AskDefine | Define bridal

Dictionary Definition

bridal adj
1 of or relating to a wedding; "bridal procession"; "nuptial day"; "spousal rites"; "wedding cake"; "marriage vows" [syn: nuptial, spousal]
2 designed for a bride; "bridal gown" n : archaic terms for a wedding or wedding feast [syn: espousal]

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Etymology

bef. 1100; ME bridale wedding feast, OE brȳdealu, equiv. to brȳd bride + ealu ale, i.e., ale-drinking; now taken as bride + -al

Pronunciation

Adjective

  1. Of or pertaining to a bride, or to wedding; nuptial; as, bridal ornaments; a bridal outfit; a bridal chamber.

Translations

nuptial
  • Finnish: morsius-, hää-

Noun

  1. A wedding.
  2. A wedding feast.

Related terms

Translations

wedding
  • Finnish: häät

Extensive Definition

A wedding dress or wedding gown is clothing worn by a bride during a wedding ceremony. Color, style and ceremonial importance of the gown can depend on the religion and culture of the wedding participants.

Western culture

Weddings performed during and immediately following the medieval era were often more than just a union between two people. They could be a union between two families, two businesses or even two countries. Many weddings were more a matter of politics than love, particularly among the nobility and the higher social classes. Brides were therefore expected to dress in a manner that cast their families in the most favorable light, for they were not representing only themselves during the ceremony. Brides of an elevated social standing often wore rich colors and expensive fabrics. It was common to see such brides wearing bold colors and layers of furs, velvet and silk. Brides of a lower social standing often copied the elegant styles of wealthier brides as best they could.
Over the centuries, brides continued to dress in a manner befitting their social status—always in the height of fashion, with the richest, boldest materials money could buy. The poorest of brides wore their best church dress on their wedding day. The amount of material a wedding dress contained also was a reflection of the bride's social standing and indicated the extent of the family's wealth to wedding guests.
Wedding dresses have traditionally been based on the popular styles of the day. For example, in the 1920s, wedding dresses were typically short in the front with a longer train in the back and were worn with cloche-style wedding veils. This tendency to follow current fashions continued until the late 1940s, when it became popular to revert to long, full-skirted designs reminiscent of the Victorian era. The trend has continued until today.
Today, Western wedding dresses are usually white, though "wedding white" includes creamy shades such as eggshell, ecru and ivory. One of the first women to wear white at her wedding was Mary Queen of Scots, when she married François II of France. However, white was not then a tradition but rather a choice and one considered inauspicious, since white was the official colour of mourning in France at the time.
White did not become a popular option until 1840, after the marriage of Queen Victoria to Albert of Saxe-Coburg. Victoria had worn a white gown for the event so as to incorporate some lace she owned. The official wedding portrait photograph was widely published, and many other brides opted for a similar dress in honor of the Queen's choice. The tradition continues today in the form of a white wedding, though prior to the Victorian era, a bride was married in any color except black (the color of mourning) or red (which was connected with prostitutes). Later, many people assumed that the color white was intended to symbolize virginity, though this had not been the original intention. (It was the color blue that was connected to purity.) Today, the white dress is understood merely as the most traditional and popular choice for weddings, not necessarily a statement of virginity.

Eastern culture

Many wedding dresses in China are colored red, the traditional color of good luck. In modern Chinese weddings, the bride usually opts for the white Western dress or changes from a white gown to a red gown later in the day and sometimes a gold-colored gown later on. In Japan, brides will often wear three or more dresses throughout the ceremony and subsequent celebrations with a traditional kimono, white and colour dress combination being popular.
In northern parts of India, the traditional color of women's wedding garments is red, a color symbolizing auspiciousness. Green, a colour symbolizing fertility, is also commonly used. Nowadays, many women opt not to wear red and choose other colors. South Indian weddings traditionally use white or cream-colored saris. Indian brides in Western countries often wear the sari at the wedding ceremony and change into traditional Indian wear afterwards (like lehnga, choli, etc.).
bridal in Arabic: فستان الفرح
bridal in Min Nan: Sin-niû-saⁿ
bridal in German: Brautkleid
bridal in Dutch: Trouwjapon
bridal in Japanese: ウェディングドレス
bridal in Polish: Suknia ślubna
bridal in Swedish: Brudklänning
bridal in Chinese: 婚紗
bridal in French: Robe de mariée
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