Snow, ivory, or cream … which white is right for your wedding dress?
The modern bride has never had more dress options, so how do you sort through them?
With an atmospheric riff and catchy vocals, Billy Idol told us “It’s a nice day for a white wedding.”
But what if you don’t want a “white” wedding? What if your heart is set on ivory? Or cream? Or champagne, eggshell, snow, Dutch white, or antique white?
Unfortunately, Billy’s monochromatic color palette stops at white when it comes to wedding advice; but we have you covered on all your options.
A dress by any other shade of white
Weddings have changed over the centuries. Even a hundred years ago weddings were often much more about merging two families or ensuring the bride and her family were shown off to acclaim. It was much more about making a bold statement for wealth and social status than it was ensuring the bride had her perfect day.
While weddings have evolved to be a focus of love, commitment, and marrying the person you want to spend the rest of your life with (rather than a business deal), some of these ideas have stayed with us down the line. Because of this, you may even find yourself pressured by family or friends to choose white. But c’mon, mom, white is so your generation.
While white is classic and stylish, you have other options today.
Why white ‘is the most fitting hue’ for a bride
Every woman wants to feel like a princess on her wedding day, but it was a Queen who started the trend of wearing white.
Many people take for granted today that the perfect wedding dress is a white wedding dress, but the practice of automatically thinking of “white” for weddings didn’t begin until Queen Victoria married Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 1840.
Bucking against the traditions of the time outside of Buckingham Palace, Victoria chose an elegant white for her dress. This was a rebel choice because the dress was not covered in jewels or ridiculous trappings (as many royal weddings were), and even worse to the rulers of the time, white was considered the color of mourning.
At the time, there was no “set” color for weddings. Women typically just wore the nicest dress they had. And most young couples starting out couldn’t afford to buy a dress that would be used for only one day. This had to be a workhorse dress that could be used for other everyday activities. Because of that, their wedding dresses were often of simple homespun material, and many times they were black.
One of the only colors that was truly avoided was green for a wedding dress, because at the time it was thought to be an unlucky color of ill omens. Ironic since today we associate green with plantlife, new things growing, and the color of money and success. Blue saw popularity for a while because it was a sharp color that was also dark enough to hide stains and minor flaws.
And in eastern cultures the bride still frequently wears red, which is the color of luck and good fortune. An auspicious color to match an auspicious day.
When did the 'white wedding" begin?
Thanks to advances in fashion and textiles, you can get almost any color of dress you want. In fact, this used to be the case - brides would get married in whatever color was fashionable at the time. The very first notable "White Wedding" was Queen Victoria. When Victoria was married, white was the color of of mourning — so her choice was rebellios and cutting edge for its day. If you want to choose ivory or cream, you are following in her royal footsteps.
In fact, it wasn't until nearly a decade after Queen Victoria’s wedding that one of the most influential women’s magazines of the day, Godey’s Lady’s Book, wrote that white was the perfect color for a bride on her special day:
“Custom has decided, from the earliest ages, that white is the most fitting hue, whatever may be the material. It is an emblem of the purity and innocence of girlhood, and the unsullied heart she now yields to the chosen one.”
While you may not have a current subscription to Godey’s Lady’s Book (since it ceased publication in 1878), you understand that your options are a bit wider than the blushing bride planning her wedding in the 1850s, when that oft-quoted line was written.
You’re a modern bride; choose your style
Many women understand that certain colors are more flattering for their skin tones than others. Use this knowledge to help you choose the perfect hue for your own wedding dress.
Also, keep in mind the time of the year that you’re going to have your wedding. Sure, you’ve thought about your wedding date a thousand times, but it’s easy to forget when you are getting married. For example, if you’re an outdoorsy girl but your wedding is toward the end of winter, your beautiful sun-kissed tones may not be there come the wedding day.
If you are naturally porcelain-complected or your fiancé jokes you can get a sunburn on an overcast day in Portland, and you are having an outdoor wedding in the summer, the sun may have the opposite effect on your coloring for your wedding day.
Don’t be afraid to buck the trend. If you want a white wedding, you can absolutely have one! If you want to venture into the world of varying shades of whites, there’s something perfect out there for you.
Take a look at this recent wedding dress retrospective put together by the editors of Elle Magazine. When you look through the most popular and famous wedding dresses from the last 50 years, they are in a wide variety of cuts, lengths, and yes, every shades of white you can imagine.
With all of the options out there, it’s important to remember the most important factor in planning your wedding (after the groom, of course) is the bride and the dress. You get to choose what color you think is best for you; this is your wedding and you get to show off your sense of style. What do you want?
If the idea of a classic white wedding appeals to you, embrace it! And don’t feel like you have to be force fit into a white wedding if it’s not what you’ve dreamed of. The modern bride has more options than ever.
Choose a color that compliments your skin tone, and if you’re not sure what that is, don’t worry! Our team of wedding experts will ensure your dress perfectly matches your own style, complexion, features, and delicate tones.
It may be a nice day for a white wedding … or cream, or ivory, or Dutch white … but it’s going to be the perfect day for your wedding.
Want to experience the joy and fun of finding the perfect dress to match your look, skin tones, and budget? Book your appointment with Almond Tree’s wedding dress experts today ... your dream dress is is stock now.
About the Author:
An award-winning writer, John Ludwig is a marketing and communications expert with an extensive background in content marketing, social media engagement, and surprising his wife with great Christmas gifts. He loves good books, good coffee, old typewriters, and random trivia. He writes from his home in Omaha where he lives with his wife, Stephanie, who wore an ivory dress with champagne accents on their wedding day because she is a porcelain-skinned beauty.