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And the Bride Didnt Wear White


While through history brides have agonized over what to wear on their wedding day, usually looking good was never too far away from their thoughts. Except during the American Revolution and the American Civil War.

The time in which the bride lives, or the association she belongs to, and her life style, all tend to influence the bride's outfit.

The Mayor of a city might decide to wear her badge of office; a chain around her neck and her velvet coat around her body. An army chick, especially when marrying a partner who also wears a uniform, might walk down the aisle in army greens and sturdy shoes.

Brides who belong to a religious organsiation such as the Salvation Army, might wear their neat suit and hat, while their appearance at the door after the ceremony, might be greeted by the sound of tambourines wielded by enthusiastic fellow-members.

In times of tragedy, while the world keeps on turning, the individuals who want to celebrate their good fortune in finding a soul mate, feel a sense of gratitude that they are still alive and well, while at the same time a sense of pity for those who aren't.

They don't want to see life as anything but a gift, yet can't help feeling a sense of guilt.

It is in such times that outward expression of inner feelings becomes more genuine. In the American Civil War where at times a brother fought a brother, many brides chose to wear the subdued colour of purple to denote a grieving that was as much personal as it was national.

On the other hand, the American Revolution brought out an entirely different sentiment.

During this time a bride was prepared to flout conventions, in order to express her own support for a cause that seemed to transcend the suffering that all wars bring.

On her wedding day, this bride came down the aisle in scarlet ? perhaps the one colour that no bride would normally wear. For the English-speaking bride scarlet was associated with the abandoned woman as portrayed by Nathaniel Hawthorne in "The Scarlet Letter". This was the woman for ever branded as immoral and impure.

But for the bride living during the American Revolution, the scarlet dress was a battle cry worn with the same pride and challenge as the red white and blue cockade worn by the men on the battlefields.

Vlady, an Australian Civil Marriage Celebrant, is an author of "The Complete Book of Australian Weddings", "The Small Organisation Handbook", and ebook "Honeymoon! A Sizzle or a Fizzle?" which you can see on her website http://www.vlady-celebrant.com/


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2005