History of the Wedding Dress
When we think of a traditional wedding dress, we definitely imagine it in white color. However, the history of wedding dress is rooted in deep antiquity. Colors and styles of dresses for a wedding ceremony have been constantly changed throughout the years, depending on religious and cultural factors.
In medieval times, wedding was part of a business deal when two noble families united for beneficial alliance. Wedding dress was chosen according to social status of the family. Brides from wealthy families often wore rich brightly colored dresses, furs and feathers. As the main purpose of the wedding ceremony was to demonstrate family’s prosperity, wedding dresses of those times indicated the extent of the family's wealth.
An average bride, rarely purchased a dress specifically for the wedding day, but wore the finest she owned. Wedding was a special occasion even for those who had limited means. Brides from the poorest families wore their church dresses on the wedding day.
It should be mentioned that white color was not a popular choice for wedding gowns at that time. White was associated with religion and clergy, symbolizing virginity and faithfulness. Thus, white gowns were worn by members of Catholic Church and women who devoted their lives to God in monasteries.
White wedding dress became popular only after Alexandrina Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom, married Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 1840. Victoria wore all white gown made from heavy silk satin for the ceremony. It was considered a very unusual choice at that time. However, many other brides all over Europe and America began wearing white wedding dresses in accordance with the Queen's choice. Some women still chose to get married in other colors, but the tendency for white was established.
In Eastern cultures, brides preferred to wear red wedding dresses for the ceremony, as red was considered to be the color of luck and auspiciousness. This tradition continues to this day.
In China, bride may wear white wedding dress following Western traditions, but for the formal part of the banquet, she will change into red.
In Japan, brides usually wear several dresses throughout the ceremony. Traditionally, white color symbolizes death in Japan. In commemoration of the previous life, bride wears white wedding gown and changes it into red kimono during the ceremony to symbolize her rebirth in new family.
After all, every woman wants to have perfect wedding dress, regardless of its style and color. Many little wedding accessories may be partially forgotten, but the wedding dress is the only memory that never fades.