Most brides choose a white wedding gown, while some choose ivory or blush, but where did the red wedding dress tradition originate? China! In this Asian country, the color red represents good luck and symbolizes love and prosperity. It was also believed that red kept away evil spirits. In Chinese cultures, white often represents death, as they use it primarily in funerals.
In a traditional Chinese wedding ceremony, everything is red. The color starts with the dress and the theme is integrated into the candles, flowers, ribbons, fireworks, and even the gift envelopes. The historic red gowns have impeccable embroidery work in silver and gold threads featuring dragon and phoenix designs, as this combination embodies the balance of female and male power. The traditional dress derives from the Qing Dynasty, the last dynasty of China.
Is the red dress still worn today? Yes, younger Chinese brides are wearing the Qi Pao, which is a one piece frock, while the traditional is called a Kwa Qun or Cheongsam and is a two piece gown with a red veil. The city of Shanghai is known for blending old and new traditions. Recently brides have been wearing more simple sets with coats and no headpieces; they are keeping a minimalistic version of the classic gown. A new trend with the younger Chinese brides is the change of outfits, wearing the customary gown for the ceremony and a more modern piece for the reception.
La Vie Designs by Ji Cheng features several red wedding gowns. Her designs are all more western styles in red to give brides a taste of modernization while still honoring the sacred ancient traditions.
The red wedding gown represents honor, tradition, and class. Perhaps we will find other brides who would like to begin this beautiful tradition by adding this beautiful touch.
Victoria Pallien is a writing major studying at the Savannah College of Art and Design. She is set to graduate one quarter early in March of 2017. With a strong interest in fashion, love of culture, and her experience in her high school theatre arts program, she is looking to incorporate all her passions as she builds herself a career in writing and editing in New York.