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Why are wedding dresses traditionally white?

The wedding dress is white because it is supposed to represent purity and innocence? That is only half the reason. In fact, it is thanks to some royal trendsetters that most women today walk down the aisle in white.

A wedding dress should be white or at least cream! Most people would agree with this sentence, even if not all of them do anymore. But did you know that this unwritten rule is not even that old? In the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, women of high rank gave their vows to their future husbands in splendid red, green or blue dresses, which were also embroidered with precious gold. The reason: the dyeing of fabrics was an extremely expensive affair at that time. With colorful robes, one could therefore show what a wealthy family one came from. No one would have thought of wearing a bridal gown in a bright white. The common people, on the other hand, until the beginning of the 20th century, could not afford dresses that were worn only on one occasion. So the woman simply wore her most beautiful (festive) dress on her wedding day. And that was usually black.

In a white wedding dress at the altar – the royals as trendsetters

But just as pink was once considered a boy’s color and light blue a girl’s color, new color traditions are changing and solidifying to such an extent that only a few people still know that white wedding dresses are a relatively new fashion phenomenon. It was above all the nobility who first stepped out of line with a light-colored wedding dress every now and then. For example, Princess Elizabeth Stuart of England and Scotland married the Palatinate Elector Frederick V in a cream-colored dress in 1613. Her granddaughter Maria did the same in 1641. Since royal weddings were not yet a media event at that time, the people did not notice them very much. This changed abruptly when the British Queen Victoria married Prince Albert in 1840 in a white dress and the press was already present. Queen Victoria was also the one who established black as the color of mourning.

A year later at the latest, when Empress Sissi married her Franz in white in her pompous Rüschen dream, everyone was in awe. White was the new color for the day of love. From then on, every woman only wanted to walk down the aisle in a radiant white dress. And since white already stood for innocence, purity and youthfulness, the new trend caught on in no time. Even though until the 20th century the rural population had to continue to wear traditional costumes and could only dream of white wedding dresses.

Red also has a long tradition

In the meantime, ideas and expectations regarding young womanhood and marriage have changed considerably, but white is still the predominant color when it comes to wedding dresses. Those who like it more individual, fortunately, also have great opportunities to choose a wedding dress in another color, such as red. Even in ancient times, Roman brides wore red veils because they were believed to bring wealth and blessings to the couple. And Indian brides are still dressed in red saris, as red is considered a lucky color in India. Ultimately, of course, it is up to each person to decide in which color they want to say yes.