Red Wedding Dresses: History And How To Wear One

Are you curious about the history of red wedding dresses? What brides typically wear red at their weddings?

You’ll also know the symbolism and meaning behind this bold gown color. And finally, we’ll help you decide if you should wear red at your wedding. 

red wedding dresses

Speaking of wedding gown color, you may be interested in how different cultures and brides interpret them. If you don’t intend on wearing white, here’s what do wedding dress colors mean


Everything To Know About Red Wedding Dresses


History Of Red Wedding Dresses

One can trace the history of red wedding gowns to Ancient Athenian brides. They wore robes in light red color with a girdle on the waist for their grooms to loosen and symbolize the loss of their virginity. 

In the 14th century, red was also among the common colors worn by Korean brides for their silk wedding robes. And in the 18th century, red was among the popular color choices of British and American brides, with blue topping the list of the most common wedding dress color. 

However, there’s no doubt that wearing a particular color for a bride is attributed to China. For example, a red wedding dress symbolizes good luck, and the color is even seen on other wedding items. 


What Does A Red Wedding Dress Mean?

Red means good luck, life, and celebration, making it among the most popular colors worn by brides from Eastern cultures. Chinese brides also wear red at their wedding ceremonies to encourage good health, love, and happiness in their union. 

Besides good luck, other cultures view red as a symbol of success or wealth. Viking brides were believed to wear this bold color as a sign of wealth since the red dye had to be bartered or bought. 

By wearing red, Indian brides also welcome loyalty and courage into their marriage. And finally, a Pagan bride may choose a red wedding dress to welcome desire and romance into the union. 

If you’re interested in the potential interpretation of this color, read what does a red wedding dress mean


What Cultures Wear Red Wedding Dresses


Chinese brides

Chinese brides wear red for their weddings as the color symbolizes good luck, prosperity, and fortune. In addition, wearing red for the wedding gown can also be interpreted as a sign of love, success, and fertility. 

Though Chinese brides in the West might wear the typical white bridal gown, they usually change into a traditional red Chinese wedding dress during dinner. So even though a Chinese wedding has Western influences, expect to see a predominant use of red still. 

Don’t be surprised to see red even in the decorations at a Chinese wedding. Interestingly, white was traditionally associated with funerals, and dark colors like black are usually avoided. 


Indian brides

Wearing red wedding gowns is not only seen in Eastern Asian cultures. Indian brides also wear red for their weddings because of astrology and religion. 

According to Astrology, the red planet Mars is in charge of marriage, so it’s believed that wearing red for the wedding will bring a strong bond in marriage. The color also represents the Hindu Goddess Durga, who symbolizes strength and commitment. 

And like in other cultures who wear red, the color symbolizes good luck and prosperity. It is also considered a sacred color used on women’s clothing in various festivals. 

To know more about Indian wedding gowns and dresses, you can read what is an Indian wedding dress called


Why Do People Not Wear Red Wedding Dresses?

There are many reasons why brides might choose something other than red as their wedding dress color. While red symbolizes good luck, romance, strength, prosperity, and fertility in many cultures, it is still viewed as a bold and statement color compared to the soft and traditional white color for the wedding dress. 

Some brides might feel uncomfortable wearing this non-traditional color or have always imagined themselves wearing a white wedding gown for their wedding look. Weddings also come in different themes so the bride might prefer a specific wedding dress color. 

Finally, red is not automatically the first choice of brides for their wedding dresses. Most bridal stores only carry white wedding gown styles, and it might take longer and pricier to order a dress style in red


Are Red Wedding Dresses Common?

Red wedding dresses are typical in Asian cultures, as Chinese and Indian brides often wear them. In the US, more and more brides are also starting to break traditions and go for out-of-the-box concepts for their weddings, so bold colors like red may also be seen in wedding dresses. 

Nowadays, weddings are more customizable to the couple’s preferences, so brides are no longer limited to traditional white wedding gowns. The couple may want to stand out or wear colors that symbolize important things. 

Red signifies passion and courage, which might be seen in the couple’s wedding look. Other shades of red, like burgundy, might also be the more flattering choice for certain styles of dresses. 

The bride’s skin tone can look healthier and bloom with a red wedding dress. And finally, the type of wedding can have red as its predominant color, especially with Valentine’s or holiday weddings. 


What Are Some Tips For Choosing The Perfect Red Wedding Dress?


Wedding dress silhouette

Wedding dresses come in many styles and silhouettes. For example, dramatic wedding dresses like the ball gown or mermaid will look “louder” in red than simpler dresses like the A-line or sheath. 

Depending on the bridal look you’re going for, you can imagine how red will look on the silhouette that flatters your body type. Red on fitted silhouettes will look sultry, while you’ll surely turn heads in red princess-style dresses with voluminous skirts and layers of fabrics.


Red shade

Consider what shade of red complements your skin tone. For example, warm reds look fantastic on brides with a warm skin tone. 

On the other hand, you want a shade similar to rose or maroon if you have a cool skin tone. And for neutral skin tones, opt for bright reds instead of reds with orange undertones. 


Cultural symbolism

The perfect red wedding dress is something you’re comfortable and confident in. However, if you feel awkward with the color because you feel it will be misinterpreted in the type of wedding you’re having, you might need another color. 

You can also opt for a simpler red wedding dress style, a lighter red shade for the dress, or pick a dress with red accents instead. Of course, you can always discuss your gown color choice with your family to help them understand why you’re wearing red. 


What Accessories To Wear With Red Wedding Dress?


Gold jewelry and ruby stones

Gold jewelry is the best accessory to wear with a red wedding dress, as its warmth complements the red color. You can also consider jewelry with ruby accents to match the red wedding dress.

The neutral silver accessories should also look good with a red wedding dress. But for a cohesive look, you want your necklace and jewelry to match and not wear gold and silver separately. 


Monochromatic or neutral shoes

What bridal shoes to wear with a red wedding dress? Of course, you can always wear the same shade of red for your shoes, but neutrals are safe shoe colors for the bold red gown. 

Think of white, black, beige, or nude strappy or pump shoes, depending on what style looks best with the dress style and length. If the red wedding dress is simple, you can wear statement gold or silver shoes. 


Where To Buy Red Wedding Dresses?


David’s Bridal

It’s not surprising to find an array of red wedding dresses in David’s Bridal. You can choose different gown silhouette styles, fabrics, and train types.

The price range for red wedding dresses is $149 to over $300, depending on the style and material. To help you find what’s flattering, know what style wedding dress is for my body type


The Dress Outlet

The Dress Outlet also carries different red wedding dresses where you can even score a style for under $100 when they have discounts. As of this writing, most styles are long formal red gowns, so you can browse other stores if you prefer a more casual look. 

The good news is there are also outfits for the mother of the bride in The Dress Outlet. Some brides might want to wear a matching red outfit with their moms. 



Do you know that you can also buy wedding dresses on Etsy? Some sellers also offer red gowns and dresses in different styles and materials. 

But, like buying any clothing on Etsy, always check the reviews to know what to expect. You can always adjust your red dress to your proportions for a better fit and look. 



And that’s it! You just learned everything about red wedding dresses, from history, symbolism, and picking the perfect red bridal gown for your wedding. 

Red bridal attire can be traced back to Ancient Athens, but Chinese and Indian cultures prefer this color for their weddings as it symbolizes good luck, prosperity, and love. And when deciding if you should wear a red wedding dress, consider the silhouette, shade of red, and symbolism to know if it makes you comfortable and confident.

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