23 Jul Vision In White – How to look absolutely stunning on your wedding day
Below is an excerpt from the Introduction pages of Vision In White – How to look absolutely stunning on your wedding day – by Jenny Punch
So many brides feel lost in a sea of frustration and are often overwhelmed when it comes to choosing the perfect gown for their wedding day. I think every woman can identify with this, even if it’s just finding a dress for a special party or event – there’s nothing out there! By contrast, when you aren’t looking for anything in particular there are dozens. I call this Murphy’s Law of Dresses, where the number of suitable dresses you find on any given day is in inverse proportion to the number of special events you have to attend. I think it has to do with karmic influences or something.
The problem of finding the perfect gown is exacerbated if you happen to be one of the 60% of Australian women who are in the 14-plus range. Unfortunately, most dress designers have yet to address this issue and continue to design and manufacture for a mythical size-10 figure. This is why I created my own range of wedding dresses, designed entirely with women sized 16 and over in mind.
Sizing aside, I think wedding gown stress is common to brides of all shapes and sizes. You get no “dress” rehearsals, and it’s not like an annual Christmas party – this gown is going to be recorded, photographed and commented on for the next 30, 40 or even 50 years. Additionally, this is the one day when it’s all about you. While some brides look forward to this experience, others dread the idea. Never has what you’re wearing been so important.
You might be surprised to learn that the “traditional” white bridal gown is, in fact, a reasonably recent custom. Up until the mid-19th century, a bride would normally just wear her best dress, which would often be black. (It just goes to show the “little black dress” has stood the test of time.) Black was a sensible colour which did not show marks and could be worn to a number of functions. To actually buy a gown for the wedding day was the preserve of the upper classes and royalty, and these gowns were often made of richly coloured silks to better display their social status.
To wear white was the height of frivolity and a show of social standing, as it was totally impractical and hard to clean it would probably only be worn once. As one father of the bride said to me recently, “It is a lot of money to spend on a dress that is only going to be worn once.” My reply was, “If bridal gowns were about durability, we would all be getting married in overalls and steel-capped boots.” His daughter subsequently reported he cried as he walked her down the aisle – let it be known she was not wearing overalls!
So where did it all begin? One of the earliest documented royal brides to wear white was Philippa of England in 1406 when she married Eric of Pomerania wearing a white silk tunic trimmed with ermine. However, I think we can credit Queen Victoria with the current fad of the white wedding gown, which took off after she married King Albert in 1840 wearing a voluminous white silk creation.
So the wearing of white is far from being a symbol of virginity – it is more a symbol of status. Similarly, the wearing of the wedding veil has had several suggested interpretations over the centuries. Among them is that it protected the bride from evil spirits that would be jealous of her joy, or alternately it symbolised the bride’s submission to her husband.
Regardless of how it came about, what is now the “traditional” white gown is here to stay. (Although if you are being married in Korea a traditional bride will be resplendent in shades of red and yellow, while Nigerian brides often like to have it both ways by wearing a white gown for the vows and a coloured gown for the reception. But then spare a thought for the ancient Danish tradition where, in an effort to confuse the evil spirits, the bride and groom would exchange clothes.)