Why do brides wear white?

A royal wedding sparked the modern trend in white bridal wear. Queen Victoria chose to forgo the royal tradition of wearing coronation robes when she married Prince Albert on Feb. 10, 1840. Instead, she wore a fashionable white gown that was featured in newspapers and magazines around the world.

The style and color of her gown was copied across continents as women aspired to look like the young, attractive queen – much like the public emulates celebrities today. Wearing a white wedding dress became a sign of wealth and status rather than virginity. Only wealthy brides could wear a white silk gown, since they were wed in clean, elegant places that were removed from the muck and grime of life during the mid-19th century Industrial Age.

By Marlise Schoeny, Ohio State University

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