The Sweet Christian Bride

The Dress

by admin on October 9, 2012 in Attire, Budget with 1 Comment

Before weddings became a commercial industry, wedding gowns were often made of red or purple fabrics that demonstrated the bride’s family’s wealth. The white dress wasn’t coined until Queen Elizabeth disregarded the tradition of wearing red or purple. She is the trendsetter to whom we attribute our modern-day American tradition of the white dress.1

There are several reasons why donning a white gown is significant. The first is that you would be part of an historical American tradition. The second is that there are few other occasions where you can appropriately wear a white gown. The third is that you are visually symbolizing the purity of Christ as one wearing “fine linen, bright and pure” (Revelations 19:8b). And the fourth reason is that, most likely, the bride your fiancé has envisioned marrying is probably dressed in white. You would be honoring him by considering his vision for his bride.

But those are just reasons. Ultimately, whether you wear white or not is your prerogative. In the tough economic times in America’s history, brides have been known to wear whatever formal suit they had and would go over to the courthouse for a simple wedding ceremony. Or they would recycle parachutes from the war (which actually made for some pretty stunning and high quality gowns) and make their dress out of what was available.

Perhaps your family has deeply rooted cultural traditions, which make you want to wear ethnic formalware. Or, plain and simple, maybe the white dress just isn’t your personality.

Whatever you choose to wear, ask your fiancé if he has any vision for his bride. Ask God if He cares what you wear, and then start shopping! Pray for sales. Pray for discernment. Pray for joy over the one you choose. Once you find the one, stop looking. The grass is always greener, so don’t look at your neighbor’s lawn. Fall in love with your own.

As you are choosing which dress to wear, consider that you are the focal point for the majority of your wedding. When you come down the aisle, all eyes are on you. When you stand at the altar, people are watching you. What you wear can directly influence people’s perceptions of your wedding. It sounds superficial, I know, but it’s the reality of being surrounded by visual creatures.

I went to a wedding where the bride’s strapless dress hung so low on her chest that everyone was scared when she raised her arms to dance. It made the whole affair rather tense because everyone was worried for her.

Similarly, you don’t want a dress that you will have to keep pulling up or shifting around because it will distract you from being present that day. If the guests notice, it will distract them as well.

Even more distracting, if you have ever watched any of the reality bridal shows, you would have seen some of the crazy trends that have recently swept the bridal nation. There was this one dress that two brides were ogling. It was made out of lingerie items with a bustier on top and a slinky skirt with slits up the legs. Perhaps it’s just me and grandma, but I would find that an inappropriate dress in which to be symbolizing the bride of Christ.

But inappropriate doesn’t just have to mean R-rated; it can also be inappropriate for the climate or location. I’ve seen beach brides get pummeled in the wind by their own veils and others nearly faint under all their layers from the heat.

If you are wearing a slinky dress, be aware of the cold, the rain, or the wind on the material of your dress. One friend of mine wore a beautiful lace jacket down the aisle, which kept her warm in the chilly sanctuary. It looked like part of her gown, but she was able to take it off when she warmed up at the reception.

Also, make sure that you can afford the dress you are getting. Be a prayerful steward of your money. There are so many incredible dresses that are affordable and leave so much more room in the budget for other details. If you can prayerfully decide on an expensive dress, then delight in it fully! But if you don’t have an answer in your heart for why the expense of that particular dress is worth it, keep looking. You’ll find it!


Article originally posted on December 15, 2010

Photo © John Yao, SimplyTwo Photography, featuring Annie and Henry’s wedding

1—Sources consulted:

Baldridge, Letitia. Legendary Brides, New York: HarperCollins 2000

Hanson, Kitty. For Richer, For Poorer (New York: Abelard-Schuman, 1967), pp 15, 21, 26, 28

Seligson, Marcia. The Eternal Bliss Machine: American’s Way of Wedding (New York: William Morrow, 1973) pp 1-2

St. Marie, Satenig and Carolyn Flaherty. Romantic Victorian Weddings: Then and Now New York: Dutton Studios. 1992

By Lindsay

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