Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

Why do brides wear white?

The White Wedding Dress Through the Ages

Many cultures intuitively equate white with purity and virginity. But there are other reasons for a bride to wear white. Into the early 20th century, a white dress spoke volumes about a bride's wealth. Because it was (and still is) an easily soiled color, only the rich could afford servants to keep a white garment clean. As a result, brides usually chose darker colors better suited for multiple wearings. During the Great Depression, a bride's Sunday best doubled as matrimonial garb. But America's post-World War II economic affluence, increased production of synthetic fabrics like rayon and nylon, and the arrival of a full-bore wedding industry made white wedding dresses available for seemingly every social bracket.

More to Explore