The words “white” and “wedding dress” had not been used together until Queen Victoria married Prince Albert. After she wore a white wedding dress, the reports on her ceremony introduced the English public to the idea of having the bride wear white. Many more words about the white wedding dress then appeared in Bride’s Magazine, which first came out in 1934 and in Modern Bride, which first appeared on store shelves in 1949.
As larger numbers of English and American people read about the white wedding, churches began to see an increase in the number of similar white weddings. Then little by little, as the culture of Western countries spread eastward from Europe, the citizens in those countries developed their own adaptation of the white wedding.
Eventually those who had read about a western bride dressed in white began to expect the entrance of such a bride at all the high-society weddings. Western society also learned about other ways to make weddings even more specifical. The members of that society set the standards for the new “wedding etiquette.” A bride who had managed to follow that etiquette during her wedding ceremony was said to have had a “white wedding.”
For a white wedding, the bride would hire an organist. She would arrange for a choir to sing at her wedding. She would plan for the church to be full of flowers, and she would get flowers for the ushers to wear in their lapels. Those ushers would give to each guest a leaflet that contained details about the planned, wedding service.
Not all of the traditions in the westernized, white wedding became adapted by the countries in the Near and Far East. Those countries certainly did not require a prescribed entrance for the family members. They did not demand that the grandparents should be seated first, followed by the mothers of the bride and groom. They acknowledged the place of the best man, but they felt less strongly about the need for a large contingent of bride’s maids.
One tradition initiated by Queen Victoria generated immediate interest among brides all over the world. That tradition concerned the bride’s dress. Women everywhere caught onto the basic element of a white wedding. Women everywhere dreamed about wearing a white dress at their own wedding.
Women everywhere strived to look their best on their wedding day. They wanted to appear especially beautiful, when they were photographed, while wearing a white wedding dress.