Let's embark on a 100-year journey through the history of nuptials, shall we?
Overseas in Britain, where many of the country's young men had been sent off to war, young couples began forming romances through letter writing. Many of these couples became engaged without ever having met face to face, a phenomenon that resulted in a large number of "hasty war weddings."
The tradition of bridesmaids wearing matching dresses dates back to ancient Rome, when bridesmaids not only wore the same dresses as each other, but also the same dress as the bride in order to act as decoys against evil spirits (and the bride's exes). Matching striped frocks and fancy hats were worn by these bridesmaids in 1917.
Queen Victoria kicked off the tradition of wearing white on your wedding day in 1840, and by the early 20th century the chaste hue was the color of choice for society brides. However, the trend didn't take off with middle-class brides until after World War II ended and laundry techniques became more advanced.
After World War I, as formal weddings became more popular, those without full-time social secretaries realized they needed help wrangling the caterer, the invitation printer, the florist, and the seamstress—and so, the wedding planner was born.
What better way to usher in the Jazz Age than with the wedding of the era's most iconic couple? F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda Sayre exchanged vows in front of just eight guests on April 3, 1920 at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City.
Silent film actress Natalie Talmadge married Hollywood great Buster Keaton in 1921, carrying a bouquet of roses intertwined with long ribbon streamers, a popular bouquet style in the U.S. at the time.
Royal wedding alert! In February 1922, Princess Mary of England married Viscount Lascelles at Westminster Abbey in London, considered by many to be the wedding event of the year. Here, workers prepare ornamental silhouettes of the happy couple for decoration (just imagine if Mary had had access to Pinterest!).
Three models wear wedding dresses typical of the 1920s, with slim lines, short hemlines, and cloche veils.
The black-and-white silent film Troubles of a Bride, produced in 1924, apparently sought to answer the question "At what age should a girl marry?" (No word on what the final answer was, though the median age for a woman's first marriage in 1920 was 21.2.)
During the Jazz Age, wedding vendors began to see the profit potential of marketing to brides, and stores began opening bridal departments that offered all kinds of merchandise geared toward weddings, including white bridal dresses.
In December 1926, guests showered legendary director Alfred Hitchcock and Alma Reville after the two got "hitch"-ed.
Marshall Field's invented the wedding registry in 1924, and the idea quickly caught on at other department stores in the following years as a way for couples to let their friends and family know which china, silver, and crystal patterns they preferred. Here, a collection of wedding gifts sits on display in 1927.
The first fully automatic photographic film developing machine was patented in 1928, paving the way for wedding photography as we know it today. In the late 19th century, some couples began hiring a photographer to come to the wedding venue in order to pose for a formal wedding picture, but it wasn't until after World War II, once film roll technology was available and lighting techniques had improved, that photographers began capturing the entire wedding event.
After a series of stock market crashes in 1929, the Jazz Age came to an end, and in the years that followed, the Depression led many women to return to the less expensive traditions of their grandmothers, choosing to simply wear their best dresses on their wedding days.
Wedding cakes were initially thought of as a luxury item, as the refined sugars needed to make pure white frosting were very expensive. In fact, the term "royal icing" came about thanks to Queen Victoria and her extravagant, multitiered white-frosted wedding cake. Pictured here is a wedding cake from 1930.
Prince Monolulu and his bride surrounded by crowds on August 19, 1931. Prince Monolulu (1881-1965) was a popular figure at British racecourses in the 1930s and 1940s.
Proof that couples have been attempting unique and quirky weddings for decades: This couple seals the deal with a kiss on a surfboard on December 3, 1932, just off Catalina Island, California.
Bring on the open bar! Prohibition was repealed on December 5, 1933, meaning wedding guests could now legally raise a glass to the newlyweds.
The first issue of BRIDES magazine hit newsstands in 1934 under the title So You're Going to Be Married, before being renamed.
The Bride of Frankenstein hit theaters in April that year, giving moviegoers everywhere a look into the disaster than can ensue when one tries to force a woman into a marriage she doesn't want.
Famed English tennis player Eileen Bennett wed racehorse trainer Marcus Marsh on September 28, 1936. She often wore headbands on the court and chose to walk down the aisle in a headpiece and long veil, which were in fashion at the time.
King Edward VIII gave up his crown to marry Wallis Simpson, a twice-divorced American, on June 1937. At just 326 days, Edward's reign was one of the shortest in British history.
At Grosvenor House in London, a model shows off a luxury gown made of 48 yards of satin and 22 yards of tulle. On average, 1930s brides paid $1,092 in today's dollars for their dresses.
With the start of World War II, bridal fashions became more modest. Weddings were often planned in a few days, to accommodate men who were on short-notice leave. Pictured above, professional golfer Henry Cotton and his bride, Mrs. M. I. Moss, on their wedding day. A sign in the background points to an air-raid shelter.
Prior to World War II, male wedding bands were not as common as they are today. American men chose to wear these rings while fighting overseas to remind themselves of their wives and families back home.
Heiress Gloria Vanderbilt wed movie producer Pat DiCicco in Beverly Hills on December 28,1941. Even back then, the future fashion designer was ahead of her time: Even though cake toppers (reportedly) made their debut during the Victorian era, they didn't become popular until the 1950s.
Sixteen-year-old Marilyn Monroe (then known as Norma Jean Baker) married her 21-year-old neighbor, James Dougherty, on June 19, 1942.
Actress Carole Landis may have danced the Jitterbug to big band music, as was customary at the time, during her 1943 reception. Landis married Air Force captain Thomas Wallace on January 23.
Wartime weddings, such as this English couple's town hall ceremony, often saw the groom wearing his military uniform, while the bride donned her best dress in lieu of a gown.
With the war over, Americans were ready to eat, drink and be married! Their celebratory mood sparked the Baby Boomer generation.