The wedding dress is the stuff of dreams for many aspiring women and brides to be. When we envision a marriage, it’s the dress that often stands out and takes centre stage in the unity of two individuals. But how has it become such an important symbol and why is it still so important for brides of today?
The historical significance of the bridal gown
Traditions vary between cultures, religions and societies, however since the beginning the bridal outfit has been worn to present the bride in the best light for a momentous life occasion. From Medieval times and throughout early Western society, marriages may not have been to secure love between two people — it may have also been a matter of politics, part of a business deal or a union between families. It was therefore important that the bride dressed in the most presentable way as she represented much more than herself.
Wedding dresses in rich, bold colours and luxurious fabrics usually denoted the bridal family’s wealth and social status, whereas poorer brides tended to wear their best church dress.
The introduction of the traditional white wedding gown also brought about a deep importance in the ceremony — white symbolised purity and the virginity of the bride.
Today, this isn’t the case — women mostly have the freedom choose their ideal wedding dress no matter the colour, fabric, shape or style. However the wedding dress is still such an important part of a marriage.
The wedding dress and the modern-day bride
Though in history the wedding dress came to represent the end of a woman’s identity as an individual and a move to being a dependent wife, it now importantly signifies the end of singlehood to a new commitment and partnership. But for many brides it’s also a statement piece that makes them feel perfectly special on their memorable day. Whether bought, custom-made, or passed down, it’s the dress that captures the beauty of the bride for all guests to see as she walks down the aisle. Despite no longer representing things like social status, wealth or virginity, traditional white gowns are still the popular choice for modern brides and remain a key part of making a wedding the important milestone that it is.