What did brides wear before white?

So with white off the menu until Victorian times, what did brides often wear instead? Something blue, of course.

Webster and Dephne Pasipanodya.
Picture by Life Moments Media. Webster and Dephne Pasipanodya.
Blue was associated with the Virgin Mary, so it meant purity, and more importantly, it didn't show stains.
Melissa Makumbi
Picture by Life Moments Media. Melissa Makumbi.

That said, back in the day, wedding gowns could be almost any color or style, depending on where you came from. The early Celts liked red wedding dresses because they signified fertility, and you wore black if you were marrying a widower or your last husband had died (which happened a lot). Poorer brides wore their best church dresses, which were sometimes — gasp! — patterned.

There's even a rhyme from the mid-1800s recorded in the Farmer's Almanac, around the time Victoria rejected showed up in white satin:
Married in White, you have chosen right
Married in Grey, you will go far away
Married in Black, you will wish yourself back,
Married in Red, you will wish yourself dead,
Married in Green, ashamed to be seen,
Married in Blue, you will always be true,
Married in Pearl, you will live in a whirl,
Married in Yellow, ashamed of your fellow,
Married in Brown, you will live in the town,
Married in Pink, your spirit will sink.
Innocent and Acqualine Mugwagwa.
Picture by Life Moments Media. Innocent and Acqualine Mugwagwa.
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