White wedding gowns became popular after 1840 when Queen Victoria of England married Albert of Saxe-Coburg. Victoria wore a white gown trimmed in lace. Brides in England and North America soon followed her example.
Bridal gowns come in hundreds of shades of white. In terms of general categories, you’ll find “diamond white,” also known as “silk white,” and light, medium, and dark ivory, but these vary quite a bit depending on the designer. Most gowns don’t actually come in pure white, which is good because it washes out all but the darkest skin tones. Sometimes the material also has an unbecoming bluish cast. Diamond white, which is a little creamier, is the most popular choice and looks great with most complexions. Light ivory is also fairly universally flattering. If you’re pale, medium to dark ivory can provide a nice contrast that will help brighten up the skin. Always try on dresses in a few different shades to determine what looks best on you.