Most iconic celebrity weddings of all time
Real royalty to pop royalty, rock ‘n’ roll legends to Hollywood starlets, there’s certainly been no shortage of iconic weddings over the years. From the most watched wedding of all time, to the most fashionable wedding in the world, and the most outrageous, here are ten Big Days that Team LBD would have adored to be invited to… don’t you agree?
Kate Middleton and Prince William
Without a doubt, the wedding of the century; a staggering two billion people from around the world watched the nuptials shared by our future King and Queen, Prince William and Catherine Middleton. Tying the knot in royal tradition at Westminster Abbey in April 2011, Kate’s dress had fashion’s finest tongues wagging for months beforehand – just who designed it? – a secret Kate guarded closely until the Big Day.
The dress: At last, the big unveiling… Kate’s gown was designed by none other than Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen. It featured intricately detailed lace sleeves and full-skirted silhouette with a dramatic train that had everyone drawing comparisons to the gown worn by Grace Kelly on her wedding day. Another dress that undoubtedly deserves a mention here is sister Pippa Middleton’s. Her perfectly fitting white satin dress showed off an equally perfectly pert derriere that sparked an online obsession and a Twitter account dedicated to the Maid of Honour’s bottom within hours.
The guest list: As well as the long list of royals, ambassadors and the Prime Minister of course, guests to the notorious event included the Beckhams, singers Elton John and Joss Stone, photographer Mario Testino, director Guy Ritchie and actor Rowan Atkinson.
The reception: Held at none other than Buckingham Palace, the perks of being Prince and Princess paid off with a performance from Ellie Goulding who sang her own rendition of Elton’s Your Song.
The gossip: Continuing into the early hours of the morning, it’s reported that after amusing the couple with his break-dancing skills, Harry said a teary farewell to the couple as they headed off for their honeymoon at 3am... to live happily ever after!
The wedding guest look: We loved Victoria Beckham’s classic dark navy shift dress covering her baby bump; it was the epitome of a chic pregnancy look. The beautiful knee-length Aftershock London Daking Dress, £128, with its embellished neckline is just the ticket for Victoria’s style. For the chillier months, this classic Outsider Pleat Pencil Dress in Navy, £156, is a great alternative.
Kate Moss and Jamie Hince
Another Kate to make it on our list, style icon Kate Moss and The Kills guitarist Jamie Hince got hitched in a low key ceremony in the Cotswolds just a few months after the royals. To complete her fairy-tale wedding she was accompanied by fifteen young bridesmaids, her eight-year-old daughter among them, in adorable ethereal shift dresses made by Stella McCartney. And who else but photographer Mario Testino to immortalise the special day?
The dress: The supermodel wore a divine vintage-style cream Galliano wedding dress to rival any princess’s, with a ravishing floor-length lace veil.
The guest list: Possibly the most fashionable guest list ever, it included designers Stella McCartney, Dame Vivienne Westwood, Karl Lagerfeld, John Galliano, Marc Jacobs, as well as model and friend Naomi Campbell, actor Jude Law, Topshop boss Philip Green and Vogue editor Anna Wintour.
The reception: Held at Moss’ £2 million mansion, the reception cost an estimated £500,000. The A-list guests were treated to a three-day carnival-style party. With such a star studded-event, it was inevitable that security was a high priority so most of the village was closed off to the public for the duration; only the Rolls Royce brigade were allowed free reign to ferry the guests about.
The gossip: The groom opted to have his former Kills band mate, Alison Mosshart, as his best 'man’. This evidently didn’t go down too well with the bride, who apparently didn’t speak to her at all, after previous frosty relations.
The wedding guest look: For Kate’s big day the guests didn’t have to worry about upstaging the bride, although Kate did joke with fellow supermodel Naomi that she tried to, after she arrived late! Vintage style was the theme de jour of this fashionable wedding; the pretty floral Lipstick Boutique Poppy Dress, £75 gives the ideal nod to a romantic bygone era, or shop all vintage-inspired dresses here.
Jackie and John F Kennedy
Described as more of a Hollywood production than a wedding, the marriage of US senator and soon-to-be president John F Kennedy to former photographer Jacqueline Bouvier in 1953 was undoubtedly the marriage of the year due to the size and influence of the guests that attended. Introduced to each other by mutual friend from the press, they were married on Rhode Island and the beautiful black and white photographs that captured the happy day are considered some of the most iconic wedding images of all time. First Lady Jacqueline (or Jackie O as she became best known following her second marriage to Aristotle Onassis) fast became a style icon, especially for her love of the little black dress and most reverently the pink Chanel suit she wore that fateful day JFK was assassinated in.
The dress: Jackie’s full skirted dress in an off-the-shoulder style, made by New York designer Ann Lowe, included 46 metres of ivory silk taffeta, and was made in just eight days after the original was irreparably damaged at the designer's work shop. Jackie later admitted to friends that she didn’t like the dress because it accentuated her flat chest and compared it to "a lampshade”.
The guest list: With no less than 1,300 guests, the Kennedy wedding was the social event of the year. Attendees included senators and congressmen, political figures and Hollywood stars of the era.
The reception: Held at the bride’s mother’s 300-acre farm in Newport, the newly married couple stood in line for three hours greeting their guests before finally moving on to the wedding breakfast.
The gossip: Jaqueline’s much-loved father who was meant to be leading her proudly down the aisle was found drunk in his suite an hour before the ceremony! He was discreetly shipped back to New York in an ambulance, and Jackie's father-in-law stepped in and assumed the duty of walking her down the aisle.
The wedding guest look: Surrounded by the political crop of the USA, dressing smartly was a must and we can only imagine the delightful fifties style tea dresses and pretty prom styles. This charmingly printed Darling Connie Dress in Green, £78, oozing with feminine charm is just the ticket or try this CeMe London Mira Dress in Red Print, £69 (also available in orange) for a charming floral look.
Grace Kelly and The Prince of Monaco
It was the wedding straight out of a fairytale … the Hollywood starlet meets her Prince (at the Cannes film festival no less), and after a whirlwind year-long courtship, and a $2million dowry provided by the Kelly family (yes, really), marries her Prince, the one and only Prince Rainier 3rd of Monaco. As one of the silverscreen's hottest actresses, Grace Kelly's decision to quit Hollywood and concentrate on being a wife and princess, was not taken lightly by her employers, broadcasting giants MGM. However, she negotiated terminating her contract with them early by giving them exclusive rights to broadcast her wedding, which was viewed by a staggering 30million people worldwide.
The dress: Grace Kelly’s iconic wedding dress was gifted and deigned by MGM’s costume designer Helen Rose and took 36 seamstresses and six weeks to make. Comprising of 25 metres of silk taffeta, 275 meters of antique rose-point lace and hundreds of pearls, the dress was timeless and flattered her figure to perfection.
The guest list: Among the 600 guests, were multiple royal representatives from all over the world and of course Grace Kelly’s Hollywood friends, which included Ava Gardner, Cary Grant and Gloria Swanson.
The reception: The glamorous couple had two weddings, a civil ceremony and a religious service, so in typical Hollywood style, they had two receptions. At the first, Prince Rainier opened up his Monaco palace to more than 3,000 elite Monegasques who were treated to champagne and cake. The second was for a more select group, who dined on the finest caviar and of course the wedding cake, which was taller than both bride and groom.
The gossip: Frank Sinatra initially accepted an invitation but backed out at the last minute so as not to upstage the bride on her wedding day…how thoughtful.
The wedding guest look: Lovely lace dresses and fifties style bouffant midi skirts were just the thing for the notorious royal wedding. This beautifully designed Nancy Mac Claudia Long Sleeve Dress in Teal, £139, is elegant and sophisticated whilst this Kate Fearnley Florence Dress in Red, £230 will look ravishing with its cinched waist and fifties prom skirt.
Jay-Z and Beyonce
The power couple of the decade, Beyonce, who needs no introduction, and rapper Jay-Z, got married in April 2008 in possibly the most surreptitious high-profile wedding of all time; we haven’t even seen her dress! Meeting through the music industry over a decade ago, the couple are known for their secretive relationship (they denied they were dating for years), so it’s no surprise they kept their nuptials close to their hearts.
The dress: The singer has never released an official image of her wedding dress, although she has teased us with a few blurred images post-wedding that give us some idea of its glory. Designed by her mother, Tina Knowles, who has also created the costumes for many of Beyonce’s sell-out tours, it was a classic white dress with sweetheart neckline and multi-tiered train.
The guest list: Amongst the star-studded guest list were Beyonce’s former bandmates Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams. Other A-listers to make the cut included Jamie Foxx, rappers Pharrell Williams and Kanye West, singers Wyclef Jean, Jennifer Hudson, Usher, Janet Jackson and her producer husband Jermaine Dupri, Coldplay frontman Chris Martin and his wife Gwyneth Paltrow.
The reception: Held in a marquee on the terrace of Jay-Z’s Tribeca penthouse in New York, it was reportedly decorated with 60,000 white orchids imported from Thailand worth a whopping half-a-million dollars. A seven-course meal was served up (flown in from Beyonce's hometown of Texas no less) including Beluga caviar, shrimp scampi and buckets of fried chicken.
The gossip: Wedding guests were reportedly searched before entering the apartment. Security guards confiscated numerous cell phones and cameras, as well as three guns.
The wedding guest look: If there's one thing Beyonce knows how to do, it's how to put on a show. So we're using our imagination with this one... the slinky Lipstick Boutique Vivian Dress, £70 with pretty lace detail would certainly get some attention, as would this show stopping Forever Unique Donna Dress, £275 with it’s beautiful embellishment and on-trend colouring.
Victoria and David Bekham
She was part of the biggest girl band of the nineties and he was fast becoming a world-renowned footballer. The very first of the WAG generation, no one knew just how much more was to come, but unbeknown to them their meeting in 1996 was only the beginning of a hugely successful showbiz relationship. The couple sold the rights to the wedding images to OK! Magazine in a £1million deal, and used this handsome sum to pay for their celebrations at the 560-acre estate, Luttrellstown Castle, near Dublin. The ceremony took place in a small chapel within the castle grounds in 1999 with just 29 of their closest friends and family present. Posh and Becks chose a 'royal' theme for their wedding; the happy couple sat on matching thrones and as they became man and wife, a dove was released to symbolise their love! Their four-month old son Brooklyn wasn’t left out either with the role of ring bearer his top priority.
The dress: Victoria wore a wedding gown by none other than legendary designer Vera Wang. The £60,000 strapless, silk dress was a relatively simple corseted design with a big bouffant skirt. She paired the gown with a crown, custom-made by Slim Barrett, and crafted from 18-carat latticed yellow gold set with large brilliant-cut diamonds and suspended diamond drops estimated to be worth £25,000.
The guest list: An estimated 500 guests were flown into Dublin. On Victoria’s side, fellow Spice Girls, Mel C, Mel B and Emma Bunton attended, whilst David invited Manchester United players, Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, Sir Bobby Charlton and Dwight York.
The reception: Sir Elton John flew to Dublin between Italian concerts specially to perform for the couple. David and Victoria, fans of dressing in matching attire, even had purple party reception outfits made for them by designer Antonio Berardi.
The gossip: The couple didn’t ask for presents but requested shopping vouchers instead. No expense was spared for the event and guests were treated to a six-course dinner, 18-piece orchestra and a fireworks display. The couple had 437 staff serving throughout the occasion to make sure everything went as royally as planned.
The wedding guest look: White and purple are both clearly out for this occasion, and with David Beckham to impress and the fashion icon of our era standing guard we’d better put our best fashionable foot forward! For such an occasion, the beautifully styled, scorching scarlet Forever Unique Kayden Dress in Red, £165 would be just the ticket to fit in with the A-list attendees, or how about this floor-length Gorgeous Couture Amelia Maxi Dress in Red, £226.80 for ultimate glamour.
Yoko Ono and John Lennon
Undoubtedly one of history’s most loved up – and eccentric couples – Beatles guitarist John Lennon's wedding to artist Yoko Ono was one of the speediest in history. After failing to get a license in Paris, John chartered a plan and the duo headed to Gibraltar for a ten-minute ceremony at the British Consolate Office. Within the hour they were back on the plane to the Netherlands for their honeymoon.
The dress: Perhaps not the most convential of dresses, it was certainly a memorable one and definitely on-trend for the decade, Yoko opted for a simple white mini dress accessorised with knee-high socks and pumps.
The guest list: Well, there wasn’t one.
The reception: Breaking with tradition, they didn’t have a reception. Instead, they went straight to honeymoon and began campaigning with a week-long bed-in-for-peace designed to be a non-violent protest against war at their Amsterdam Hilton Hotel.
The gossip: A month after the wedding, such was John’s love for Yoko he changed his name by deed poll to include Ono as a middle name. After Lennon’s assasination, Ono never married again and has continued to raise memorials across the world displaying photos, music and personal items of the musical legend. Now that's love.
The wedding guest look: Looking back to an era when the miniest of mini skirts, simple shift dresses and knee-high boots were de rigeur, we'd recommend the sixties-inspired collection by L.2.Mae, especially the monochrome L.2.Mae Coco Dress, £40, or the uber-cool L.2.Mae Majorelle Dress, £40, for those who prefer colour.
Prince Charles and Lady Diana
It was the fairytale wedding that everyone had hoped for; Charles was the first royal in over three hundred years to marry a ‘commoner’, and an extremely beautiful one at that. They married at St Paul’s Cathedral in London in 1981, with a congregation of 3,500 people, not to mention the crowd of more than half a million people who filled the streets of London eagerly anticipating a glimpse of the couple. Estimated to have cost £48 million, their wedding was also the most popular prgramme ever to be broadcast on TV at that time, with 750 million people tuning in.
The dress: Featuring an enormous 8-metre long train made of ivory taffeta and antique lace, it was the longest train in royal wedding history. Designed by the Emanuels, the dress comprised of a huge meringue skirt and the bodice and veil were covered in sequins, antique lace, and 10,000 pearls added the finishing touch.
The guest list: Possibly the most superior list of guests ever, there were over 100 kings, queens, princes and princesses from countries all over the world including Yugoslavia and Thailand, Jordan and Japan.
The reception: After that infamous balcony kiss at Buckingham palace (so beatifully repeated by Wills and Kate), the royals retreated to their wedding ‘breakfast’ held in the Palace ballroom. They dined on lobster, and in true Britsh style, stawberries and cream, before being whisked off on their honeymoon to the Queen’s royal yacht Brittania, where they soaked up the Mediterranean sun.
The gossip: Charles received a set of cufflinks from Camilla Parker Bowles on the eve of his wedding to Diana, initialled CC (tut tut).
The wedding guest look: So we’re harking back to the eighties, potentially an era we’re not too excited about replicating but this is a royal wedding so of course it was pure class! This cool and chic Reiss Heidi Snake Print Dress, £152.50, with its eighties friendly shape would be just the ticket or to switch things up a little try the Emma Louise London Stripe Mini Power Dress, £220.
Elvis and Priscilla Presley
When Mr Presley wed Priscilla in May 1967, she was one cool maiden and he was, well, Elvis in a rather ornate paisley print suite and his signature quiff. Meeting in 1959, during a party at Elvis’ home in Germany, Priscilla was just 14 years old and Elvis was ten years her senior. Despite considerable protest from Priscilla’s parents, the pair began dating and eventually she was allowed to move to Graceland in America but only if Elvis promised that he would marry her, which he did years later. Universally renowned as a sex symbol, the world delighted in his choice of bride – just a small town girl.
The dress: Priscilla ensured her dress was everything she wanted by designing it herself; the deceptively simple white silk chiffon gown featured an extravagantly beaded yoke and sleeve detail that was trimmed in seed pearls. A three-foot tulle veil with a rhinestone crown secured her status as Presley’s queen of rock 'n' roll.
The guest list: There were only 100 guests at the ceremony and reception and the entire wedding only lasted eight minutes. It was arranged by Presley’s manager Parker and to maximise publicity, he failed to invite any of Presley’s close friends.
The reception: Home to everything Presley, the couple’s wedding in Las Vegas was celebrated with a six-tier wedding cake and the couple's first dance was none other than Presley’s Love Me Tender.
The gossip: Word has it that neither bride nor groom were particularly keen to marry. Elvis claimed he 'wasn’t made to be married' whilst Priscilla later admitted she was happy just living together, but at the time it was frowned upon. Exactly nine months after the day of their wedding, Priscilla gave birth to their only child, Lisa Marie.
The wedding guest look: Another sixties wedding and another chance to dress up Twiggy-style in quirky shifts, bold prints and bright colours. We love the sixties-inspired unique shifts from Emma Louise London and this pretty Miss Patina Double Dip Dress, £65.80, complete with cute peter pan collar and vintage print would be perfect.
Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love
When Courtney Love, a minor actress and member of rising band Hole met Niravana’s front man Kurt Cobain at a club in Portland in 1990, they was instant attraction. They married two years later on a beach in Hawaii, a few days after finding out Courtney was pregnant with daughter Frances Bean. Curt Cobain donned green striped pyjamas for the special occasion.
The dress: Courtney wore a vintage satin and lace white dress previously owned by 40s actress Frances Farmer, who was committed to a mental hospital and who Cobain, a year later, wrote a song about called 'Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle'.
The guest list: A minimalist apparently, the couple only had 8 guests at their wedding, Dave Grohl being one of them, who also introudced the couple, whilst the Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic wouldn’t attend as he didn’t approve of the realtionship.
The reception: It’s not known exactly what the happy couple did to celebrate, but we could only speculate that Kurt climbed back into bed!
The gossip: Love later revealed in an interview with The Guardian that friends and family advised her not to marry Cobain as it would destroy her life. But ever the rebel, she was quoted saying: 'Whatever! I love him, and I want to be with him!'
The wedding guest look: We’re pretty sure there isn’t much of a dress code here so you could probably get away with turning up in your nightie too, but just in case we love the Lipstick Boutique Poppy Dress, £75, perfect for a beach wedding with pretty lace detailing and soft floral pattern. For a quirky beach wedding guest look this Forever Unique Winona Dress, £220 would steal the show.
Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton
The love story of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor could have been a Hollywood movie in itself. It was a romantic and turbulent relationship that all began on the set of Cleopatra in 1963; their first on-screen kiss lasted so long that the director had to ask them whether he could say 'cut'. They ignored him and carried on kissing. One of the most famous and beautiful film stars of the Hollywood golden age, Taylor married (and divorced, and married and divorced again — but that’s not in the spirit of this feature!) Richard Burton, a hugely successful stage and screen actor, in March 1964. This would be their first wedding together, although it was Elizabeth’s fifth and Burton’s second; they stayed together for ten years before divorcing and then remarrying again just sixteen months later for just one more year in 1975. She said he was the great love of her life and the couple appeared together in eleven different films.
The dress: Liz bucked tradition by wearing a striking daffodil yellow empire-style chiffon gown, which she accessorised with Lily of the Valley and white Hyacinth flowers in her hair. She also received an emerald and diamond brooch from Richard Burton on the day, which she pinned proudly to her dress.
The guest list: The couple made an unannounced journey to Montreal and were married at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in a low-key ceremony with only nine guests in attendance. Elizabeth Taylor was famously quoted as saying “This marriage will last forever”.
The reception: The low key wedding was followed by a small reception. On checking into the Ritz, the couple ordered two crates of Champagne and two dozen glasses to go up to their suite for the party. Wrapping up at 6pm, the newly-wed couple dined in their suite alone that evening.
The gossip: As Taylor had converted to Judiasm and Burton was Protestant, the couples’ lawyers had to go to great lengths to find someone who would marry them under such religious circumstances (not to mention their previous divorces). Their only option was to get married in Montreal, under strict conditions that there be no publicity. Of course, their PR broke the deal within hours and by the next morning hundreds of people had gathered around their hotel. Debating whether to sneak out the back door to avoid the crowds, Burton decided in the end to welcome and greet the happy crowd.
The wedding guest look: This may be a sixties a wedding but Ms Taylor’s style was less shift dress more pencil dress and swinging A-line skirts that represented a more mature style for that era. This beautiful floral Darling Layla Dress, £72 with its full skirt and bold print would be perfect for the vintage wedding, and to show a little more skin the sophisticated Reiss Katlun Lace Bodice Dress, £198.50 is just the ticket.