The Bride Who Didn’t Wear White

Written by    Last updated: July 29, 2015

Brides haven’t always worn white on their wedding day. In fact the trend to do so didn’t really become popular until around the 1940s. Before this time brides would simply wear their finest dress to the ceremony which would often be a dark colour!

Queen Victoria was one of the first to don a white gown when she got married in 1840, however due to white fabric being hard to get hold of and preserve, it was only the rich who could afford to wear it.

Queen Victoria's Wedding Dress |

Image courtesy of Pinterest. Emily Blunt as Queen Victoria in the film ‘The Young Victoria’.

In the 1930s the Great Depression hit, requiring brides to make do with a dress they already had, as they couldn’t afford one that they wouldn’t wear again. Once the depression lifted in the 40s, white wedding dresses made their appearance again and the trend has remained strong up to the current day.

For many, a pure white wedding dress symbolises virginity and with many couples choosing to start a family before marriage, white is no longer the colour of choice. Instead varying shades of ivory or cream has replaced it.

Floral Wedding Dress |

Photograph taken at the National Wedding Show catwalk

However in recent years, wedding dresses in alternative colours are making an appearance on the bridal wear catwalks, offering brides more choice than ever before!

We take a look at the most fashionable wedding dress colours of the moment and how they will work with your own personal style and wedding theme.

Wedding Dress Colours |

Images courtesy of Justin Alexander

With the dominating trend for all things vintage, bridal gowns in golds, silvers and champagnes are available in many bridal gown collections. These rich and glamorous dresses offer brides who want an alternative colour to white or ivory, but still want to look like a bride.

During my time managing a bridal boutique, many of my brides who had been married before or felt that they were ‘too old’ for a white dress, chose this elegant colour scheme and looked stunning!

Blush Pink Wedding Dresses |

(Left to right, top to bottom) Images courtesy of Pronovias and Alfred Angelo

The fashion for pastel themed weddings in the last couple of years has seen a rise in blush and nude coloured gowns. Often very subtle and warm in shade, blush pink is a great option for brides who struggle to pull of white or ivory.

For brides who really want to rebel against the ‘white wedding’ tradition and make a statement with their dress, bold colours such as red, black and dark purple or vibrant prints, will do just that!

Black has always been a controversial colour for a wedding dress with its association to funerals. However, with several young and trendy celebrities opting for them in the last couple of years, we are being shown that this statement look can really work! Whether you love the rock chick look or simply can’t get enough of sophisticated LBDs, a black wedding dress can be styled to suit all personalities and all ages.

Black Wedding Dresses |

(left to right, top to bottom) Images courtesy of David’s Bridal

Whilst many are still surprised to see a bride who didn’t wear white, don’t let tradition get in the way of your vision! Your wedding dress should reflect you, your personality and wedding theme and quite simply make you feel fabulous!


This article was written by

Lucy Leaper
Lucy Leaper is our inspiration and bridalwear specialist! She has a degree in fashion design and 12 years experience in the fashion industry, including 3 and a half years as the manager of a bridal boutique. Lucy loves to hear every little detail about a bride's wedding plans and it is no surprise that the first thing she wants to know is what they're wearing!

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