When you think about the traditional color for wedding gowns you think white. Well, that's true now, but it's not nearly as old a tradition as you might assume. While some cultures and religions have always favored white gowns, the wedding gowns of western brides were not always white. In fact, until Queen Victoria married her cousin Albert of Saxe-Coburg in 1840, there was no particular color associated with wedding gowns. Queen Victoria married in a white gown, shown at right, and her choice has had more influence on wedding gown colors than any other. Because the Queen wore it, white was set as the rule for weddings and that has continued ever since.
In the Middle Ages and the Renaissance even the wealthy had few outfits and they were worn until their condition was beneath the owner's social station, at which time they were cast-off. Only the very wealthy and powerful could afford clothing made for specific occasions. The most popular colors for special occasion dresses were purple, crimson and royal blue. Brides, both rich and poor, simply wore the best dress they owned, and embellished it with whatever they had. For the rich it was jewels and fur, for the poor, flowers and ribbon. During the reign of Elizabeth I, white became a symbol of pure, young, maidenhood and some brides wore it, although white was still not thought of as a bridal color.
As late as 1907, the typical color for a Scottish bride was blue. It's thought that this custom inspired the "something blue" from the old rhyme.
Red, symbolic of joy, is used liberally by Chinese brides, especially for the veil and shoes. Red was also popular with early Celtic cultures because it represented fertility. Both red and yellow are traditionally worn by brides in Korea.
A Jewish bride traditionally wears white, as does a bride in Japan, although she will change her clothes several times during the reception, and only the first kimono is white.
Irish tradition holds that green is an unlucky color for brides, although green was frequently used by European brides in the 15th century. See the picture of Madame Arnolfi at right.
What does all this mean for you? It means you can wear whatever color you want. Just select a color you like which flatters your complexion. We've made wedding gowns in green, pink, blue, yellow, burgundy, red, black, silver, gold, ivory, purple, and yes, even white!