When we think of weddings, the image that often comes to mind is a bride in a white dress walking down the aisle toward her partner. The white wedding has become a tradition in Western culture, but where did it come from? In this article, we’ll explore the history and meaning behind the white wedding, as well as the various elements that make up this special day.

The Dress

The white wedding dress has become an iconic symbol of the ceremony. While many brides choose to wear white because it’s seen as a symbol of purity, the tradition actually began in the Victorian era when Queen Victoria wore a white gown to her wedding in 1840. Prior to this, brides wore dresses in a variety of colors, with blue being a popular choice.

Over time, the style of wedding dresses has evolved along with fashion trends. In the 1920s, flapper-style dresses were all the rage, while the 1950s saw the rise of full-skirted ballgowns. Today, brides have countless options when it comes to choosing a dress, with everything from sleek and simple designs to dramatic, embellished gowns.

The Ceremony

The white wedding ceremony typically involves a few key elements, such as the exchange of vows and rings, a reading or two, and a kiss to seal the deal. However, these traditions have many variations depending on cultural and religious beliefs.

For example, some couples may incorporate elements from their cultural heritage into the ceremony, such as a traditional tea ceremony in Chinese weddings or a handfasting ritual in Celtic weddings. Others may opt for non-traditional elements like having a friend officiate the ceremony or exchanging personalized vows.

The Reception

After the ceremony, it’s time to celebrate! The white wedding reception typically involves a meal, dancing, and speeches from loved ones. While traditional receptions may feature a sit-down dinner followed by dancing, modern couples have more freedom to design a reception that reflects their personalities.

For example, some couples may opt for a cocktail-style reception with food stations and appetizers instead of a formal dinner. Others may choose to forgo dancing altogether and instead offer their guests lawn games or other activities.

The Costs

Unfortunately, weddings can be expensive. The average cost of a wedding in the United States is over $30,000, with the bulk of that money going towards the reception venue, catering, and the wedding dress.

However, there are ways to cut costs without sacrificing quality. For example, couples can consider having their wedding during the off-season or on a weekday, which can help reduce venue and vendor costs. They can also choose to DIY certain elements like centerpieces, or wedding favors to save money.

It’s also important to consider the long-term financial impact of a white wedding. Starting a marriage off in debt can be stressful, so it’s important for couples to budget wisely and plan for their future financial goals.

The Future of White Weddings

While the white wedding is a longstanding tradition, it’s not immune to change. In recent years, we’ve seen couples opting for more personalized and unique weddings that reflect their individuality.

For example, some couples may choose to have a destination wedding or elope instead of having a traditional ceremony. Others may opt for a more sustainable wedding with eco-friendly decor and locally-sourced food.

As wedding trends continue to evolve, it’s likely that we’ll see even more diversity in how couples choose to celebrate their special day.


The white wedding is a tradition that has stood the test of time, but it continues evolving with the times. From the dress to the reception to the ceremony, there are countless ways to personalize and create a white wedding that reflects the couple’s unique personalities and values.

At its core, the white wedding is a celebration of love and commitment, and that will never change. Whether couples follow tradition or put their own spin on things, the important thing is that they create a meaningful and memorable day for themselves.

As we look to the future of white weddings, it’s exciting to think about how this tradition will continue to evolve and adapt. One thing is for sure: the white wedding will always hold a special place in our hearts as a symbol of love and hope for the future.