Saying “I Do” (or “I Don’t”) to the Dress

While gatherings for weddings have changed over the years (including recent adjustments due to pandemic restrictions), there are important trends and traditions that continue on.

Let’s take a moment to look at the iconic wedding dress as it represents fashion, tradition, and life moments; here at Bonaire, we’re huge proponents that clothes can be records of our lives.

The dress, white or otherwise.

Way, way back in the day, brides wore their “best” dress or dressed as formally as they could afford to get married.

For example, in ancient Rome, a bride wore yellow veils so she represented a torch, symbolizing warmth. In Athens, a bride was likely to wear red or violet. In medieval times, blue was popular because of its association with purity.

And then came Queen Victoria in 1840.

She wore a beautiful white-lace gown (symbolizing wealth) that was so stunning that women all over Europe and America began wearing white wedding dresses as well. And so it goes…

Tight or loose or long or not…

Beyond the color of the wedding dress, there are styles that have come and gone.

At the turn of the century (1900, not 2000), narrow waists (made narrower with a corset) and puffed sleeves were favored. Brides also included frilly details, high collars, and long trains on their dresses.

As dancing at weddings became more popular, dresses got looser and corsets were left behind. (Whew! Deep breath, ladies!)

During the Roaring ‘20s, flappers chose dropped waists or fringe, as well as shorter hemlines showing their — gasp! — ankles.

During the Depression and World War II, many brides felt it was inappropriate to get married in a posh white dress, so they were married in their church dresses or good suits, and these were more form-fitting to reflect the fashion of the day.

After the war, lace came back, and strapless dresses, sweetheart necklines and ballgowns were popular.

With the ‘60s, dresses slimmed down into straighter profiles, and hemlines rose again. Empire waists became fashionable into the ‘70s, and the look was more bohemian with square necklines, loose sleeves, and ruffled skirt hems.

By the ‘80s, there was a return to excess with lace and tulle and taffeta, with princess-style gowns and big, puffy sleeves.

A more recent walk down the aisle.

As brides approached the more recent turn of the century, wedding dresses tended to be more sleek and streamlined, in direct contrast to the previous decade.

After 2000, A-line style and strapless dresses became popular, and trends have included colored accents.

Today, while brides still choose the white dress, not everyone feels they need to follow that tradition.

From an ornate designer dress to an informal beach wedding dress, there’s one thing we know for sure: Today’s bride will look beautiful in whatever style of dress she chooses.