A Little Piece Of History - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Dream Wedding

A Little Piece Of History

The History Of The White Wedding Dress

An old wedding poem states, "Married in white, you will have chosen right." Many people and traditions contributed to the white wedding dress becoming the classic it is today. The symbolism behind the color white played a role in brides choosing white wedding dresses. But, the fashion choices made by influential women in history brought the white wedding gown to its elegant, timeless and celebrated status.

The first known white wedding dress was worn by Anne of Brittany in 1499 at her marriage to Louis XII of France. It was not until the 19th century that other French brides followed Anne's lead. Brides from French aristocracy and bourgeoisie began wearing white dresses, trimmed in gold or silver embroidery. Gazettes reported on these major social weddings, word spread and the common practice of a bride wearing her best dress of any color faded into history. The white dress became the rage.

In 1840 Queen Victoria wore an elegant all-white wedding gown, starting a fashion trend in England that spred to other countries. She safeguarded the white dress from being a short-lived trend. In 1853 Empress Eugenie, fiancee of Napoleon III, advanced the popularity of the white wedding gown. From then on, wealthy women wore their white wedding dress on once, ending the custom of brides changing the color or style of the wedding dress after marriage to be worn as an everyday dress.

Today, white is a universally popular dress color among brides due to the dress choices of these high-profile women. Other influences on today's tradition stem from brides desiring to make a statement about their values or mind set. The color white stand for a variety of emotions, which have all been motivation for brides to don white on their wedding day. In biblical times, white represented joy. The Greeks saw white as a happy color. On the contrary, white symbolizes mourning for the Chinese and Japanese people. A bride in these countries views white as an appropriate color to wear since she is leaving her family of birth and symbolically dying to her old life to join her husband's family. Suprisingly, the modern belief that the white dress is a token of purity and innocence is a fairly new concept. Regardless, for today's bride, the white dress sets her appart and creates a stunning look for a woman beginning a new life.

----Claire Smith

WLBT's 2003 Dream Wedding.

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