other Colors and Cultures

While white wedding dresses are the norm in many Western cultures, this is not the case in all parts of the world. For example, in China, brides typically wear red wedding dresses, as red is considered a symbol of good luck and prosperity. Indian brides, on the other hand, wear brightly colored saris and lehengas, often including gold and intricate embellishments.

In some Western cultures, brides may choose to wear a dress in a color other than white, such as ivory, champagne, pink, or even black. These non-traditional dresses can be a way for brides to express their individuality and personal style on their wedding day.

The Evolution of Wedding Dresses

Since Queen Victoria’s wedding in 1840, wedding dress styles have evolved considerably. While white remains the most popular color, the design and construction of wedding dresses have changed with the times. In the 1920s, for example, wedding dresses featured dropped waists, beading, and flapper-inspired styles that reflected the emerging trends of the era.

During the 1950s, wedding dresses became more structured and emphasized traditional feminine silhouettes, with fitted bodices and full skirts. The 1960s and 1970s saw more relaxed and bohemian styles, with flowing fabrics and flower crowns.

Today, wedding dresses come in a wide range of styles, from sleek and modern to vintage-inspired and whimsical. They may feature intricate beading and embroidery, lace details, or minimalist designs. Some brides may even opt for a non-traditional wedding outfit such as a pantsuit or jumpsuit.


The practice of wearing white wedding dresses has a long and storied history, rooted in the idea of purity and transition. While white remains the most popular color choice for brides in Western cultures, the evolution of wedding dress styles shows that there is no one “right” way to dress for your wedding day. Ultimately, the most important thing is to choose a dress that reflects your personal style and makes you feel confident and beautiful as you celebrate this special occasion with the people you love.


What is the reason behind a white wedding dress?

The tradition of wearing a white wedding dress has been in practice for more than a century and continues to be a popular choice for brides all around the world. The white wedding dress is considered the symbol of purity, innocence, and perfection, and is one of the most essential elements of a wedding.

Although it is difficult to pinpoint the exact origin of the white wedding dress, it is believed that this tradition began during the Victorian era. In 1849, a publication called Godey’s Lady’s Book, known as the “Vogue of the Victorian world,” declared that white was the most appropriate color for a bride’s wedding dress. According to this publication, the white dress represented the purity and innocence of girlhood and the unsullied heart and soul of the bride-to-be.

However, the tradition of wearing a white wedding dress really came into its own in 1840, when Queen Victoria of England wore a stunning white gown for her wedding to Prince Albert. The ceremony was widely publicized, and the queen’s dress became very popular among upper-class brides. This event is widely regarded as the starting point of the modern white wedding dress tradition.

Since then, the trend of wearing a white wedding dress has crossed borders and has become a universal symbol of a woman’s wedding. The white dress represents the bride’s transformation from her previous life to a married life. The white dress is also associated with the idea of a fresh start, new beginnings, and hope, giving the bride a positive affirmation as she begins her journey into married life.

Furthermore, the white wedding dress is also seen as a symbol of wealth and status. It is an expensive dress not only because of the fabric and work, but also due to its cultural and symbolic value. Though the white dress is no longer viewed as a status symbol but rather a tradition, it still holds a certain level of esteem and pride.

The white wedding dress has become a part of our history, and its popularity has only grown over time. From Queen Victoria to today’s modern brides, it is no longer just a color but a symbol of a special day, a woman’s transformation, and a cultural tradition.

Can a non virgin wear a white wedding dress?

There is no denying that the tradition of wearing a white wedding dress is still incredibly popular. However, the idea that you must be ‘pure’ in order to wear a white dress is rather outdated. Traditionally, wearing a white dress on your wedding day symbolized new beginnings, purity and innocence, and the idea of a virgin bride. However, in today’s society, this idea is no longer as relevant as it once was.

Over time, we’ve seen a general shift away from virginity being a requirement for wearing a white dress. Many brides choose to wear a white dress on their wedding day, even if they aren’t a virgin, or even if they have children already. These days, white is merely chosen because it’s traditional and is often a personal preference for the bride.

It’s important to remember that wearing a white wedding dress is a personal choice and there is no rule or tradition that requires you to wear one. There are many other options besides white that are just as stunning and beautiful. It’s all about what the bride feels most comfortable in and what makes them feel most confident on their big day.

The decision about whether or not a non-virgin can wear a white wedding dress is up to the individual. Society has moved past the idea that a bride must be a virgin in order to wear a white dress and is now embracing the concept that the bride should wear what she feels comfortable in and what she likes the most. In modern times, purity is no longer associated with the color of one’s wedding dress and the traditional white dress has evolved to symbolize hope, new beginnings, and promises of a happy future.

What did brides wear before white?

Bridal fashion has come a long way throughout history. Today, it is customary for brides to wear white wedding dresses on their big day. However, this hasn’t always been the case. Prior to 1840, when Queen Victoria made a bold fashion statement and wore a white dress for her wedding, brides wore dresses in different colors and styles.

Before white became popularized, brides wore wedding dresses in a variety of colors, often chosen to reflect cultural or religious traditions. For example, in ancient Rome, brides wore a bright yellow veil, symbolizing fertility. In China, red was and still is a popular choice for wedding dresses. It is seen as a sign of good luck and fortune. Similarly, in India, brides often wear red or brightly colored wedding dresses, as this symbolizes happiness and prosperity.

In Western countries before the 19th century, brides generally wore their “Sunday best” dress, regardless of color. This meant that brides would frequently wear colors such as blue, purple, and even black for their weddings. Black was a common color for wedding dresses in Scandinavia and elsewhere in Europe. This was not because black represented mourning but because it was one of the few colors that could be easily reused after the wedding.

It wasn’t until Queen Victoria wore a white gown for her wedding to Prince Albert in 1840 that the idea of white as the traditional bridal color took hold. At the time, many people saw Victoria’s choice of white as a sign of her high social status instead of a symbol of purity. However, the trend caught on, and by the late 1800s, white wedding dresses had become more widespread.

It is evident that brides before the Victorian era wore wedding dresses in many different colors and styles. While white has now become the traditional color for wedding dresses, this was not always the case and is merely a relatively modern trend.