She Reports — Wedding Gowns Round the World

by | Dec 9, 2019

Traditional Indian wedding attire
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Last updated on October 26th, 2021

Photo Credit: MNStudios / Adobe Stock

Wedding dresses haven’t always been white, a color that dates to the Victorian era. Cultures around the world have tied the knot on a variety of vibrant colors. Each country attaches different meanings to each color. Some colors have universal meanings — purple and gold for royalty, white for purity and black for death.


Moroccans favor wedding dresses in bright yellow because the color scares away the evil eye, or green because it is the color of plants and brings good luck.


African brides don gowns in colors and patterns that represent their villages.

Israel and Jews around the world…

In Jewish tradition, white represents spiritual purity and clarity, and blue embodies mystical power.


The Chinese believe red is the color of joy and luck, and brides traditionally wear bright red.


Japanese brides wear a white silk wedding kimono lined in red, which symbolizes happiness and a new beginning. Changing into additional gowns in silver, gold, red and white is common.


Spanish Roman Catholic brides wear black gowns and lacy mantillas to show their devotion until death.


In India, a bridal sarara is generally made of silk embroidered with gold thread. Depending on the region, the silk is red or white with a red border or a combination of yellow, green and white.


A Korean bride wears a lime-green wonsam or hwarrot over the traditional wedding dress, the hanbok. The wonsam and hwarrot are embroidered with flowers and butterflies, and banded with red, symbolizing heaven; indigo, for earth; and yellow, for humanity. The bride’s hands are covered in white, the symbol of respect.


Americans didn’t always believe white was traditional. During the Revolutionary War, some brides wore red to symbolize the independence the Colonists desired. Other brides wore purple which represents honor and courage during the Civil War as a tribute to the war dead.

(Source: and from The Knot’s Book of Wedding Dresses)

Darleene Barrientos is a writer living in Los Angeles who also builds Web sites and slings coffee in a dismal economy. While in college she won a Hearst award in journalism and was a Pulliam Fellow at the Arizona Republic. Darleene presently works part-time for City News Service in Century City, California. 

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