What Does White Symbolize in a Wedding Dress? Understanding the Significance of this Traditional Color Choice

At most weddings, the bride dons a white dress, looking stunning and spectacular. It is common knowledge that brides wear white wedding dresses on their special day, but not many people know why! Many people feel like the white dress is just a fashion statement, but there’s so much more to it than that. What does white symbolize in a wedding dress?

The answer to this question is essential to understanding the significance of the white dress at weddings. White is the symbol of purity, peace, and perfection. It’s no wonder that brides prefer to wear white on their wedding day, as they represent the pureness of their love, and their intention to start a new life free of impurities. In contrast, in some cultures, red is the color that signifies love and marriage, while in others, a certain shade of blue or green is preferred. But the white dress has become a nearly universal choice for many brides. However, not many people know how this tradition started, and why white became the choice for wedding dresses.

The History of White Wedding Dresses

White wedding dresses have become a symbol of purity and innocence, but it wasn’t always the case. In fact, white wedding dresses only became popular in the Western world during the Victorian era. Before then, brides would wear dresses in various colors, including blue, yellow, and red. White was actually the color of mourning, which made it an unusual choice for a wedding dress.

However, in 1840, Queen Victoria changed the game by wearing a white wedding dress for her marriage to Prince Albert. The public was amazed by her choice of color, and white wedding dresses soon became a trend among the upper class.

Today, white wedding dresses are seen as the traditional choice for brides in Western cultures. They symbolize purity, innocence, and new beginnings. However, many brides now choose to wear dresses in other colors or with colored accents, breaking away from tradition and embracing their personal style.

White wedding dresses in different cultures

While white may be the traditional color for wedding dresses in Western culture, this is not the norm in many other parts of the world. In fact, other cultures have their own customs and meanings associated with different colors for wedding attire. Here are some examples of white wedding dresses in different cultures:

  • Japan: In Japan, brides traditionally wear a white kimono called a “shiro-muku” for their wedding day. The color symbolizes purity and innocence, and the outfit is often completed with a white hood called a “tsunokakushi” to cover the bride’s hair and face, symbolizing her modesty.
  • India: While white is not typically worn for Indian weddings, it has become more common in recent years due to Western influence. In Hindu culture, red is the most popular color for wedding attire. However, some Indian Christians may opt for a white gown.
  • China: In Chinese culture, red symbolizes good luck and is the traditional color for wedding dresses. However, white has also become more popular in recent years as a symbol of modernity and purity.

It’s important to note that while these are some examples of white wedding attire in different cultures, there may be varying beliefs and customs within each culture itself. It’s always best to do your research and respect the practices of the community you are celebrating with.

If you’re looking for a little more detail on the meanings behind different colors for wedding attire, take a look at this table:

Color Meaning
White Purity, innocence
Red Good luck, fortune, joy
Gold Wealth, luxury
Blue Purity, fidelity
Pink Love, romance
Purple Royalty, power

Whether you choose to stick with tradition or blaze your own trail, understanding the cultural significance of wedding attire is an important part of any celebration.

The Symbolism of Purity in White Wedding Dresses

White is considered to be the traditional bridal color for centuries because of its association with purity and innocence. This hue has been the standard choice of brides when it comes to wedding dresses, symbolizing the bride’s chastity, morality, and virtue. Here, we will discuss the symbolism of purity in a white wedding dress, and three things you should know about it.

  • Historical Significance: The tradition of wearing a white gown on the wedding day started in 1840 when Queen Victoria married Prince Albert in an all-white ensemble. Queen Victoria’s choice of dress not only broke away from the traditional royal attire, but it also marked a shift in bridal fashion by selecting a color that represented purity. The white gown became an instant trend among the wealthy and fashionable in Europe and America, leading to white being the go-to color for bridal dresses.
  • The Biblical Connection: White has a strong, biblically-based connection with purity and innocence. In the Bible, pure white garments represent the righteousness of God and His chosen people. The bride is believed to be transformed into a pure and innocent woman by the Holy Spirit, and the white wedding dress represents that transformation.
  • The Power of a White Dress: Wearing a white wedding dress signifies the bride’s chastity, innocence, and purity. The dress is also believed to bring good luck and happiness to the couple’s married life, making it essential for both the bride and groom to wear white outfits to their big day.

Purity in White Wedding Dresses: A Table of Meanings

The color white has different meanings across various cultures and societies. Below is a table of the symbolism and cultural representation of white in a wedding dress.

Symbolism Cultural Representations
Purity and Innocence Western, Christian
Spirituality and Enlightenment Buddhist, Tibetan, and Hindu
Integrity, Honesty, and Truth Islamic, Egyptian
Renewal and Beginning Chinese, Japanese

Wearing a white wedding dress at your big day has an essential meaning and purpose behind it. It represents purity, innocence, and all of the good things that come with a new beginning. Hopefully, this article has answered your questions about the symbolism of purity in white wedding dresses.

The Evolution of White Wedding Dress Trends

White wedding dresses have been the traditional choice for brides for almost two centuries. However, the meaning of the white wedding dress has changed over time, influenced by cultural trends and societal norms. In this article, we will explore the evolution of white wedding dress trends and what white symbolizes in a wedding dress.

White as a symbol of purity

  • The white wedding dress trend began with Queen Victoria, who wore a white gown to her wedding in 1840.
  • At the time, white symbolized purity and innocence, a reflection of Queen Victoria’s character as an upstanding moral leader.
  • This trend caught on with the upper classes, and the white wedding dress became a symbol of luxury and status, as only the wealthy could afford such an impractical dress that could only be worn once.

White as a symbol of rebellion

In the 1920s, the flapper movement swept through Western society, changing fashion trends and societal norms. Women began to reject traditional gender roles and embrace individualism, leading many brides to opt for colorful or non-traditional wedding dresses.

However, white continued to be a popular choice for those who wanted to rebel against societal norms. For example, designer Elsa Schiaparelli created a striking white bridal gown with bold black embroidery, challenging the idea that a wedding dress had to be completely white.

White as a symbol of tradition

In the post-WWII era, white wedding dresses became firmly entrenched as a tradition. The Baby Boom generation embraced the idea of traditional weddings, and the white wedding dress became a staple of American culture.

However, this period also saw a backlash against traditional gender roles, and some brides began to reject the idea of the white wedding dress as a symbol of patriarchal control.

White as a symbol of choice

Today, brides have more choice than ever when it comes to wedding dress styles and colors. While white is still the most popular choice, brides are now free to choose a dress that reflects their personality and values.

Color Symbolism
White Purity, innocence
Ivory Elegance, understated
Champagne Classy, celebratory
Blush Romantic, feminine
Red Passion, love

The meaning of white in a wedding dress has evolved over time, reflecting cultural trends and changing perceptions of gender roles. Today, brides can choose a wedding dress that reflects their values and personality, without being limited by tradition or societal expectations.

Famous White Wedding Dresses Throughout History

White wedding dresses have been a longstanding tradition, symbolizing purity, innocence, and new beginnings. Throughout history, there have been many iconic white wedding dresses that have captured the imagination of people all around the world. Here are five famous white wedding dresses that have made a significant impact:

  • Queen Victoria’s Wedding Dress: Queen Victoria’s white wedding dress, worn in 1840, is credited with popularizing the white wedding gown tradition in Western culture. The dress was made of white satin and was adorned with lace, pearls, and orange blossoms. The gown was also notable for its lengthy train, measuring an impressive 18 feet long.
  • Grace Kelly’s Wedding Dress: American actress Grace Kelly wore a beautiful white wedding dress when she wed Prince Rainier III of Monaco in 1956. The gown was designed by Helen Rose and featured intricate lace embroidery, pearls, and a high neckline. Kelly’s timeless and elegant dress has become a favorite among brides-to-be.
  • Kate Middleton’s Wedding Dress: When Kate Middleton wed Prince William in 2011, she wore a stunning white dress designed by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen. The dress featured a fitted bodice, lace sleeves, and a flowing satin skirt. The intricate lace appliques were inspired by the flora of the United Kingdom, and the dress has become an iconic symbol of modern royal fashion.
  • Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’ Wedding Dress: When Jacqueline Bouvier married John F. Kennedy in 1953, she wore a classic white wedding gown designed by Ann Lowe. The dress was made of ivory silk taffeta, adorned with a portrait neckline, and featured a full skirt. The gown was so beautiful that it has become a cultural symbol of grace and sophistication over the years.
  • Meghan Markle’s Wedding Dress: American actress Meghan Markle stunned the world when she married Prince Harry in 2018, wearing a stunning white gown designed by Claire Waight Keller for Givenchy. The sleek and modern dress featured a wide boat neckline, three-quarter sleeves, and a long train. The dress was emboldened by a five-meter long silk tulle veil, embroidered with flowers representing the Commonwealth nations.


These are just a few examples of the famous white wedding dresses that have left their mark on history. Each dress represents a unique moment in time and provides a glimpse into the style and culture of the era. No matter the century or the bride, the white wedding dress has stood the test of time as a symbol of beauty, elegance, and purity.

The Cultural Significance of White in Fashion

In Western culture, white is traditionally associated with purity, innocence, and virginity. It is no surprise then that white is the color of choice for wedding dresses. The trend of wearing white wedding dresses began in the Victorian era, when Queen Victoria wore a white court dress for her wedding to Prince Albert in 1840. Before this, brides would typically wear dresses in a variety of colors, including red, black, and even yellow, depending on their culture and social status.

  • In many cultures, white is also associated with death and mourning, so wearing white to a funeral would be seen as inappropriate.
  • However, in Eastern cultures such as China, red is traditionally worn for weddings, symbolizing good luck and happiness.
  • White is also a popular color for christening gowns, representing purity and the innocence of a new life.

As fashion has evolved over time, white has continued to be a popular color choice for wedding dresses. Designer Vera Wang, for example, has become synonymous with creating couture bridal gowns in shades of ivory and white. While some brides opt for non-traditional colors for their wedding attire, such as blush or even black, white remains the classic choice for those who want to symbolize the purity and innocence of their love on their special day.

Below is a table showing the traditional color choices for weddings in various cultures:

Culture Traditional wedding dress color(s)
Western White
Chinese Red (for good luck)
Indian Red (for fertility) and white (for purity)
Japanese White (for purity and mourning)

The cultural significance of white in fashion has evolved over time, but its association with purity, innocence, and new beginnings remains strong, particularly when it comes to weddings.

The Psychology of Wearing White on Your Wedding Day

Wearing white on your wedding day is deeply rooted in tradition and symbolizes purity and innocence. However, there is much more to this popular bridal color than meets the eye. The psychology behind this color choice reveals that brides who choose white may be conveying certain messages with their attire. In this article, we will explore the varied meanings of white and how they relate to a bride’s personality.

  • Cleanliness and purity: White is often associated with a clean slate. By wearing a white wedding dress, a bride may be signaling that she is ready to leave her past behind and start fresh with her partner. This is especially true for brides who have experienced divorce or other difficult relationship problems in the past.
  • Perfection: White symbolizes perfection, and many brides aim for a perfect wedding day. Donning a white wedding gown may be a way for a bride to express this desire for a flawless experience.
  • Innocence: White is often associated with the idea of innocence. When a bride wears this color, she may be conveying that she is pure in heart and mind, and that she is entering into marriage with a clean slate.

Beyond the meanings of white, the psychological impact of this color can also play a role in a wedding day. According to color psychology, wearing white can have a calming effect on the mind and body. This may help to ease any pre-wedding nerves or jitters, allowing a bride to fully enjoy her special day. In addition, white can evoke a sense of joy and happiness, creating a celebratory atmosphere.

To further explore the significance of white in wedding attire, it is helpful to examine the history of this tradition. Queen Victoria is often credited with popularizing the white wedding dress in the Western world. In 1840, she wore a white gown for her own wedding, and this inspired many other brides to do the same. Prior to that time, brides often wore colorful dresses, and it was not uncommon for brides to choose black attire. However, the trend towards white dresses gradually became the norm, and white is now considered a staple of bridal fashion in many cultures.

Country Wedding Attire
Western cultures White or ivory dresses
China Red dresses for luck
India Red or gold dresses
Nigeria Brightly colored dresses

In conclusion, wearing white on your wedding day entails much more than just following tradition. It conveys messages about purity, perfection, and innocence, and can have a psychological impact on both the wearer and those around her. Understanding the significance of white in wedding attire can deepen our appreciation for this timeless tradition.

Alternatives to traditional white wedding dresses

For centuries, the standard color of a wedding dress has been white. Yet, many brides nowadays are opting for unconventional colors. If you are considering stepping outside of the traditional white dress, here are some popular options:

  • Ivory: Ivory is off-white, almost creamy, and is often seen as a good alternative for those who want to stay within the realm of tradition but still want to deviate slightly.
  • Blush: A blush-colored gown can provide a soft, feminine look that is perfect for spring and summer weddings. This romantic shade pairs perfectly with soft pinks, peaches, and greenery.
  • Champagne: Champagne colored gowns are also popular in the bridal market. This color adds a warm golden hue that pairs beautifully with ivory, green and gold.

If you want to truly make a statement, here are a couple of other alternative wedding dress colors that are trending:

  • Black: Black wedding dresses are becoming increasingly popular amongst brides who want to make a bold, dramatic statement. This color is perfect for winter weddings and can be paired with deep shades like red, gold or emerald.
  • Blue: Soft blue colored gowns are on trend. This shade complements all skin tones, can be paired with other pastel shades and is perfect for a beach wedding.
  • Red: The color of love, passion and romance, the red wedding dress is perfect for a traditional, cultural or seasonal bride. You can pair it with gold jewelry for contrast.

Choosing the right color for you

When it comes to choosing the right color for your wedding dress, the most important thing is to pick a color that makes you feel beautiful, confident, and comfortable. Many brides choose a dress says something about their personality, their style, or the theme they have chosen. Ensure that the hue you choose complements your skin tone.

Accessories to complement your non-white dress

If you opt for a non-white wedding dress, keep in mind that you can add a touch of color to your accessories to make a complete look. Depending on your face shape choose earrings that are either structured or dangle and sparkle. A veil is an excellent addition to any bridal look, because not only can it come in various lengths, it also comes with various adornments ranging from lace to vintage-looking flowers.

Dress Color Accessories
Blush Rose gold jewelry
Champagne Pearl or gold jewelry
Black Silver jewelry or red roses in a bouquet
Blue Crystal or diamond jewelry
Red Gold jewelry or red lipstick

Your wedding day is a day to celebrate, and your dress should be as unique as you are. Consider all your options as you peruse bridal shops or online sites, and remember that your dream dress may be anything but traditional white.

White Wedding Dress Etiquette and Traditions

White wedding dresses have been a tradition in the Western world for centuries. But what does the color white symbolize in a wedding dress? Let’s explore the etiquette and traditions behind this iconic bridal look.

  • The tradition of wearing a white wedding dress dates back to the 19th century, when Queen Victoria wore a white gown for her wedding to Prince Albert in 1840. Prior to this, brides wore dresses in various colors depending on their social status and personal preferences.
  • White symbolizes purity and innocence, which is why it has become the most popular color choice for wedding dresses. However, in some cultures, such as China, red is the traditional color for brides, symbolizing good luck and happiness.
  • It is considered bad luck for anyone besides the bride to wear white at a wedding. Guests should avoid wearing white dresses, suits, or anything that could be mistaken for a wedding dress.

But what about variations of white, such as off-white or ivory? These colors are also acceptable for wedding dresses, as long as they are in the same color family as white. However, it is important to note that some traditionalists may consider it inappropriate to wear anything besides a true white wedding dress.

Another aspect of white wedding dress traditions is the veil. The veil is a symbol of modesty and purity, dating back to ancient Rome. In some cultures, brides wore veils to protect themselves from evil spirits or to shield themselves from the groom until after the ceremony was complete.

Veil Length Symbolism
Shoulder-length veil Symbolizes simplicity and innocence.
Elbow-length veil Symbolizes elegance and grace.
Fingertip-length veil Symbolizes traditional romance and beauty.
Chapel-length veil Symbolizes grandeur and formality.

While white wedding dresses and veils have historic and traditional meanings, it is ultimately up to each bride to choose the dress and accessories that make her feel beautiful and confident on her wedding day. Whether she chooses a pure white gown or an ivory dress with a fingertip-length veil, the most important thing is that the bride feels happy and cherished as she says “I do.”

The Impact of Non-White Wedding Dresses on the Bridal Industry

The traditional white wedding dress has been a symbol of purity, innocence, and tradition for centuries. However, in recent years, many brides have started to break away from tradition and opt for non-white wedding dresses. This trend has had a significant impact on the bridal industry, changing the way wedding dresses are designed, marketed, and sold.

  • Increased Design Options: With the rise of non-white wedding dresses, designers have more freedom to experiment with different colors, patterns, and textures. Bridal gowns are no longer limited to shades of white and ivory, but can incorporate pastels, bright hues, metallics, and even black. This trend has also given rise to more embellishments, such as embroidery, beading, and appliques, which can stand out more when placed on a non-white background.
  • Expanded Target Market: Brides who do not feel drawn to white or who want a non-traditional wedding are now able to find dresses that better reflect their personality and style. Non-white wedding dresses have opened up the bridal market to a wider range of customers, including those who may have previously felt excluded or underrepresented.
  • Innovative Marketing Strategies: Bridal retailers and designers have had to adapt their marketing strategies to cater to the new demand for non-white wedding dresses. They now showcase more diverse models, feature a wider range of dress styles and colors, and use alternative platforms like social media and influencer collaborations to reach new audiences.

Additionally, the rise of non-white wedding dresses has had an economic impact on the bridal industry. As the trend continues to gain popularity, it has led to increased sales and revenue for smaller, independent designers who specialize in non-traditional dresses.

Advantages of Non-White Wedding Dresses Disadvantages of Non-White Wedding Dresses
Allow brides to express their individuality and stand out on their special day May not be as widely accepted by older generations or more traditional family members
Can be worn for other occasions and not limited to just weddings May not be as timeless as traditional white dresses and may not age as well in photos
Often less expensive than traditional white or ivory wedding dresses May be harder to match with other decorations or wedding themes

Overall, the trend towards non-white wedding dresses has allowed brides more creative freedom, challenged traditional norms, and brought innovation to the bridal industry. As with any wedding choice, however, it is important for brides to choose a dress that makes them feel confident, comfortable, and beautiful on their special day.

What Does White Symbolize in a Wedding Dress?

Q: Why is white such a popular color for wedding dresses?
A: White has historically been associated with purity, innocence, and virginity, which are all qualities that many brides wish to embody on their wedding day.

Q: Does white always have positive connotations in wedding attire?
A: While white is generally seen as a symbol of purity, it can also be associated with mourning or chastity in some cultures. As such, brides may choose to wear other colors for a variety of reasons.

Q: What does a white dress say about the bride’s personality?
A: While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, some people believe that a bride who chooses a white dress is traditional, conservative, and focused on marriage and family values.

Q: Are there any variations on the traditional white wedding dress?
A: Yes, many brides choose to add pops of color to their white gown through accessories like veils, sashes, or jewelry. Others opt for ivory or blush-colored dresses that are still light in tone but offer a subtle departure from pure white.

Q: What should I consider when choosing a white wedding dress?
A: Consider factors like your skin tone, the season, your wedding venue, and your personal style when selecting your wedding dress. You want to feel comfortable and confident on your special day, so choose a dress that speaks to your unique spirit.

Q: Is it appropriate to wear a non-white dress to a wedding?
A: Ultimately, it’s up to the bride to determine what’s appropriate for her wedding day. However, guests should always check with the bride or groom before deviating from traditional wedding attire expectations.

Q: What’s the bottom line on white wedding dresses?
A: While white wedding dresses are steeped in tradition and are a staple of the bridal industry, they’re not the only option available. Whether you choose to don pure white or opt for a gown with a bit of color, what matters most is that you feel beautiful, confident, and ready to celebrate your love with family and friends. Thanks for reading, and come back soon for more wedding tips and advice!