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The evolution of the wedding dresses

Last updated on January 15, 2021

If one tries to think of the wedding dress, many questions will run through their mind, including; Why is white the preferred colour? Have societal aspects, including the media and the church, influenced the wedding dresses and its style right from the beginning to today’s current styles? And has love always been the primary reason why people have wedded since early times? This article tries to answer these questions by looking at how wedding dresses have evolved with time.

World traditions and Ancient Times
Traditionally weddings were construed to be more of an economic union than a joining together of two individuals in love. The brides of these times still signified their happiness through wearing of brightly coloured, wedding dresses. In ancient Rome, existing evidence shows that the wedding kiss was lawfully binding and characterised a marriage contract’s consent both by the groom and the bride. There are limitations on the available knowledge regarding the traditions of ancient wedding dresses. However, the colours and garments of the wedding dresses varied depending on the specific culture. For instance;

Bride in ancient Athens wore long robes in red or violet.

Yellow was a common colour among brides in ancient Rome. They wore yellow veils signifying warmth and representing them as a torch.

  • In China, Zhou dynasty, bridal clothes were generally dark and had red trim. Black garments were also common in the Han period. As time went, clothing edicts became less firm and wearing green become trendy among wedding clothes.
  • Korea had a tradition where the bride clothing emulated royalty. It comprised a long-sleeved elaborate top in a range of colours including red, yellow, blue and silk.

The Medieval Times
The Medieval era was the period between the 5th and 15th century. In this era, weddings were taken to be more than just two individuals wedding. It demonstrated the union of two families, two countries and at times, two businesses. Weddings were love and political affair. The bride was also representative of her family, and she was thus expected to dress in a way that would portray her family and herself in the best possible sense.

  • Medieval brides from noble families wore affluent clothes and colours and had a gem stitched into their clothes. Brides also commonly wore silk, velvet and furs.
  • Garments of those from lower social classes didn’t depict affluence, though they tried to copy the stylish styles.

The Renaissance era
This was the period between the 14th and 17th century. In England, it matches the period between 1558 and 1603, commonly known as the Elizabethan era. In this period, fashion was decided by aristocracy. Wedding dressed were generally very sumptuous. Common aspects in wedding dresses of this era include;

  • Skirts and corseted dresses often took a bell shape.
  • Long dresses were common; they started at the neck or shoulder down to the feet.
  • Brides often opted for burgundy colour.

The Victorian Era dresses
Before Queen Victoria ruled between 1837 and 1901, women did not wear white wedding dresses, though there are some notable exceptions such as Mary Queen of Scots who wore a white dress in 1558 in her wedding. The common colours in this era included yellow, red, grey and green.

The white Gown of Queen Victoria.
Queen Victoria wedded Prince Albert of Saxe in 1840 and wore a white gown. As opposed to today, in this time, white didn’t signify purity; blue was the symbol of purity. This explains why blue was a popular colour for wedding dresses. White was seen as a symbol of wealth, and this is what Victoria’s dress symbolised. This dress surprised many as people were used to blue wedding dresses.

The post-war era
After World War II, it was the beginning of a flourishing era echoed by a change in the dress code. Official white wedding gowns became the fashion. White variants including, ivory, cream and off-white are all acceptable as wedding dress colours. On the other hand, colours such as pink, blue or green lost their popularity.

The 1980s
White remained the characteristic colour of wedding dresses in the 1980s. The gowns were princess styled and had puffed large sleeves. Mainly they were made of taffeta with tulle and lace layers being common.

2000 to present
There were multiple dress options at the beginning of the century. Strapless and A-line styled gowns increased in popularity. Today white and similar variants colours remain dominant. Brides also personalise their wedding dresses more. Trends have evolved to also include dresses with coloured accents.

In conclusion, by looking at how wedding dresses have evolved, we can understand how weddings have been perceived through time. We also get to appreciate the culture through time. Anyone looking for reputable platforms to buy a wedding dress the UK collected reviews will help them find one. They can also have a look at Jarlo London reviews.