Over the centuries wedding dresses have changed, but a bride has always wanted her dress to be special, to make her look more beautiful. Centuries ago, only the rich could afford materials of red, purple, and true black; therefore, the wealthy brides would wear dresses of color adorned with jewels. The bride would actually glitter in the sunshine. The dress with flowing sleeves or a train was a status symbol, for the poor had to use material as sparingly as possible. Factory-made materials, with their lower costs, caused the lost of the original meaning of the train of a wedding gown, but it became a tradition over time.
Fashions changed from gowns of color to ones of white, or a variation of white, but since it wasn’t a practical shade for most purposes, blue became another favorite, as did pink. In the 1800’s, gray became a color for wedding gowns for brides of lower classes because the dress became re-used as the bride’s Sunday best. For those who had to wear a dress that would be used for regular occasions after the wedding, many brides would decorate the dress for the special day with temporary decorations.
The “traditional” wedding dress as known today didn’t appear until the 1800’s. By 1800, machine made fabrics and inexpensive muslins made the white dress with a veil the prevailing fashion. By the nineteenth century, a bride wearing her white dress after the wedding was accepted. Re-trimming the dress made it appropriate for many different functions.
As times passed, women’s fashions changed. Hems rose and fell, but the long dress, with or without a train, remained the length preferred by brides. Sleeve lengths and neck styles changed with the current fashions, but mainly remained modest. Full sleeves, tight sleeves, sleeveless styles came and went and came again. Simple designs to elaborate have been found over the years.
Today’s wedding dress fad appears to be the strapless dress, which looks lovely on some figures. Some brides still want styles of the past.
The main consideration for a bride-to-be is what is appropriate for her to wear. Style should match her figure and her financial means, as well as the setting for the ceremony. For example, a larger framed woman should try on the dresses she likes, and then choose one that flatters her. Every bride wants to look lovelier on that special day. If she has $500 to spend on a dress, then she shouldn’t be looking at $5,000 dresses. If the wedding is to be held in a garden, a heavily beaded dress maybe should be avoided.
Appropriateness is the key word as a bride searches for the perfect dress, whether in real life or written into a story. A full length mirror often tells the truth either place.