DID YOU KNOW? The tradition of a white wedding dress is commonly credited to Queen Victoria's choice to wear a white court dress at her wedding to Prince Albert in 1840. Debutantes had long been required to wear white court dresses for their first presentation at court, at a "Drawing Room" where they were introduced to the queen for the first time.
Royal brides before Victoria did not typically wear white, instead choosing "heavy brocaded gowns embroidered with white and silver thread," with red being a particularly popular colour in Western Europe more generally. European and American brides had been wearing a plethora of colours, including blue, yellow, and practical colours like black, brown, or gray, but the young queen broke with the status quo and insisted on a lacy white gown.
On her wedding day, Victoria wore Turkish diamond earrings, a sapphire brooch from Albert, and white satin shoes. She also wore kid gloves, and a wreath of myrtle and orange blossoms. (Orange blossoms were also embroidered on her train.) Members of the court thought it much too restrained in color, and were mystified that she eschewed ermine and even a crown, opting instead for a simple orange blossom wreath.
As accounts of Victoria's wedding spread across the Atlantic and throughout Europe, elites followed her lead. Victoria was not the first royal to choose white for her nuptials—several others, including Mary Queen of Scots in 1558, preceded her—but she is the one widely credited with changing the norm. Just a few years after her wedding, a popular lady’s monthly called white “the most fitting hue” for a bride, “an emblem of the purity and innocence of girlhood, and the unsullied heart she now yields to her chosen one.” diamond wedding dresses