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The white wedding dress does not stretch as far back into history as you might imagine, in fact, it only became a tradition in the very late 19th century when Queen Victoria wore white to her wedding in 1840. Up until then, most regular women just wore the best dress they owned, with certain cultures favoring one color over another – like red for fertility. It is important to point out that royalty have long since worn white wedding dresses as a signification of purity, virginity and innocence – which were all necessary virtues of royal brides throughout history. But for the average bride, it was Queen Victoria who really made the tradition crossover to the masses.
Today, the white wedding dress is still very high on the list of modern bridal demands, but not for everyone. Many designers are putting forth alternatives, mostly in softer off-white colors such as blush pinks or peaches, gold or a variety of off-white options. East Indian brides are perhaps the best known for their colorful and exotic wedding attire, with vibrant reds being the most common color for wedding saris.
While you can find a white wedding gown from any designer on earth, ones with a splash of color are a little less common, but there are some designers you can check out if you do want to get off the beaten path and sport some colour on your big day. Kitty Chen, Maggie Sottero, Lazaro and Vera Wang all offer alternatives to the white dress. If you dig deep enough you can find several more too, although don’t expect a huge offering. Many designers only offer one or two ‘alternative’ dress options in their entire collection.
Another road you may consider is a custom made gown. Etsy.com has many vendors offering custom made gowns at a fraction of the retail price. This of course is always ‘buyer beware.’ Many of these vendors are located all over the world and rely heavily on your ability to provide correct measurements. Beyond that, you are putting your faith in their accountability and reliability. Do your due diligence by reading all their customer reviews and asking lots of questions before you commit to anything. On the plus side of this type of risk, if it doesn’t work out you may only lose $500 as opposed to $5000.
If you are on the hunt for a non-traditional gown, exhaust all your options. Check online vendors, bridal stores and up and coming designers. There is more available today than there has ever been in the past, so it’s a good time to try something new and make a statement. White isn’t for everyone, especially if it’s for a second or third wedding. Why bother sticking to white? If you’ve been there and done that, now is the perfect time to really get what you want and be the bride you always imagined. Good luck and happy shopping.