I think everyone loves to look at wedding photo’s! No matter the time in history, every bride and groom shines on that one special day in their lives.
It came as a small shock to me when I started to research the tradition of the wedding gown to find that a “white wedding” is a relatively recent addition to the customs of a wedding day.
Prior to and during the medieval period brides of high social standing wore gowns of bright colours and rich fabric. The less wealthy groups of society still saw the marriage bond as sacred and dressed to whatever their budget would allow
The person widely credited with starting the tradition of wearing a white wedding gown was Queen Victoria who married on 10 Feb 1840, a mere 176 years ago. One hundred and seventy six years is but a snap of the fingers in relation to the length of time that the marriage bond has been around. However the tradition of a bride wearing white spread slowly and they still tended to be worn by the elite classes of society for many years.
Of course the type of gowns worn are sometimes dictated by history itself. During the Great Depression, when both material and funds were limited, brides once again returned to wearing their best outfit, light or dark, as evidenced by one of the above photographs.
We have free reign over our choice of wedding gowns these days, but whilst the style and fabric of the gown are still dictated by available funds, white is worn by women of all classes. The choice of wearing a coloured gown is still the brides and for my own wedding I chose to be married in cream rather than traditional white.
I simply never realised that the ritual of wearing a white wedding gown had not emerged until such recent times.