It is important to remember that it was the Victorian era that gave us the 'white wedding' that grew in popularity in Western cultures. This tradition dates back to Queen Victoria and her wedding to Prince Albert in 1840, during which she wore a white gown trimmed with lace. The wearing of white then became a custom or fashion from that point forward as brides sought their choice of gown to reflect the choice of the Queen. Prior to that, wedding dresses or gowns were chosen specifically to reflect the bride's social standing and the wealth of her family. Brides were often seen to be wearing luxurious fabrics and extravagant colours in a display of wealth. I suppose this could be seen as something that hasn't totally disappeared in modern day Western culture. It is often said that your wedding dress will be the most expensive dress you ever buy. I can't say mine was that extravagant in comparison to most out there, but even so for the amount it cost, I should be sitting wearing it eating my Sunday roast each week rather than it being quite unceremoniously dumped in the loft!
It was also quite impractical to wear a white dress, not only for the obvious reason that it can easily become messy, it was also a dress you would probably only wear once. Previously, if you were unable to afford the luxurious fabrics in order to fashion a one-off gown, you typically wore your best dress regardless of the colour.
Despite the white gown being a relatively modern introduction, Queen Victoria was not actually the first to wear a white gown, it was just her influence that made it popular. The very first documented instance of a white gown was way back in 1406 when Phillipa of England wore a white cloak made from silk. Mary Queen of Scots also donned a white gown in her marriage to Francis the Dauphin of France. This was reportedly as it was her favourite colour, this is despite white being the colour of mourning for French Queens at that time! I can imagine people had a lot to say about that! So we can thank the Victorian era for marriages based on love, and the white wedding.
But then how did we make it to a wedding becoming a celebration after so much history of the wedding being more of a transaction? We've seen how the Victorians changed our views and traditions around marriage in the UK, but what about the rest of the world. Does marriage in some cultures still revolve around a transaction maybe? What fascinating traditions and customs are out there for us to discover
Well let's go and find out………!