For inspiration only here are the royal wedding dresses i love for brides who want to look and feel like a princess or a queen on their wedding day.
This selection of royal wedding dresses are the most iconic and the best-remembered bridal gowns of all times in the 21st century. But please remember George Santayana’s quote, "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it”, while you reflect on my personal collection of exemplary fashionable royal wedding gowns.
For those of us who are not born into a royal family or have not fall in love with a royal family member, for the big day we of course have the option to have a royal theme, dress like royalty and feel as glamorous as a princess. As the princess of your big wedding day, I do advise you to choose a royal wedding dress that best suits:
So are you ready? Here come my royal brides in the order of least fashionable to most fabulous queen of all royal wedding dresses:
10. Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden. 19 June 2010. Wedding dress designed by Swedish designer Par Engsheden
Victoria’s ivory silk, off-the-shoulder fit and flare royal wedding dress was plain simple but some may find it fitting and elegant.
The bride's five-metre train, attached at the waist of her dress, trailed out from behind and perfectly matched the shape of the princess' veil, which was held in place by the Swedish cameo tiara (the same diadem that her mother, Queen Silvia wore to her wedding in 1976).
9. Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece. 1 July 1995. Wedding dress designed by Valentino.
It took 25 of Valentino’s seamstresses to make this fairytale writer and children’s wear designer’s $225,000 ivory silk royal wedding gown, studded with rose appliqués and finished with a lace bodice and floral decorated sleeves.
Though this wedding dress seemed perfectly Grace Kelly-esque, princessy and prim, in its use of 12 kinds of lace and a 4.5 m train, the high-collared long-sleeved gown has almost swallowed up the petite bride. On the other hand, the tight wide lace corset-like bodice artfully pushes her feminine assets up to the centre of attention and shows off her tiny waist line.
Minus the rose appliquéd top this wedding dress also reminds me of Máxima’s gown which of course was also designed by Valentino. Now, perhaps Máxima is the unoriginal one since she was married 7 years after and managed to accentuate the simplicity of this dress and not trap all of her not-so-petite body in the dress with an airy neck and shorter sleeve design.
8. Princess Máxima. 2 Feb, 2002. Wedding dress designed by Valentino
Crown Prince William Alexander and soon-to-be King did uncover a precious jewel from South America who charmed the Dutch nation not only with her beauty and warm latin character but also with her classic fashion sense.
For her big wedding day, Máxima wore a royal wedding gown designed by Valentino with a modest high cowl neck with ¾ sleeves dress and flared skirt designed.
The fabric was silk mikada, a heavier silk that kept Máxima warm and gave a wrinkle-free quality for the multi location wedding venue.
Her long princess silk veil covered in magnificent floral hand embroidery rested over the 5 m train.
7. Princess Stephanie of Luxembourg. 19 October,2012. Wedding dress designed custom by Elie Saab.
The 28-year-old Belgian duchess wore an A-line ivory royal gown as she wed Guillaume, Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg.
Her historical royal wedding dress, was made of a masterful mix of different fabrics: Chantilly lace, Calais lace, satin organza, tulle and silk crepe for the lining and silk tulle for the veil.
The gown had a bateau (boat) neckline which was lower at the back to show just a little bit of Stéphanie's back. The lace fitted bodice, 3/4 sleeves and skirt was heavily embroidered with pearls and beads. A 2.5 meter train continued from her skirt and for those long princess train lovers out there another 4.5 meter train flowed from the waist topped off with a silk tulle veil, and adorned with a silver floral motif.
She added a personal touch to her royal wedding dress with these accessories:
As for the tiara, instead of following the tradition started by Josephine-Charlotte of wearing the Congo Tiara, or wearing the Belgian Scroll Tiara, that also Josephine-Charlotte has worn on her wedding day, Princess Stephanie chose to show her personality in wearing her Lannoy family's tiara. The tiara, made by jeweler Altenloh in Brussels many years ago is composed of 270 brilliant diamonds and set in platinum, and has leaf motifs, which really goes very well the embroidery on the gown.
Next to her diamond tiara she wore small diamond and pearl earrings and a necklace covered under her dress and let the wedding dress bring her into the fashion lime light.
6. Princess Charlene of Monaco. 2 July,2011. Wedding dress designed by Giorgio Armani Prive.
Upon her marriage to Albert II Prince of Monaco this x-professional Olympic swimmer from South Africa become the Princess consort of Monaco and daughter-in-law of Grace Kelly.
Princess Charlene’s royal bridal gown featuring a light slightly off the shoulder top and a grand 6 yard long train put this beautiful shy bride on the map. Giorgio Armani designed a dress that showcased Princes Charlene’s exquisite fit and swimmer body shape with her shoulders exposed.
This dress offered Charlene the flexibility to remove the larger train of her dress that extended from the back of the crossed shoulder detail, while the slim skirt had a smaller train of its own underneath.
This fanciful and modest princess chose not to wear a royal tiara but instead a tremblant diamond in floral pieces dating from the 19th century in her pulled back hair. This ornamented piece belonged to Albert’s grandmother Princess Charlotte and was her something borrowed from Princess Caroline for the occasion.
After dazzling everyone in an Giorgio Armani royal bridal gown, Charlene, 33, changed into an Armani Prive sheer top cocktail dress for the official reception and ball.
A contrast to her grand and ornate princess wedding gown, the evening dress was a more lightweight affair which cut up her long and slim body with a four tiered skirt.
She added the glam to this not so Royal dress with her white peep-toe heels and a tiny clutch bag.
5. Queen Fabiola of Belgium. 15 December 1960. Wedding dresss designed by Balenciaga
Cristóbal Balenciaga dressed this 32-year-old former nurse, Doña Fabiola de Mora y Aragón, queen-to-be on her wedding day to King Baudouin I of Belgium and lit the fireworks.
The royal wedding dress was not only designed by Balenciaga, but also executed by his own hand in the utmost secrecy in the designer’s Madrid apartment. Balenciaga created a royal style for a queen in Fabiola’s sophisticated, chic and yet edgy and fabulous wedding dress.
Under his personal workmanship, the mink-trimmed, ivory silk gown that emerged, captured a style that was timeless and modern, sumptuous and understated, even with a 20-foot train.
By royal standards this royal wedding dress was somewhat unconventional; There was none of the requisite antique lace (despite the fact that she married a Belgian), the bodice and dropped waist highlighted the bride’s small figure and, with a masterful Balenciaga touch. The mink neckline gently draped off the back of her shoulders, as though the future Queen was a fashion model rather than a future leader of Belgium. The skirt was conservative, featuring a slight pouf and gentle drape, and the gown offered nary a pearl, jewel or sparkling embellishment of any kind. Fabiola accessorized elegantly by wearing drop pearl earings, opera-length silk gloves, a small spray of flowers and a tulle veil supported by a single mark of royalty: her new mother-in-law’s staggering 1926 Art Deco diamond tiara.
With this dress Balenciaga managed to wipe away the initial controversies about the Belgians accepting this commoner, despite how fabulous her name might have suggested her to be, marring their prince and earned their new queen a “Cinderella Girl” title by a woman in Time magazine.
4. Catherine Middleton. 29 April 2011. Wedding dress designed by Sarah Burton from house of Alexander McQueen
This commoner-turned-princess dazzled the world with her Alexander McQueen royal wedding dress when she married Prince William, Duke of Cambridge. Together with the artistic vision of the legendary Alexander McQueen’s sensational designs, Middleton combined English Royal traditions and modernity in the design of her wedding dress.
I love the open V-neck ivory satin appliqué bodice elegantly narrowed at the waist that was inspired by the Victorian tradition of corsetry and is a particular Alexander McQueen hallmark. It is as if Grace Kelly’s buttoned down lace top is reborn into a sexier and mature modern era with a subtle exposure of the skin.
As for commemorating the history of England and tradition, the lace appliqué bodice of her royal gown with detailing symbolized the nations of the United Kingdom. It was made of satin and featured a handmade lace appliqué bodice and skirt.
The bridal train measured 270 cm. Hand cut English lace and French Chantilly lace was used throughout the bodice, skirt, and the underskirt trim. The main body of the dress was made in ivory and white satin gazar, using UK fabrics which had been, with a long, full skirt designed to echo an opening flower, with soft pleats which unfolded to the floor, forming a Victorian-style semi-bustle at the back, and finishing in a short train measuring just under 3 meter in length.
With these selective and custom intricate detailing in the design and making of the dress no wonder that this dress cost £250,000!
Interesting details of this dress: To partially fulfill the something blue a blue ribbon was sewn inside the dress. The design for the bodice of the dress featuring Carrickmacross craftsmanship was the something old.
I bet if the late Alexander McQueen, the legend himself would have designed Princess Kate's royal wedding dress, it would be something like what he designed for his friend, Plum Sykes, for her July 3, 2005 wedding.
This unforgettable white taffeta wedding gown included hand-sewn flowers and an 8-foot train.
This sexy McQueen royal wedding gown accentuated the feminine lady curves of Plum and was tastefully flattering with its just the right amount of show of skin. This McQueen dress is an example of how you ladies can make the royal wedding dress of your desire sexy for your big wedding day!
3. Empress/Shahbanu Soraya of Iran. 12 february1951. Wedding dress custom designed by Yves Saint Lauren, the former Christian Dior designer.
For his second bride’s royal wedding dress the Shah of Iran commissioned the legendry Yves Saint Lauren of Christian Dior to custom design a one-of-a-kind royal wedding dress for this German-Persian beauty.
This modern and highly admired glamorous royal wedding dress consisted of 37 yards of silver lame with 20,000 marabou stork feathers and 6,000 diamond pieces sewn on.
I have to say here that the cropped collar jacket Soraya wore on her dress has a striking resemblance to the long sleeved V-neck design of British fashionista and "party girl" Princess Margaret (Queen Elizabeth's sister) designed by the house of Norman Hartnell.
On top of this mini jacket the Shah draped a beautiful Dior mink jacket around Soraya’s shoulders, which added to her difficulty in walking under such heavy load of the jacket and the full bodied dress with the long train.
2. Jackie O.12 September, 1953 and October 20, 1968. Wedding dress designed by Ann Lowe and Valentino, respectively.
Jackie won her spot in my favorite royal wedding dresses picks not because she was Royal or married royalty but because she rose her status to ‘Royalty’ in the fashion world as an icon and trend setter.
In her first world renowned wedding to John F. Kennedy, the 24-year-old Jacqueline Lee Bouvier was the picture of perfection on the day of her wedding. The portrait or boat necklined ball gown dress was the creation of designer Anne Lowe made from ivory silk taffeta. Interwoven tucking bands and mini wax flowers decorated the full round bouffant skirt.
The veil, made of lace, was the one worn by her grandmother in her wedding. A tiara made of lace, decorated with orange blossoms in the traditional form, was used to tie the veil to her hair. The jewelry, which complimented the wedding dress, were very few but what she wore were of significance.
Jackie mixed something old and new in her selective less is more fashion style. For something old she wore the single strand of pearls that belonged to the family heirloom, a diamond leaf pin leaf gifted by her parents, and for something new she wore a diamond bracelet, a present given to her prior to the wedding day by John Kennedy.
For her second wedding to Aristotle Onassis, five years after the death of her first husband, Jackie wore a long sleeved, long necked, lace-covered beige dress by Italian couturier Valentino.
This dress not only became the fashion house's most successful couture piece ever but also set yet again a fashion trend for nontraditional unique wedding dresses with a color other than the common white or ivory colors.
THE #1 most favorite royal wedding dress goes to no other than: Grace Kelly. April 18, 1956. Wedding dress designed by MGM costume designer Helen Rose.
Lucky x-hollywood star, Grace Kelly, received her wedding gown as a gift from the MGM film studios. Helen Rose designed Kelly's wedding dress and worked on it for six weeks with three dozen seamstresses. The bodice of this iconic wedding dress and most cited wedding dress was made of reassembled rose point lace over silk net which had been embroidered by two seamstresses. Thousands of seed pearls were added to accentuate the patterns in the lace. For the headpiece, Grace decided against the customary royal tiaras and instead opted for a Shakespearean Juliet cap decorated with orange blossoms and a very feminine veil.
The circular veil was edged with lace motifs, but the majority was left sheer, so that the princess’s beautiful face would be visible through it.
According to historian Stephen Englund, who had access to MGM’s archives, the dress cost a wopping £4,500 (£36,000 today) in materials and manufacture, not including Helen Rose’s salary. MGM stated that 23 metres of heavy taffeta, 23 metres of silk taffeta, 91 metres of silk net and 274 metres of lace were used, but the finished dress used only about a quarter of these amounts.
...and did you know that what Grace was carrying in her hand during her wedding to Prince Rainier was not a purse but a Bride’s Manual?
Yes, a Manual of Catholic Devotion with Mass for the Marriage Ceremony and the Nuptial Blessing. This book was a gift from family friend and was gracefully decorated to match Grace’s lace and embroidered dress.
Royal wedding dresses are all one-of-a-kind creations ranged from classic to over-the-top, tasteful to fanciful. As befitting a royal wedding, rarely are these royal wedding dresses strapless or low-cut. In fact, most have high necklines, long sleeves and are so austere that they looked somewhat nun-like attire- if it weren't for the dazzling jeweled tiaras which crowned the ensembles.
Here is where the non-Royal or commoner brides have a great advantage over the confined Royal brides in unleashing the sexy factor in the design of their dress to tastefully show a little bit of neck, cleavage, arms and legs.
...and though commoner brides may not own or have a family heirloom tiara or jewels to crown themselves on their big day with, rental jewelry and costume jewelry can play a great substitute and make you royaly dressed brides shine and sparkle on the big day!