Most brides wear white because of the practice that dates back to the 1840s. The white gown was made popular by Queen Victoria. Before then, silver was the acceptable color to be worn. Most brides today still use the tradition that Queen Victoria started. The most popular color for wedding gowns is white to symbolize purity. At one time, it was acceptable for a Bride to wear her best dress, and the color didn't matter.

The matching veil

The tradition of wearing a veil goes back to the time when marriages were arranged by family members. The bride and groom were forbidden to see each other because of the fear that the groom would refuse to marry the girl if he didn't like her appearance.

This would be a misfortune for the father of the bride because he expected money or livestock in exchange for his daughter.

The groom did not see the bride’s face until after the veil was lifted. Modern brides often wear veils but not to cover their face. If a bride does choose to wear a veil to cover her face, the lifting of the veil is significant. If the father lifts his daughter's veil at the beginning of the wedding, it is a symbol of giving his daughter away and presenting her to the groom. If the groom lifts the veil, he will be the dominant one in the marriage. If the bride takes the initiative and lifts her own veil, she is demonstrating her independence.

Two biblical examples

Wearing a veil goes back to biblical times.

Rebekah veiled herself until it was time to reveal herself to Isaac. Because of that example found in Genesis 24, brides have been wearing veils since then. However, many brides wear the veil attached to their head instead of letting it cover their face.

When veils were first used, they were so thick that the face of the bride could not be seen until it was lifted at the end of the ceremony.

They would have been married by then. This explained why Jacob was tricked into marrying Leah after he had worked seven years for Rachel, her younger and more beautiful sister. Jacob could not see that he was marrying Leah instead of Rachel because Leah was completed covered and veiled. It was not until the next morning after the marriage had been consummated that Jacob realized he had married the wrong woman, according to Genesis 29.

Laban, the women's father, explained to Jacob that he was tricked into marrying Leah because she was older, and the custom was that the older sister would be married first. Jacob was allowed to work another seven years to marry Rachel, but Laban told Jacob he could marry Rachel after his honeymoon with Leah was over.