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Do Wedding Dresses Have To Be White?

In 1849 Godey’s Magazine and Lady’s Book he stated that ladies wore white on their wedding day to capture the “freshness and purity of girlhood”. Now I am not sure about you, but I have absolutely no desire to dress as a girl nor do I need or want to advertise my purity in my clothing. So why do the majority of brides still wear white on their wedding days? And do we have to?


One of the very best things about the expansion of the wedding industry and the ability to get married in more venues than a church or registrar’s office is that there is now a way of getting married that suits most people. Weddings can reflect the personalities and tastes of the couple getting married and can be a real celebration of their love and lives. 



Festival style weddings, beach ceremonies and elopements often call for a different style of bridal attire. More traditional styles and silhouettes can of course be worn, but the explosion of wedding dress designers, manufacturers and retailers means there is now a huge choice. So why do the majority of women still wear a traditional style of wedding dress?


“A wedding gown represents far more than just a dress. It is also the embodiment of a dream”, Vera Wang. I think Vera might be onto something with this. Brides who choose a stunning, full, swishy dress made of tulle, silk or taffeta may be wearing their ‘dream’ dress. One that looks and feels like something from the books, movies and magazines they grew up with and captures their vision of what a wedding dress looks like. And that is magical. It is a beautiful experience that can make a woman feel like a princess.



But what if you don’t want to feel like a princess? Do you still have to wear white or muted colours? Can you wear hot pink, black or green? Not very long ago, in the early to mid-twentieth century it was commonplace for brides to wear colour. Bold colours of blues, gold and yellows. So why do so few women now not follow this path? While I do not know the answer to this I do know that it is not only totally acceptable to not wear white on your wedding day, but I think it is also something of a political statement. It shows an independence and confidence that I love and I used to do a little dance every time someone ordered a coloured wedding dress from me. Not because I liked the dress any better, but because it made me happy that the bride had chosen her own path and was comfortable with it.


You see, I think that your wedding dress should be a reflection of you. A celebration of you as a person and your journey to the point of marriage. What I would wear as a bride is different to what I wore in 2008 and that’s good. That’s how it should be. Your wedding dress (or outfit) is about who you are and your dreams for the future. So if this is a bikini like Pamela Anderson, then wear it with pride. If it is a suit, like Carrie Bradshaw, amazing. If it is a huge ball gown (also Carrie Bradshaw) then do it. Wear it, rock it and be yourself. Whatever that looks like.



Dresses featured by MaudiKa Bridal. See their whole collection here


Photo credits:

Photos: Anne Letournel

Dresses: MaudiKa Bridal

Flowers: Bicycle Blooms Oxford

MUA: Bridal by Charley