Happy wedding day to Prince William and Kate (Catherine) Middleton!
Now that we’ve finally gotten a look at her much-anticipated dress, we can stop and think about what wedding gowns mean and why they differ so much around the world.
While white or ivory wedding gowns have been the de facto bridal colors since Prince William’s great-great-great-grandmother (if my genealogy is correct) Queen Victoria chose to wear an ivory gown, in other parts of the world red, yellow, and purple are the established colors for brides to wear on their wedding days.
In China and many other Asian countries, red is a symbol of good luck so red wedding gowns with golden embroidery are common.
In southern China, a phoenix and a dragon are often embroidered on the gown to represent the balance of power in a marriage between the husband and the wife.
In Indonesia, brides and grooms wear complementary outfits and many golden accessories.
Traditional Korean wedding dresses are enormous and difficult to move around in so bridesmaids become much more critical to the bride-to-be.
In Morocco, yellow wedding gowns are thought to ward off evil. Green is another popular color meant to represent new life.
In Japan, purple is thought to be the color of love although brides may wear anything from a white, Western gown to red.
In Ireland, traditional brides wear blue, considered to be a lucky color. Green, which is heavily identified with Ireland (also known as the Emerald Isle), is considered very unlucky at a wedding.
More wedding dress photos from around the world are available here.