The Evolution Of The Wedding Dress, In Photos
The white wedding dress as we know it today, is actually a fairly modern fashion "invention". Take a look at any painting from the middle ages or the Renaissance and the chance of you seeing a woman wearing white on her big day is close to zero. Today's traditional shade of white (associated with purity and virginity) only became popular in the 19th century thanks to Queen Victoria. Before that, you could literally get hitched in any color of the rainbow, most commonly red, and it would have been ok. But then again, that was an era without washing machines so white wasn't a very practical shade anyway.
While trends have always been a big factor in bridal fashion, politics and current affairs sometimes affected these trends in more ways that you can imagine. During World War I and II for example, resources were limited, so brides sometimes wore gowns made of ... parachute silk or nylon.
Flapper-style gowns were, of course, a trademark of the roaring 20s, and in the 30s and 40s, the A-line dress transitioned to a full-on princess ball gown. The 60s and 70s, as you can imagine, were all about freedom. Experimenting with different silhouettes such as mini dresses and suits was very popular.
Now take a walk down memory lane and see some of the most iconic wedding dresses throughout history.
A wedding dress in gray wool beige with silver gilt embroidery.
Elizabeth Bull, dubbed "Boston's own Vera Wang," started working on this wedding dress when she was only 14.
Queen Victoria, who popularized the white wedding dress, and Prince Albert on their return from the marriage service at St. James's Palace in London.
During World War I, wedding dresses were a lot less glamorous, with many brides opting for a wedding suit instead of a gown.
The wedding of Broadway actress Marilyn Miller to Jack Pickford.
The wedding of actors Lew Ayers and Ginger Rogers in California.
Queen Elizabeth's wedding dress was decorated with over 1,000 pearls and crystals.
Elizabeth Taylor was only 18 when she married Nicky Hilton in Hollywood MGM Studios.
Prince Rainier and Grace Kelly leave Monaco Cathedral following their Roman Catholic ceremony.
The 60s were all about free spirit and short hemlines. This is Yoko Ono and John Lennon following their wedding in Gibraltar.
In St. Tropez, Bianca Jagger made wedding dress history by wearing an Yves Saint Laurent tuxedo jacket and a skirt, with no shirt underneath.
Princess Diana's dress, designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel, had a 25-foot train and was embroidered with 10,000 pearls.
Mariah Carey's own wedding gown was inspired by that of Princess Diana, but the singer went for an off-the-shoulder silhouette.
Gwen Stefani wore one of the most iconic dresses of all time at her wedding to singer Gavin Rossdale—a white and pink ombré gown by John Galliano.
Kate Middleton's iconic Alexander McQueen wedding gown cost more than $400K.