Wedding Gown Traditions

In researching the history and traditions of the wedding gown, I came across this poem from the 1800’s:

“Married in white, you will have chosen all right. Married in grey , you will go far away. Married in black, you will wish yourself back. Married in red, you’ll wish yourself dead. Married in blue, you will always be true. Married in pearl, you’ll live in a whirl. Married in green, ashamed to be seen, Married in yellow, ashamed of the fellow. Married in brown, you’ll live out of town. Married in pink, your spirits will sink.”

While I absolutely do not think that if you “marry in pink, your spirits will sink,” I thought this was still good for a laugh!  It also made me think more about some of the traditions behind wedding gowns, many of which remain to this day.

The tradition of the “white” wedding gown dates back to England in the 1700’s, but it was the marriage of Queen Victoria in 1840 that made the white wedding gown the ideal in the minds of brides for the next 170 years.  Many people believe that she chose white because it represented purity.  And while that may not be at the forefront of the minds of many brides today, it is still a commonly held and often joked about belief (have you never been to a wedding where someone whispered “I don’t think SHE should be wearing white!”).

It was common for women to wear borrowed or homemade dresses in which to be married until the end of the 1800’s.  With the advent of the industrial revolution and the first department stores, more women had the means to purchase a new dress for their wedding.

As more options became available to brides, and the price for a beautiful wedding gown fell within most families’ budgets, the wedding gown became seen as a family heirloom.  It was the dream of many brides that someday they might be lucky enough to have a daughter on whom to pass their gown on to.  In many cases these dresses went unused, most likely due to changing styles and tastes. 

Today, as traditions continue to evolve, it has become more common to purchase a “used” or “pre-owned” wedding dress.  Factors contributing to this new trend include economics (most pre-owned wedding dresses sell for more than half-off retail prices) and a new focus on the environment.  And for a number of reasons, you can find “pre-owned” dresses that have never been worn! 

We have a number of pre-owned dresses that have never been worn at  Here are just a few that we have featured:

David’s Bridal #V8822, sz 6

Maggie Sottero ’08, sz 12

David’s Bridal sz 10



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