Often in historical books, brides are depicted wearing white dresses. Even in films set in historical periods (from Middle Age to the eighteenth century) brides always wear a white dress.
Unfortunately, this isn’t historically accurate.
Queen Victoria launched the fashion to wear a white gown for brides. Before her, brides wore whatever fine dress they owned, often red or blue, with a few flowers adorning their heads.
In the nineteenth century, the bleaching process to obtain sparkling white fabric was extremely expensive and incredibly difficult.
Basically, there was no such a thing as “white” fabric. The colour was somewhere in between beige and “panna” (a cream-colour that tended to yellow in time).
Queen Victoria wanted to help the always suffering fabric factories of Spitalfields and ordered her sparkling white wedding dress with a white lace that was destroyed after the ceremony, so that the pattern couldn’t be copied. Her choice caused a scandal among the English peers. Victoria didn’t want to wear the traditional red wedding dress of the previous queens, or the crown for that matter, and not even the fur-trimmed cloak. Oh, the horror! A blow for the aristocracy that relied on tradition.
Victoria wanted to give the image of a simple woman marrying the man she loved (and she was deeply in love with Albert) and not that of a queen marrying out of duty.
I’d say she succeeded because after her wedding, every bride itched to wear a white dress … to these days.
The Fire of the White Blade Knights