Marriage-it is a social union between two people who love each other. And marriage is formalized by one of life’s most exciting events-the wedding ceremony. Whether it’s a simple civil union or a grand church event, one of the most important things to consider and decide upon, is the wedding dress.
By definition, the wedding dress is the clothing worn by a bride in her wedding ceremony. Everyone’s eyes are always feasted upon the beautiful and glowing bride in her marvelous wedding attire. Choosing the perfect wedding dress is the most enticing yet stressful part of any wedding preparation.
By tradition, wedding gowns are usually seen in white and in Victorian styles and silhouettes. However, with the ever evolving modern times, many brides break tradition. But where did this custom of the big white wedding gown begin?
Throughout the span of time, over hundreds of years, marriage has been a social and political institution that established rights and obligations between two people. And the wedding ceremony has always been an event for the couple to show off their riches and social status. During the Middle Ages, donning white wedding gowns was not the custom. Brides actually chose to wear the most expensive and most exquisite fabrics they could afford, to flaunt their wealth. Many women wore heavily embroidered silk, brocade, fur, and velvet. Wealthy brides spared no expense when it came to their wedding gowns. Those who belonged to lower social classes usually opted to use their finest dresses rather than have something new made.
However, this changed during 1840, after the wedding of Queen Victoria to Prince Albert of Saxe. Queen Victoria had these elaborate and exquisite white lace she received as gifts and wanted to use them for her wedding gown. So she opted to wear a white gown with the lace embellished all over it. During that period, white actually symbolized wealth, and not purity or virginity, which was actually represented by the color blue, based on the Virgin Mary. The wedding’s official photograph was heavily published in Europe, and it became so popular that many brides across the continent followed suit. The trend then flourished in other Western cultures.
Today, wearing a white, Victorian inspired wedding gown is the most common choice for most brides in Western cultures. Other nations such as Eastern cultures like Japan and China, wear their traditional costumes as their wedding dresses. But when you think about a wedding dress, the image that comes to mind is always the strapless white ball gown that almost every bride is wearing.
But with the changing times, the changing roles and priorities of women have also changed. Women are getting married in their later years, rather than their early 20’s where they are just starting out their careers. Today, most women get married in their late twenty’s or early thirty’s. And the choice for wedding gowns have dramatically changed. Of course in most Catholic nations, the white Victorian wedding gown is still the number one choice, but several styles and colors have also become increasingly popular.
Take for example the notorious black wedding dress. Black is usually associated with mourning. Many people believe that when wedding guests wear black to a wedding ceremony, it represents their opposition to the union. Some people believe that it symbolizes the bride’s mourning for her independence. Black is associated with morbid symbolism and being sad and eerie. In Spain, however, it is customary for them to wear black on their wedding day, as it symbolizes their love for their grooms till death. A lot of things can be associated with the color black, but these are all changing. Many women of today actually consider donning a black wedding gown for their wedding day.
It is becoming a popular trend in wedding gowns because of several reasons. One is that it defies tradition. Most women today want something different for their wedding day. They want to stand out and they want to be remembered. Black wedding gowns convey elegance and sophistication. Wearing black represents being strong-willed and thinking outside of the box. It is a bold statement that will surely raise eyebrows from the Aunts and the Moms-the older generations-but it will be something that they will surely remember.
Another reason for choosing black wedding gowns is it could be economical. Sure, brides want their wedding gowns to be specially made for them, so special that they only use it for one occasion. But in today’s economy, many couples want to cut costs. And a lot of women would actually want to be able to use such an expensive dress to other events, like maybe a Black Tie or a Ball party.
One very popular and most celebrated bridal gown designer who surprised everyone with her Bridal gown fashion show themed “Witchcraft,” is Vera Wang. For her Fall 2012 Bridal Gown collection, she sent down seven beautiful black wedding gowns down the runway. Her use of delicate black lace, tulle, and organza on beautiful long gowns of black was refreshing. She has been known to use neutral colors like white, ecru, and ivory but the black gowns made brides think twice about donning the traditional white wedding gown. She showed black wedding gowns in every silhouette possible-mermaid, A-line, hourglass. Those dresses were surely memorable.
While Vera Wang’s gowns have a feminine and ethereal air, one other designer who showed a black wedding gown in his runway show was Oscar dela Renta, for his Spring 2011 Bridal collection. His regal embellished tulle black wedding gown came also as a surprise amongst his ivory gowns.
Famous celebrity designer Marchesa also offers several black gowns that are perfect for weddings. They often have intricately detailed ball gowns that are perfect for the beautiful bride.
When and if you choose to wear a black wedding gown to your wedding ceremony, always keep in mind that donning a black ball gown that covers your skin in too many areas can make it look like a costume. Several women have chosen figure hugging black evening gowns as opposed to the ball gown. If you do opt for the full skirt style, maybe a corset bodice would balance out the whole look.
Black wedding gowns are not for everybody. Always remember to add a touch of your own personality in everything that you wear, most especially your wedding gown. If you’re modern, sophisticated, have a desire to stand out and defy the norm, then the black wedding dress is definitely the dress of choice for you.