White weddings may seem like a deep rooted tradition but it hasn’t actually been around for that long. The trend began with Queen Victoria upon her marriage to Albert in 1840. These days white is a symbol of purity but in the nineteenth century, the colour represented enormous wealth. After all, who but the richest people could afford a pure white dress that would be worn only once? The trend didn’t immediately catch on…
The richest followed Victoria’s example but for every other bride it was business as usual in the nicest dress they could afford. Then Coco Chanel made the most significant of twentieth century break throughs – she put a knee length white wedding dress into her collection.
Grace Kelly put white on to the Hollywood map when she married Prince Rainier of Monaco in silk and white lace (left). The post war lust for glamour combined with newly available materials meant that a shift in fashion could take place.
A popular rhyme was devised to account for the brides fate according to what colour she wore. I wouldn’t put too much faith in it – it’s fairly obvious that the poet picked the most obvious rhyming word!
Married in white, you have chosen all right.
Married in green, ashamed to be seen.
Married in red, you will wish yourself dead.
Married in blue, you will always be true.
Married in yellow, ashamed of your fellow.
Married in black, you will wish yourself back.
Married in pink, your spirits will sink.