The tradition of the bride wearing a fancy formal white gown for weddings was not practiced until after 1840 when Queen Victoria of England wore a elegant white gown for her wedding to Prince Albert, who wore formal attire that was popular with affluent men of the time. Prior to that most wedding couples wore simple wedding clothes, or their “Sunday best”. Brides dresses were typically brown which was the most common dress color worn back then because it hid dirt and stains well. Laundry cleaning was not what it is today and it was unheard of for a woman to own a white dress which would only be worn once and then was sure to get dirty or dingy due to laundering practices and living conditions back then. Below is Queen Victoria and Prince Albert on their wedding day in 1840. Formal wedding gowns of today still reflect a similar style.
What you wear when getting married, renewing your vows, or eloping in is your choice. All the “wedding traditions” about wedding attire are made up by the wedding industry and have no meaningful significance. Couples can wear whatever they choose, anything from bathing suits to fancy formal wear is acceptable in Hawaii! You can even have a themed wedding and dress in a costume to match the theme, there is no right or wrong way to dress for your special day. You do not need to spend any money on an outfit for your ceremony if you already own something you look & feel good in.
For couples on a tight budget borrowing wedding attire or purchasing some from a thrift store is a more economical way to acquire wedding attire if you do not already have something. You would be surprised at the number of high end wedding dresses that were worn only one day which then get donated to thrift shops who sell them for a fraction of the value! Borrowing a dress from a family member is a meaningful way to honor a special family member, like the bride wearing the dress her mother wore on her wedding day. I officiated a wedding where the bride wore her soon to be Mother in law’s dress for her ceremony. Below is the happy couple after the ceremony and the bride wearing her Mother in law’s dress.
The internet gives couples access to large selection of new wedding attire for much less expensive prices than traditional bridal and tuxedo shops. It is possible to get a stunning formal traditional wedding gown for under $100 that will make you look and feel like a princess! For more casual and beach weddings there are elegant less formal tropical styles wedding dresses also for under $100. For men there are tuxedos, formal suits, and more casual wedding attire available to buy, not rent, for under $100.
Want to share your wedding attire story to inspire other couples? Submit your wedding attire experience from the perspective of the couple or a guest at a ceremony using my contact page!