Prior to Queen Victoria (1819-1901), white wedding gowns were not the norm. Brides wore brocades of golds and silvers, yellows and blues. Puritan women wore gray. But Victoria’s wedding in February 1840 captured the imaginations of many when this powerful presider over the British empire, who many thought of as “plain,” married a handsome man. She did so in an opulent ceremony where she wore a luxurious and beautiful (by nineteenth-century standards) white wedding gown. Following this grand event, many white Western middle-class brides imitated Victoria and adopted the white wedding gown. By the turn of the century, white had not only become the standard but had also become laden with symbolism—it stood for purity, virginity, innocence, and promise, as well as power and privilege.
You learn something new every day.
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