Fashion traditions to avoid for your 2020 wedding
As a bride, you have so many decisions to make in the lead up to your wedding and a lot of these choices will revolve around your outfit. After all, this is the day you want to look perfect. However, having had free reign over all the other elements of your big day, you may be starting to feel like most of your fashion options have already been decided for you.
There are lots of long-standing traditions when it comes to bridal style, which is why there are certain things you may feel obliged to wear even if they wouldn’t usually be your first choice. What’s more, a lot of these customs have an odd, or even downright disturbing, history by today’s standards.
With plenty of modern brides striving for more individuality, many are bucking tradition for a selection of more unique garments. Here are five typical bridal fashion features you’re free to ignore if you’re getting married in 2020.
A white bridal gown
When brides-to-be start to picture the dreamy dress they’ll wear on their big day, the vast majority will be imagining a spotless white gown. This has been the colour of choice for years, though it probably doesn’t go as far back in history as you might think. In fact, white bridal gowns have only really been in vogue since Queen Victoria wore one to marry Prince Albert in 1840. She reportedly picked her particular dress to support Britain’s floundering lace industry, and her decision went on to spark a wedding tradition by the 20th century.
Prior to this, brides married in any colour they liked, and this is once again becoming the case. Of course, many women will still opt for white and look beautiful, but if you’re not keen on the “pure and innocent” connotations, or if it just simply isn’t your colour, you won’t look out of place in another shade. Champagne, gold, lavender, and peach are set to be popular wedding dress trends in 2020, but feel free to rock red, yellow, or any other vibrant colour to look and feel your best.
Accessorising with a veil
Veils are certainly pretty, but they have a very strange history. The accessory was first popularised by the Romans, whose brides would be covered in a red sheet called a “flammeum”, which was intended to make her look like she was on fire. This was supposed to scare off any evil spirits planning to wreak havoc on her big day. If that wasn’t enough, Bustle claims that the veil and train were also meant to stop brides from running away, so they could be walked to the groom, who would unveil them, often seeing their face for the first time.
There are now lots of far more modern adornments to choose from. For instance, you could wear a tiara for a touch of glamour, or add elegant hair clips featuring beads, gems, and feathers. Flower crowns have become increasingly popular with modern brides, particularly those getting married outside or in rustic venues. Alternatively, if you want to keep some of the movement a veil would bring, you could opt for a headpiece with an added train, as exemplified by bridal designer Reem Acra.
Matching bridesmaids dresses
Imagine how mortified you’d be if you turned up to an event wearing the same outfit as, not just one person, but a whole group! Yet, for some reason, bridesmaids are usually expected to match. This was another Roman custom but conducted on an even larger scale. Not only would the bridesmaids dress like each other, but they’d also dress exactly like the bride—can you imagine that ever happening today? The point of this was to pack the ceremony full of indistinguishable women. Why? So, if any evil spirits did happen to target the wedding, they wouldn’t know who the bride was. Essentially, the bridal party was a collection of decoys.
Though brides today would obviously like to banish any bad luck on the day, few are superstitious enough to go that far. And while matching outfits might look nice in the photographs, it’s often very impractical. Your bridesmaids are highly likely to be of all different body shapes, sizes, and complexions, each with their own personal styles. Rather than forcing any of them to wear something they hate, which could ultimately make them feel uncomfortable on the day, work with each of them to find a unique dress which you’re all happy with.
Identical wedding rings
It’s common for couples to exchange matching wedding rings, as it signifies that both parties are one unit and committed to an eternal partnership. This is another tradition that hasn’t always been commonplace, though. In Renaissance times, couples would exchange Gimmel rings—two interlocking bands that fit together like a puzzle—though only the wife would continue to wear hers after the ceremony. And according to The Knot, it wasn’t common for men to wear wedding bands in the west until World War Two, when soldiers didn’t know when—or even if—they’d be returning to their partner. The publication reports that at the war’s height, 85% of marriages were dual-ring ceremonies.
Nowadays, however, couples often prefer to express their individuality through their rings. This also eliminates the possibility of one person being stuck with a piece of jewellery that they’d never have chosen themselves. Perhaps you aren’t a fan of the gemstone your partner prefers, or the proportion of a particular style looks too heavy on your dainty finger. If you want some unity without being out-and-out identical, there are easy ways you and your partner can compromise. For example, you could choose rings in the same style but made of different metals, or vice versa.
Wearing a garter
It probably doesn’t seem like a big deal to wear a garter seeing as it’ll be hidden under your clothes, but you might want to swerve this tradition once you know what it actually represents. As noted in Carl Holliday’s Wedding Customs Then and Now, published in 1919: “The brides-maids start with the weary bride to the wedding chamber when suddenly the cry arises, ‘Get her garter!’” This would often lead to her gown being ripped, as guests believed that taking home a piece of the dress would bring good luck. According to Brides.com, the bride and groom would throw the bouquet and the garter to appease the crowd following them to their marital bed.
Nowadays, the groom will remove the garter from the bride’s leg in front of all the guests, and then toss it for one of the unmarried bachelors to catch. It’s said that this will be the next man to marry, who then puts the garter onto the woman who caught the bride’s bouquet. If the thought of all this is too awkward for you to bear, feel free to skip this tradition altogether. Your single friends will probably be glad to avoid this extra attention, too.
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