Unlike a good cocktail dress, which is designed to be a workhorse in a woman’s wardrobe, a white or cream-colored wedding dress need only dazzle its audience once. Unless, of course, it's a used wedding dress, either passed down from a beloved relative or picked up at auction or from a favorite vintage shop.

The trend for white wedding dresses started in 1840, with the union of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Prior to Victoria's wedding, most brides wore whatever fashionable hue they wanted, since they were likely to wear the dress on other occasions. Breaking with tradition, Victoria selected an elaborate white dress featuring a long train, a bridal veil, and a crown of white blossoms. Victoria's choice of white was viewed as quite conservative since it was historically the color for mourning (decades later, Victoria would make black the defacto mourning color when her beloved Albert died). However, mass-media coverage of her wedding made her style an instant sensation, influencing brides to this day.

At the beginning of the 20th century, with the Belle Epoque in full swing, Edwardian brides were cinched into tight corsets, which were covered with wedding dresses made out of chiffon, lace, and taffeta. But by World War I, the practice of squeezing women into hourglass shapes was giving way to more natural looks. After the war, wedding dress hemlines had crept far enough off the ground to reveal a bride’s ankle.

Hemlines continued to rise throughout the 1920s, producing wedding dresses that were relatively revealing in the front with a flowing train in the back. Dresses got long again in the ’30s, were generally straight, and for the first time were equipped with a detachable train, which allowed a bride to take her solemn walk down the aisle but then cut a rug on the dance floor after.

The 1940s was a schizophrenic decade when it came to fashion, and wedding dresses were no exception. During the war years, wedding gowns followed the overall trend of boxy, broad shouldered, military silhouettes. By the late ’40s, though, all bets were off as miles of previously rationed fabrics were lavished on wedding dresses and gowns. In some cases, wedding dresses were even made from silk salvaged from surplus parachutes.

Wedding dresses returned to full femininity again in the 1950s, with tight waists and full skirts below. Sleeve styles ranged from full length to almost none at all, while necks could be left open or collared. These varied looks remained consistent into the next decade, except for those adventurous brides who chose to be married in short numbers that ended well above their knees. By the 1970s, some women dispensed with the wedding dress altogether, trading tradition for the sophisticated look of an Yves Saint Laurent white tuxedo-jacket suit.

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Recent News: Wedding Dresses

Source: Google News

Greenmead hosts vintage wedding dress display
Hometownlife.com, March 2nd

Happily Ever After, an event showcasing vintage wedding gowns and photos, will take place 7-9:30 p.m. Thursday, March 19, at Greenmead Historical Park in Livonia. The exhibits will include the wedding gown, shoes and wedding planning book from the ...Read more

Shhh... Secret Vintage Wedding Fair set to return to hidden Manchester venue
Mancunian Matters, February 28th

Brides-to-be looking to the past for wedding inspiration will have the chance to re-visit all the eras under one roof next month as the Secret Vintage Wedding Fair returns to Manchester. The cute and quirky event, which promises to be packed with...Read more

Vintage wedding dresses tell a historical tale
Tampabay.com, February 25th

It was 2001, Brown believes, when she first shared her collection of 12 antique and vintage wedding gowns during a vow renewal celebration at another church. After the event, she had more than two dozen wedding gowns donated to her. About two-thirds of ...Read more

Vintage wedding class
Harwich and Manningtree Standard, February 20th

Essex Vintage Wedding Fair was held at the Minories in Colchester and the services being showcased included a singer, vintage china hire service and bespoke table styling. The fair has been travelling the county since 2011 connecting couples who love...Read more

Vintage Wedding Fayre returns to Sutton Coldfield Town Hall next month
Sutton Coldfield Observer, February 18th

BRIDES-to-be looking for some vintage inspiration for their big day can pick up ideas at Sutton Coldfield Town Hall next month. The Upper Clifton Road venue will be hosting a Vintage Wedding Fayre on Sunday, March 8 from 11am to 3pm. The fayre ...Read more

Walk Down the Aisle: Vintage Wedding Gown Exhibit in Gaithersburg (VIDEO)
Montgomery Community Media, February 6th

Walk Down the Aisle: Vintage Wedding Gown Exhibit in Gaithersburg (VIDEO). by Sonya Burke. The Kentlands Mansion invites you to “Walk Down the Aisle” this February and celebrate romance with an exhibition of vintage bridal gowns courtesy of the ...Read more

Vintage Wedding Gowns Exhibit
Frederick News Post (subscription), February 4th

Gowns from the Montgomery County Historical Society, from the 1940s WWII bride to the 1960s. Also open weekends, through Feb. 26, when the mansion is open for other public events. Contact Info. cost. Vintage Wedding Gowns Exhibit is a free event...Read more

Kirsty-Leigh Porter wants vintage wedding for Leela in Hollyoaks
The Press, York, February 4th

Hollyoaks star Kirsty-Leigh Porter has already pictured her character's big day – and it will be a vintage one. The 26-year-old actress' alter-ego Leela Lomax has proposed to boyfriend Ziggy Roscoe (Fabrizio Santino), after discovering her ex Cameron ...Read more