Ask Carley: Wearing white is the bride's prerogative


Q: My mother says that when I moved in with my fiancé I relinquished the right to wear a white wedding dress on my wedding day. Is this true?

A: In a word, no! It's not true. You're living in the era of Bridget Jones, not Hester Prynne. Once a symbol of celebration and affluence (since only a woman of means could afford to wear an easily soiled dress just once), the color white now symbolizes purity (read: virginity).

That said, the majority of women these days wear a white wedding dress at their weddings regardless of the nature of their relationships. If you want to wear a white wedding dress, do it. Tell Mom that you've decided to recast the color's symbolic message to one of new beginnings: Your new life begins on your wedding day, and you begin that life with a clean slate.

The key is to follow your heart and do what feels right to you.

(Carley Roney, co-founder and editor in chief of The Knot, the nation's leading wedding resource, advises millions of brides on modern wedding etiquette at Got more questions? Visit for 800-plus answers on all things wedding.)

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