Wedding DYK: Why do brides wear white?

While we may be a mix of many cultures in Southeast Asia, and many brides continue to wear their traditional wedding garb, a white bridal gown is still the most common dress for a bride to wear on her big day.
You may be surprised, the white wedding dress hasn’t always been a common bridal outfit. In fact, it only came about in the 19th century – less than 200 years ago.

vera wang dress
It is a sign of wealth
In the past, only the wealthy were able to afford servants to keep white garments clean, so most brides opted for dark coloured dresses as they needed to wear it many times over for a few ceremonies. The ability to wear a white dress, an easily soiled colour, meant that the bride could afford servants to keep her dress clean, hence a show of her family’s wealth.

Queen Victoria made it popular
In 1840, Queen Victoria wore a white satin dress at her wedding and this fashion choice made it to the headlines of newspapers. Thereafter, fashion-forward brides emulated this choice and made white dresses their preferred bridal attire.

Extra tips: Do you have to wear white?
While white is now the most common colour for a bridal gown, especially because it is a sign of purity, you can always opt to be different. The Chinese traditional bridal dress, for instance, is usually red, and is seen as an auspicious colour.
Choose according to what shade is most suitable for your skin tone too. If pure white doesn’t look flattering on you, you can consider wearing an off-white or cream white dress.

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