By CARLEY RONEY
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 www.theknot.com. Got more questions? Visit www.theknot.com/askcarley for 800-plus answers on all things wedding.)