Traditional Wedding Gowns With Plenty Of Stylish Details

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Formal affairs are all about rituals and traditions, and few are more formal than a wedding. While it is true that more and more couples are opting for casual ceremonies due to rising costs, most prefer a traditional white wedding. Let us take a moment to review the history of this interesting tradition.

It may surprise you to learn that white weddings are a relatively recent phenomenon. The custom began in 1840 when Prince Albert and Queen Victoria were married. Monarchs rarely wore white before that time, but due to her reputation for purity and chastity, white soon became the color of choice. It came to represent innocence and virginity in women.
But sex was only a small part of the equation. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert had a storybook romance. As a result, white wedding gowns came to symbolize not only chastity and innocence, but also romance and lifelong devotion. It is arguably the most influential and enduring fashion trend of our time.

Traditions have been somewhat relaxed in recent years. Brides today are far more likely to dress in lighter, more comfortable gowns on their wedding day, though white remains the color of choice. Statistics aren't easy to come by, but bridal salons, department stores, and bridal emporiums report that nine out of every ten wedding gowns they sell are white. Western brides, even if it is their second time down the aisle, often go with white.

Where to Start?

Many brides-to-be make the mistake of assuming that traditional means extravagant. Most people of marriageable age have attended at least one formal wedding in their time. You know what we're talking about-the long flowing veil, the heavily embroidered dress, the enormous train. Now, there's nothing wrong with pomp and pageantry. But most modern brides like to move around on their wedding day. Gowns like the one described can weigh ten to fifteen pounds and most of them simply do not breathe.
Of course, that does not mean that a formal gown is off limits. There is a simple solution to this problem. Believe it or not, most brides actually prefer formal ceremonies. Not only are they easier to control than informal affairs, but they let everyone know how important the day really is.

The solution to the heavy, embroidered brocade gown with the elaborate veil and train is a simple reception gown. Most formal weddings hold the ceremony and the reception at different venues, which means that the bride has time to change into a different dress after the pictures have been taken. In fact, she often has at least an hour, sometimes two before the bridal party is introduced to the guests. If her dress is heavy and uncomfortable, this is the time when she will slip into something more comfortable. Buying two dresses gives formal brides the best of both worlds, i.e., the ceremony she always dreamed of and an enjoyable reception.

What does it mean to be traditional? Again, traditional is a subjective word, since everyone has a different idea of what it is. For some people, traditional ceremonies involve a church, three hundred dewy-eyed guests, and an elaborate gown. But for others, tradition is what they make of it.

New Styles

White has been the color of choice for bridal gowns for well over a century and that may never change, but styles certainly have. As you might imagine, the venue has a profound effect on the formality of the gown. And since more couples are scheduling outdoor and destination weddings, the average wedding gown has adapted. Hemlines have gotten shorter, materials are much lighter, and the wedding veil is a bit less elaborate.

These dresses often eschew the frills, ruffles and furbelows of traditional gowns and embrace more comfortable, contemporary styles. Instead of heavy fabrics like satin or velvet, they are generally made of lightweight materials that breathe well, like douppioni or china silk. Both fabrics are common for outdoor ceremonies held during the spring and summer months. Since they can breathe and they are relatively lightweight, brides often wear them the entire day.

Though the veil is still seen as an indispensible accessory, the days of large, elaborate veils may be numbered. More and more brides are choosing shorter, smaller veils. The blusher veil is a short, lightweight accessory that is worn mostly at informal weddings. Beach and garden brides almost always choose the blusher. For slightly more formal affairs, they may go with the flyaway veil, which is a multi-layered, shoulder-length veil.

Hemline

As a general rule of thumb, the more informal the ceremony, the higher the hemline. An outdoor bride almost always wears a dress that is cut a bit shorter. There are two very good reasons for this. For one thing, she will not be wearing a train when she walks down an imaginary aisle in the sand or on the grass. Not to mention the fact that she may not even be wearing shoes. Many outdoor brides, especially sand brides say goodbye to their shoes and choose to show off their legs a bit. Tea length dresses are incredibly popular at informal ceremonies.

Every bride has her own idea of the wedding gown of her dreams. When picking the perfect dress for your wedding, consider these tips and suggestions to help narrow the search.

Kyle Sterzer is a freelance writer who writes about weddings, fashion and specific products like wedding gowns.

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