• top frame 
  • Photograph of a military couple on their wedding day standing on the church steps.
  • Magnifying Glass

Mr. and Mrs. Harold Walker, November 13, 1917
© Bata Shoe Museum, S01.18

The White Wedding

White Weddings

The effects of Queen Victoria’s white wedding on Western bridal costume were far reaching. As brides sought to emulate royal fashion, the role and meaning of the wedding dress changed dramatically.

While wedding dresses of earlier times were, in part, prized as “best dresses” that would be worn again and again, by the late 19th century the white wedding dress had evolved into a single use item. Its expanse of white fabric symbolized purity as well as disposable wealth. By the 20th century, a bride dressed in white from head to toe was the icon of the Western wedding.