The white wedding, explained
Ever wonder where the western bridal uniform came from?
Nowadays, couples are focused on making their big days as unique as possible with ultra-personal touches, DIY decor and big surprises. Deep down, everyone just wants to be a precious snowflake but when it comes to westernized weddings there are a few traditional style details that seem to be in it for the long haul. Here are some theories on how history has influenced the “classic” white wedding look the mainstream still abides by.
The white dress
We can most likely thank Queen Victoria for this one, she wore white when she wed in 1840 (before her, royals usually wore colour) and much like the Kate Middleton-lace-sleeve trend of 2011, the masses followed suit. White has also long been a symbol of purity (in all senses of the word, including virginity) in many countries across the world as well as in Christianity (hello, ever-so-sin-free baptism gown). Plus, until the 20th century dry-cleaning wasn’t exactly a thing, so a pristine white get-up probably meant you were rich or at the very least, not accidentprone.
Back to that whole sanitary issue the pre-20th century brides were dealing with, what better to cover up the scent of a stinky (but pure, oh so pure) 15th century woman than a bunch of fresh flowers? This tradition has ties to the times when bathing was a yearly tradition, but also has been credited to a) folks from the Middle Ages using flowers as a way to ward off evil and b) the floral garlands of Roman times that represented fertility. And you think forking over big cash for a one-time-wear, possibly hideous outfit and planning an over-the-top bachelorette—and maybe a shower too—is a lot of work? It’s said the tradition of the matchy-matchy get-ups was born out of ancient times when the troop of bridesmaids dressed like the bride as a way to trick evil spirits, and protect the precious cargo (the coupleto-be). Just call me Evil Magnet.
Should we be more worried about evil spirits? Yet another tradition that relates back to bad vibes, the bridal veil has roots in Roman times when the bride wore a head-to-toe red veil that was meant to spook the spirits. And, what’s more pure and modest than a faceless bride?