The Timeless Elegance of Irish Blue: A Wedding Tradition Resurrected

The Timeless Elegance of Irish Blue: A Wedding Tradition Resurrected

When it comes to wedding attire, we usually picture a pristine white gown: a symbol of purity and new beginnings. Yet, in Ireland, there exists a charming tradition that predates this ivory tradition: the blue Irish wedding dress. Surprising? Yes. But this custom is one with an enchanting history – one that combines purity, folklore, elegance, and the enduring spirit of Irish culture.

Why Do Irish Brides Wear Blue? A History of Purity and Fidelity

The traditional blue Irish wedding dress harks back to a time when ivory or white had yet to claim its status as the ultimate symbol of purity. Blue, with its cool and calming effect, had been considered since ancient times to symbolise purity, fidelity and devotion – and so, by wearing blue, it was believed that brides would not only pledge their love to their partner but also promise a faithful, enduring marriage.

Tribe of the gods in blue dress
Fotla, one of the three Queens of the Tuatha de Danann, wearing a blue dress.
But the significance of blue also goes beyond this: it is steeped in Irish myths and legends. The Tuatha Dé Danann, or the ‘tribe of the gods’, was an ancient, supernatural race in Irish mythology that was said to have radiant blue or green eyes. Blue was therefore considered a sacred colour, and wearing it on one's wedding day was believed to bring blessings from the spiritual realm.

Evolution of the Blue Wedding Dress

Evolution of blue wedding dress

Over the years, the style and design of traditional blue Irish wedding dresses have undergone remarkable transformations – but while wedding dresses have evolved with the changing times, they have always retained their timeless elegance.

Historically, Irish brides favoured blue dresses, but the exact shade of blue has even varied. In the medieval period, brides often wore deep, rich shades of blue, which were the colour of piety, though it must also be noted that wealthier medieval brides wore red or gold, as these dyes were more expensive and rarer to come by. All wedding dresses at the time, however, featured intricate embroidery, symbolic motifs, and fabrics that spoke of both luxury and modesty.

Then, in the 19th century, the influence of Queen Victoria's white wedding gown began to overshadow the tradition of the Irish blue wedding dress. Through the Victorian era, the queen’s wedding gown played a significant role in popularising white as the choice for brides, and the white dress that we know today became widely adopted, ultimately sidelining the Irish blue wedding dress.

A Modern Take on the Blue Dress

Traditional blue wedding dress

In recent times, however, there has been a resurgence of interest in traditional customs. Beyond the saying, something new, something old, something borrowed, something blue – which has usually been interpreted as a pair of blue satin shoes or perhaps a blue pendant necklace – contemporary Irish brides are finding innovative ways to nod to their heritage and incorporate blue into their wedding attire. Some are opting for a full blue dress rather than white, embracing the rich history and symbolism this carries, while others are adding subtle touches of blue through a sash, hairpiece, delicate embroidery – or even their bridesmaids’ palette.

This resurgence of interest in traditional customs reflects a broader movement where modern brides are blending old and new. They seek to honour their heritage while embracing the freedom to express their individuality. The blue wedding dress tradition embodies this fusion, allowing brides to infuse their special day with a sense of history and unique charm.

If you're inspired by the elegance of the blue wedding dress and are looking for the ideal jewelry to complement it, look no further. Jules Bridal offers an exquisite collection of bridal jewelry that captures the essence of both tradition and modernity. Whether you're donning a blue gown or any other shade, our pieces promise to add a touch of sparkle and sophistication to your special day.

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