Bridal Style through the Years…

02 25th, 2015

One of the biggest decisions a bride must make is “what kind of bride” she wants to be. Is she going to be a traditional, classic bride? A trendy bride? A beachy bride? Or an understated bride? Is she looking for a fairytale princess look – or a simple, elegant, more natural effect?

Not only are the bridal gown and the theme of the wedding nods to this decision, but also the hair styling and makeup chosen. So much of this decision is based on the bride-to-be’s personality, and also the trends of the day.

Bridal trends have evolved enormously over the decades – so much so that one look at a wedding photo can indicate which decade the wedding belonged to! Wedding trends have altered dramatically over the years…

Here’s a fun look back at some past bridal trends from days gone by – some of them likely never to return; others sure to make a big comeback…

  • Bridal style was a big deal even in ancient times. Women in ancient Rome wore long tunics in white, with a red veil covering the head. Ribbons and jewellery embellished the dress, and the waist was belted with a knotted tie which only the husband could undo. This is where the saying “tying the knot” comes from.
  • Brides in the middle Ages (1100-1400) reflected their family’s affluence, and if the family could afford to do so, a bride wore jewels, fur, silk, or velvet. Colour was imperative; for example, green was symbolic of fertility. Trains were very long and sleeves reached to the floor. 

Green Wedding Dress

  • From the 1500’s to the 1700’s, rich jewel tones were popular for bridal gowns, as well as sombre greys, blacks and browns. Brides wore small hats with brims and no veil.
  • During the 1700’s, blue represented purity and was a favoured wedding dress colour. White was symbolic of mourning so was rarely worn. In the early 1800’s, dresses were simple and embroidered in floral patterns.
  • Prior to the wedding of Queen Victoria in 1840, brides wore just about any colour – dark colours and black being very common. It was the young British queen who began today’s trend for wearing white. The diminutive monarch, standing only five feet tall, wanted the crowds who came out in bad weather to celebrate her wedding to be able to see her – and thus chose a white dress. Her gown was adorned with flowers and an elaborate lace veil. An icon was born…

Queen Victoria Wedding

  • In the early 1900s, white has become de rigueur for most affluent western brides, though many chose to wear pale pink, mauve, or baby blue. As per the fashion of the time, gowns were frilled at the bodice, tightly corseted, with high waists, high collars, and puffed sleeves which tapered at the wrist. Trains were long and long gloves were worn. Hats with veils were also highly fashionable. Makeup was virtually non-existent.

1900s wedding dress

  • The 1910’s saw bridal silhouettes become a little less restrictive. Dresses and veils were more flowing, and corseting became much less common. Dancing became an important part of celebrating a wedding.

Next time – Bridal style from the 1920’s…




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