Why do brides wear white?

Choosing the right dress is one of the most important considerations for a bride. See more wedding gown pictures.
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Queen Victoria. "Godey's Lady's Book." Developments in textiles. America's post-war prosperity. It's safe to say brides-to-be think of exactly none of these things while shopping for a white wedding dress. (Champagne toasts, fabulous honeymoons and mountains of wedding presents, you bet.)

But if you think the white wedding dress has been around since time immemorial, think again. It's a relatively new standard -- less than 200 years old -- that stems from a bouquet of symbolism, economics, cultural mores, myth -- and yes, fashion.

Read on to find out how the white wedding dress became a 19th-century status symbol.