Pick up any bridal directory, magazine, book or guide, and 90% of the focus seems to be on The Dress. Yes, The Dress with capitals. Understandable really, when you consider why that might be. A significant part of many bridal budgets, the dress is for many brides a pivotal part of the day. Looking your absolute best on the day is important to all brides; those who have been dreaming of the day in an old net curtain since they were 5, and those who come to it later in life. You will want to look beautiful for your partner, and happy, glowing and gorgeous in the photographs which will, after all, be the memories you and your family carry into the future with you.

In times gone by, the dress was not necessarily a specifically new, white gown. Yes, the white symbolises purity, but traditionally, blue was in fact considered a symbol or purity. In bygone years the bride was more likely to get married in her best. Brides were part of an event which matched and joined two families, perhaps businesses too, and as such would often be dressed in their best finery, rich colours and textures, which for practical purposes were unlikely to be white. The sheer volume of fabric used in the traditional dress is another indicator of wealth and status, and while the ‘meringue’ style voluminous dress has been out of favour in recent decades, the volume heavy, full skirted princess affair is nudging it’s way back into bridal fashions.


The white bridal gown came into vogue in Western traditions in Victorian times, after Queen Victoria chose a white gown in order to use some well loved lace, and white and its variations have remained ever popular – but coloured dresses are still a great choice for those who want something a bit more unconventional. If you are superstitious, the old rhyme goes:

  • Married in White, you have chosen right,
  • Married in Grey, you will go far away,
  • Married in Black, you will wish yourself back,
  • Married in Red, you will wish yourself dead,
  • Married in Green, ashamed to be seen,
  • Married in Blue, you will always be true,
  • Married in Pearl, you will live in a whirl,
  • Married in Yellow, ashamed of your fellow,
  • Married in Brown, you will live in the town,
  • Married in Pink, you spirit will sink.

The 2013 collections are showing some beautiful colours, with a variety of designers opting for soft, glowing pastels. Baby or ice blue, powder pinks, soft oyster and fresh mint green vie with dusky creams. Blushes were still popular, and Designer Vera Wang, beloved of the stars, has showcased a stunning collection of red gowns in bright scarlet, dusky wine and gorgeous crimson for the even braver.


A coloured dress is a real statement, and you do need to be quite a confident bride to carry it off. Ivories and champagnes are warmer than stark whites, and tend to flatter most skin tones. If you want to be bolder but still in keeping with the soft and pretty theme, the spring like pastels are a neat option. Brights like red and purple are more common than they once were, although some brides prefer a lighter dress with hints, trim and detail in a brighter hue.

If you love the idea of a beautiful, bright and unconventional gown but feel you just won’t get away with it, you could also have a change after the wedding breakfast, and dance the night away in a ‘going away’ outfit to ring the changes!