The Intriguing History of the Wedding Dress

November 12, 2020

There are a few things that we have come to expect at most Western Weddings. From our own experiences as well as from the countless movies and tv shows. We expect a tear-jerking ceremony, everyone dressed to the nines, friends and family together. And of course, a blushing bride in her white wedding dress.

But that white wedding dress that seems to go hand in hand with our wedding expectations is a relatively new addition to the wedding tradition. Weddings themselves have come a long way from the joining of families in a business-like transaction, to something more sentimental; as have dresses.

Today we are looking at three things that may surprise you about wedding dresses of the past. We are taking a look at some of the intriguing things history has to offer about the most special of dresses.

Yellow, Red, Blue, Black..

The white wedding dress that we quickly picture here in Canada, became a standard for the purity and brilliance of a bride first in 1840. Queen Victoria became the pioneer for classic white dress. The trend it spread like wildfire after her wedding, and has been a staple ever since.

Most brides wore their Sunday best to their weddings and only those who financially secure would purchase new gowns. In different times throughout history and throughout the world certain colors were popular; you would therefore select something within particular color schemes for that big day!

In the Medieval Ages in Europe blue was frequently adopted for wedding attire. It had religious associations with the Virgin Mary; all things good and pure. In Ancient China, brides (and grooms) dawned red and black robes. And in Ancient Rome yellow was one of the top choices.

Funnily enough if we were to ask you what color you associate with good luck, most people would answer green. Naturally, the question may arise about the popularity of green. Unfortunately, as weddings of the past, and in some cases weddings of the present have many superstitions, green was the color of fairies. Therefore, to not have angry fairies upset with you for wearing their color, green was off-limits.

$$ Money Talk $$

The average bride spent about $1500 in 2019 on her wedding dress here in Canada. Just like everything else there is no limit to how expensive a dress can become. There are factors like the designer, the material and the additional glamour, but we are talking averages.

We initially thought that the difference in wedding dress costs between now and a century ago would be dramatic. Many things in the wedding industry see a markup, but it looks like you and your grandmother (or great-grandmother) were actually spending (given inflation) a similar amount of money on your wedding dresses.

From a survey of brides in the 1930s, out of 154 brides the average bride spend $55.36 on her dress. Today, that is the equivalent of $1382.76. And that is not too far off of the average we see now!

What came first the veil or the dress?

Many a bride will wear a beautiful veil on their wedding day. But just like the age-old debate about what came first the chicken or the egg, the veil and the dress are similar. So, what came first?

Turns out it was the veil. For the very important reason of making sure no evil could snatch the bride away on her wedding day or thwart her happiness, a thin veil could apparently do the trick. Again that’s the superstition that weddings of the past are shrouded in. From a more practical view, the veils most likely originated from the days of arranged marriages; to hide the beauty of the bride until the big reveal.

Nowadays, the veil is that once in a lifetime accessory that goes hand in hand with your wedding dress, plus who doesn’t want their bridal happiness to be extra protected.

Are you recently engaged or know someone who is getting ready for their big day? If you have wedding dresses on the mind then we invite you to take a look at our Portfolio so that you can see how incredible we can make you look on your special day.

You can also follow us along on both Instagram and Facebook where we are constantly updating our content with our latest weddings, engagement shoots and family photography.