"I saw you in your wedding gown, the prettiest dressThere's something about seeing a woman in a white bridal gown which is covered in blood. The juxtaposition of the joyous event the wedding dress is supposed to signify with the brutality or tragedy that the blood indicates makes for a striking image. The fact that the red of the blood stands out well against the white of the dress adds to this. This can be used either to evoke sympathy in us if the bride has gone through something horrifying, or to alienate us from her if she has committed a horrific act herself. Or a bit of both. Sometimes just used to add some surreality to a scene. What a bride might wear when her Wedding Day goes really bad. Compare with White Shirt of Death, Bloodstained Glass Windows and Snow Means Death. See also Wedding Smashers, which more often than not causes this. May overlap with Widowed at the Wedding.
I came into your room that night and made such a mess
In my own way, I lovingly kiss the bride
With your ring in your hand, your eyes and your mouth open wide
In my eyes, blood drops look like roses on white lace…"
I came into your room that night and made such a mess
In my own way, I lovingly kiss the bride
With your ring in your hand, your eyes and your mouth open wide
In my eyes, blood drops look like roses on white lace…"
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Anime & Manga
- Murder Princess has an archetypal "Disney Princess" dress that gets repeatedly covered in blood, that evokes much the same striking image.
- In Code Geass, seeing the sweet, naive Princess Euphemia massacring innocents in her frilly dress was a wham. The fan nicknames "Genocide-tan" and Euphinator cannot begin to summarize the impact of the scene.
- In GUN×SWORD, the bloodstained wedding dress is all we see from Van's late bride.
- Haou Airen gives us Hakuron, the groom, in a blood-splattered white suit after karma catches up with him and he's shot to death.
- In Darker Than Black, an Ax-Crazy Mafia Princess wore a white dress to her birthday party, where she intended to have her father and most of his officers killed. Then her "pet Contractor" turned against her, and since his power was blowing a hole in anything he got blood on...
- Three brides are attacked in Detective Conan, with different results:
- In an early case, the imagery is played straight◊ since the poor bride bleeds profusely from the mouth after she's poisoned by her groom in revenge for her Overprotective Dad's part in the (accidental) death of said groom's mother, 20 years ago. Unusually for this trope, the bride survives and ultimately gets better.
- Ultimately averted in another case: Satou gets stabbed when first her best friend Yumi and then she pose as Body Doubles of a bride who has been threatened and she's attacked while wearing the bride-to-be wedding gown... but said gown has a thick corset that acts as a protection. She then reacts and helps subdue the attacker.
- And in the third case... The bride and the groom are murdered. The groom is wearing his white tuxedo when he's found dead. The bride is not in her wedding gown, she has a pink dress on instead.
- In Gunnm, Alita kicks some mecha ass wile wearing a wedding dress at one point. She wasn't going to marry anyone though.
- After Marine Rachel Cole-Alvez has her wedding shot up by members of The Exchange during Greg Rucka's run on The Punisher she's left standing in one of these surrounded by the bodies of her friends and family. She survives, but the trauma drives her to team up with Frank to try and take down The Exchange herself.
- Played with in White Devil of the Moon. Miyuki's bridesmaid's gown gets blood on it after youma attack during her brother's wedding (she also uses it to wipe off her sword afterwards). The actual bride's dress did not end up like that (not as severely, anyway), as Shinobu was one of the very few people not participating in the fight.
Films — Animated
- Wreck-It Ralph plays this trope to a T, complete with minigun for Calhoun to extract revenge. (And a preemptively armed audience to prevent a repeat, at her second wedding.)
Films — Live-Action
- Kill Bill: Unsurprising, given that the main character is a badass Samurai-swordswoman called "The Bride". (A chapter of the film is even called "The Blood-Spattered Bride", a typical Tarantino filmgeek ref to the Spanish vampire film 'La Novia Ensangrentada'). The final battle was supposed to involve her fighting in a wedding dress, but due to time constraints, we get the Anticlimax Boss of her using a heart-exploding technique on Bill, without him even getting up.
- Little Shop of Horrors features this, although because at the last second a new ending was tacked on, the blood appears and disappears depending on the shot.
- It wasn't a wedding dress, but the horrific humiliation of the titular character of Carrie with the pig's blood saturating her prom dress is real close.
- Another not-wedding-dress example: Bette Davis' character in the flashback opener of Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte. It is however a white dress that she wears to a party, where her boyfriend is violently murdered.
- And yet another, Helen Mirren's character in Red is shot in the gut and bleeds on her white dress (she survives, though).
- Also Kim's white dress in Edward Scissorhands.
- Visually invoked in La Reine Margot when King Charles bleeds all over her white gown. Said gown is not Margot's wedding dress, though.
- Cady's Halloween costume in the teen film Mean Girls.
- After everything goes to hell at the end of the obscure horror film The Stepfather II, the female main character staggers in a daze down the aisle in a blood-drenched wedding dress.
- That's not a typo by the way: there were three of the films. And there's a remake as well.
- In the James Bond film On Her Majesty's Secret Service featuring the first and only time to date where Bond marries, his wife Tracy is gunned down on their wedding night while driving home following the service.
- In the obscure Anna Nicole Smith thriller To the Limit, a bride and groom are machine-gunned as they're leaving the church following the wedding ceremony.
- The Hong Kong action movie Black Cat (based on the original La Femme Nikita movie) has a scene where the titular assassin bursts into a Jewish wedding and shoots the bride in the head.
- In Smilin' Through, Moonyean Clare is shot dead at her own wedding. This goes for all three versions of the movie—1922 with Norma Talmadge, 1932 with Norma Shearer, and 1941 with Jeanette MacDonald. It's also true of the 1919 stage play that the movies were all based on.
- In The Deer Hunter some not-so-subtle foreshadowing occurs during a wedding when a bride accidentally spills red wine on her dress during a drinking ritual. (The ritual was to ensure luck, of course and since this is a movie about the horrors of Vietnam the groom's fate should come as no surprise.) Yeah, it's not exactly blood that spills on the dress per se, but the imagery and the resulting bad luck echo this trope.
- In the Hong Kong action movie Queens High Cynthia Khan's wedding is disrupted by a shootout, and she runs around with an Uzi in her blood-stained wedding dress chasing the attackers.
- In opening sequence of the comedy zombie movie Zombieland.
- A mild example in Pusher, where one of the characters has a nosebleed from taking too much cocaine.
- Spanish horror film [REC]3 Genesis is about an outbreak of a demonic virus at a couple's wedding reception, at one point the bride Clara gets her hands on a chainsaw and mows down some monsters leaving her dress covered in blood. This image was used for the films poster as can be seen on its page over at The Other Wiki.
- In the film version of Reefer Madness: The Musical, Mary Lane appears in a blood-spattered wedding dress when she and Jimmy Harper both sing the reprise of "Romeo And Juliet" after she was killed by a gun during a struggle between Jimmy and Jack the dope dealer.
- American Heist. SWAT police shoots a hostage taker when their pursuit of some criminals leads into a wedding, leading to this trope (the bride was standing behind the criminal, who'd snatched a little girl as a Human Shield).
- The teenage purgers in The Purge: Election Year are wearing bloodstained prom dresses when they attack the deli store. One of them makes note that she killed her parents, possibly explaining where its coming from.
- As part of his motif of blood-splattered white things to emphasize how the violence of World War II affects a rural Quebec village, Roch Carrier includes a blood-splattered wedding dress in La Guerre, Yes Sir!.
- In Breaking Dawn: Part 1, Bella has a nightmare in which Edward eats all the wedding guests. Not only is her wedding dress bloodied, but everyone is wearing white dress clothing (suits, tuxes, dresses, etc.) and covered in blood.
- Rosalie Hale's Backstory reveals that after being turned into a vampire, she took revenge on her Jerkass ex-fiancee and his friends after they gangraped and left her for dead in an alleyway. She wore a wedding dress to do so. In a notable aversion, Rosalie specifically made sure to NOT spill blood because she was a newborn vampire and would not be able to avoid drinking their blood if she did. She didn't want ANY part of them inside her.
- In the last act of Federico Lorca's Bodas de Sangre (Blood Wedding), the bride enters the church where her wedding was to have taken place; her white dress drenched with the blood of both her groom and her true love who have slain each other over her.
- The titular heroine of Lorna Doone is shot at the altar as she is about to marry the man she loves. She survives.
- The second Firekeeper book, Wolf's Head, Wolf's Heart starts off with a wedding between the new heir to Bright Bay and Hawk Haven, former enemies. Lo and behold, it is interrupted by assassins from the former ruler of Bright Bay not happy with losing her kingdom to a proper leader. The bride takes a massive wound, bleeding all over her dress, while her husband suffers only a very minor wound. Which, you know, is bad, because the weapons were poisoned, and bleeding all over her dress allowed the bride to get the poison out of the blood stream.
- Inverted in Lords and Ladies, in which Magrat's mail-order Queen dress gets reduced to bloodied shreds before the wedding, due to her kicking arse during the elves' invasion of Lancre Castle. She could've changed clothes afterwards, but she and Verence decided not to wait a moment longer and got hitched in what they were wearing at the time. Bonus points for wearing the wedding dress over a suit of armor.
- The eponymous character in the book Anna Dressed in Blood died in the dress she was going to wear to an school dance, which, of course, was white.
- When Ellony marries Valraven in The Chronicles of Magravandias, an old wound reopens and bleeds all over her gown. Played with in that women wear red wedding dresses and Pharinet first thinks the color of the fabric has come off on Ellony's hand.
- Worn by a member of a bloodthirsty war party of Indians in the Cormac McCarthy novel Blood Meridian that they had stripped from one of their previous victims.
- In Katherine Kurtz' Deryni Histories of King Kelson Princess Sidana of Meara, on the point of being married to King Kelson, is stabbed at the altar by her own brother.
- A variant in Mistborn: The Original Trilogy: Vin proposes to, and marries, Elend while bleeding from at least three severe wounds, including one in her left boob.
- It's not Sophia's wedding dress exactly in The Kingdom of Little Wounds, but the nightdress she dies in on her wedding night gets very messy.
- It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - Mac tries to fake his own death by driving his car into a wall and is badly shaken/concussed by the event. Disappointed that the car doesn't blow up, he takes his friend Charlie to go get something to help things along, he finds a wedding dress in a pawn shop which he is completely enamored with. When he and Charlie return to the car, Mac is wearing the dress and bleeding all over it.
- Mash - In the episode "Margaret's Marriage," Head Nurse Margaret Houlihan is being married in the MASH's mess tent, when the ceremony is interrupted by incoming wounded, and after the ceremony is sped up, Houlihan, still in her wedding dress, and the rest of the doctors and nurses, still in their dress uniforms, have to rush to operate on the wounded. They all end up with blood on their clothes. Appeared on Houlihan, during a Dream Sequence as well.
- The season 3 finale of Dexter ends with a drop of Dexter's blood from his injured wrist falling onto the back of Rita's wedding dress as they dance at their wedding. Possibly a foreshadowing of how marrying a serial killer is going to get Rita killed by Trinity at the end of season 4.
- Smallville - Chloe Sullivan in season 8, Bride and Legion. Becomes a component of strong horror when she is possessed by Brainiac.
- In the Torchwood episode "A Day In The Death", Maggie, a woman Owen later talks to, was covered in blood following the fatal car crash an hour after her wedding. Also, in "Something Borrowed" Gwen's wedding dress gets splattered with some black alien blood.
- The UK Crime And Investigation Network has a Trailer for the show Snapped: Women Who Kill which shows us a bride. The narration asks us what we would do if we were getting our wedding dress fitted when our groom-to-be phoned up telling us the wedding was off. The camera pans back to show that the bride is holding a gun and that her gown is covered in blood.
- Also, in the episode where she actually got married, she immediately has to go into the OR, and is only wearing a scrub apron over her wedding dress as a bit of protection.
- An episode of Lie to Me has a bride spattered with blood when her new husband is shot at the reception.
- Kamen Rider has done this once in Kiva. Mio attempts to kill Taiga during their wedding ceremony. However the blood is later shed on her by Bishop. It should be noted this is the only time we see a Fangire bleeding, and even then its blue.
- Decade where in her visions Natsumi is always wearing a white dress. It is revealed it the last episode to be a wedding dress. It also crosses with Blood Spattered Innocent as she is forced to watch either Decade kill everyone or Decade get killed. The season finale hints at the latter, though he survived for two new movies to end the series in December
- Rizzoli & Isles: "Cuts Like a Knife" opens with a bride staggering into a wedding chapel, her dress soaked with blood from her cut throat.
- Breakout Kings: In "Off the Beaten Path", Erica is captured and dressed in a wedding veil by the escapee after she has freed his original victim. Charlie rescues her by shooting the escapee, splattering Erica and the veil with his blood.
- Doc Martin: Louisa, after a man's carotid artery is cut in the course of her honeymoon from hell.
- The promotional website for Showtime's series Penny Dreadful displays pictures, poems and items with a "Victorian horror" theme, including a wedding dress on which bloodstains appear if it's clicked.
- In Orphan Black Season 2 episode 4, Helena appears like this after she is forcibly married to one of the Prolethians. She manages to escape and slashes Daniel's throat in Rachel's apartment to prevent him from harming Sarah further.
- In a Season 4 episode of House, a Patient of the Week becomes ill at her wedding. One of the symptoms is a mild version of this.
- On Revenge, the third season In Medias Res opening has Emily in her wedding dress aboard a yacht being shot twice by an unseen assailant and falling overboard. When events catch up to the opening, the bloody dress washes ashore without Emily in it and is discovered by Jack and Aiden, alerting them that something has gone horribly wrong.
- Non-wedding-dress example: about half way through The Birthday Massacre's song Happy Birthday, the speaker's black-and-white dress becomes a black-and-red dress. It should be noted that this is the song that gave TBM their name.
- Alice Cooper's "Roses on White Lace" is a very literal example
- The covers of My Chemical Romance's "Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge" and "Life On The Murder Scene" feature a woman in a blood-spattered wedding dress (though it's much easier to tell she's in a wedding dress on the cover of the latter).
- Kate Bush's "The Wedding List": "God help the bride / She's a widow, all in red / With his red still wet."
- There is an English ballad called "The Rose and the Lily" that invokes this trope. Done by Eliza Carthy and Norma Waterson on the album "Gift".
- Jack Beeson's Lizzie Borden has Lizzie trying on her late mother's wedding dress prior to the climactic moment, resulting in this trope in The Reveal.
- Older Than Radio: Used in Donizetti's opera Lucia di Lammermoor. Female lead Lucia snaps after her Break the Cutie ordeals, goes insane and kills the guy she's been forced to marry on their wedding night, then comes downstairs from their room in her bloody gown, singing about the guy she truly loves while all the assembled wedding guests stare in horror. The aria she sings is named "Il dulce suono" ("The sweet sound").
- One of the sample characters in the Hunter: The Vigil sourcebook Slasher is the Painted Bride, a woman possessed by the spirit of a murdered bride who manipulates other brides into murdering their groom-to-be. For her, the blood splattered dress look is permanent; if she wears other clothes, the colors turn white after a couple hours, and red streaks begin to appear on her chest after that. Likewise, as a Legend (think Candyman), her means of possession/summoning usually involves the bride getting something red on their white dress.
- The Bride's wedding dress becomes this by the end of "Blood Wedding".
- Magda's white nightgown in Tanzder Vampire.
- The backstory of the character Bloody Mary from the game Twisted Metal Black tells how she finally snapped at a friend's wedding, tired of always being the bridesmaid and never the bride. She stabbed the bride to death and stole the bloodstained dress to wear herself.
- Aya Brea is found wandering around New York in one in The 3rd Birthday. You don't find out why until the end.
- Especially unique is that you can get that dress as equipment if you don't attack Dan in the martial arts tournament
- Perhaps not quite the same, but in SaGa Frontier, Emilia spends the last scenes of her quest (including the boss fight and following violent scenes) in the wedding dress she never got to wear after her fiancee was murdered. Of course, if it ends happily, her dress is put to correct use and is completely clean. The official artwork of her in her dress and veil, holding a large gun, makes for a striking juxtaposition.
- Subverted in Final Fantasy X, where Yuna wears a very white dress as she attempts to make Seymour un-undead.
- As pictured above, during the city elf origin in Dragon Age: Origins the Warden (if female) is kidnapped by the arl's son during her wedding, which results in this as she proceeds to slaughter the entire guard of the castle she was held captive in. While you get better armor almost immediately, nothing stops you from playing through the entire scenario in the wedding dress for some extra badassery. It's really just a bit fancier looking clothing though (unlike the one shown in the concept art), but given that the character is a commoner in a medieval era it is probably closer to reality.
- The Left 4 Dead 2 DLC The Passing features a Witch in a wedding dress. Playing the wedding music startles her, and startling her provokes a Horde attack.
- In Clive Barker's Undying, Lizbeth wears one of these.
- Male example: as a consequence of the events of the "Wedding" story mission in Sleeping Dogs, Wei Shen gets a blood-covered white tuxedo.
- The mission itself involves the Sun On Yee getting attacked by rival gang 18k during Wei Shen's boss Winston's wedding day. The shootout ends with Winston cradling his dead wife who was fatally shot in her bloody wedding dress, before he succumbs to his own wounds. Cue Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
- Injustice: Gods Among Us has some pretty strange endings, but Harley Quinn's takes the cake.
The defeat of Superman filled Harley with confidence. She knew what she was capable of, and knew what she wanted. She traveled to the visitors' Earth and freed The Joker from prison. Returning to her world, they married in a ceremony that set Gotham ablaze. At the reception, the cake cutting ceremony took a gruesome turn. As her new husband playfully mashed her face into the cake, years of abuse took its toll. Something in Harley snapped. She used the ceremonial knife to slash Joker's throat. Still in her wedding gown, Harley now resides permanently in Arkham Asylum.
- Time and Eternity has this happen to Toki/Towa at the start of the game, during the Widowed at the Wedding scenario that kick-starts the plot. It happens again during their second attempt at the wedding, but this time the blood is Toki's own.
- In Tekken 7, Nina Williams returns as the Fatal Bride clad in a torn, bloodied wedding dress.
- Bloodborne has Yharnam, Pthumerian Queen. Lore heavily implies that it was she who gave birth to the creature that causes most of the problems later on in the game, Mergo. The Blood Stains are mainly around her stomach area, leaving some very disturbing implications, but when you fight her it gets MUCH bloodier...
- The title character of Guenevere gets slashed during an assassination attempt during her wedding. She isn't afflicted with any lasting damage, but her Fairytale Wedding Dress is.
- This set of photos on Wedinator submitted by the lady pictured, she decided to wreck her wedding dress this way to celebrate the finalisation of her divorce. It appears to be cow blood.
- Princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg (better known as Ena) was the youngest granddaughter of Queen Victoria). She married King Alfonso (the last King of Spain before Juan Carlos) in Madrid in 1906. During their carriage procession, a anarchist's bomb was exploded which killed many of their entourage including decapitating a guardsman riding alongside the bride. Both Ena and her dress were drenched in his blood. None of the usual post-wedding photos were made - the news magazines carried sketches instead. It was a chilling foreshawdowing: Ena passed on haemophilia into the Spanish Royal Family - as with the Romanovs the heir to the throne was afflicted, the monarchy was eventually deposed (in Spain's case, in 1931) and a bloody civil war ensued.
- Angelina Jolie decided she wanted one of these when she married Jonny Lee Miller, so she wrote the groom's name on the white shirt she wore to her wedding, in her own blood.
- The sad case of Estrella Carrera, who was found stabbed to death shortly after her wedding, still dressed in her wedding gown.
- During the worst periods of the pogroms in Imperial Russia, it was not uncommon for anti-Semites to seek out new brides specifically as targets for their violence as a symbolic gesture (since the brides would eventually bear the next generation of Jewish children). Since custom in the brides' communities dictated that the dead be buried in whatever they were wearing when they died, several of these young women were laid to rest in their bloodied wedding gowns. (This, incidentally, was the origin behind the folk tale that inspired Corpse Bride.)