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Wedding Gown: What if I Don't Want to Wear White?

Q.

I think I've finally found my dream wedding dress -- but it's green! Our wedding style will be fairly informal...so do I have to wear white?

A.

Brides do tend to think of the white wedding dress as a given, but it doesn't have to be. We asked Carol McD. Wallace, author of All Dressed in White: The Irresistible Rise of the American Wedding (Penguin Original, 2004), for a quick history lesson. She advises that you don't need to worry about following in the tradition of Queen Victoria. "The white gown for every bride is really a post-World War II phenomenon. Before that, lots of girls would invest in a gorgeous dress they could wear again," she says. "In pioneer America, that often meant black, brightened up with some white lace or artificial orange blossoms; during World War II, brides often wore a pretty suit with a corsage." Wallace also believes that you shouldn't worry too much about the symbolic value of white. "Lots of virgin brides have worn colors and we see lots of brides with children wearing white, so I think the color issue is up for grabs. If you feel fabulous in green, then go for it!" We wholeheartedly agree, and so do gown designers! Big names like Amsale and Elie Saab have been sending bolder and brighter hues down the runway in recent years, so don't be surprised if you see more brides coming over to color in the future.

See More: Wedding Dress Shopping , Attire for the Bride