What Does the White Wedding Dress Symbolize? A Deep Dive

Weddings are the most joyous and heartfelt celebrations of love and companionship. They are a perfect blend of emotions, traditions, and cultures. A wedding dress is one of the most essential parts of this day and is a perfect epitome of a bride’s persona, style, and traditions. The wedding dress symbolizes the beginning of a new journey, and in most cultures, a white wedding dress represents purity, clarity, and innocence.

The white wedding dress is considered a staple for many brides and is a timeless tradition that has been followed for over a century. The colour white reflects positivity, hope, and a new beginning. It not only signifies the purity of the bride but also her commitment to her partner and a lifelong promise of faithfulness. Since white has been associated with cleanliness and freshness, it is a prominent choice for many brides worldwide.

Although the white wedding dress has been a tradition in many cultures, the history of this tradition is still unclear. Nevertheless, the colour white has prevailed as a symbol of happiness, peace, and purity. It is fascinating to see how traditions and cultures intertwine and bloom, and the white wedding dress has successfully transcended time and is still as relevant today as it was decades ago.

History of the White Wedding Dress

For many of us today, a white wedding dress is a natural and traditional choice for a wedding. However, the history of the white wedding dress is anything but straightforward. The white wedding dress has gone in and out of fashion throughout history, and its meaning has shifted depending on specific cultural and historical contexts.

One of the earliest mentions of a white wedding dress comes from ancient Rome when brides would wear white veils to signify their purity and virginity. However, this tradition did not immediately translate into a white gown. In medieval Europe, brides wore dresses in various colors, with red being a popular choice since it was associated with fertility and good luck.

It wasn’t until the 19th century that Queen Victoria popularized the white wedding dress. In 1840, she wore a white gown for her wedding to Prince Albert, which was a significant departure from the colorful and heavily embroidered gowns that were fashionable at the time. Her simple and elegant gown started a trend among European and American elites, and soon the white wedding dress became a symbol of wealth and status.

However, it’s important to note that not everyone had access to a white wedding dress, and the trend wasn’t universally embraced. Many brides still preferred colorful and elaborate dresses, and it wasn’t until the mid-20th century that the white wedding dress became a more democratic choice. Today, the white wedding dress is a symbol of purity, innocence, and new beginnings, and it’s a timeless choice that continues to inspire brides all around the world.

Cultural variations of bridal attire

Wedding traditions vary greatly across cultures, and so do the bridal attires. While white is a popular choice for Western brides, other regions of the world have their own traditional colors and styles.

  • China: In traditional Chinese weddings, brides typically wear a red qipao or a two-piece dress called a cheongsam. Red symbolizes happiness, good luck, and prosperity.
  • India: Indian brides typically wear red or pink saris with intricate embroidery and embellishments. In some regions, brides may also wear green or blue.
  • Nigeria: Nigerian brides often wear brightly colored Nigerian wax print fabrics, such as Ankara, and accessorize with beaded jewelry, gele headwrap, and coral beads.

These are just a few examples of the diverse and vibrant styles of bridal attire around the world.

Modern twists on traditional bridal attire

While many brides still opt for traditional styles, there is also a growing trend towards modern and unconventional bridal attire. This includes non-white dresses, jumpsuits, and even bridal suits. Some brides also incorporate cultural elements into their attire, such as a fusion of Western and traditional Asian styles.

Here are some examples of modern twists on traditional bridal attire:

Bridal Attire Description
Colored Dresses Brides are choosing dresses in soft hues like blush, beige, and pastels as well as bold colors like red, black, and even metallic shades
Jumpsuits Some brides are choosing to wear sleek and modern jumpsuits instead of traditional dresses.
Bridal Suits Versatile and chic, bridal suits can be tailored to suit any personality and style.

As bridal fashion continues to evolve, we can expect to see even more creative and unexpected twists on traditional styles.

Modern interpretations of the white wedding dress

Gone are the days when the white wedding dress was strictly associated with virginity and purity. Today, the meaning of the white wedding dress has evolved, and brides choose it for various reasons. Here are some modern interpretations of the white wedding dress:

  • Tradition: Many brides still choose the white wedding dress because they believe it is traditional and timeless. The white wedding dress has become an iconic symbol of marriage, and many women dream of walking down the aisle in a white gown.
  • Expression of style: While the white wedding dress has stood the test of time, there are now plenty of ways to put a unique spin on the classic look. Brides can choose dresses with a modern silhouette, unique details, or alternative colors. White dresses with pops of color or unconventional fabrics, such as tulle or sequins, are becoming popular among brides who want to make a statement on their big day.
  • Celebration of love: Many brides choose the white wedding dress simply because they feel beautiful and confident in it. The dress represents their love and commitment to their partner and makes them feel like a queen for the day. This interpretation of the white wedding dress is all about celebrating love and the joy of marriage.

While the meaning of the white wedding dress may have changed over time, its significance remains the same. Whether brides choose to stick to tradition or put their own spin on the classic look, the white wedding dress always symbolizes love, commitment, and the start of a new chapter in life.

Impact of Queen Victoria’s White Wedding Dress

The tradition of wearing a white wedding dress has been in existence for centuries, but it was Queen Victoria of England who made it popular. In 1840, Queen Victoria wore a white wedding dress during her marriage to Prince Albert, breaking away from the traditional royal garb of silver and gold brocade gowns.

  • Queen Victoria’s white wedding dress set a new trend for brides across the world, making the white gown a symbol of purity, innocence, and new beginnings.
  • The popularity of the white wedding dress increased with the mass production of bridal gowns in the 20th century, making it accessible to brides of all social classes.
  • Till today, the white wedding dress remains the most popular choice of attire for brides all over the world.

Queen Victoria’s decision to wear white on her wedding day was reflective of her personal beliefs. She wanted to break away from the traditional royal garb of heavy brocade and wear a dress that resonated with her personal style.

The Queen’s white wedding dress was a statement of her fashion sense, but it also had a deeper meaning. The white dress symbolized purity, innocence, and virginity, characteristics that were highly valued in Victorian-era society. The royal wedding was widely publicized, and Queen Victoria’s choice of attire was heavily scrutinized, sparking a trend that has lasted till today.

Meaning of White Wedding Dress Description
Purity The white wedding dress is a symbol of purity, reflecting the bride’s innocence and virginity.
New beginnings The white wedding dress is seen as a fresh start, a new chapter in the couple’s life.
Happiness The white wedding dress is a reminder of the joyous occasion, filling the couple and their guests with happiness.

Queen Victoria’s white wedding dress was not just a fashion statement, but it also had a cultural impact. The white wedding dress has since become a tradition, a symbol of love, purity, and new beginnings. Thanks to Queen Victoria’s fashion sense, the white wedding dress will continue to be an essential part of weddings for years to come.

Symbolism of the color white in weddings

The color white has long been associated with purity, innocence, and perfection. When it comes to weddings, the symbolism of the color white is especially significant.

  • Traditionally, white wedding dresses symbolize purity and virginity. This dates back to Queen Victoria’s wedding in 1840 when she wore a white gown, which was considered unconventional at the time. From that point on, white wedding dresses became the norm for brides in Western cultures.
  • White also symbolizes new beginnings and a fresh start – which is why white is often the go-to color for weddings. Embarking on a new chapter in life, such as marriage, can be seen as a new beginning, and wearing white on your wedding day is a way to signify that new start.
  • White can also represent perfection and completeness. It is a color that is calming, and brings a sense of harmony and balance. This symbolism is fitting for a wedding, where the joining of two people is seen as the perfect union.

While the traditional symbolism of white remains prevalent in many cultures, today’s brides have also begun to embrace other colors and styles for their wedding dresses. However, the symbolism of white will always hold a special place in the world of weddings.

Below is a table that summarizes the symbolism of the color white in weddings:

Symbolism of White in Weddings
Purity and virginity
New beginnings and fresh starts
Perfection and completeness

Whether you choose to wear a white wedding dress or not, the symbolism of white in weddings will always be prominent. It is a color that brings a sense of calm, purity, and perfection, making it a fitting choice for couples embarking on their new life together.

Different fabrics and materials used for wedding dresses

Choosing the perfect fabric or material for a wedding dress is crucial as it sets the tone for the entire outfit. The following are six different types of fabrics and materials used for wedding dresses:

  • Satin: this material is commonly used for wedding dresses because of its luxurious shine and smooth texture. It’s perfect for more formal ceremonies as it adds an elegant touch to any dress.
  • Tulle: made from fine silk, nylon, or rayon, tulle is a lightweight fabric that’s commonly used for the outer layers of wedding dresses. It gives any dress a romantic and dreamy feel and is perfect for outdoor weddings.
  • Lace: this delicate fabric has been used for wedding dresses for centuries. It’s perfect for a vintage-inspired wedding dress and gives off a timeless and elegant vibe.
  • Chiffon: this light, sheer material is perfect for a summer wedding as it’s breathable and comfortable to wear in warm weather. Its flowing and soft texture adds an ethereal and delicate touch to any dress.
  • Organza: this material is similar to tulle but has a stiffer texture. It’s perfect for creating dresses with a full skirt and gives off a whimsical and youthful vibe.
  • Silk: this luxurious material is perfect for any type of wedding dress as it’s a timeless and classic choice. It’s naturally shiny and has a weighty texture that drapes beautifully, giving off a sophisticated and elegant look.

Choosing the Perfect Material

Choosing the right fabric or material for a wedding dress depends entirely on the bride’s personal style and the type of wedding ceremony she’s having. For example, if the wedding is indoors and more formal, satin or silk would be a perfect choice as they add an elegant and sophisticated touch to any dress. On the other hand, if the wedding is outdoors and more relaxed, chiffon or tulle would be a perfect choice as they’re lightweight and comfortable to wear in warmer weather.

Material Combinations

Many designers choose to use a combination of fabrics to create the perfect wedding dress. For example, a dress may have a satin bodice paired with a tulle skirt. Combining different materials adds texture and depth to any dress and can create a unique and memorable look.

Material Pros Cons
Satin Luxurious, elegant, drapes beautifully Shows wrinkles easily, heavy
Tulle Lightweight, romantic, whimsical Can be itchy, tears easily
Lace Delicate, timeless, versatile Can be expensive, catches easily on jewelry or other fabrics
Chiffon Flowing, ethereal, lightweight Can be see-through, wrinkles easily
Organza Stiff, polished, holds shape well Can be scratchy, not as breathable as other fabrics
Silk Luxurious, timelessly classic, shiny Expensive, delicate, dry clean only

Keeping in mind the pros and cons of each material can help in choosing the perfect combination of fabrics for a wedding dress that will give off the perfect look to the bride.

Implications of wearing a non-white wedding dress

For many years, white wedding dresses have been the most common choice for brides. The color white symbolizes purity and innocence, making it a popular choice for weddings. However, in recent years, more and more brides are choosing to wear non-white wedding dresses. Here are the implications of wearing a non-white wedding dress:

  • You can show off your personal style – When you wear a non-white wedding dress, you are showing off your personal style. You are not conforming to traditional wedding dress norms and are instead choosing something that speaks to your personality.
  • You can make a statement – Wearing a non-white wedding dress can be a statement. It can be political, social, or cultural. For example, a bride who chooses to wear a red wedding dress might be honoring her cultural traditions.
  • You can save money – White wedding dresses are often more expensive because of the demand. By choosing a non-white wedding dress, you might be able to save money.

However, there are some implications of wearing a non-white wedding dress that brides should be aware of:

Firstly, some people might expect you to wear a white wedding dress. This could be particularly true if you are having a traditional or religious wedding. Family members and guests might be confused or upset if you don’t wear a white wedding dress.

Secondly, some people might think that you are not taking the wedding seriously. They might assume that you are more interested in making a statement than getting married. This could be particularly true if you wear a non-traditional color, such as black or blue.

If you do decide to wear a non-white wedding dress, it’s important to communicate your decision to your fiancé, family, and guests. You should explain your reasoning and listen to their opinions. Ultimately, it’s your wedding day, and you should wear whatever makes you happy.

Influence of Fashion and Popular Culture on Wedding Dress Trends

Wedding dress trends are undoubtedly influenced by fashion and popular culture. With social media and other digital platforms, brides have access to endless inspiration for their wedding day look. From celebrity weddings to bridal fashion week, the fashion and entertainment industries set the tone for what is considered stylish for brides. One trend that has stood the test of time is the white wedding dress.

  • Queen Victoria’s Influence
  • Changing Views on Purity
  • The Popularity of White

Although white wedding gowns have been a tradition for centuries, it wasn’t until Queen Victoria’s wedding to Prince Albert in 1840 that it became a widespread trend. She chose to wear a white gown, which at the time was seen as a bold choice since most brides wore colored dresses. However, her decision had far-reaching consequences. Victorian Britain was going through a period of industrialization and social change, and Queen Victoria’s wedding showcased the wealth and prosperity of the nation. Her wedding dress became a symbol of that prosperity and was soon adopted by brides from all backgrounds.

Another factor that contributed to the popularity of white wedding dresses was the concept of purity. In the early 19th century, white was seen as a sign of purity and innocence, and many brides chose to wear white to signify their virginity. However, this perception has evolved over time. In the 20th century, the virginity of the bride was no longer a major consideration, and the white dress became more of a fashion statement than a symbol of purity.

Despite the changing views on purity, white wedding dresses continue to be popular. They are associated with elegance, sophistication, and the notion of a blank canvas for starting a new life. At the same time, fashion trends have evolved, and designers are constantly reinterpreting the white wedding dress to suit modern brides. From minimalist designs to elaborate embellishments, there is something for every bride.

Decade Wedding Dress Style
1920s Flapper-inspired, low-waist dresses
1950s Full-skirted dresses with fitted bodices
1970s Hippie-inspired, bohemian dresses
1990s Simplistic, minimalistic styles

The influence of fashion and popular culture on wedding dress trends shows no signs of slowing down. In recent years, we’ve seen a rise in non-traditional bridal fashion, such as jumpsuits and colored dresses. At the same time, designers are also incorporating sustainability into their bridal designs. From eco-friendly fabrics to upcycling vintage gowns, brides have more choices than ever before when it comes to their wedding day look.

The Cost of a Typical Wedding Dress

The wedding dress has long been considered the focal point of the bride’s attire, and with good reason. It is a symbol of purity, a representation of the bride’s personal style and a piece of clothing that she will treasure for the rest of her life. But with all of this emotional significance attached to it, there’s no denying that wedding dresses can be quite expensive. Here is everything you need to know about the cost of a typical wedding dress.

  • The average cost of a wedding dress
  • The average cost of a wedding dress in the United States varies depending on different factors such as the designer, the location of the boutique or store and the type of fabric used. However, on average, a typical wedding dress costs around $1,600. This might seem like a huge amount of money, but when you consider that the dress is designed to be worn once and that it is the centerpiece of the bride’s attire, it starts to make more sense.

  • Factors that affect the cost of a wedding dress
  • Several factors affect the cost of a wedding dress. These include the designer’s reputation, the type of fabric used, the style of the dress and customizations such as beading, embroidery or lace. Other factors such as the location of the boutique or store, the time of year and even the time of day may also impact the price of wedding dresses. Keep in mind that every detail adds to the cost, so it’s essential to have a clear budget in mind before shopping for a wedding gown.

  • Designer wedding dresses vs. non-designer wedding dresses
  • Designer wedding dresses are usually more expensive than non-designer wedding dresses. This is due to the designer’s reputation, the quality of the fabric used and the workmanship that goes into creating the dress. Non-designer wedding dresses, on the other hand, are usually less expensive, but this doesn’t mean they are of lower quality. By choosing a non-designer dress, you can save some money without compromising on quality.

When it comes to the cost of a wedding dress, it’s important to remember that the price tag is just a number. Ultimately, what matters most is how the bride feels when she puts on that dress and walks down the aisle. Whether it’s a designer gown or a non-designer gown, what’s important is that it makes her feel beautiful and confident on her wedding day.

Here’s a breakdown of the average cost of wedding dresses based on the type of designer:

Designer Average Cost
Vera Wang $1,200 – $25,000
Oscar de la Renta $5,000 – $20,000
Maggie Sottero $800 – $2,500
David’s Bridal $100 – $1,500

It’s clear that the cost of a typical wedding dress can vary greatly depending on the designer, style, fabric, and customization. Still, by setting a clear budget and doing research on different designers and boutiques, every bride can find a beautiful dress that fits both her style and her wallet.

Sustainable and Ethical Options for Wedding Dresses

As the world becomes more environmentally conscious and ethically aware, many brides are looking for sustainable and ethical options for their wedding dresses. Here are some ways that brides can make sure their wedding dress aligns with their values:

  • Choose a dress made from sustainable materials: Look for dresses made from eco-friendly fabrics like organic cotton, bamboo, linen, or recycled polyester. These materials are less harmful to the environment than traditional materials like silk or polyester.
  • Buy a second-hand dress: Buying a pre-loved wedding dress is not only sustainable but also cost-effective. There are many websites and boutiques that specialize in selling second-hand wedding dresses. Check out Stillwhite or PreownedWeddingDresses.com for options.
  • Support ethical and fair trade designers: Some designers are committed to using ethical and fair trade practices in their production. Look for designers who prioritize transparency in their supply chain, pay their employees a fair wage, and use eco-friendly materials.

If you’re still unsure of where to start, there are organizations like Brides Do Good that partner with charities to provide second-hand and sample wedding dresses, and a portion of proceeds go towards ending child marriage globally.

Additionally, some brides choose to make their own wedding dress or have it made by a local seamstress, which not only supports the local economy but also reduce carbon emissions associated with shipping and production.

It’s important to note that sustainable and ethical options for wedding dresses are often more expensive than their fast fashion counterparts. But remember that investment in a quality dress that aligns with your values is worth it in the long run.

Materials Pros Cons
Organic cotton Less harm to environment, biodegradable Expensive, wrinkles easily
Bamboo Renewable, eco-friendly, durable Expensive, can shrink or stretch depending on quality
Recycled polyester Less waste, less harm to environment May not be as breathable as natural fibers, can be expensive
Silk Luxurious, biodegradable Not sustainable, often produced using harmful chemicals

When deciding on a sustainable and ethical option for your wedding dress, it’s important to consider all the options available and choose one that aligns with your values and personal style. Don’t be afraid to research designers and materials and ask questions about their production practices. Your wedding dress should not only make you feel beautiful but also make you proud of your commitment to sustainability and ethical consumption.

FAQs About What Does White Wedding Dress Symbolize

1. What does a white wedding dress symbolize?

A white wedding dress is traditionally symbolic of purity, innocence, and a new beginning in the bride’s life.

2. Why is a white wedding dress worn?

A white wedding dress is worn to signify a solemn and sacred contract between the bride and groom, and to show that the bride is pure and untouched.

3. Can brides wear non-white wedding dresses?

Yes, brides can wear non-white wedding dresses if they want to. The tradition of wearing a white wedding dress is not a requirement and can be changed to reflect the personal style of the bride.

4. Is wearing a white wedding dress still relevant today?

Wearing a white wedding dress is still a relevant tradition today because it represents the sanctity of the marriage between the bride and groom.

5. Why did white become popular for wedding dresses?

White became popular for wedding dresses in the mid-19th century when Queen Victoria wore a white wedding dress for her marriage to Prince Albert. After that, white became associated with weddings and began to be worn by brides all over the world.

6. What does the veil on a white wedding dress symbolize?

The veil on a white wedding dress symbolizes the bride’s modesty, obedience, and her willingness to be submissive to her husband.

7. Can a bride wear a colored veil instead of a white one?

Yes, a bride can wear a colored veil instead of a white one if she wants to. The tradition of wearing a white veil is not a requirement and can be changed to reflect the personal style of the bride.


Now you know what a white wedding dress symbolizes and why it’s still a popular tradition today. Remember that you have the freedom to wear any color of wedding dress you want, as long as it reflects your personal style. Thank you for reading, and don’t forget to visit us again for more fun and informative articles.