Wedding Traditions and History: The White Wedding Dress

Queen Victoria, 1840

Queen Victoria, circa 1840

The very first white wedding dress was worn in 1499 by Anne of Brittany, as she married Louis XII of France. Prior to this date, the bride would traditionally wear her best dress to her wedding, and in fact, the color did not matter. This was of course a more practical option because the bride could wear the dress again. The truth was that only the wealthy could afford an extravagant gown that would be worn just once. The trend of wearing a white dress never really took off until the 1840’s when Queen Victoria wore a white dress as she married Prince Albert.

Queen Elizabeth 1947

Queen Elizabeth, circa 1947

Every culture is different.  Here’s an interesting fact: in Japan, a bride wears white to symbolize that she is in mourning for having to leave her family. Later in the ceremony, the bride will change her costume several times to reflect her changing identity.

Photo courtesy e wedding inspiration

Photo courtesy e wedding inspiration

In Western culture, it’s a common misconception that wearing white is a symbol of the bride’s purity; it is in fact meant to be a symbol of joy.  The act of wearing a white wedding dress is still very much the traditional choice today, however, symbolically, they are less about the bride’s purity and more about her debut as a first time bride.

Photo by Gertrude & Mabel

Photo by Gertrude & Mabel

In case you missed it, be sure to read our last entry featuring Wedding Traditions and History: The Wedding Cake!

Questions for Stacy: Wedding Day Shot List

Hi Stacy.  My wedding day is fast approaching!  The photographer I’ve hired has asked me for a ‘shot list’: a list of photographs I definitely want to see captured before and during the ceremony and reception.  Do you have a list of recommended shots I can pass along to my photographer?

When composing this list, it’s important for you to focus on posed photographs only ( for example, a photo featuring you and all your bridesmaids.  See below. ) so that you and your photographer are on the same page.  Having said that, the photographers that we most commonly work with are truly creative artists whom we’ve entrusted to tell the story of your wedding day.  We feel that providing them with a highly structured and agressive shot list might interrupt the creative process so that they’re unable to capture the special candid moments that take place throughout the day.  Therefore, we suggest you create a short list of your ‘must-have’ posed shots, and that you have a conversation with your photographer to describe how you’re hoping your wedding day story will be depicted.  Then relax, enjoy the day, and allow the photographers to do the job they’ve been hired to do!
Photo Credit: Kate Webber

Photo Credit: Kate Webber

Click here to read more entries from our helpful Questions for Stacy series!

with love

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

~ Pablo Neruda

Happy Valentines Day!

(photo by gia canali /  excerpt from sonnet XVII)