Open Thread

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This open thread is your space to use as you like. We invite you to discuss current and traditional etiquette. Feel free to ask questions of each other and the community moderators here.


  1. marie carpenter

    With things being so liberal these days, what is your feeling about single mothers having a large wedding with the white gown..My grandaughter who is living with the father of her baby sees no reason why she should not wear white. thank you.

    • Elizabeth

      It is traditional for brides of every kind to wear white, and is has been for quite some time. It would be judgmental of you to suggest otherwise, so for the sake of your relationship with your granddaughter, I would highly recommend that you keep your opinions to yourself. What would you hope to gain by something something like that?

    • Winifred Rosenburg

      If you are suggesting that she doesn’t have the right to wear white because it is public knowledge that she is not a virgin, you couldn’t be more off-base. White wedding dresses do not symbolize virginity and never have. The trend began when Queen Victoria chose to where a white dress for her wedding and became associated with virginity because she was famous for being a virgin, but anyone is and has always been free to wear any color she chooses at her wedding.

      Honestly, even if the virgin thing were real, I would find your holier-than-thou attitude far more offensive than the bride wearing white.

    • Jody

      Marie — I do have my own opinions on the subject but I don’t think it matters as far as your granddaughter is concerned. If it’s her wedding she’s entitled to do what she wants (especially if she’s paying for it). If you’re unable to be gracious about the attire, the best thing might be for you to decline to attend.

  2. Hello Marie,
    Queen Victoria began the tradition of wearing white when she was married in 1840. Prior to that, brides wore dresses dyed deep colors of red, black, green and purple. The Queen wanted to demonstrate that her reign would be a frugal one, and a white gown was less costly. It was the length of the veil that indicated the bride’s status: a virgin could wear a veil of any length, while a non-virgin was supposed to wear one that only covered her ears. Widows who remarried normally did not wear a veil at all.

    As for your granddaughter, the wedding is about the relationship to which she is legally committing; her gown is a (major) accessory. Women are wearing all sorts of colors and styles for wedding dresses — she is planning a (hopefully) once in a life time event and wants to look and feel beautiful and a white dress will do it for her. She may have done things in a backward manner, according to “tradition” — baby, living together, then wedding — but it doesn’t make their relationship any less real than if she had done things the other way around. Be proud of who she is, what she is doing, support what you can, keep mum about what you can’t, and enjoy the day.

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