Many people find it hard to distinguish 1930s night gowns from evening gowns. How about evening gowns vs. wedding gowns from this era? Seems easy enough... if it's white or cream, it must be a wedding gown, right? Well, if we go only by the majority of colour illustrations of deco brides seen in magazines or on pattern covers for wedding gowns from the early to mid parts of this era, the ideal 30s bride did, indeed, wear white, while colourful wedding wear was left for the bridesmaids. But...wait!
While curating the exhibit, "Wedded Perfection, Cynthia Amnéus discovered "suggestions and ads for pastel colored wedding gowns [appear] in the earliest issues of Bride’s Magazine. Starting in the . . . 1930s and going right into the 1950s, the magazine suggested ice blue, shell pink, and pale yellow as very fashionable wedding gowns right along with white gowns." This fact is reinforced by the provenance of the pale blue wedding gown included in the CMA's exhibit.
On my own internet travels, I also came across evidence that some 30s brides wore even darker colours, like black and dark brown. The earlier to mid 30s wedding photo below suggests some depression era brides forewent the white wedding in favour of outfits that modern vintage collectors might easily (mis)take for evening wear.
This brown gown set below, which was once the wearer's nana's wedding set, gives us another striking example of non-white 30s wedding wear! Very cool how a blog post about a handed down wedding gown gives us interested in wedding fashion history a crucial (and colorful) peek into the era that black and white photos can't always capture!