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Where the white dress really came from (and some off-color ideas)

Certain things are integral to a traditional wedding extravagant cakes, Pachelbel's Canon, airborne bouquets and, of course, a stark white dress. And while many of us may think that we know why all of these customs exist, All Dressed in White: The Irresistible Rise of the American Wedding author Carol White reveals that not everything is always what it seems in the big white world of weddings.

"We tend to think of the white dress as a symbol of virginity," White told Stevenson Swanson of Pelham Patch. "But if you ask me for the main reason that brides began to wear white it's because white dresses were in fashion when this whole package of traditions began to gel, and because Queen Victoria wore a white dress."

So there you have it.

That being said, though, it's becoming much more common for brides to walk the aisle in a gown that's not all the way white (and sometimes not at all). If you're thinking about dressing in a yellow or gold dress - or perhaps kelly green, if that's your thing - you may consider opting for some decorations to reflect your individual tastes as well.

Look for personalized table runners or dance floor decals that you can design yourself. A criss-cross ribbed lantern, accents or bows that complement your wedding dress are all spectacular ways to offset your ensemble as well.