Most of today's wedding traditions stem from superstitions, and are handed down by folk lore. No wonder, there is more than one legend to each of our most popular customs from the engagement rings and flowers to gowns, invitations and sites for Destination Weddings.
Even though traditions vary from culture to culture, a wedding is so tightly bound with a white color in our minds that it seems to have always been this way. It is commonly believed that a white wedding dress comes from the color's ancient symbolic association with virginity and purity. In reality, it is a relatively recent development.
Surely brides wore white gowns before, but it was Queen Victoria who truly popularized this tradition in 1840. While royalty typically wore embroidered brocade and crimson robes for weddings, Victoria chose a white satin gown with layers of lace and a white veil made by two hundred women. The lavish dress and the wedding between Victoria and her cousin Albert were written up and illustrated in thousands of publications worldwide.
Another theory comes from American 19th century etiquette magazines. They considered the white wedding dress to be a symbol of wealth and social status since it couldn't be easily cleaned or worn again, especially in the hot weather. Very few women could afford it.
Until recently, bridal outfit was simply a matter of what's in fashion, and most women didn't buy a dress exclusively for a wedding day. In 1800s it was popular to use every color of the rainbow; American and European brides went wild for bright dresses made of new synthetic dyes. During the civil war brides often wore purple to honor the dead, and during the World War I, many women considered it their civil duty to give up a "white wedding".
It wasn't till 1930s, when the first manufacturers specializing in making wedding dresses, came into sight, followed by the earliest bridal magazines filled with photographs marketing the white wedding dress as part of a romantic ideal. So it was a marketing trick, rather than any ageless tradition, that has made the white wedding dress a pervasive part of our culture and fashion.
In the recent years Destination Weddings are gaining popularity along with a color of the ceremony, e.g. the decorations, flowers, cake, bride's, groom's and even bride's maid's vestments should be arranged in the same color.
Obviously, the ultimate leader is white. Some traditions are widely used in modern wedding ceremonies, while others exist only within a certain race or culture. A wedding is a very special occasion, and it's a completely personal decision whether to make it traditional or avant-garde; there are no cement rules.
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