When you think of an iconic wedding dress, which bride comes to mind? It’s probably someone famous or a real-life queen or princess. Maybe it’s a wedding dress from your favorite rom-com.
As soon as we set our eyes on these beautiful gowns, we fell in love with them. These brides and their wedding dresses were trend-setters and many designers still use them as inspiration today! Here’s a look back at the ones we can’t stop thinking about.
The Bride: Queen Victoria (Wed Prince Albert in 1840)
Queen Victoria was one of the first trend-setters for future brides. She popularized the white wedding dress—a color many brides stick to today. Vanity Fair reported that the queen settled on white because it really showed off the lace detail on her dress.
The Bride: Grace Kelly (Wed Prince Rainier III in 1956)
Although American-actress Grace Kelly wasn’t a royal herself, she looked like royalty for her wedding to Prince Rainier III of Monaco. The gown was considered one of the most extravagant designs of the mid 20th century—the 8 thousand-dollar price tag would cost about 68-thousand dollars today. The elegant dress was designed by MGM costume designer Helen Rose and boasted 100 yards of fine silk and 25 yards of taffeta. This gown has been an inspiration for many celebrity brides, including royal Kate Middleton!
The Bride: Lady Diana Spencer (Wed Charles, Prince of Wales in 1981)
The gown that soon-to-be-princess Diana wore on her wedding day is legendary. This ivory, silk taffeta gown was designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel and had more than 10-thousand pearls. It also featured stunning antique lace and a 25-foot-long train. To top it all off—a 153-yard tulle veil. So inspiring and so beautiful, the gown definitely encouraged the puff sleeve fashion trend of the ‘80s (and they’re making a comeback!).
The Bride: Kate Middleton (Wed Prince William in 2011)
You can definitely tell that Kate’s wedding dress was inspired by Grace Kelly’s gown—the neckline, collar, and use of lace. The Alexander McQueen dress not only hints at past wedding designs but has also influenced future designs. The strapless dress with a lace overlay is now a modern staple for many bridal shops. The gown, designed by Sarah Burton, is rumored to have cost more than 434-thousand dollars to make. It features white and ivory fabric plus silk tulle underneath the 9-foot-long train.
The Bride: Pippa Middleton (Maid of honor to Kate Middleton in 2011 & wed James Matthews in 2017)
Pippa Middleton deserved a double dress callout. Her maid of honor dress was almost as popular as Kate’s wedding dress. The beautiful boat neckline, the fitted satin, and long trail of buttons on the back were amazing. This Alexander McQueen column gown also set a trend of white bridesmaid dresses.
Six years later, her own wedding dress had similarities to Kate’s—the lace overlay, the fitted bodice, and high neckline. She was a standout in the capped-sleeve custom gown by British designer Giles Deacon. We also LOVE the heart-shaped cutout on the back. Simply stunning!
The Bride: Elizabeth Taylor (Wed Michael Wilding in 1952 & wed Richard Burton in 1964)
Elizabeth Taylor had several iconic wedding-day looks. She was married 8 times between her first wedding in 1950 and her last wedding in 1991. One of her most notable and less traditional looks was for her second wedding when she married Michael Wilding. She wore a modest Helen Rose-designed suit, the same designer who created her first wedding dress.
Another dress that we can’t forget about is the canary yellow, satin babydoll dress. Taylor and Burton fell in love on the set of “Cleopatra” and the film’s costume designer Irene Sharaff crafted the bright and bold dress. Taylor topped off the dress with a diamond and emerald Bulgari brooch and a dramatic braided updo filled with hyacinths and lilies of the valley.
The Bride: Jacqueline Bouvier (Wed John F. Kennedy in 1953)
Dubbed as one of the most memorable weddings dresses of all time, Jackie’s dress was truly beautiful. What you may not know about this iconic gown is that it almost didn’t happen. Just ten days before her nuptials, Jackie’s dress was destroyed in a flood. African-American designer Ann Lowe pulled together this gorgeous ivory silk-taffeta gown with a full bouffant skirt and portrait neckline. Jackie finished the look with her grandmother’s heirloom rose-point lace veil. Many people say this wedding was the closest to a royal wedding that America would ever see.
The Bride: Marilyn Monroe (Wed Joe DiMaggio in 1954)
Although Monroe was married three times, the dress she wore when she wed Joe DiMaggio was the most iconic. She chose a chocolate brown, below-the-knee dress with a matching jacket. It was an appropriate choice for her casual elopement with the baseball star, but still very unusual for the usually sultry actress. The marriage only lasted 274 days but according to People Magazine, DiMaggio had flowers delivered to Monroe’s grave twice a week until his death nearly 37 years later.
The Bride: Audrey Hepburn (Wed Mel Ferrer in 1954 & Wed Andrea Dotti in 1969)
Hepburn, another iconic actress, had two must-see wedding looks. Her first wedding dress was simple and sweet. She wore a white tea-length fit-and-flare dress with a sash around her tiny waist and white gloves that went up to her elbows. The floral crown was just an extra-romantic addition. Designer Pierre Balmain made the ensemble just for Hepburn. It was a perfect choice for the bride whose popularity soared after the release of Roman Holiday just a year earlier.
Fifteen years later, Hepburn turned to Hubert de Givenchy for her second wedding dress. It was a fun long-sleeved, funnel-necked pale pink minidress. She paired it with white tights, ballet flats, and a matching headscarf. It was very ‘60s! Although the look was low-key, it was very mature for her ceremony in Switzerland.
The Bride: Liza Minnelli (Wed Peter Allen in 1967 & Wed David Gest in 2002)
Minnelli’s first wedding dress was dubbed “ahead of its time” by Good Housekeeping. The high neckline and long, ruffled sleeves had a sleek design with an abundance of lace. It definitely had a Victorian feel and was super sweet.
By the time Minnelli was on her 4th marriage, her style was definitely more flamboyant. It came as no surprise that she walked down the aisle in a dazzling beaded off-the-shoulder gown, designed by Bob Mackie. This wedding was definitely a star-studded event with Michael Jackson as the best man and Elizabeth Taylor as the maid of honor. The wedding was rumored to have cost about 3.5-million dollars.
The Bride: Priscilla Ann Wagner (Wed Elvis Presley in 1967)
Priscilla was a very unique bride in many aspects. She and Presley were married in an intimate morning ceremony at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas with flowers, candles, and only 14 guests. There were rumors that Wagner designed her own dress, but she told Vogue many years later that it was purchased off-the-rack in Vegas. She admitted to using a fake name and wore a blonde wig to keep things private. She ended up with a white floor-length gown featuring beading on the sleeves and chest. Her 3-feet-long tulle veil even had a mini rhinestone tiara underneath.
The Bride: Bianca Pérez-Mora Macías (Wed Mick Jagger in 1971)
Who said you have to wear a dress on your big day? Bianca broke the mold of traditional wedding attire and wore a low-cut white suit for her nuptials to singer Mick Jagger. The chic suit, designed by Yves Saint Laurent, was super sleek and fashion-forward. The bride topped off her look with a wide-brimmed hat and veil. Talk about trend-setting!
The Bride: Mariah Carey (Wed Tommy Mottola in 1993)
The singer definitely gave off royalty vibes when she said, “I do!” Her Vera Wang gown was inspired by Princess Diana’s, featuring a 27-foot train, a 10-foot veil, and a tiara on her head. We love the modern twist on this royally-influenced gown—the deep sweetheart neckline and the off-the-shoulder puffed sleeves. She eventually wears the gown again in her 2005 music video “We belong together”.
Can you say WOW?! Celine stole the show in her jaw-dropping wedding gown by designers Mirella and Steve Gentile. The all-lace sleeves, full skirt and sparkling embellishments would’ve made this dress unforgettable in itself. But the most dramatic part of her ensemble was her headpiece—it boasted 2-thousand Austrian crystals and weighed seven pounds!
The Bride: Gwen Stefani (Wed Gavin Rossdale in 2002)
Another singer with a statement-making wedding dress. Gwen’s custom Christian Dior label gown was hand-painted pink and white ombre. This look was, no doubt, super bold at the time and would eventually lead to a trendy hair color. (Who knew?) While promoting her fourth studio album in 2017, Stefani was dressed in a pink and white gown that resembled her wedding day attire. At the time, engagement rumors were swirling with her then-boyfriend Blake Shelton.
The Bride: Amal Alamuddin (Wed George Clooney in 2014)
Amal was the most beautiful bride and had many stunning looks for her wedding weekend. During her civil ceremony in Italy she wore a custom two-piece set by Stella McCartney. It was very casual-chic and we are all for it! She wrapped up the look with a matching wide-brim hat and carried an envelope clutch.
For the actual wedding, Amal stunned in a custom off-the-shoulder lace gown. The dress featured hand-embroidered pearls and diamante stones, complemented with a cathedral-length veil. The Oscar de la Renta gown cost 380-thousand dollars and was the last wedding dress the designer created before he passed. Amal’s gown gained so much attention that it was temporarily featured in an Oscar de la Renta exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, TX.
The Bride: Kim Kardashian (Wed Kanye West in 2014)
Kim’s gown is listed as one of the most expensive wedding dresses of all time, of course. The 500-thousand-dollar custom Givenchy gown was designed by her close personal friend Riccardo Tisci. Kim showed off her curves in an ivory lace trumpet silhouette with a crew neckline and long sleeves. It was extremely sexy and awe-inspiring for her nuptials in Italy. (P.S. Kardashian tweeted this photo on her account just three days after her wedding with the caption: Mr. & Mrs. Kanye West!)
Angelina’s wedding dress was literally a unique work of art. Her white satin Versace gown and veil was custom-made by Luigi Massi, a family friend, with the help of her 6 children. The kids’ colorful drawings were incorporated into the dress and veil, making it one of a kind. The beautiful bride finished the look with a sleek bun, white silk Versace heels, and natural makeup for their wedding in France.
The Bride: Scarlett O’Hara as Vivien Leigh in Gone With the Wind (1939)
Scarlett O’Hara set the bar for box office wedding dresses. It’s very southern, elegant, and totally regal. Designer Walter Plunkett made the iconic dress ill-fitting on purpose, to fit the theme of a “bride in a hurry”. Since her groom was heading to war, the bride had to borrow her mother’s gown. What a commitment to the story!
The Brides: Elizabeth Taylor as Kay Banks & Kimberly Williams as Annie Banks in Father of the Bride (1950 & 1991)
We couldn’t choose just one version of the “Father of the Bride” wedding dress. They were both incredibly beautiful and memorable. In the original 1950 film, Elizabeth Taylor walked down the aisle in a stunning gown that featured lace, satin, and so many intricate details. The designer, Helen Rose, created some of the most famous wedding dresses of the era and, as mentioned earlier, Taylor’s bridal gowns for her first two marriages.
For the 1991 remake, actress Kimberly Williams wore an elegant all-lace version of the 1950’s gown made by costumer Susan Becker. The stunning veil is very similar to the original, but the real show-stopper is the massive center bow on the back of the dress. Williams said for her own nuptials to country singer Brad Paisley she wore comfortable sneakers underneath, just like her character did in the movie.
The Bride: Audrey Hepburn as Jo Stockton in Funny Face (1957)
We definitely feel like Jo Stockton’s gown was ahead of its time. The tea-length dress is super chic and inspired many future brides to opt for a shorter wedding dress. We love the ballerina- style skirt with the bateau neckline. It’s a totally classic look!
The Bride: Julie Andrews as Maria Von Trapp in The Sound of Music (1965)
Can’t you just hear the wedding bells and Andrews’ beautiful voice? This ivory satin gown is gorgeous with its classic shape and modest V-neckline. Designer Dorothy Jacobs not only fit the character’s taste well but also the woman who wore it. The iconic gown sold for more than 23-thousand dollars at an auction in 2013.
The Bride: Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradshaw in Sex & the City (2008)
This wedding gown was MADE for Carrie Bradshaw. It was bold and princess-like but in a very sophisticated way. The silk tulle veil with the feather headpiece was just the tip of the romantic iceberg.
Of course, this Vivienne Westwood stunner didn’t make it down the aisle in the 2008 rom-com. Bradshaw wore an equally chic vintage suit paired with fabulous blue satin Manolo Blahnik pumps to her courthouse ceremony. After the movie’s release, a shorter version of the Westwood dress sold out within hours online.
The Bride: Julia Roberts as Shelby Eatenton in Steel Magnolias (1989)
Julia Roberts has worn a lot of wedding dresses, but this gown takes the cake. As her first role as an on-screen bride, she looks like a total Southern belle thanks to designer Julie Weiss. The feminine pale pink satin ball gown is adorned with tiny pink flowers on the bodice and pink sashes in the skirt. Roberts looks stunning and beautiful and PINK! Plus, the off-the-shoulder style is so romantic.
The Brides: Kate Hudson as Liv Lerner & Anne Hathaway as Emma Allan in Bride Wars (2009)
Vera Wang designed two amazing bridal gowns that fit the personalities of the on-screen besties perfectly. Hudson was dressed in a sweetheart tulle ball gown with a fitted bodice and dramatic veil. The accent that made the look—a lavender sash. It’s so romantic and girly. Wang sold this style dress in her bridal boutiques for 6-thousand dollars each and they quickly sold out.
Emma’s fit-and-flare ivory gown boasts more regal elegance. The one-shoulder neckline with the off-the-shoulder twist was very romantic and gave off a modern flair. Wang’s design team did a great job designing a dress with a more timeless feel since it was passed down from the character’s mother. Both gowns (and actresses) look absolutely beautiful!