The Significance of a White Wedding Gown

There are some misconceptions out there

By Jen Whitten

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A bride walking down the aisle wearing a stunning white dress is the fantasy of many young girls as they dream of their future wedding day. The significance of the white wedding gown varies by period. Nonetheless, the white wedding dress remains popular.


It is a fallacy that wedding gowns were always white. Until the marriage of Queen Victoria in 1840, brides wore their favorite color.


Until the Industrial Revolution, only brides from wealthy families could afford a new white bridal gown of their own. Brides wishing to wed in white often rented or borrowed a dress.


The color white symbolizes happiness and new beginnings. Although blue was the color of purity during the Renaissance, white replaced it for those virtues in the modern era.


The white wedding dress refers to the concept more than the specific color. Shades of ivory, eggshell, off-white and even champagne all hold the same significance as a pure white dress.


During the Depression era, brides required wedding gowns for more than a single use. Dyeing the wedding dress a darker color for everyday use was a common practice until after World War II.

About the Author

Jen Whitten is a freelance writer and worked in the event and wedding planning fields.

Planning Reminder:

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Set up an appointment with a bridal shop, then snag a friend or family member when it's time to don some dresses. Keep jewelry and makeup to a minimum when you go gown shopping -- you don’t want anything to catch or smear on those beautiful dresses.

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Wedding Glossary


Historically refers to the bride's possessions that she brings to the marriage. Can also refer to the bride's gown or attire.

View the Full Weddings Glossary
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