You know what they say: Celebrity marriages come and go but their glamorous wedding ceremonies live on forever. Fortunately, these noteworthy, trend-setting nuptials provide endless matrimonial fodder for us to marvel and draw inspiration from for happily ever after (though we can’t say the same about the marriages).
Celeb weddings style: A tale of two royals
The couple: Academy Awarding-winning actress Grace Kelly (26 at the time) and Prince Rainer III of Monaco (32), head of Europe’s oldest ruling family.
When: April 19, 1956
Where: Religious ceremony held at the Cathedral of Monaco, attended by around 600 guests and watched by an estimated 30 million on television (the civil ceremony took place the day before in the baroque throne room in the Palace of Monaco).
Wedding dress: Despite couturiers and designers from European and American fashion houses vying for the dressmaking gig, the honour ultimately went to Helen Rose, Academy-Award winning costume designer for MGM Studios. A team of thirty-five MGM craftspeople in just six weeks produced the iconic ivory silk wedding dress with lace and pearl accents—as well as the bridal ensemble, from her delicate cap and tulle veil to the prayer book and pumps— that likely inspired the future Duchess of Cambridge’s Sarah Burton-designed Alexander McQueen gown at her Royal wedding over half a century later.
Guest list: A swath of old Hollywood royalty— Cary Grant, David Niven, Gloria Swanson, Aristotle Onassis, Ava Gardner—alongside members of actual Monégasque monarchy.
Engagement rock: A 10.5-carat emerald-cut diamond flanked by two baguettes by Cartier.
The bouquet: Lilies of the valley fastened with ribbon and complete with sprigs.
Marital status: In 1982, when the To Catch a Thief star died from a car crash in Monaco at 52, she was surrounded by her husband and three kids.
Celeb weddings style: A blockbuster romance
The couple: Hollywood royalty of Elizabeth Taylor (32) and Richard Burton (38).
When: March 15, 1964
Where: While Burton was appearing in a Toronto production of Hamlet at the O’Keefe Centre (now the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts), he proposed to La Liz at the Sovereign Ballroom in the King Edward Hotel before making their way to Montreal and marrying (the first time) in a low-key ceremony at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel.
Wedding dress: An empire-style chiffon gown in daffodil yellow made by her personal designer, Irene Sharaff, complete with an emerald and diamond brooch— a gift from her new hubby. A crown of lilies of the valley and white hyacinths covered her hair.
Guest list: Only nine people were in attendance for the impromptu nuptials, including Richard’s best man and secretary, Jim Benton.
Engagement rock: A platinum-set Bulgari pendant featuring an 18.61-carat emerald surrounded by diamonds, which detaches to be worn as a brooch.
The bouquet: A delicate handful of yellow freesia to match her wedding dress; Burton wore a sprig of it in his lapel.
Marital status: The couple divorced on June 26, 1974, in Saarinen, Switzerland and on October 10—only 16 months after—the star-crossed lovers secretly remarried in Africa. They divorced for the second time on July 29, 1976.
Read about more classic celeb weddings – including deets on the Royal Wedding!- on the next page…
Wedding style: A royal affair
The couple: Former fashion buyer Kate Middleton (29) and Prince William Arthur Philip Louis (28).
When: April 29, 2011
Where: An estimated crowd of one million lined the procession route from the ceremony at Westminster Abbey to the reception at Buckingham Palace following the ‘I dos’.
Wedding dress: Catherine Middleton emerged from the queen’s 1977 Rolls-Royce Phantom VI in front of London’s Westminster Abbey sporting a long-sleeved lace Alexander McQueen gown designed by Brit Sarah Burton, silencing the speculation over the designer tasked with dressing the royal bride that began when the engagement was announced five months earlier.
Guest list: Formally, the 1,900 guests included British Prime Minister David Cameron, the Beckhams, Elton John and the entire Royal clan. Then there’s the two billion people across the globe who watched the televised event.
Engagement rock: The 18-carat oval blue sapphire ring surrounded by 14 small diamonds in a cluster setting was the same rock his father, Prince Charles gave to Lady Diana Spencer for their 1981 engagement.
The bouquet: A small and subtle bunch of British-grown lily of the valley flowers.
Marital status: Following a year that reawakened interest in the British monarch—charming Canadian loyalists during a nine-day tour last summer— the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge celebrated their first wedding anniversary at the wedding of a friend from their shared alma mater, Marlborough College. Spectators have been on Royal bump watch ever since—though the Duchess recently photographed drink in hand dashed any hopes for a baby to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee this year.
Wedding style: Rocker chic
The couple: Supermodel Kate Moss (37) and The Kills guitarist Jamie Hince (42).
When: July 1, 2011
Where: St. Peter’s Parish—a cottagey, 12th century limestone church—in the village of Southrop, England. Renowned fashion photog Mario Testino snapped the couple as part of an exclusive spread for Vogue.
Wedding dress: A stunning sheer bias-cut John Galliano gown embellished with gold beading with an embroidered polka-dot lace veil pinned to the back of her hair.
Guest list: A who’s who of fashion royalty: designers Stella McCartney and Vivienne Westwood, supermodel Naomi Campbell and Topshop boss Philip Green.
Engagement rock: A 1920s vintage engagement ring inspired by Zelda Fitzgerald, wife of The Great Gatsby scribe. The ring—estimated at $22,549—made headlines last June when she lost it at the Glastonbury Festival while her hubby’s band played. She reportedly forced friends to get down on their hands and knees and search through the festival mud before finding it at the bottom of her handbag hours later.
The bouquet: A loose, hand-tied vintage arrangement of white roses, Lisianthus and Marguerites.
Marital status: Not even a year after the fabulously vintage nuptials, the pair is planning to renew their wedding vows at the Isle of Wight Festival in June.
Read on for our fave classic and OTT weddings of 2011…
Wedding style: A whirlwind of OTT
The couple: Reality TV-star Kim Kardashian (30) and NBA Brooklyn Nets player Kris Humphries (26).
When: Saturday August 20, 2011
Where: An evening ceremony at a private Montecito, California estate—for everyone else, the matrimony was filmed for a two-part special, Kim’s Fairytale Wedding: A Kardashian Event, that aired on E! News.
Wedding dress: Count ‘em: 1) For the sunset ceremony, an ivory custom-designed strapless gown with full tulle skirt, basque waist and hand-pieced Chantilly lace appliqué on the bodice, 2) a second mermaid gown with more Chantilly lace on the bodice and hand-cut organza petals on the skirt for the reception, and finally 3) a bias-cut crepe-back satin gown with v-neck and circle skirt for the dance floor. All custom designed by Vera Wang.
Guest list: The 440 guests included Ryan Seacrest, Eva Longoria, Lindsay Lohan, Mel B and Avril Lavigne, who stuck to the strict black and white dress code.
Engagement rock: A custom $2 million Schwartz engagement ring. The rest of the bridal bling? $10 million worth of Schwartz pieces, which included 28-carat earrings, worth about $5 million, and a 20.5-carat diamond—for her right hand.
The bouquet: A cream rose bouquet to complement Schwartz diamond encrusted headpiece.
Marital status: After the 72-day marriage—responsible for countless “things longer than Kim Kardashian’s wedding” memes—the pair is reportedly seeking an annulment.
Wedding style: All-American dynasty
The couple: Model/designer/niece of former U.S. president George W., Lauren Bush (27) and David Lauren (39), son of U.S. designer Ralph Lauren.
When: September 4, 2011
Where: The Lauren family’s 17,000-acre Double RL ranch in Ridgway, Colorado against the backdrop of the Rockies and rolling cattle fields, over Labor Day weekend.
Wedding dress: You guessed it: a custom Ralph Lauren featherweight tulle gown in antique ivory. Some 100 craftspeople spent more than 3,000 hours embellishing tulle with Swarovski crystals and off-white pearl beads to go with cowboy boots to complement the Western setting.
Guest list: The modest 200-person guest list included members from each of their respective family dynasties, including the former presidents (uncle George W. and grandfather George H.W.) along with the previous first ladies, and of course, the designer himself.
Engagement rock: In classic RL style: an estimated 3 to 4-carat square diamond engagement ring on a white gold or platinum band, valued at approx. $80,000 to $100,000.
The bouquet: True to its all-American stylings, the floral decorations were made up of wild roses, lily of the valley, Queen Anne’s lace, and delicate gardenias in red, white and blue.
Marital status: After honeymooning on the Amalfi Coast, the power couple have returned to business as usual: Lauren cofounded FEED Project four years ago, which sells reusable bags to raise funds for organizations such as the World Food Programme, while David heads the digital front at his family’s $13 billion fashion empire.
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