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Why is the colour white associated with weddings?

It’s “traditional”. The bride wears white, the icing on the cake is white, the table linen is white…what’s with all the WHITE at a wedding?

This week’s Wednesday Wedding Fact sets out to explore just WHY everything is white at most weddings.

Firstly, it’s not ALL weddings that are white. Through tradition, there are certain etiquettes which are followed, for instance, a bride marrying for the second time around would traditionally wear ivory.

Tradition in recent years, however, has gone out of the window (and that’s actually quite refreshing!)

But why white?

The wedding of Victoria & Albert in 1840
The wedding of Victoria & Albert in 1840

It all really started back in February 1840 when Queen Victoria and Prince Albert married in the Royal Chapel at St James’s Palace.

It must be said that white at weddings HAD existed before their wedding, but became more popular as a result.

White has two very distinct meanings when dealing with weddings:

  • Purity, and
  • Wealth

White has always been seen as a symbol of purity…it’s clean, it’s unspoiled and represents virginity.

White until recent times, was also very expensive to achieve!

In the centuries before Victoria married Albert, washing (both personal and material) was uncommon.

White as a fabric just didn’t exist which is why a bride used to marry in her best dress as opposed to a dress created specifically for the day.

The white fabric was expensive!

As for a white iced cake….the costs were prohibitive.

Sugar refined enough to be used as white icing back in those days was rare and very expensive. A white cake was a true sign of the family’s wealth and extravagance, and the more tiers, the better!

In short, using white for a wedding before Victoria and Albert made it fashionable was used mainly as a symbol of the wealth of the families involved.

In the years following their wedding, it was seen as a trend and became cheaper and more popular….and the tradition of the white wedding continues to this day in the majority of weddings I work at.

So, white isn’t actually that traditional at a wedding

Other facts which might be interesting

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