What Olivia Culpo’s Wedding Dress Says about Biblical Marriage

Fashion has a way of exposing the true underbelly of culture, it reflects more of what is not said rather than what is expressed overtly. Fashion sets a tone, shares a message, and speaks visually in a glance at what would require a verbose explanation to express in word form. Recently the dress Olivia Culpo chose to wear has caused a stir of mixed reviews for her wedding. In many ways her choice of wedding gown expresses a reminder we need to remember about weddings: they ought to be about marriage more than an event.

Who Is Olivia Culpo?

Olivia Culpo is a model, influencer, and former pageant winner. She first rose to national attention by winning Miss Rhode Island 2012, followed by Miss American 2012, and finally, Miss Universe 2012. She has remained in the public eye with her fashion, beauty, and food insights on social media, campaign partnerships with companies, and former romantic relationships. Overall, her mission is to “further inspire her readers to feel beautiful and live glamorously through her website.” ( She recently was married to Christian McCaffrey of the San Francisco 49ers on June 29th.

What She Said of the Dress

Much of the stir regarding her dress choice played a role because she is in many ways a trend setter and fashion icon. The world had an expectation of an ostentatious designer gown but was stunned when her Dolce and Gabbana dress expressed a different tone than assumed. She said of the style choice, “I didn’t want it to exude sex in any way, shape or form. I wanted it to feel effortless and as if it’s complementing me, not overpowering me. There’s so much beauty and simplicity.” This invites a conversation as to the role fashion can play in expressing what marriage truly represents.

What Does This Say about Biblical Marriage?

The wedding gown is something we seldom take into account when discussing Biblical marriage, but perhaps Olivia’s stance is an inspiration for us to reconsider the role dresses play. Throughout the Bible we see that ultimately a Christian marriage, one blessed by God, is something that ought to reflect Christ and His bride, the Church. Wedding dresses in secular culture are often used to reflect status and compliment specific body features or particular styles of recent trends. This is not to say that a dress cannot be dynamic, promote purity, and be flattering to the woman, but it does serve as an encouragement to remember that at the end of the day, the wedding should be more about the marriage than glam. Culpo explained that to her, the dress represented what marriage really is, “It’s a covenant. It’s the beginning of the rest of your life—and it’s the union and bond of two people forever.” In a way her dress is perhaps a reminder to us all-married or not- that there is far more to a wedding than just the event.

Where Does Purity Culture Play a Role?

Another angle to look at things is the aspect of purity culture in all of this. Culpo previously dated Nick Jonas, someone who, in the early 00s, alongside his brothers, promoted purity rings and the call that “true love waits,” but then years later rejected purity culture and spoke poorly of the concept. Purity Culture has received a bad reputation in that shame entered the scene to pollute something that, pardon the pun, had pure intentions. Many people confuse purity and virginity, but the two are not interchangeable words. Purity can be kept in marriage; you do not lose your purity just because you get married. Consider King David in this, for he did not lose the purity of heart until he committed adultery, though he had been married for some time previously. Purity is something that can be lost, but it can also be redeemed as well. This redemption only occurs through the forgiveness and renewal offered through Christ Jesus. 1 Corinthians 6:11 reminds us that “you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of God.” Where Purity Culture gets it wrong is the introduction of shame into the arena. Shame ranging from viewing sex as something dirty and wrong to shame to be counted out for redemption. What the Church needs to be promoting is the realization that humans are in need of a Savior, and it is only through Jesus Christ that we can be made pure.

How Has Society Responded?

The wedding dress and statements went viral, especially on TikTok, with some unfavorable comments sprinkled throughout. Many found the dress to be lackluster, while others felt even her make-up was too understated. To this, Olivia clapped back, saying, “I wanted it to feel effortless and as if it’s complimenting me, not overpowering me. There’s so much beauty and simplicity.” Olivia’s husband, Christian, also responded to those criticizing defending his wife by expressing, “What an evil thing to post online. I hope you can find joy and peace in the world the way my beautiful wife does.” The pair handled much of this surprising disdain with great class and decorum.

How Should Christians Respond?

Culpo reminds Christians that marriage is so much more than just a dress, a lavish event, or just two people- it’s about covenant. It shifts the entire narrative that a wedding is the greatest day of your life, and it instead reminds us that marriage is something that should not be entered into lightly nor treated capriciously in planning. Her dress may not be to the liking or taste of all, even those who choose to dress very modestly, but it was symbolic to her and to her husband in the commitment they were making to each other and God on their wedding day. To them, the dress represented not the desire to marry for carnal reasons but rather to make the vow quite literally before God in asking Him to bless their union. This is certainly not the norm for celebrity weddings, but it also serves as a reminder that celebrities are human, too. As Christians we can take a nod from this example to encourage those who are considering marriage to remember it is more about God than the day.

Iconic wedding gowns from Grace Kelly to now Olivia Culpo will raise stirs and conversations, but at the end of the day, what we must consider is that marriage is not a fashion show runway. Weddings are not the Met Gala, and this was a fresh reminder of such. Marriage is something not to enter into without asking God if this is something He is Authoring, and then it is something that should in all ways honor God. Although Culpo and McCaffery are both humans with flaws and sins, their intentions and actions for their wedding reflect purity and honor to God through their union. May we all take a moment to ponder this and perhaps encourage those who are considering marriage to take a nudge of reflection from this as well.


Photo credit: ©GettyImages/RoyRochlin/Stringer

Cally Logan is an author and US History teacher from Richmond, Virginia. Her works have been featured on “The 700 Club Interactive” and Christine Caine’s “Propel Women,” among several notable outlets. She served as a mentor for young women for several years and enjoys challenging ladies to develop deeper relationships with God and to live fearlessly and authentically. She received her B.A. Degree from Regent University. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time in nature, having genuine chats over coffee, and woodworking. Her new book, The Wallflower That Bloomed, will be available everywhere on May 1, 2024. It is set to be featured in Jesus Calling and on The 700 Club on May 28, 2024. @CallyLogan Instagram 

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