A history of wedding dresses: How Queen Victoria changed it all.

Do you know how wedding dresses have evolved with time? How wedding dresses have changed through history? How did this ‘change to white”happen? The wedding dress is the best kept secret during the wedding preparations ; its style, its fabric, its model, is not revealed, is not known or seen, until the day of the ceremony; moment in which the bride will appear radiant, splendid, wearing it, causing surprise and admiration. Every stitch, every cut, every ornament, is thought for that, for the bride to have her moment, the one she’s been waiting for for so long. Every dress has its own story, its course, its journey; it is the result of a dream. What girl has not ever dreamt of her wedding dress? A dream that normally remains in childhood and is later recovered in life. Then that girl grows up, becomes an adolescent and finally a woman. It will be then the moment to recover that forgotten dream which has been left behind in her childhood's drawer; a dream recovered with the arrival of love and wedding plans

The wedding's dress hidden meanings

A wedding dress is a language in itself. It has symbolized, represented beliefs, superstitions, the bride and groom's family power and it has expressed society's changes and events. For example, at the beginning of the 20th century we see very ostentatious dresses with very long trains; the length of the train was associated with the duration of the marriage, the longer it was, the more years of married life (your marriage would last). Everything about the wedding dress has transformed and evolved through time, from the color to the design, adapting to changes in the world. 

Wedding dress model
Picture: @sarafiselphotography ; Video: @raulpilato; Florala: @alondrafloristeriasevilla
Complementos: @mibuh; Model: @carlotarfdez; Dress: @juanvara; Styling: @tamarafructos y @thatsamoreweddingplanners; Styling assistant:@teresa.stylist; MUAH: @tamarafructos;
MUAH assistant: @ines_prerapeluqueria.official; Location: @hacienda.san.isidro.es;
Planning: @thatsamoreweddingplanners

Some interesting history facts:

It seems that already in the first civilization of history, the Sumerian, discovered only in the middle of the 20th century, they found indications of a specific dress for the wedding ceremony; this could be the beginning of the wedding dress’s history. This civilization was very important. It arose in southern Mesopotamia between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers about 3500 years BC. It was formed by the Sumerian, Assyrian and Babylonian peoples. It is considered the first civilization in history and among other things they invented writing and beer (what would we do without beer?  LOL). 

The first to define a wedding outfit were the Chinese, some 3000 years ago. The Zhon Dynasty defined a range of permitted colors. The colors changed with the Han Dynasty that introduced the use of colors according to the seasons: green in spring, red in summer, yellow in autumn and black in winter. 

In the West, the current tradition has its origin in the Renaissance. At that time, women chose one of their best suits of bright colors and gold embroidery for the wedding. The custom was to go from her home to her husband's on a white horse. This was a way families had of boasting; the more ostentatious the dress, the more flamboyant the procession and the more power the family manifested . 

The moment that changed wedding dress’ history is undoubtedly that of Queen Victoria of England, when in 1840 she married Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. It is not the first time that a royalty member got married in white, but that dress, her dress, changed history. 

The first royal lady to marry in white was Princess Philippa of England in 1406, at her wedding to King Eric of Scandinavia. In 1558 Mary Queen of Scots, in an act of rebellion, married the future King of France in white. At that time in the French court white was considered mourning. In 1816 Princess Charlotte of Wales married in white; it was a silver lamé dress of the Empire court that she wore at her wedding to Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. White was a synonym of luxury because of the high cost of bleaching the fabric. 

The one and only Queen Victoria

Let's go back to 1840 to the wedding of Queen Victoria and the history or legend behind her wedding dress. It is said that she wanted to help, and in fact she helped the embroiderers of the kingdom, who with the arrival of the industrial revolution, had lost their way of subsisting, because the arrival of the machines had practically eliminated the artisans work methodology and value. 

The queen was very fond of Honiton lace, which was very well known and famous, thus she decided that her wedding dress should be made with that lace, and it had to be white to be worn in all its splendor. Mary Bettans was in charge of making it and we already know the result. 

Image: Flickr- Lauren Richman. Queen Victoria‘s Wedding Dress 1840.

It was a majestic dress with a five meter train that caused sensation and envy among women. They all wanted to imitate her and this is the main reason why the color white is found in all bridal fashion catalogs nowadays. 

The wonders of the 20th century

The 20th century leaves us with several trends that change according to the decade. The first half is a sadder and less prosperous period, with less creativity. In Spain, for example, during the recession brides married in black, because doing it in white was a luxury they couldn’t afford. 


1947. Christian Dior seeks to recover the sophistication of the previous century and introduces very marked waists and very vaporous skirts. 

1970. The influence of the hippie movement is noticeable; floral details, V neckline, more freedom of movement. 

The 21st century

The 21st century is marked by the brides´ total freedom for brides to express, define and reinvent themselves in their wedding dress. There are many new fabrics to choose from and personal taste takes over. It is a unique opportunity to choose what suits you best and what expresses your personality. 

Some of our international favourites:

Globalization means that nothing and nobody is far away and we find wonderful designers everywhere in the world. Some examples: 

- LAURA ESCRIBANO Spanish. Handmade bridal, vintage. https://www.lauraescribanoatelier.com/en/ 

- KRIKOR JABOTIAN Lebanese. Classic language with innovative forms of expression. http://krikorjabotian.com

- ANTONIO RIVA Italian. Known for the wonderful frills on his dresses. https://www.antonioriva.com

- MICHAEL CINCO Filipino in Dubai. Princess style extravagant couture dresses of tales of the Queen of the Ice. https://www.michaelcinco.com

Dress: 2019
Picture : Firas Chehabeddine

The wedding dress is a dream rescued recovered from childhood and like every dream it has its symbolism, which is none other than: joy, triumph, glory and the immortality of love. Was your childhood dream dress similar to your real life wedding dress? We would love to read your story!

Weddings through time: How they have changed.

Preparing a wedding today, is synonym of joy, celebration, excitement, getting together family and friends and living a day that turns out to be an experience, the creation of a new memory to carry with you the rest of your life. Weddings today are so full of beauty and energy that we could go on forever with the list of adjectives and still not find enough to define them . Let's talk about weddings through time.

It has not always been like this:

It hasn't always been like this. Weddings, as we know them today, are the result of society’s evolution through its extreme changes in time. To find the first signs of marriage contracts and wedding ceremonies we have to travel in time and go to  Mesopotamia, 4000 years ago. We also find weddings in the Bible like the Weddings at Cana, famous for Jesus' miracle of turning water into wine; according to St. John's Gospel, this was his first miracle. The real change, the real evolution of modern wedding begins with the Industrial Revolution. The first was between 1760-1840 and the second between 1880-1914. This brought many adjustments in every way, but especially for women, who entering the labour market, claimed their independence and rights. The woman was no longer forced to marry the one chosen by her parents (although this still happened in some families and still happens today in some parts of the world); she started dreaming and making her own wedding plans. Of course, this was not from one day to the next, but it was the beginning of change and how we got to where we find ourselves today.

Weddings in history. Old picture
Family picture from 1940

Love comes into play, sexual freedom prevails and both love and sex are now important factors when choosing your couple. One of the first noticeable changes we see is the age of couples when making the decision of getting married; for example, the average age of the couple in the 1980s was about 25, currently it is about 34 years old for women and 37 years old for men. This fact has several advantages; the most important is the couple's purchasing power. Both men and women are already situated in the labour market at this age and are economically independent, which gives them the power and freedom to choose the wedding of their dreams.

What has happened in the last 50 years?

The most important and significant changes until today’s present weddings, have taken place in the last 50 years. At the end of the 20th century we saw an increase of interracial and civil weddings. It is at the beginning of the 21st century that gay weddings are finally legalized. In Spain this happened in the year 2005, they started permitting LGBT weddings celebrations; it is the most notable change in recent years. In Spain, since then, LGBT weddings are increasing year after year. Currently there are about 30,000 and they are still growing. If we look at wedding celebrations from 50 years ago and compare them to the ones today we can appreciate, visually, many of the changes that have taken place in various aspects; for example, the bridal gown -this deserves a chapter of its own- , the location, decoration, traditions, wedding favors, etc..

These are not the only changes. In the second half of the last century, it was almost always the bride, the one in charge of organizing the wedding celebration, only 49% of men participated. Currently, there are more than 70% who do. It is an event that they want to personalize, that they know will create memories that will last forever in videos, social media, etc. Now couples want THEIR special day, a day that represents them and that they can enjoy and share with friends and family. Destination weddings have also increased in the past years. For those who might not know what they are, a destination wedding is a wedding in a foreign country. It is when the couple gets married in a country that is not where they are from or where they live.

Wedding table decor.
Foto von Edward Eyer von Pexels

For this type o f celebration couples are looking for an ideal setting, a charming, magical place. There has been a significant boom in outdoor weddings, hidden places or beaches with turquoise seas and white sandy beaches. Today's weddings are more complex, elaborated and personalized, which has almost tripled the cost of what they had in the late '90s. For example, the average budget 30 years ago was about 15,000 euros and today about 40,000 euros.

This new situation requires professionals capable of organizing all this and letting the couple enjoy their day without having to worry about anything on what is supposed to be the best day of their lives. The answer to this need is the role the WEDDING PLANNER. The WEDDING PLANNER appeared in the USA in the middle of the 20th century and in Spain at the beginning of the 21st century. The complexity of new wedding styles, and the undeniable influence of the film industry with films like "The father of the bride", "Wedding plans", or "My best friend's wedding" have helped increase the popularity of this figure. Currently more than 35% of weddings are organized by wedding planners and every year the number of couples that rely on one for their wedding, increases. A wedding requires all the attention and affection posible during its preparation, so that when the day arrives everything is adjusted to the couples' desire. We recommend that you always choose a wedding planner who makes you feel comfortable and that you know will do the job just the way you want it. How about you ? Looking for a wedding planner ?