|Queen Victoria's white wedding dress inspired today's tradition.|
While most of us in the West like to think of weddings as part of a love story, for most of history marriage was really more like a business deal between two families or countries. But even when wedding weren't based on love, brides wore dresses that highlighted their family's wealth and social status. However, for the most part, brides didn't buy a dress specifically for her wedding day. Instead, a bride usually wore her Sunday best.
These dresses were often dark because dark colors didn't show stains. In fact, many brides wore black because it was popular. Many wedding traditions are linked to superstition, and the color of the wedding dress back then was no different. Brides avoided wearing green because it was considered an unlucky color, while blue was the most popular choice because it was thought to represent purity and godliness.
In 1840, the royal wedding between England's Queen Victoria to her first cousin Prince Albert introduced a bridal gown that changed everything. She wore a white gown dripping with orange blossoms. At that time, white fabric was hard to come by and expensive. So brides who wanted to show off their wealth or status created white gowns made with excessive amounts of fabric. However, the whites of that day were not bright like the eggshell white we have these days. About a decade later, Godey's Lady's Book, declared that white was the most fitting hue for a bride.
When the Great Depression hit, the white wedding dress grew scarce again because people weren't willing to spend money on a gown they would wear one time. Instead, women returned to the tradition of wearing their best outfit. At that time it was usually a dark color. By the middle of the 20 century, the white dress grew in popularity again. Some iconic dresses from this era include Grace Kelly and Princess Diana's wedding gowns.
In other cultures, in countries like China and India, brides often wear red or a white-red combination because red symbolizes good-luck. In Japan, brides often wear colorful dresses. Today, in the West, white and light-colors are the most popular color for wedding dresses, but brides have more choices than ever to choose from. Many people think white represents purity and virtue while it really became popular because it represented dressing like royalty.