Say Yes to the Dress

Photo of Queen Victoria’s wedding dress provided by Royal Collection Trust

Photo of Queen Victoria’s wedding dress provided by Royal Collection Trust

So, Queen Victoria got married in a white wedding dress in 1840. What does that have to do with brides today? Why even talk about it? Brides wear white. Period. End of sentence. Queen Victoria actually broke tradition (for royal brides) by wearing white instead of silver. Normal brides would wear their Sunday best. And similar with our previous blog having a rhyme…

Married in white, you’ve chosen all right,

Married in green, ashamed to be seen,

Married in grey, you’ll go far away,

Married in red, you’ll wish yourself dead,

Married in blue, your lover is true,

Married in yellow, ashamed of your fellow,

Married in black, you’ll wish yourself back,

Married in pink, of you he’ll think,

Married in brown, you’ll live out of town.

Some of the colors seem...harsh. Married in red, you’ll wish yourself dead? This is just a cute little rhyme that is fun to know. Red has positive connotations: it also represents passion and confidence. Green represents wealth and vitality.

Brides in the 16th and 17th centuries married in pale green to convey that they could have children. Poor brides wore white in from the Saxon era (c.500) to the 1700s and it was a public statement of her economic status and that she brought nothing with her into the marriage. ‘Mature’ women in their twenties would be married in brown and older women wore black.


Since we’re on the topic of clothes, bridesmaids. They used to wear white with the bride. Now, it’s rude to wear white to a wedding if you aren’t the bride. Bridesmaids were to prevent bad spirits from cursing the bride by confusing the spirits or, from Roman times, prevent ex-paramours from harming or kidnapping the actual bride.

And speaking of kidnapping, the best man was sometimes asked to help kidnap the bride if her parents disapproved of the match. Best was brought about because that man was the most proficient in swordsmanship or shooting. His other duty was also to help protect the groom.