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27-01-2017

Why wear white?

The world has changed, and so has the meaning of marriage. It wasn’t so long ago when people were getting married twice, one at a registry office and then in church, to do things ‘properly’. Some people didn’t think they were really married until they had been blessed in church. These days, with falling levels of religiosity and more opportunities, people are getting married everywhere… on the beach, wearing scuba masks at the bottom of a swimming pool and jumping out of plans, in castles, fields and forests.

With so much choice, it is hard to understand why young people (and their parents) are still bankrupting themselves with traditional, over-the-top weddings. The UK population is in debt to the tune of three hundred billion pounds and an estimated nine million people are struggling. I bet a good portion of that was spent on weddings. Money is hard to come by. Why squander it on such flagrant consumerism?

You will be shocked to learn that the average cost of a wedding in 2016 was a massive £30,111! That is enough to buy a posh car or put down a substantial down payment on a flat. Which would you rather have, a big wedding or a flat, car or trip around the world?

After translating descriptions of wedding dresses for years, if I never see another long, white dress with a veil again it will be too soon. I am bored senseless with trains and tiaras and mermaid dresses, however, I think I am in the minority, because even though anything goes these days (you don’t even have to get married), coloured gowns only account for between four and five per cent of all sales.

It wasn’t always this way. Red was the colour of choice before Queen Victoria decided to flout convention and wear a lacy white number. She was, however, only echoing the taste of one of her ancestors, Mary Queen of Scots, who donned white in 1558 saying that it was “the most fitting hue” for a bride, “an emblem of purity and innocence of girlhood, and the unsullied heart she now yields to the chosen one.” I wonder what Mary would have made of today’s avant-garde ‘sexy’ white styles, made with transparent tulle, whose only nod at purity is a few lace cut-outs strategically placed over the privates!

Equally incomprehensibly, when women marry for the second time, some traditionalists still frown on the bride wearing white. Who cares? It is a great opportunity to choose something more stylish and original. Celebrities such as the beautiful Elizabeth Taylor, style icon Sarah Jessica Parker and Jessica Biel chose to wear colourful dresses, while the lovely Kiera Knightly went a (sensible) step further and wore a Chanel mini she already owned.

If I could tell you just one thing… I’d say ditch the posh wedding and go around the world, stop off somewhere romantic and tie the knot. Spend the money on experiences, not floral buttonholes!



Juliet Allaway

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