Cynthia Viola Photography

Guest Post! A History of the Wedding Dress by Heidi Stouder

Vendors, Wedding PhotographyCynthia ViolaComment
Heidi Stouder at Endless Possibilities

You guys! I have been having TOO much fun these past couple weeks getting acquainted with St. Augustine and all it's beautiful people. I've been meeting lots of kind people, like sweet Mrs. Smith at the coffee shop who let me go first in line because she could tell I was there for a meeting and she "didn't have anywhere important to be." How sweet is that?!? I feel like I'm back in Boone all over again!

Well, one of my favorite new people, Heidi, was gracious enough to give me the run down of the wedding industry down here and we had a blast this afternoon as I took a few quick head shots for her in the parking lot of her new office space at Endless Possibilities!

When I was checking out her website the other day I discovered this blog she wrote recently and knew immediately I HAD to have it! I realized immediately I didn't know the answer to the question of why we wear white wedding dresses and her discovery fascinated me. It's not been around for thousands of years like I'd supposed, the answer might surprise you too! Check it out below!

History of the white wedding dress

I just had the opportunity to experience the grand adventure of trying on wedding gowns.

It sparked my curiosity on "when did the wedding dress fad even start?" "Have brides always wanted to wear white, or was that even an option for most?"

So I brewed some coffee and stat down to read any information I could find on the subject.

I wasn't surprised to read that there is little to no information on the subject. What you can find out, is wedding dress colors and styles pertaining to what culture you were raised in.

Like how most Eastern cultures wore red, a symbol of favored fortune.

Wedding dresses have changed drastically throughout history, but the earliest information on Western culture, dates back to the Middle ages. Brides were expected to dress in the manner that befitted their social status.

Wealthy families wore rich colors, exclusive fabrics, furs, velvet and silks. The poorest brides wore their best church dress they had.  But when did the white wedding dress become the fashion?

The first documented white wedding gown was worn by Philippa of England, in 1406.  She sported a white silk tunic with a cloak trimmed in grey squirrel fur.  Defiantly not PETA approved.

History of the white wedding dress

Then the next bride we find out about is Mary Queen of Scots.  She wore white in 1559, at the time the French style, was to wear white if you were in mourning. It just so happened that Mary Queen of Scots was marrying Francis II of France.  Kinda makes you think is was a subtle way of stating how she felt about the union.

The white wedding gown didn't come into fashion till the Victorian era when Queen Victoria wore white in 1840.   Wearing white had a rough start.  White was a very hard color to come by and to keep clean.  White was a sign of social status and still only used by the wealthy from 1840's through the 1920's.  Due to the depression, WWI and WWII, wedding dresses again became what the bride had on hand, such as church clothes or borrowed dresses from a family member or friend.  After WWII the white wedding gown's, like we see today, made its smashing hit and come back with Grace Kelly in 1956.

History of the white wedding dress

Wedding dresses truly reflect a bride's personality as well as the theme of the wedding.  More and more you will see brides are incorporating color back into the wedding dress. However, I feel that the white/Ivory gown will stand the test of time and remain the most sought after gown color for years to come.

History of the white wedding dress
History of the white wedding dress

Thank you so much Heidi for sharing your findings!! Cannot wait to work with you on our first wedding this spring!! 


If you liked this post, you will probably also like: The Vendor Series or How to Choose Bridesmaids Dresses