Bride in red wedding dress, wedding couple holding hands in front of an estate.

The Art of the Red Wedding Dress

The History of This Symbolic Style Staple
BY ALLIX COTT / 02 01 22
Photo by Jose Villa

We love any tradition that involves a bold fashion statement—especially on your wedding day! During the Lunar New Year period (this year, it started on February 1) and beyond, wearing red is not only celebrated but exemplifies joy. To honor their heritage and exude such happiness associated with the color, many brides choose to wear a red wedding dress. “In Chinese culture, the color red is synonymous with happiness, fortune, and success,” says East Meets Dress founder Jenn Qiao. “It makes sense that it’s the most popular clothing color for brides!” 

After struggling to find ceremony supplies designed with the modern woman in mind for her own I-DO, the co-founder created the first Asian-American brand for beautiful, red Chinese wedding dresses. “I wanted to celebrate my Asian roots without compromising quality or style,” explains Qiao, “that’s why my Maid of Honor and I decided to start the first modern fashion company to bring Asian-American representation and inclusion to the traditional wedding industry.” 

We spoke with the founder about the marriage between the Lunar New Year and the choice to wear a red wedding dress as a bride.

Bride wearing red wedding dress and couple holding hands in city street
Bride in red wedding dress and wedding couple holding up red wedding invitations
Lula Kind Photo & Film

The Red Wedding Dress Tradition

“Lunar New Year is a festive time of year marking joy and new beginnings,” remarks Qiao. “Having a wedding during this time is meant to be a double celebration bringing in extra good luck and fortune to a marriage.” Brides who have their weddings during Lunar New Year can therefore celebrate both their marriage and the start of a new year by wearing a red wedding dress (traditionally, a cheongsam or qipao in Chinese culture).

The tradition of wearing a red wedding dress extends beyond the period of Lunar New Year as well. “Wearing red wedding dresses has been a Chinese wedding tradition since the Ming Dynasty over 650 years ago,” explains Qiao. “In Chinese culture, the bride wears a red wedding dress such as a Qun Kwa or a cheongsam on her wedding day to celebrate the joy and happiness of the marriage.”

Bride wearing red wedding dress
Red wedding dress

Other Lunar New Year Traditions

Along with wearing a red wedding dress, there are many wonderful ways to nod to the New Year during the wedding festivities. “For example, red envelopes are often given out during Lunar New Year, and the wedding couple can choose to not only receive red envelopes (often during their tea ceremony) but also gift them as wedding favors at the end,” she clarifies.

On Lunar New Year, it is customary to eat foods such as dumplings, noodles, and desserts such as nian gao, a sticky rice cake,” she explains. Couples can consider serving any of these items during their reception to honor this tradition.

Red wedding dresss
Red wedding dress
Red wedding dress