Why do brides wear white?


Wedding Dresses in the Age of Remarriage
While it was once considered less appropriate for brides to wear white for a second marriage, now there's less of a stigma attached. Likewise, it's more common today for brides getting married the first time to wear non-white dresses.
While it was once considered less appropriate for brides to wear white for a second marriage, now there's less of a stigma attached. Likewise, it's more common today for brides getting married the first time to wear non-white dresses.
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Brides getting married a second time (or third or fourth or ... ) often select a red, pink or other nonwhite dress from the racks. That choice might stem from the long-standing cultural taboos that once disapproved of second-time brides exchanging vows in white.

But remarrying in white isn't such a big deal these days. We all know divorce rates have climbed since the 1960s and 1970s -- hitting an all-time high in 1981, according to the Associated Press -- and second marriages have become increasingly common. In her book "All Dressed in White," Carol McD. Wallace writes that Priscilla Kidder of Priscilla's of Boston once declared that white was "America's happy color" and that all brides should be allowed to wear it. In 1980, Brides magazine gave repeat brides the OK to don the color.

For the most part, the rest of the bridal industry agrees. "People don't necessarily feel encumbered by rules, especially if you're getting married for a second time," Rentillo said. "I think the one thing that does look odd is getting married the second time and a wearing the big, traditional, princess bridal gown. That can look a little silly. But people can do what they want, right?"

For more on marriage customs and related topics, walk down the aisle to the links below.

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Sources

  • Associated Press. "Divorce rate falls to lowest level since 1970." May 10, 2007. (Jan. 30, 2012) http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18600304/
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Births, Marriages, Divorces, and Deaths: Provisional Data for 2008, table A." July 29, 2009. (Jan. 30, 2012) http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr57/nvsr57_19.pdf
  • Forsling, Yvonne. "Regency Weddings: The White Wedding Dress." (Jan. 30, 2012). http://hibiscus-sinensis.com/regency/weddingdress.htm
  • Mead, Rebecca. "One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding." New York: Penguin Press. 2007.
  • Rentillo, Dan. Design Director, David's Bridal. Personal interview conducted June 11, 2010.
  • Tiedemann, Emily. Owner, Hillary's Bridal. Personal interview conducted June 11, 2010
  • Wallace, Carol McD. "All Dressed in White: The Irresistible Rise of the American Wedding." New York: Penguin Books. 2004.

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