Clockwise from top left – Princess Diana, 1981; Marilyn Monroe, 1956; Jackie O, 1953; Audrey Helpburn, 1969 and 1954 respectively; Grace Kelly, 1956 and Elizabeth Taylor in Father of the Bride, 1950.
The top six vintage brides
No. 6: Lady Diana Spencer (Princess Diana)
In at number six (and only such a lowly ranking because her dress is still inconceivably OTT to a modern generation, sorry) is the people’s princess, Lady Diana Spencer. A life tragically cut short, Diana will be remembered for her amazing charity work, her kind heart and for having the wedding of the century. Thousands lined the streets and the world tuned in as a nervous young Diana and Prince Charles exchanged vows in 1981. The dress, famously designed by Elizabeth Emanuel, was made from ivory silk taffeta and antique lace, with a whopping (and I don’t use that word lightly) 25 foot train. That’s almost five of me, in case you’re wondering. The dress, with its puffball sleeves and teardrop bouquet to match was the epitome of the eighties, with brides falling over themselves to emulate it for the rest of the decade.
No. 5: Audrey Hepburn
True to Audrey form, our gamine, doe-eyed star wore understated and classy frocks to her two weddings. She dressed modestly with a flower crown in her hair at her 1954 wedding to Mel Ferrer, and was every bit the sixties fashion icon with her short and classic dress when she wed Andrea Dotti in 1969. Sadly neither marriage lasted forever, but her fashion legacy and amazing charity work certainly will!
No. 4: Marilyn Monroe
A true Hollywood starlet, Marilyn Monroe famously wed three (possibly four) times. While all three marriages ended in divorce, Marilyn’s legacy as an iconic vintage bride has lasted the distance. She was rumoured to have been briefly married to Robert “Bob” Slatzer, before marrying James Dougherty in 1942 and Joe DiMaggio in 1954. However, it was her wedding to Arthur Miller that is considered to be her most well-known wedding in 1956. Monroe converted to Judaism in order to marry Arthur Miller and they were known unkindly by the press as “the hourglass and the egghead”.
No. 3: Jacqueline Onassis (Jackie O)
As the First Lady of the United States, Jackie O (then Jacqueline Bouvier) became an unlikely fashion icon (who can forget that pink Chanel suit, famously associated with her husband’s assassination?) and her 1953 wedding to John F. Kennedy was the event of the season, with over 1,200 reception guests. Her beautifully flattering gown, designed by Ann Lowe, has earned its place in history and earned Jackie O the number three spot on our list of top vintage brides.
No. 2: Grace Kelly
When Hollywood actress, Grace Kelly, married Prince Rainier III of Monaco in 1956, it was a star-studded event with the world’s media watching. Hollywood designer, Helen Rose, kept the gown a closely guarded secret, taking a team of 35 hard-working seamstresses, beaders, embroiderers and more over two months to complete. The timeless glamour of the design (not to mention the regal elegance of Grace Kelly who wore it) still serves as an inspiration for vintage-inspired brides everywhere, including Kate Middleton, with the sheer lace bodice that never goes out of style.
And the top spot goes to… drum roll….
No. 1: Dame Elizabeth Taylor
It’s not just her celebrated charity work, the fact that my dad flew her in a helicopter and told me all about her famous purple eyes as a child, nor the fact that she converted to Judaism, it’s not even the fact that she got married eight times (to seven husbands) there’s something intangible about Liz that propels her effortlessly to the number one spot as the most glamorous vintage bride in history.
I won’t go into all of her marriages here (although my favourite Liz gown is definitely her beautiful fifties, taffeta off-the-shoulder number from her third marriage to Michael Todd) but anyone who can pull off bridal chic that many times (and let’s not forget the movies) deserves to go down in the books (or this blog) as the best vintage bride of all time.
Under the Vintage Veil does not own any of the images in this post – the images used are for educational and illustrative purposes.
Do you agree with our choices? Is there someone you would have bumped off the list and replaced? Did somebody else deserve the top spot? We’d love to hear what you think!