Shopping for your wedding dress is surely a momentous occasion, but it can pose a dilemma when faced with so many options for the way that you will be adorned as you walk — or skip — down the aisle. White wedding dresses have long been the most common choice for Western brides, but many women are now forgoing this shade all together in favor of other demure hues. Keep in mind the basic rules of white wedding gowns when deciding on your attire for what is sure to be one of the most special days of your life.

White Weddings

The tradition of white wedding gowns began when Queen Victoria chose to marry in one — before this, brides often wore any manner of dresses that were intended to be worn again, not stored away for posterity. Although the interpretations of the white wedding gown have changed over the years, there does still exist the belief that white symbolizes purity. However, white wedding dresses are considered entirely appropriate for all brides as current fashion has shunned implications that only virgins wear white on their wedding days.


Intricate veils often accompany white wedding dresses and are frequently seen to symbolize purity. Introduced in medieval Europe during the Crusades, the veil actually comes from the Muslim tradition of covering the charms and beauty of the bride. Along with the Christian interpretation of purity, the veil can also symbolize the bride’s family of origin — when the groom lifts the veil, he shows that he is taking the bride under his protection. Whatever your reason for choosing a veil — and whatever style of veil you choose — go with your own instincts and comfort level and make your day your own.

Second Weddings

While your dress should be one that you absolutely love, fashion rules dictate that for a second marriage, a less dramatic style of white dress is appropriate. White dresses are not off-limits all together, but sophisticated silhouettes are favored over the large, white, princess ball gowns that are worn by many first-time brides. Additionally, veils are discouraged for a second-time bride, who should choose a short style if she would like a veil and also forgo the tradition of shielding her face until vows are exchanged. While these are all general rules, it’s most important to wear what makes you feel beautiful on your special day.

Cultural Weddings

While most brides are radiant in white dresses on their wedding days, some cultures avoid the shade all together. For instance, brides of Hindu weddings often opt for red dresses to walk down the aisle, as this shade symbolizes wealth and good fortune. No matter the hue, select a dress that perfectly epitomizes your personality, style and good taste so you are left looking and feeling breathtaking on your big day.