History 101: The Wedding Dress

Have you ever wondered where the tradition of the white wedding dress came from? Well, we have an answer!


In 1840, Queen Victoria married Prince Albert wearing  a white dress. The tradition of the time was actually to wear a blue dress, which was a symbol of purity. We love what Time had to say about this choice, “. . . the choice was almost as iconoclastic as it would have been for Catherine Middleton to walk down the aisle in scarlet.” She was definitely breaking the trends of the time with her choice of a white satin gown.

This trend didn’t immediately catch on, however. Upper class women took to the fashion, but it wasn’t realistic for women to use a white dress for one occasion, so they bought dresses that they could use beyond their wedding day.

With the Industrial Revolution, white fabric became more available for less money, making it possible for wealthy to middle class women to continue a tradition more commonly followed by the elite.


During the Depression and World War II, however, wedding dresses relegated to Sunday best. The money just simply wasn’t there to spend on wedding dresses, and extravagant weddings became less of a priority as brides were marrying quickly before their sweethearts were shipped out to fight in the war.

Post-War era wedding dresses from 1950;s-1970’s we begin to see more what we would consider being a white wedding dress. Calf length dresses in the 50’s, and long sleeves and high necks in the 70’s – things were decidedly more ornate than those during the 30’s and 40’s.

princess diana

In the 80’s we see Princess Diana in her show stopping gown, which brought new life to the wedding gown, and inspiring the princess look for the wedding day.

the reasonAnd now we are here, in the early 21st Century, where the white wedding dress has continued to live on, Edwina Ehrman suggests why: “The reason the white wedding dress has survived is because it can evolve and remain fashionable –it persists because it can be reinvented.”


Now you know!

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