Will You Wear White for Your Wedding?


Will You Wear White for Your Wedding?

Will You Wear White for Your Wedding?

Marriage is a blessed experience, one that is only surpassed by a person’s new birth by God into His eternal family. When two responsible and eligible persons—a man and a woman—commit themselves to each other, for life, before God and before witnesses, this event is what we call a Wedding.

A wedding is “the act or ceremony of marrying” (Random House Webster’s College Dictionary). It is “the act of marrying” or “the ceremony or celebration of a marriage” (The American Heritage College Dictionary). Are you planning a wedding—or have you already had your wedding? If this significant event is yet in your future, and you are a woman, do you know how you will dress? If you are the man, do you know how you want your fiancé to dress? We don’t want our comments to only be about a wedding dress, but it will include this aspect of the wedding.

The White Wedding Dress

Marriage customs have greatly varied over the years, with the adornment of the bride signifying a variety of different thoughts and ideas. It seems that before the time of Queen Victoria of England (in the early nineteenth century), various colors were chosen for the bride. However, since the admired queen wore a white dress, in the following years white became the choice of a growing number of brides in the Western world.

In time, the white wedding dress became the clothing of choice of the bride. We learn that it symbolized purity and virginity:

  • “Only at the beginning of the 1920’s white wedding fashion represents the bourgeois-churchly moral, the virginity of the bride which equates purity.”[i]
  • “Most brides choose a dress of white to symbolize purity of the soul.”[ii]
  • “Western wedding dresses are usually white, though ‘wedding white’ includes shades such as eggshell, ecru and ivory.”[iii]

Two hundred years ago, the color of the dress was not necessarily white. During that time, it was not always easy to have or maintain a white dress, but this became more desirable as the century progressed. “Many people assumed that the color white was intended to symbolize virginity, though this was not the original intention: it was the color Blue [that] was associated with the Virgin Mary, so it meant purity, and more importantly, it didn’t show stains.”[iv] “Blue that was connected to purity, piety, faithfulness, and the Virgin Mary.”[v]

Just a few years after her wedding, a popular lady’s monthly called white “the most fitting hue” for a bride, “an emblem of the purity and innocence of girlhood, and the unsullied heart she now yields to the chosen one.”[vi]

Thus, for the past 150 or more years, white has symbolized purity: “The connotations of virginity we know so well today only really appeared later in her reign, as the sentimental Victorians idolized innocent brides and their pure white gowns.”[vii] In light of the gross immorality of our own age (the twenty-first century), some writers seem to ridicule the connection between white and sexual purity (or virginity)! Dannah Gresh, in her book And the Bride Wore White, points out that it is the part of wisdom, spirituality, and common sense, that a girl will want to wear a white wedding dress to symbolize her commitment to purity (the sub-title of her book is, “Seven Secrets to Sexual Purity”).

Sadly, the symbol of purity and virginity has largely faded from our contemporary society. Think of worldly Madonna who wore white for both of her weddings![viii] Yet the idea of purity continues, as reflected in the white dress: “While shape and style vary drastically from bride to bride, traditional white and light-colored dresses are still most popular, as many today view white not so much as a symbol of wealth but rather one of purity and virtue.”[ix]

We think that it is significant that in the book of Revelation, white is directly associated with purity and holiness. For instance, Jesus says to the people at Sardis: “You have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy” (Revelation 3:4). These worthy ones would walk with Christ in robes of white! To the people in Laodicea, Jesus says they should symbolically be clothed in “white garments so that you may clothe yourself” (3:18).

As we continue through Revelation, we notice that the twenty-four elders are “clothed in white garments” (4:4). The martyrs who are underneath the altar are given “a white robe” (6:11). Also, the multitude that John saw in heaven are “clothed in white robes” (7:9). Why? “They have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (vv. 13-14; cf. 19:8). We also read of the “armies” in heaven who are “clothed in fine linen, white and clean” who also ride on white horses (19:14). Therefore, we see that God, in this prophetic book, shows that white symbolizes purity.

Will You Wear White?

As we have seen, for the past 150 or more years, the white wedding dress in Western nations has symbolized purity and virginity. While apparently this was not always the case before this modern era, it did come to have this meaning. It is true that not every bride was a virgin at the time of her wedding, but the lack of virginity was considered a shame and a reproach.

Today, we’ve read that half of young men and women actually “live together” in fornication or sexual immorality before they choose to walk the marriage aisle! God’s requirement of absolute purity before marriage is hardly a consideration in the minds of many men and women in their teens and twenties—and older. At the same time, most girls who become married choose white! “Colored gowns accounted for only 4 to 5% of sales at popular retailer David’s Bridal.”[x]

Comments and Applications

Should we recommend that all but a few brides will choose to wear blue, pink, or some other color and not wear white? After all, if white symbolizes purity and virginity, and if a majority of girls getting married are not pure and virgin, would it not be reasonable for them to refuse to wear white? In this way, it would be an encouragement to all young women to keep themselves pure before marriage!

But we wouldn’t want to take such a stand even if it does seem reasonable. Some women have repented of their sexual immorality before marriage. In this case, some have suggested that these young women are “secondary virgins” or the like. Besides this, we must remember that until the past couple of hundred years, history tells us that the majority of brides didn’t wear white. Further, what would we do with the men (the grooms in a marriage)? Surely in our age, most of them have also been sexually immoral before the wedding. And at no time did most men wear white regardless of their previous sexual experience.

Let’s keep all of this in mind.  Teach your sons and daughters the importance of remaining pure until God leads them into an honorable and holy marriage. Teach them the value that God places on absolute purity before the wedding. Also, it is good to go over the consistent view of white in the Bible. There we see that “the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready” (19:7). We further read, “It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints” (v. 8). As we noticed in Revelation 3:4, there were a “few” people at Sardis who had “not soiled their garments” and they would walk with Jesus “in white, for they are worthy.”

Place this thought before you—and before your children—so that they will be motivated to remain pure and zealous for Christ before marriage and be able to sincerely come to the wedding in pure white and give themselves to their life partner in purity and virginity.

Furthermore, don’t simply focus on being a technical virgin, but let your whole attitude, demeanor, and relationship reflect a godly purity, wholesomeness, and holiness. Don’t even approach sexual laxity or sexual compromise. Be willing to wait until marriage itself. Now is the time to refrain from petting, kissing, or any other sexual touching. Let your first kiss as a husband and wife occur in the marriage ceremony itself (or later). Some few take this strict but reasonable stand and this commitment will serve you well.  You will never regret it. And surely God will be glorified in your pure and godly marriage!

Whether you have already violated God’s sexual standards or not, now is a good time to recommit yourself to absolute purity now and the remainder of your life. Aspire to wear white for the wedding, out of conviction and a desire to please God.

Richard Hollerman





[i] marryjim.com/en/page/show/id/30/template/history

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] Ibid.

[iv] wikipedia.org/wiki/Wedding_dress#Western_culture

[v] bustle.com/articles/24357-why- do-brides-wear-veils-and -white-dresses-the- bizarre-history-of-5- wedding- traditions

[vi] time.com/3698249/white-weddings/

[vii] bustle.com/ articles/24357-why-do- brides-wear-veils-and- white-dresses-the-bizarre- history-of-5-wedding- traditions.

[viii] Ibid.

[ix] all-that-is-interesting.com/history-of-wedding-gowns

[x] time.com/3698249/white-weddings/

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