•  The bride was allowed to wear what she considered suitable

• It wasn't considered prudent to purchase a dress that'd be worn only once

White wedding gown
White wedding gown
Image: courtesy

Most little girls dream of the perfect wedding day, slowly walking down the aisle with a flowing spotless white wedding gown.

It doesn't matter whether it's the puffy Cinderella dress or well-fitting cocktail gown, if it has pearls or laces the bottom line is it has to be as white as snow.

However, before the 19th century till the mid-19th-century brides actually preferred colours such as red and russet for their gowns.

The gown didn't matter as long as the bride felt it was her best suitable dress. People actually purchased affordable dresses that could be worn to other special occasions as well.

Most people these days identify the white gown with beliefs held over centuries and passed down that the colour signifies purity.

However, contrary to popular belief, that wasn't always the case. Blue was more connected to purity, faithfulness and piety.

The white colour became more associated with purity as it gained dominance. But before then it wasn't anyone's first choice because it wasn't easy to maintain, clean and it wasn't multifunctional. Repeating it to events didn't seem ladylike.

When Queen Victoria wore a white gown to her wedding, it attracted heavy press attention as the wedding was heavily publicized.

And as with everything else, when a high profile person does something everyone else wants to follow suit so as to prove they're in the same status quo or for various other reasons.

Fast forward to the 20th century and the wedding dress became a status symbol as it spoke volumes about the bride's wealth.

It became popular among the middle class after the second world war as there was an increase in the production of synthetic materials such as nylon and rayon.

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