When you hear “wedding gown,” most people picture a beautiful white dress. However, in many cultures, red is the traditional color of bridal looks. Western bridal looks have favored white ever since Queen Victoria rocked it, but red wedding dresses have been the standard in many cultures throughout time. Let’s take a look at how red wedding dresses started and how they’re still used in weddings today.
The roots of wearing red wedding attire can be traced back to ancient civilizations. In many Eastern cultures, red has long been associated with good fortune, prosperity, and happiness. For instance, in China, brides traditionally wore bright red wedding dresses, known as qipaos or cheongsams, embellished with intricate embroidery and gold accents. This practice symbolized joy, luck, and a blissful union.
In medieval and Renaissance Europe, red was a popular choice for wedding attire among the nobility and the wealthy. It was considered a symbol of wealth, power, and passion. Red was also associated with the Virgin Mary, adding a religious significance to its use in wedding ceremonies. Brides would often wear luxurious red velvet gowns adorned with gold embroidery and precious jewels to showcase their social status and magnificence.
Red holds deep cultural and symbolic significance in many different cultures, particularly in the East. In Indian weddings, the bride often wears a red sari or lehenga, symbolizing fertility, auspiciousness, and marital bliss. In Chinese weddings, red is a symbol of luck, happiness, and prosperity. Similarly, in many Middle Eastern and North African cultures, red is associated with celebration and good fortune. Brides may opt for red or crimson-colored wedding dresses to honor their heritage and embrace their cultural identity.
Today, weddings are often a mix of different cultures. It’s not uncommon to see a mix of Western and Eastern wedding traditions at these events, including wearing red bridal attire. For example, many modern Chinese brides will wear a white, Western-style wedding gown for the ceremony but later change into a red or more traditional style dress for the reception.
Also, some brides seeking individuality and a departure from traditional white gowns have embraced the idea of wearing red wedding dresses. Red symbolizes passion, romance, and strength, making it an appealing choice for those who want to make a bold statement on their special day. Modern designers have embraced this trend, offering a wide range of stunning red wedding dresses in various styles, from classic ball gowns to sleek and contemporary designs.