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Why Do We Wear White Wedding Dresses?

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Actually, the reality is that 'we' don't exclusively wear white on our wedding days, at least if you're speaking globally. Wedding traditions vary all around the world and even within cultural subsets in the same regions, and can include a wide variety of colors, patterns, and styles. However, a quick image search of 'wedding dresses' might turn up more white gowns than not. Where did this tradition come from?

A popular misconception is that white was to symbolize the purity and--ahem-- virginity of the bride. In reality, wedding dresses were not commonly white before the marriage of Queen Victoria in 1840. White fabric, especially fabrics such as lace, satin, or silk, were a reflection of the bride's wealth and social standing, not the status of her innocence. Brides that could not afford to dress like the Queen for their big day often chose their best church clothes in which to marry, because white dresses were expensive to produce, outside a common bride's budget, and not practical to keep. A white dress would be easily ruined by tears, dirt, or other damage, and it just wasn't possible for a bride of low affluence to have one in most cases. 

Essentially, white gowns are just an enduring tradition from the Victorian era, when brides from rich families flaunted their wealth by wearing white, impractical dresses that no common bride could afford. Why do we still do it today? It's likely just the power of tradition, and the chance to once again make it seem like we're wealthier than we are... at least for one day.

Photo: Pixabay

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