Origins of wedding attire

The following text is originally lifted from the trivia section of The Jakarta Post dated Friday, 14 March 2008.

~Compiled from various sources~

The dress

The first known white wedding dress was worn by Anne of Brittany when she married Louis XII of France in 1499. Prior to that women wore their best dress no matter what colour it was. In biblical times, most wedding dresses were blue, which symbolises purity.

In China and Japan brides have traditionally always worn white. White in these countries is the colour of mourning, which is considered appropriate for a bride as she is leaving her family of birth to join that of her husband's, thereby undergoing symbolic death.

The veil

The veil originally symbolised a bride's virginity, innocence and modesty. This symbolism has been lost over the years but the veil is still customarily worn.

The lifting of the veil at the end of the marriage ceremony symbolises male dominance. If the bride lifts her own veil, thereby presenting herself to him, she is showing more independence.


Something old,
something new,
something borrowed,
something blue,
and a silver sixpence in her shoe.


This good luck saying dates back to Victorian times and many brides try to arrange their wedding attire accordingly.

Something old represents the link with the bride's family and the past. Many brides choose to wear a piece of antique family jewellery.

Something new represents good fortune and success and the bride's hopes for a bright future in her new life. The wedding gown is often chosen as the new item.

Something borrowed is to remind that friends and family will be there for her when help is needed. "Borrowing" is especially important, since it is to come from a happily married woman, thereby lending the bride some of her own marital bliss to carry into the new union.

Something blue is the symbol of faithfulness and loyalty.

Often the blue term is a garter. Blue symbolises love, modesty and fidelity.

A silver sixpence in her shoe is to wish the bride wealth. Some brides place a coin in their shoe during the marriage ceremony.

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