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April 20, 2012

The Story of the Wedding Dress

Bouquet and bride

The white wedding dress made with silk and lace is a twentieth century tradition, and the cynical among us might say that those who work in the wedding industry have embraced the elaborate white gown for commercial reasons.

In past centuries, couples would wear their best clothes to their wedding, which meant they wore colors other than white. In fact sometimes it was difficult to discern the bride and groom among the crowd of well wishers.

Here is a traditional rhyme that tells us the significance of the color of the bride’s dress:

Married in white, you have chosen all right

Married in grey, you will go far away

Married in black, you will wish yourself back

Married in red, you’d be better dead

Married in green, ashamed to be seen

Married in blue, you’ll always be true

Married in pearl, you’ll live in a whirl

Married in yellow, ashamed of the fellow

Married in brown, you’ll live out of town

Married in pink, your spirits will sink.

There are also several superstitions associated with wedding dresses. Most of us are probably aware of the one in which it’s said to be unlucky for the groom to see the bride in her dress before the wedding. It’s also said to be bad luck for the bride to make her own dress.

Sometimes brides of the past didn’t wear a dress but married in their chemises or shifts. This meant the bride came to the wedding with nothing, and more importantly to the groom, he didn’t acquire responsibility for the bride’s debts.

The above rhyme made me laugh because my dress was pink. Smile

What color was your wedding dress? Or if you’re single at present, what color would you like?

Source: Discovering the Folklore and Traditions of Marriage by George Monger


  1. Mary Kirkland

    I always thought a black lace dress would be pretty.

    • Shelley Munro

      I think so too, Mary, although it depends on coloring. It wouldn’t work for me. I don’t look good in white either, which is why I went for pink!

  2. Brinda

    Mine was white. I guess I’m not very sentimental about it because I sold it a long time ago.

    • Shelley Munro

      I wasn’t sentimental about mine either, but my MIL kept it I think. Long story. I have a feeling it’s in one of her cupboards despite me telling her to get rid of it during a clean out.

  3. Maria Zannini

    It’s hard to remember, but I think it was a soft floral dress.

    It’s not on the list–but I’m still married so I guess it’s a winner. :)

    • Shelley Munro

      Sounds pretty to me :)

  4. Angela Brown

    I married in a white sleeveless gown. Divorced long ago and I don’t recall him seeing me in the dress before the wedding so bah humbug to superstitions.

    • Shelley Munro

      More fool him, Angela. I bet you looked gorgeous!

  5. Savannah Chase

    I would like mine to be white when I do get married.

    • Shelley Munro

      There are some gorgeous gowns around, that’s for sure. Some of the wedding reality shows have beautiful gowns although I wince at some of the prices. They cost enough to feed a small country.

  6. T.D. Jones

    Great blog, I’m doing romance wedding dress series so this was fun to read!

    • Shelley Munro

      That’s a great concept for a series. Thanks for stopping by.

  7. Crystal-Rain Love

    I would want something black, burgundy, or red… depending on haircolor at the time. In truth though, if I ever get married it will probably be in a Las Vegas drive-thu chapel and I will do it in whatever I have on that day.

    • Shelley Munro

      LOL – In hindsight, I wish I’d eloped. Las Vegas would do. Hubby and I actually reconfirmed our vows in Las Vegas at the Little White Wedding Chapel. It was loads of fun.