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Something Old, Something New: Elizabeth Tyler

Something Old, Something New: Eight First Daughters’ Fashionable White House Weddings highlights the glamorous weddings of eight women who took their vows at the White House over two centuries and how their bridal fashion reflects both the taste of each era and their own personal styles. This exhibit was curated by Jillian Staricka, the 2023 Digital Exhibits Intern and MA student in Costume Studies at New York University.

Elizabeth Tyler

Married to William Waller on January 31, 1842

This table details the known items of Elizabeth Tyler’s wedding ensemble. A wedding ensemble is comprised of all the garments and accessories worn by a bride on their wedding day. The wedding ensemble is part of the trousseau, a collection of garments, accessories, and personal items that a bride will take into their new marriage.

Elizabeth “Lizzie” Tyler married William Waller, a lawyer from her home state of Virginia, on January 31, 1842. Lizzie’s sister-in-law and surrogate White House hostess, Priscilla Cooper Tyler, planned the small affair with friends and family being the only guests. Although, like Maria Monroe, no images of Elizabeth in her wedding ensemble remain, newspapers note that the bride “looked surpassingly lovely in her wedding-dress and long blond-lace veil.” The internationally famous wedding of the United Kingdom’s Queen Victoria to Prince Albert had also occurred only two years prior, and her English-made white silk satin gown quickly spread as inspiration for brides across the Atlantic. Though Victoria was not the originator of the white wedding dress, the publicity surrounding her 1840 wedding “made it the standard to which all other brides aspired.” It is possible that the trends sparked by Victoria’s gown served as inspiration for Elizabeth’s own gown.