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The dream of every bride is to walk down the aisle looking stylish on her wedding day. Months of planning and organizing culminate with family and friends gathered to celebrate the joyous occasion as the blushing newlywed-to-be finally reveals her wedding dress to captivated guests and onlookers alike.
Choosing a specific look for the wedding day can be a minefield with magazines and internet pages full of options and alternative ideas. Modern fashion designers add contemporary twists to time-honored classic styles while rails of haute couture boast designs and variations intrinsically linked to traditions and beliefs from ancient times.
As all eyes center upon the bride, finding a wedding dress and looking for inspiration for the big day is crucial. So let us take a glimpse into the past to learn about wedding traditions, dresses, and bridal accessories such as veils.
The Wedding Dress
Getting married has always been a time for celebration and is the perfect occasion for getting dressed up and looking your best. But what is the history behind the wedding gown, and what are the origins?
- A white wedding has been a tradition in western culture for many years. Popularized by Queen Victoria, wearing white was thought to represent innocence and purity. However, wearing blue exhibited those traits and was the favored color of brides, with white portraying wealth and prosperity. Other popular colors of the time were red, yellow, green, or even gray. After her marriage to Prince Albert, white became the new wedding dress color of choice throughout Europe and the west, a tradition that continues into modern times.
- In ancient Rome, yellow veils represented a torch or beacon of warmth. While in Athens, brides wore long robes in shades of vibrant red or violet-blue.
Though white remains the most popular color, styles and trends have changed over the years, varying from a vintage chic of prudence and understated elegance to modern, sleek, and undaunting adventurism. Anything goes, and choices are endless.
Marriage throughout the world is a sacred union often portrayed romantically wrapped in everlasting love. While this is usually true, in many cultures past and present, arranged marriages are also common practice for several reasons, such as family, monetary, business, or social status. Nevertheless, arranged marriages are also reasons for celebration, and the bride will undoubtedly steal the show while everyone else blends into the background almost unnoticed.
Whatever the differences, one thing many brides from different cultures have in common is the wedding veil.
Beauty Beneath the Veil
A veil is an article of clothing or hanging cloth used to cover some part of the head or face. In some cultures, both men and women wear veils, and they are essential attire in many forms of religion. In a modern context, the wedding veil is purely used as the perfect finishing touch, complementing the wedding dress, but keeping with tradition.
Wearing a veil is the oldest part of bridal regalia, predating the classical wedding dress and many of the marital customs we know today. Here’s a quick look at the history and different styles of wedding veils.
- Superstition: In ancient times, it was bad luck for the groom to set eyes on his bride before the wedding. Even today, many brides continue the custom of booking into a hotel or staying with family or friends, thus avoiding the gaze of their life partner.
- Evil spirits and demons: Brides in ancient Greek and Roman times often wore veils to hide from evil spirits and demons.
- Modesty: Through religion, the modern veil symbolized modesty and obedience, the bride’s face covered until the vows are signed.
Long established customs imply veils were for covering the bride. While traditions remain, for many, it is merely an accessory that adds a finishing touch to the wedding dress. However, veils come in several styles. Some of these include:
- Birdcage Veil: A short veil covering the top half of the face.
- The Mantilla wedding veil is one of the longer veils worn over the back of the head onto the shoulders.
- Blusher Veil: Another short veil designed to cover the face up to the chin. Ideal if the bride wants her back to remain uncovered.
- The Fingertip Veil is medium in length and stops just below the waist.
- The Royal Veil: A long veil that stretches several feet behind the bride and is both opulent and lavish.
A Day to Remember
For the bride and groom, their wedding day is unforgettable and will stay with the happy couple for the rest of their lives. The bride, in particular, is the most significant person, delighting the crowd and leaving a lasting impression for weeks and months to come. Her bridal outfit, more importantly, her wedding dress, will be spoken about, photographed, recorded, and shared on social media by friends and family.
Finally, remember to enjoy the day and congratulations on the consolidation of your love and union.