How To Buy A Good Wedding Dress
By Aman Tumukur Khanna

During the Middle Ages, weddings were seen as more of a political coming together of two families especially among the noble classes. In many ways, a wedding was a ‘statement of union’ between two parties; whether business entities, warring nations arriving at a truce or any other. Hence, brides and their families were expected to put themselves out in the matter of dressing for the wedding in a manner that showed them favorably to society at large. It was a matter of prestige for brides from wealthy families to adorn themselves with dresses made from bold colors and fabric such as silk, velvet and sometimes even layers of fur. That was the height of fashion then; brides who were poor or from less affluent families wore their best ‘Sunday’ church dress to their wedding.

In the Victorian Era, a wedding dress was invariably white, a color made popular by Queen Victoria herself. For most of the 18th and 19th centuries, bridal dresses and gowns were invariably white; the color white symbolized purity and became an established norm for brides all over the western world. However, today bridal fashions have changed radically; besides soft and pastel shades such as peach, light pink, lime green, powder blue etc. some brides like to sport gowns in off-beat colors such as burnt orange, mauve, emerald green etc.

A wedding is the most important and much awaited event in a bride’s life and every bride wants to be unique and look her best; whether the wedding is an indoor or outdoor event, a formal or informal one, every occasion has its own choice of fashionable or classic wedding dresses to choose from ranging from the affordable to the luxurious.

In the Far East, most countries considered red as the traditional color symbolizing auspiciousness and good luck. Where wedding ceremonies are conducted in a place of worship, as in a church, western attire was most often in white which the bride would change later for a traditional costume in a different color for the reception ceremony.

Ancient Chinese Qing dynasty weddings were conducted with the bridge wearing a headpiece; even today, some Taiwanese weddings follow this practice. If the wedding is following a Chinese tradition, then the bridal dress would probably be in red otherwise white is the preferred color.

A Japanese bride usually wears a pure white kimono which is the traditional attire that symbolizes maidenhood in a formal wedding ceremony. For the tea ceremony that follows the wedding ceremony, the bride wears a red kimono that stands for good luck and auspiciousness. Formal Japanese weddings have brides wearing the western suit and jacket.

In the Indian culture, a sari is the traditional attire worn by brides for the wedding ceremony. For generations, silk was the obvious choice for the sari for its texture, range of colors and fall of fabric; today the fabric options and color choices have brought in material such as crepe, georgette, satin etc. The traditional red sari has also been replaced in many instances with other colors such as gold, yellow, maroon, pink, orange and so on. Most Indian weddings are followed by a grand reception, an informal event where families, friends and well-wishers get together. The bride changes into a less traditional outfit like a ghagra or a lehenga which is a heavily embellished skirt with matching choli (blouse).

In Indonesia, the local women wear the ‘kebaya’ a traditional blouse which is worn with Batik; the word Batik denotes the fabric as well as the print or the dye used to create designs on it.

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