Sunday, September 3, 2017

White House Weddings: Lynda Bird Johnson

Lynda Bird Johnson became the eighth child of a sitting president to marry in the White House, on December 9, 1967, when she was 23.
File:The Johnsons in the Oval Office.jpg
The Johnson Family in the Oval Office. Public Domain
The elder of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s two daughters, Lynda caught the bouquet thrown by younger sister Luci at her August, 1966 wedding, making her “the next to wed,” but the media was already keeping a close eye on Lynda’s romantic relationships. She had previously dated actor George Hamilton and was engaged to Bernard Rosenbach before she met Charles S. Robb. 

Robb, 28, was a military aide at the White House and a Captain in the U. S. Marine Corps. He was scheduled to serve in Vietnam, so the wedding was arranged so the couple would have a little time together before he left. 

Preparations were noted by the press, and taxpayers wondered who’d foot the bill for the wedding, but the President is said to have joked that he would have to take out a substantial loan to pay for the nuptials. Lynda presented her seven bridesmaids with a bird-shaped gold pin inscribed "Lynda 12967," and Robb gave his groomsmen a gold cufflinks.

File:Lynda Bird Johnson and Charles Robb wedding.jpg
The wedding! Public Domain
The ceremony was held at 4 p.m. in the East Room, which was decorated with topiaries and red ribbon. Bishop Gerald Nicholas McAllister officiated in front of a wall screen of seasonal evergreens and lit white candles. The bride wore a $1200 long-sleeved, high-necked gown designed by Geoffrey Beene, with no lace—quite different from the wedding dress worn by Lynda’s sister Luci at her wedding a year and a half previously. Lynda’s veil was long, and she carried a bouquet of white flowers.

Her seven bridesmaids wore long-sleeved, seasonally-red velvet gowns, but the color might also have been chosen because the bride liked the painting “Red Boy” by Francisco de Goya—the color of the bridesmaid gowns became known as “Goya Red.” Matching velvet bows with streamers were pinned in the bridesmaids’ hair and they carried bouquets of matching red flowers. (Photos are copyright protected, by they really were lovely. Click here.)

After the ceremony, the bride and groom left under a saber arch formed by six Marine captains. The wedding party followed, and they all adjourned upstairs for photos. The 650 guests were asked to leave the East Room for a short time so the space could be “flipped” for the reception. Staff set up tables and a dais for the orchestra. Once ready, the room was re-opened and guests were welcomed back in for cocktails before the buffet was served. (Supposedly, the champagne bill alone was $5000.)

The couple returned, received guests, enjoyed their meal, cut the cake (a pound cake flavored with lemon and mace), and had their first dance. Music was provided by the Peter Duchin Orchestra, including a song written for the wedding called "It's Always Lynda." 

Later, Lynda changed into a going away outfit and she and Robb left the reception, flying off in a helicopter.
File:Lyndon B. Johnson's family Xmas Eve 1968.jpg
The Johnsons with daughters and grandchildren, Christmas Eve, 1968. Lynda is on the far right. Public Domain

Robb served with distinction in Vietnam, and became a lawyer when he returned. In 1978, he became Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, and in 1982, Governor of Virginia. Later, he served two terms as Virginia’s US Senator.
Chuck Robb while US Senator. Public Domain

Meanwhile, Lynda chaired the President’s Advisory Committee for Women during the Carter Administration, working to promote equality for women. She later became chair of the Reading is Fundamental Board, America’s largest organization promoting children’s literacy, and worked as a contributing editor to Ladies Home Journal, as well as serving in her parents’ foundations.

Lynda Robb with former President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalyn Carter. Public Domain
The couple had three daughters, Lucinda (b. 1968), Catherine (b. 1970) and Jennifer (b. 1978), and reside today in Virginia.

BIO: Susanne Dietze began writing love stories in high school, casting her friends in the starring roles. Today, she's the award-winning author of over a dozen historical romances who's seen her work on the ECPA and Publisher's Weekly Bestseller Lists for Inspirational Fiction. Married to a pastor and the mom of two, Susanne lives in California and enjoys fancy-schmancy tea parties, genealogy, the beach, and curling up on the couch with a costume drama and a plate of nachos. You can learn more about her and her books, including mail-order twist My Heart Belongs in Ruby City, Idaho: Rebecca's Plight, on her website, 


  1. Thanks for these posts! Always fun to read about the weddings.

    1. Thanks, Connie! I enjoy learning about the weddings, too.

      Hope you're having a great weekend!

  2. I enjoyed reading about Lynda Bird Johnson's wedding and seeing the pictures. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Hi Marilyn! I'm glad you enjoyed the post. There are many pictures online that I would have loved to add, but they are not public domain, so I couldn't. The bridesmaid dresses were spectacular!

      Have a great weekend.

  3. Loved this wonderful post! Thank you so much for sharing!

  4. I have to laugh because this isn't history to me. It's part of my life. Lynda and I had children the same year. Her first daughter and my youngest son were both born in 1968. I was about eleven years older than Lynda, but felt she was a contemporary.

    I remember so many pictures of the wedding and of her life in newspapers and magazines. It was fun to read about them again. Thanks for bringing back those memories. Besides, I love weddings and am getting ready for one in about 4 weeks for our grandson.