Wedding dresses throughout the ages
The most iconic symbol of a wedding is undoubtedly the wedding dress.
It has been interesting to see how wedding dresses have evolved throughout the ages, from colour to texture, political statements and social wealth; wedding dresses have seen it all. From Royal brides to humble everyday folk, every bride wants to look her best on the biggest day of her life, but it wasn’t always the big white dress that was in favour; here is the story of the wedding dress.
Today, in the 21st century if you were to think of a wedding dress, stereotypically you would imagine a strapless gown that is white and a puffy princess style, a la Cinderella, but it hasn’t always been that way. In fact it was Queen Victoria in the 19th Century that first showcased a white wedding dress and started the trend for white gowns.
If we travel back to the Middle Ages, weddings were not just a display of love, they were seen as more of a matter of politics, wealth and status. Brides were expected to wear something that would showcase their family’s wealth in order to cast them in a good light. Brides from wealthy families were expected to wear gowns made of luxurious, exclusive fabrics such as silk, fur and satin and also of bold, rich colours, the more expensive the dress and the more exclusive the material, the more wealthier the brides family were considered to be. Dresses were modelled on the latest fashions and would be the best money could buy, brides with far less wealth would simply wear their best church dress on their big day.
Queen Victoria is credited with starting the white gown trend, but other Royal brides have also chosen white for their gowns. In Tudor times Mary Queen of Scots chose a white dress for her marriage to first husband Francis Dauphin of France in 1559, but it was more to do with white being her favourite colour than a statement of wealth. Black was a popular colour for a bride to wear on her big day, along with silver and gold.
1840 saw the first real ‘princess’ dress with Queen Victoria donning a white gown for her wedding to Prince Albert. It was a trend that caught on and slowly but surely brides were ditching coloured gowns in favour of an all white affair.
Fast forward to April 2011, and Britain’s Prince William marries Kate Middleton in a massive ceremony that is watched throughout the globe. The world it seemed waited with bated breath to see what the soon to be Princess would wear. Sure enough, it was a white gown, the trend that Queen Victoria started over 171 years ago is still as popular as ever, and sure enough as is the expected of any royal bride, the dress was adorned with exquisite lace and luscious silk.
Wedding dresses have come a long way from the humble church dress or simple coloured tunic, today a wedding dress is a whole different statement, sure it can still be linked to wealth, but as opposed to politics and status its more a style statement than anything else.
Thankfully luxurious materials and unique designs have become available to the masses, and every bride has the right and materials to look and feel like a real life princess on her big day.
Written by Steph Payne: Steph is a blogger and PR Girl for The Watch Hut, the UK’s largest watch website. Steph is a keen beauty and fashion addict, and also a bride to be herself, so anything to do with weddings is always of great interest to her! Follow Steph on Twitter( @watchhut_ Steph ).