A BRIEF HISTORY OF WEDDING COLOURS
Many weddings performed during and after the Middle Ages were less of a union between two people in love and more like a family or business deal. Brides were expected to show off their family’s wealth and social status, and so were wearing rich colours and exclusive fabrics. Roman brides preferred yellow for their gowns and brides in the Middle Ages in Europe often wore red wedding gowns, the traditional colour of good luck. Not to be outdone, grooms in the Middle Ages also wore bright and colourful outfits. The bride would typically wear her finest dress to the ceremony, even if it was a dark colour. In fact, many brides wore black during this time. Blue was a popular choice as it represented purity and a connection to the Virgin Mary, plus the dark colour easily hid stains and imperfections and could be worn again. It wasn’t until Victorian times when Queen Victoria married Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg in1840 in a white lace wedding gown and her picture was widely publicised that white became a popular and fashionable norm for wedding gowns and many other brides opted for white in accordance to the Queen’s choice.
In China, India and Vietnam many wedding dresses were coloured red, the traditional colour of good luck and sign of future success. Nowadays, many women choose other colours besides red. In modern mainland Chinese weddings, the bride may opt for western dresses of any colour, and later on a traditional costume for the official tea ceremony. At Japanese weddings, brides will often wear three or more dresses throughout the ceremony and subsequent celebrations with a traditional kimono, white and colour dress combinations are popular. White is used because in Japan it symbolises death - in this case, the bride becomes dead to her family. The bride will eventually remove her white kimono to reveal another coloured one - usually red - to symbolise her rebirth into her husband's family. Middle Eastern brides had blue ribbons tied to their gowns since that culture considered blue the colour of purity.
Article by Simone Flueck, Vow Factor Weddings and Events