White is the most popular color for wedding gowns in Western culture. In the 19th century, wearing white gained popularity and became the standard of correctness in traditional bridal apparel in the United States and England. Falsely associated with virginity, white dresses can actually be worn by any bride.
In Western culture, white has religious associations and often symbolizes purity and youthful simplicity. Before white became popular, brides wore the best dresses they had or could make, and often used other colors for their meaning such as blue for constancy or green for youth.
Setting the Trend
In 1840, Queen Victoria of England married Prince Albert in a stunning white gown that sparked a new ideal of what a bride should wear in the Western world. Many wealthy brides followed suit and wore white gowns made of fine fabrics such as silk and lace.
Since the late 1920s, brides have been more open to wearing other colors, but white is still the most popular. Today, influenced by its association with purity, white is still most commonly worn by first-time brides. Brides who are getting re-married tend to wear other colors.