The fashion for white wedding dresses appeared in the late 19th century and became a trend only in the 20th century. Before that, brides often wore colored wedding gowns tailored in a trendy design of the time for their wedding. Maybe you won’t agree with us, but we think that these elegant 19th-century wedding outfits in burgundy, chocolate, plum, terracotta, sky-blue, and other wonderful colors look even more beautiful and dramatic than modern boring white, ivory, cream, and beige wedding gowns.
Wedding clothing before the 20th century usually wasn’t bought or tailored for just one day. People, both men and women, wore their wedding outfits after the wedding for such occasions as receptions, balls, official meetings, celebrations, and so on. So, a bridal dress should have been functional and universal-looking so that a lady could use it more than once. And that’s so logical – why spend so much money on something that will be hung in a closet for the rest of your life? And how can you wear such a striking outfit only once and not want to return to it again? When I look at the vintage wedding gowns below, I realize how outstanding they are and how much they deserve to be worn many, many times.
All the bridal gowns here are from The Met Museum in New York.
Gorgeous burgundy wedding ensemble, America, 1878. It is made from silk fabric and has so many curious details. Real work of art
American wedding dress from 1879. All these adornments are lovely, just like the combination of colors. It was actually rather typical for this period to use many decorative elements on a dress
French bridal gown from 1881. It has a lovely floral pattern on the fabric and those decorative buttons are cute
Lovely terracotta wedding dress from America, 1879. It looks so bright and vivid. And oh my God, those handmade buttons!
American wedding gown from around 1868. The cut is comparatively simple, but the skirt is so full and puffy. And the light-blue silk looks wonderful, I’d say, youthful
Rosy bridal dress from America, 1837-1840. It is a lot less embellished than the rest of the dresses because it is from a bit earlier period. But it looks elegant in its minimalism
American gold wedding attire from 1871. The gold color is never out of fashion, brides wore gold wedding dresses in the 19th century and do it today
Astounding American wedding gown from about 1860. It is sewn from fabric that has a beautiful blue and white print, and the dark-blue floral décor on the sleeves is so pretty