From Marilyn Monroe to Audrey Hepburn, the old Hollywood wedding photos really are the best...
Weren’t the old Hollywood weddings the best? No offence to Kimye, Brangelina, and all the new celebrity power couples, but we’d paw over these pictures of Marilyn and Joe, or Elvis and Priscilla, any day.
The vintage dresses are, naturally, the focus of our fascination. Actress-turned-Princess Grace Kelly set records with her XXL train when she married Prince Rainer III of Monaco in 1956, while the bridal ensemble that Audrey Hepburn chose when she married Dr Dotti in 1969 was sooo Sixties it will forever be in our hearts.
Some stars opted to break boundaries with their bridal looks – take Elizabeth Taylor who, for her marriage to Richard Burton chose a canary yellow dress coat, or Marilyn Monroe who wore a smart and simple brown suit with a contrasting peter pan collar when she wed Joe DiMaggio.
Grace Kelly aside (she was about to become royalty, after all) the stars generally opted for more low key weddings, choosing meaningful chapels and intimate audiences over the PR juggernauts packed with product endorsements that a lot of A-listers run with today.
You know what they say: the old ones are truly the best. Here are our favourite old Hollywood weddings to linger over. Enjoy.
It was a classic and understated wardrobe choice: a dark brown pencil-skirt suit with an ermine, peter pan collar. By the time they’d kissed, most of Marilyn Monroe’s lipstick had transferred onto the cheeks of her new husband, Joe DiMaggio.
Eloping to San Francisco City Hall on January 14, 1954, it was an all-American partnership that was dynamite on paper – the sporting hero and the Hollywood starlet. It was also dynamite in reality, but for all the wrong reasons. They would sensationally separate just nine months after this photo was taken.
Call us old fashioned, but we reckon that Grace Kelly’s iconic wedding dress will never be bettered. Worn on 19 April 1956, this lace masterpiece was designed by Helen Rose at MGM and brought a delicious helping of Hollywood glamour to Monaco…it never left.
The bodice was made of antique lace, cinched in by a ivory silk cummerbund and crowned with a silk tulle veil appliquéd with two lace lovebirds. So romantic.
Whilst we’re sure photographs will never do this bridal masterpiece the absolute justice it deserves, it makes us swoon nonetheless. Sheer perfection.
A lavish ceremony and a tremendous wedding dress ushered in a troubled union for 18-year-old Elizabeth Taylor in 1950. Echoing Marilyn Monroe’s short-lived marriage to DiMaggio, Elizabeth Taylor’s first marriage to Nicky Hilton also ended in divorce just nine months later.
The actress hired Grace Kelly’s wedding dress designer for her big day, opting for a lace and ivory satin combo with pearl embroidery.
Whilst we can celebrate the starlet’s divine dress, it is a little difficult to treasure this photo. When the pair split, Taylor told the court that Hilton had subjected her to “extreme mental cruelty.” Luckily for Taylor, it didn’t put her off. Asked why she married so often, Taylor once replied: “I don’t know, honey. It sure beats the hell out of me.” And that’s why she’s the best.
In 1948, Rita Hayworth left her film career to marry a prince, eight years before Grace Kelly would do the same.
Hayworth’s bridal outfit was inspired by Dior’s ‘new look’: a full skirt gown with a nipped in waist and topped off with a full-brimmed hat. Sidestepping Dior himself, however, Hayworth called on French couturier, Jacques Fath, to do the honours. His design was surprisingly modest for the Gilda seductress: a simple belted shirtwaist with a razor-pleat skirt.
Like a lot of these Hollywood romances, the fairy tale woudn’t last long – three years to be exact.
In 1966, Mia Farrow married Frank Sinatra at the Las Vegas home of nightclub manager (and Rat Pack friend) Jack Entratter. 21 years old at the time – to his 51 years – the wedding came as a bit of surprise and it has been reported that Sinatra’s family were absent for the nuptials.
The wedding reportedly lasted four minutes. Dressed simply in a cute knee-length dress and cropped jacket, Farrow’s simple wedding number summed up the attitude of the the 60s – and the ceremony itself. Short and sweet!
They met at a cocktail party hosted by Gregory Peck. Wearing a garland of roses in her hair and a full-skirted Pierre Balmain gown, magical enough to make a sea of ballerinas swoon, Audrey Hepburn said “I do” to husband, Mel Ferrer in 1954.
The wedding took place in Switzerland, where they were preparing to star together in historical epic War and Peace. Their Marriage lasted 14 years – which is an impressive score for a Hollywood star. She would go on to marry Andrea Dotti in an equally fabulous outfit in 1969.
Bucking the trend, Priscilla designed her own wedding dress to get married to her beau, Elvis, at Las Vegas’ Aladdin Hotel in 1967.
Both Priscilla and Elvis put on their bling for the day. According to the Las Vegas Sun: ‘Presley wore a black brocade silk tuxedo and Western boots, while Priscilla wore a floor-length wedding gown of her own design: white silk chiffon, with beaded yoke, trimmed in seed pearls and topped with a three-foot tulle veil secured by a rhinestone crown.’
They met eight years earlier when she was just 14-years-old and would stay together for five years before things turned sour.
Bearing in mind they met on the set of Cleopatra, it seems apt that Taylor enlisted the film’s costume designer to create her wedding outfit to (husband no.5) Richard Burton in 1964.
Irene Sharaff defied traditional white to design a canary yellow dress made from chiffon. Elizabeth then weaved hyacinths and lilies of the valley into her hair and topped things off with…what else? A spectacular diamond and emerald Bulgari brooch.
You know what Elizabeth said: ‘big girls need big diamonds.’ She meant what she said. And we LOVE her for it.
Frank Sinatra would realise Ava Gardner was one woman he couldn’t tame, but not before he left his wife for her – on Valentines Day, no less.
The wedding took place in 1951 at a friend’s home in Philadelphia. She wore a striking halterneck dress with a string of pearls. Their marriage would soon become a temptestuous and – ultimately – diasterous union. However, they remained friends until Gardner’s death in 1990.
Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner actually got married twice, but it was on this first occasion in 1957 that she wowed in this phenomenal outfit. Move over Solange, 19-year-old Wood wore a lace hood on her wedding day. It’s a breathtaking thing.
Wood once revealed that she had a childhood crush on Robert. true to studio-form at the time, the execs stepped in and set up a date on her 18th birthday. A year later she was walking down the aisle.
Although the marriage would only last five years, they would reunite in 1972 and remarried quickly after. Their story ended in tragic and mysterious circumstances, however, when Wood drowned during a weekend boat trip with Wagner and co-star Christophen Walken in 1981.
She was 20 and he was 45. He called her “baby”. Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart got married in 1945 at the country home of Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Louis Bromfield, and remained married until his death in 1957.
She would later describe her relationship with Bogart as the headiest romance imaginable. You can really see the happiness in Bacall’s face in this photo. Bogie and Bacall had something truly special – and that’s better than any glitzy wedding dress. It was priceless.