In ancient Greece young brides used their ordinary white tunic with cords on their waist. The cords meant that they were no longer free women but brides-to-be. The day of the ceremony they wore a laurel crown. Laurel was a plant that represented Aphrodite, the love goddess.
In ancient Rome, the cord around the bride’s waist was knotted because the Romans believed that the knots protected them from evil. Over the white tunic the bride wore a red cloak and a saffron coloured veil. The sandals were of the same colour of the veil. Often, they also wore a metal necklace and their hair was divided into 6 braids and covered by a laurel crown.
The Byzantines wedding gowns were very sophisticated. Usually the dress was in embroidered red silk enriched with precious stones.
The Longobards preferred a much simpler dress: a black tunic.
The Arabs embellished their white wedding gowns with fine embroideries and a gold belt with precious gems. Arab brides also wore a veil and a crown made of orange flowers.
In the middle ages, wedding apparel often consisted of richly embroidered red colour gowns in a wide variety of fabric from brocades to velvets. The red colour symbolized passion and love which was supposed to keep the couple united
In the XIV century English brides wore very precious outfits wit a bouquet of rosemary leaves. This was considered a symbol of strength and fidelity.
During the Renaissance, western bridal gowns became even more precious and a wide variety of colours was chosen so the same dress could be used also in other elegant occasions.
During the Napoleonic period red colour dresses were substituted by pastel colour gowns in emperor style, very tight on the waist.
White colour gown were adopted in 1840 after Queen Victoria’s wedding in England. This colour had already been used in various occasions before this event, but the queen started a fashion which still lasts today.