Weddings

Wedding traditions 101: Why do brides wear a veil and a white dress?

Looking at two of the most asked wedding tradition questions...
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Wedding traditions shape one of the largest and most lavish celebrations of modern society. Most of us go through the motions of these antiquated traditions without stopping to ask ourselves why.

When you do stop and start digging into the history behind wedding ceremonies, you’ll be shocked to find that most of these traditions have some pretty bizarre origins.

Today we’re looking at two of the most asked wedding tradition questions:

Why does the bride wear white and why does the bride wear a veil?

Why do brides wear white?

A wedding dress or a wedding gown is the garment brides wear on their big day.

It’s hard to imagine a wedding without your mind jumping to imagine a puffy-white dress.

The colour and style of the dress will depend on the country, culture and fashion of the location the wedding is taking place.

In Australia, we are most familiar with the white wedding dress, but where did this tradition come from?

The dress itself is a relatively new addition to the arsenal of wedding customs.

The first documented instance of a bride wearing a white wedding gown is Princess Philippa of England in 1406.

However, the white dress was shunned in popular culture in favour of a black bridal gown (that, or the nicest dress the bride had regardless of colour) until 1840.

1840 was the year of Queen Victoria married Albert of Saxe-Coburg.

For the ceremony, the Queen wore a white dress trimmed with lace, and suddenly everyone in the western world was doing the same.

Thanks for that, Queen V.

Why do brides wear veils?

While we have Queen Victoria to thank for popularising the colour white, we have the Romans to thank for the bridal tradition of the veil.

The story behind the addition of the veil is actually pretty horrendous.

The veil and train made it harder for brides to run away

Sure, that’s pretty rough, but it gets worse.

Because the brides were swaddled up nice and tightly, it meant they could be more efficiently (read: forcibly) moved to and by their future husband before, after and during the ceremony.

Ah marriage, so romantic.

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