Wedding Traditions & Their Origins

December 2015

The white dress

The tradition of wearing a white dress started when Queen Victoria married Prince Albert back in 1840. The tradition was apparently started unintentionally as people all over copied the queen’s white dress.

Before this a bride typically wore the nicest gown she owned, often a dark colour as it didn’t show stains or imperfections and could be worn again. After Queen Victoria’s wedding, wearing a white dress became a symbol of wealth as it showed that the family could afford to have a wedding gown made especially for the occasion. 

Later in Queen Victoria’s reign the white wedding gown also became a symbol of purity and virginity. This is said to be because the Victorians idolised innocent brides. 

Nowadays, colourful wedding dresses are becoming trendier, but the majority of dresses are still some variation of white, be it cream or ivory, or something light-colored. 

International Wedding Dress designers today still design the traditional white dresses as well as a range of off-white, ivory, cream, champagne, and other lighter-toned dresses. 

The garter

Probably one of the most important wedding accessories, the garter has been prized as a love token, and a token of good luck for years. Previously, male guests would try to take the garter off of the bride and pin it to their hats for good luck. Before this guests would rush at the bride as soon as the ceremony was over to grab a piece of the bride’s gown for good luck –leaving the bride in tears and the dress in scraps. 

The tradition of the groom taking the garter off his new bride’s leg and tossing it to the male guests was derived from that. Luckily, this leave the bride and her beautiful wedding gown untouched. 

The Veil 

The bridal veil comes from the idea that brides were susceptible to enchantment or curses – the idea was that the veil would keep away witches and evil spirits. 

In religious terms. The veil is often a sign of respect for God and humility.

In Victorian terms the quality, weight, length, and design of the veil was a sign of the bride’s wealth and status. 

Nowadays, the wedding has become more of a sentimental finishing touch as the father lifts the veil off of his daughter’s face before giving her away to her future husband.