When you think of wedding dresses 90% of us will picture a big white dress. Of course there are no rules, and brides are encouraged to wear whatever outfit, colour or style they feel most amazing in. However, if you have always dreamed of a white wedding then let us help you find your way through the numerous shades of white and some do’s and don’ts when it comes to choosing the right wedding dress for you.


The History of the White Wedding Dress

The colour white has been associated with significant life events all over the world for millennia. However, the tradition of a bride wearing a white wedding dress became more prevalent after Queen Victoria chose to wear a white dress for her wedding to Prince Albert in 1840.

Queen Victoria White Wedding Dress

image credit: Pinterest


White represented wealth and social status as well as having connotations of innocence and virginal purity. It was only really after World War II however, that the trend was fully adopted and the tradition of a white wedding dress worn only once – not restyled for later use – became the norm.


Consider Your Skin Tone

When we talk about white wedding dresses, it’s not as simple as it sounds! There is a wide variety of ‘whites’ and often different designers will have their own name for the shade of white they employ which can confuse you even further. There is however one golden rule of thumb when it comes to how white do you go… The darker your skin tone, the whiter white you can wear well.

A true white wedding dress is incredibly flattering on darker skin tones, but if you’re fair of skin then it could leave you looking washed out. We would recommend considering a softer white or Ivory. The exact colour tones of your skin will determine precisely which shade will be the most flattering but we will talk a little more about that below.

Ivory is a richer, creamier shade of white which quite simply flatters everyone! The warmth that comes from the richness of the shade is something that a true white lacks.


Stark White Wedding Dresses

Stella York - 6639 in White

Stella York – 6639 in White


The brightest, crispest white you can get is best achieved with synthetic fibres. You will find this shade most often in satins or taffetas for example. As mentioned above, this colour looks stunning against dark skin. However don’t immediately discount a stark white wedding dress if that’s what you have your heart set on, we would always encourage brides to try before they disregard an option. And for a winter wedding a true white could well be the perfect option if your skin tone allows.


Natural White Wedding Dresses

These softer white tones are referred to in a range of labels – silk white, diamond white, natural white. The thing to remember is that this is the whitest white achievable with natural fibres – a shade off stark white. As it is a more natural tone it is more flattering to most skin types than a pure white but is a very subtle difference. You would be hard pushed to tell the difference in a photo for example. If you have more yellow undertones to your skin, this natural white will work especially well for you.


Ivory Wedding Dresses

Charlotte Balbier - Tabby in Ivory

Charlotte Balbier – Tabby in Ivory


Again, Ivory can sometimes be labelled differently – eggshell for example. Similarly to the above, Ivory wedding dresses can sometimes be a ‘quieter’ white not too dissimilar to the natural whites, whereas some Ivory dresses have yellow undertones, making them look creamy. We would recommend trying a range of dresses on to see exactly which end of the Ivory scale is most suitable. However as a general rule, women with pink undertones in their skin look best in yellow-ivories.


Champagne Wedding Dresses

Stella York - 6447 in Oyster

Stella York – 6447 in Oyster


As we travel past Ivory in the wedding dress scale, we move onto Champagne. This shade has more pink and gold undertones. As before, different designers can label this shade slightly differently, for example the Stella York dress shown here is in Oyster but would sit within this shade of whites. The gold and pink undertones in this shade are great for dark complexions or brides with  yellow or olive undertones to their skin.

Of course this is simply a guide, and the only way to truly know what colour, style or shape of wedding dress is right for you – is to try! Pop on over to our appointments page now to book a time to come in and have a chat about which white wedding dress is the one for you!