In 1840 Queen Victoria made history. She was the first woman to wear a white dress to her wedding. In 2011 we all witnessed how the very same day as Kate Middleton walked down the aisle in her Sarah Burton wedding dress, designers started designing and creating dresses similar to hers. So it's no wonder that people started to mirror Queen Victoria's white wedding style. She was the Kate Middleton of her era. It was such a popular western trend that the practice evolved into a tradition. Wearing white expanded further than a colour choice- it became a symbol of the bride's purity and innocence.
Many in Eastern religions favour red over white as red is a symbol of prosperity and success. Now many women chose other colours too. For Indians red, gold, pink, orange, maroon, brown, and yellow Sari's are popular.
Traditional Japanese brides will wear a white kimono for the ceremony and then change to a red one for the party. Best of both worlds. Some also wear an additional blue dress. It is said that in Japanese culture white represents death so when a bride wears a white dress it symbolises the bride's death to her family, and her red dress symbolises her birth into her husband's family.
For other cultures such as Islam, Christianity, and Judaism, the same rules of modesty apply to their wedding dress choice as they do to their daily lives.
Why do brides wear veils?
Traditionally a veil was worn by the bride in an arranged marriage to prevent the couple seeing each other before the deal was sealed. Others say it was worn to as a protection from evil spirits.
In Judaism the groom will cover the bride's face with a veil after 'checking' he has the right girl after what happened to their Patriarch Jacob who was tricked into marrying the wrong girl. This is true yet we can still ask; why is he covering her face if he knows it's the right girl? Shouldn't he be uncovering it?
It is said: "By covering the bride’s face, the groom is making a statement: “As beautiful as you look today, my love for you is not skin-deep. It is not just your eyes that dazzle me; it is your persona, your character, your views on life—the real you. I can cover your sweet face with a veil and still marry you, because your face is just one level of your true beauty.” (found on www.chabad.org) This idea is exactly what we here at ModLi are striving to achieve- inner beauty outdoing the outer beauty.
Others say that it is considered bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the wedding. Therefore she is 'hidden from sight' with a veil. The veil was introduced into Christianity in the early 19th century. Christians began to wear the veil to symbolize to the groom and to the guests that the bride was pure.
Feel free to share with us the reasons behind what brides from your tradition wear!