The History of the Wedding Dresses
The dress worn by the bride and the bridegroom on the day of the wedding ceremony is very important. Actually there is no wedding without wedding dress, but the wedding ring and the wedding cake are indispensable too. Every culture and every civilization, every social class has its own wedding ceremony customs and rituals. And every wedding item used during the wedding ceremony has its own meaning and importance.
The history of the wedding dress begins with the ancient Egypt, in the oldest civilization of humanity. What did an ancient Egyptian bride wear on the day of her wedding? Let`s take a short look upon the life of the ancient Egyptian woman. A woman in ancient Egypt could not be forced to get married. They got married very young, between age 12 to 14 and they had even the right to divorce, after a good cause given at the court law. The custody of the kids and other material rights were also allowed for the divorcing woman. So, women in the ancient Egypt had more rights than in other ancient cultures. The usually clothing for the wedding ceremony was a dress or a tunic made of linen. There was no hard ceremony but a lot of music, dance and food.
Another important question about the wedding dress is: have the brides always worn white? The right answer is NO! Bright colored wedding dresses signifying the joy of the bride were more popular in the ancient times. The white wedding dresses became familiar only after the Victorian age.
What did the traditional roman bride wear on the day of her wedding? She wore a simple tunic dress with a colored veil. The veil was full of flowers collected by the bride. Can you imagine that, girls? But the ornament of the dress was not only the veil but the belt tied around her waist in the knot of Hercules, as married life was guarded in the ancient Rome by Hercules.
In the medieval times the colour of blue represented purity. Before Victorian times the silver coloured dress was the conventional wedding dress for royal brides. The white wedding is connected to the Victorian era. White did not become popular until 1840, after the marriage of Queen Victoria to Albert of Saxe-Coburg.
The white gown is in fact a symbolic Christening gown. The tradition of white continues today, too. The white dress became the most popular choice for weddings in the western culture.
What about the Asian and native American culture? Red is the traditional colour for Eastern culture, as South Indian weddings traditionally use red or gold-colored saris, as Japanese brides wear the traditional kimono. There are particular customs for Hopi brides and other women belonging to different native American tribes, too.
There is a traditional rhyme about the colour of the wedding dress:
„Married in White, you have chosen right,
Married in Blue, your love will always be true,
Married in Pearl, you will live in a whirl,
Married in Brown, you will live in town,
Married in Red, you will wish yourself dead,
Married in Yellow, ashamed of your fellow,
Married in Green, ashamed to be seen,
Married in Pink, your spirit will sink,
Married in Grey, you will go far away,
Married in Black, you will wish yourself back.”
Maybe this rhyme is going to help you to choose at least the colour of your wedding dress. The dress has to express your individual style. Please, do not get nervous! As you could see, the dress of the bride has a very various and complex tradition. Getting married was in the past even a matter of politics.
Poor and famous, royal people got married. The dress worn on the wedding represented the social class of the bride, as marriage was not only a union between two people, but rather a political or financial contract between two families, two businesses or two countries!
So, after all, the job of the modern bride is a little bit “easier”: she has only the task to find a good dressmaker or a good bride salon or wedding dress shop!