Some wedding traditions will never change.
However, more brides nowadays are opting to defy cultural norms and go for an unconventional look for the big day. Whether it’s going for a short dress, a coloured veil, or just something simply different, some truly beautiful choices are being made.
Surprisingly, white wasn’t the compulsory colour until the 19th century. Back in those days – when a wedding was a business deal rather than a celebration of love – a wedding dress was how one exhibited one’s social status. The wealthiest brides wore bold colours and rich fabrics such as velvet and silk – the finest they could afford. The dress wasn’t purchased specifically for a wedding day, so brides were able to wear it again after the ceremony.
Queen Victoria turned this tradition upside down when she said ‘I don’t’ to the traditionally coloured wedding dress. For royal brides, the choice of fabric was usually velvet trimmed with ermine and decorated with jewels. In 1840, she put the white wedding dress on the couture map by having her gown made of pure white satin and lace. The dress was trimmed with orange blossoms, and this style was later named Victorian.
Image: Queen Victoria in her wedding dress by Winterhalter, 1842
Two hundred years later, white wedding dresses are a symbol of purity and love. Still, some brides today are brave enough to push the boundaries, and good for them, we say!
Burlesque queen Dita von Teese pulled off an unorthodox bridal look, courtesy of Vivienne Westwood (who else?) at her wedding to a rockstar Marilyn Manson in 2005. The dress was an opulent purple full-skirt corset gown – dramatic and unique, very much a reflection of Miss von Teese.
When marrying Mick Jagger in 1971, Bianca Jagger played with the risqué by going braless underneath a clean-cut white V neck blazer and a simple white skirt. The day after the ceremony, Bianca arose a fashion icon.
Image: Bianca Jagger and Mick Jagger
We all knew there’d be no happy ending for Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale. However, the wedding dress was most certainly something out of a punk fairy tale, and we didn’t expect anything less from such a beacon of style as is Gwen. She exuded rock chic glamour and attitude with a dip-dye pink and white silk gown.
Image: Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale
Elizabeth Taylor wedding dress was sensational. Which one, I hear you say? All eight of them. It’s Elizabeth Taylor – how can they not be fabulous? However, special mention to the Burton wedding dress must be given. She exchanged vows with her fifth husband and Cleopatra co-star Richard wearing a dress which truly reflects the 60s period from which it’s worn. A yellow chiffon dress was completed with a floral headdress.
Image: Elizabeth Taylor and Conrad Hilton
It doesn’t always have to be white. Whether it’s a classic ball-gown or an innovative, unconventional dress that a bride chooses for the big day, each wedding dress is unique in its own way.