Everything you need to know about Meghan Markle’s wedding dress

meghan markle wedding dress
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Here's your complete Meghan Markle wedding dress guide, from the estimated cost to the length of the veil.

Meghan Markle wedding dress designer

The Palace revealed in a statement: "Ms. Meghan Markle’s wedding dress has been designed by the acclaimed British designer, Clare Waight Keller." When Waight Keller was appointed as Givenchy's artistic director in 2017, she became the first female artistic director at the historic French fashion house. 

meghan markle wedding dress

Meghan opted for a traditional wedding gown in the end, very reminiscent of Audrey Hepburn's. It was slightly off the shoulder, made of pure white silk cady, and had a full skirt.

At the time the expert dressmakers at Givenchy explained, "True to the heritage of the house, the pure lines of the dress are achieved using six meticulously placed seams. The focus of the dress is the graphic open bateau neckline that gracefully frames the shoulders and emphasises the slender sculpted waist. The lines of the dress extend towards the back where the train flows in soft round folds cushioned by an underskirt in triple silk organza. The slim three-quarter sleeves add a note of refined modernity."

Meghan Markle wedding dress cost

Although the gown is deceptively simple, with no embellishments or lace, the totally bespoke fabric used in the creation of the gown means that it is speculated to have cost around £200,000.

The double-bonded silk cady was developed by Artistic Director Clare Waight Keller after "extensive research by Ms. Waight Keller in fabric mills throughout Europe," the Palace explained.

It's estimated the bespoke fabric cost around £78,000, and the fittings about £4,000. Add to that the shoes (a pointed couture design made of a silk duchess satin), and the wedding veil (five meters long and made from silk tulle) and the total probably goes up a fair bit.

The Duchess of Sussex broke boundaries by apparently paying for the dress herself.

Meghan Markle wedding veil

meghan markle wedding dress

The veil was five meters long and made from silk tulle with a trim of hand-embroidered flowers in silk threads and organza. Meghan wanted to have all 53 countries of the Commonwealth with her on her journey through the ceremony.

As such, Keller designed a veil representing the distinctive flora of each Commonwealth country united in one spectacular floral composition. This was also Meghan's way to show her gratitude for being able to support the work of the Commonwealth.

As well as the Commonwealth blooms, Meghan wanted to add two personal favourites: Wintersweet, which grows on the grounds of Kensington Palace in front of Nottingham Cottage, and the California Poppy, the State flower from her place of birth, California.

The veil took workers hundreds of hours to sew, and they had to wash their hands every thirty minutes to keep the tulle and threads pristine.

Meghan Markle wedding tiara

meghan markle wedding dress

(Image credit: 2018 Karwai Tang)

The bride kept her cathedral-length veil in place with Queen Mary's diamond bandeau tiara, which was lent to her by The Queen. The diamond bandeau is English and was made in 1932, with the centre brooch dating from 1893.

Kensington Palace announced, "The bandeau, which is made of diamonds and platinum, is formed as a flexible band of eleven sections, pierced with interlaced ovals and pavé set with large and small brilliant diamonds. The centre is set with a detachable brooch of ten brilliant diamonds."

The centre brooch was given as a present to the then Princess Mary in 1893 by the County of Lincoln on her marriage to Prince George, Duke of York. The bandeau and the brooch were bequeathed by Queen Mary to The Queen in 1953.

The bride's earrings and bracelet were made by Cartier.

Why Meghan Markle's wedding dress didn't fit

Ever wondered why Meghan Markle's wedding dress didn't fit? Former Harper’s Bazaar digital editor, Mahalia Chang posited the theory that Givenchy designer Claire Waight Keller and bride Meghan Markle chose a cut that would allow the bride to move around without being encumbered by the stiff fabric of the dress.

She wrote that the "fabric, as well as the triple silk organza used to make the underskirt, is extremely thick, stiff and does not allow for much stretch. If one were to hazard a guess, you would say that Keller and Markle purposefully chose a more conservative cut along the bodice and sleeves to let the bride move and breathe in the dress more comfortably."

Meghan Markle evening wedding dress

meghan markle wedding dress

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Kate Middleton changed into an evening gown after her wedding breakfast. The strapless ballgown was also designed by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen just like her first wedding dress and featured a jewel-encrusted belt. The Duchess covered up with a cashmere cardigan.

For her second wedding dress, Meghan Markle opted for a bespoke Stella McCartney gown, a lily-white high-neck affair made of silk crepe. She accessorised with shoes from Aquazurra made in silky satin, with nude mesh and soles painted in baby blue.

At the time Stella McCartney told WWD, "It has truly been one of the most humbling moments of my career and I am so proud of all the team on this stunning sunny royal day."

Meghan Markle wedding dress replica

If you are looking for a similar dress for your big day, we've found some stunning styles for you to shop.

was £209

V Back Long Sleeve Dress With Train, was £209 now £167.20 | Coast
Free from fuss and featuring a longline skirt and boat neckline, this sweeping dress is beautifully simplistic and comes lined with a neat row of buttons to frame your back.

£499 | Selfridges

Whistles Cecilia Mesh-sleeve Woven Wedding Dress, £499 | Selfridges
This wedding dress features a round neck, long mesh sleeves, a slim fit, a floor length skirt and tonal stitching.

was £1,187

Rebecca Vallance Bridal Mia Crêpe Off-shoulder Gown, was £1,187 now £593 | MyTheresa
Featuring a structured, boned bodice and graceful lace inserts, Rebecca Vallance's Mia gown is an elegant choice for the modern bride.

So, there you have it. Everything you need to know about Meghan Markle's wedding dress.

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Penny Goldstone

Penny Goldstone is the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire, covering everything from catwalk trends to royal fashion and the latest high street and Instagram must-haves.

Penny grew up in France and studied languages and law at the Sorbonne Nouvelle University in Paris before moving to the UK for her MA in multimedia journalism at Bournemouth University. She moved to the UK permanently and has never looked back (though she does go back regularly to stock up on cheese and wine).

Although she's always loved fashion - she used to create scrapbooks of her favourite trends and looks, including Sienna Miller and Kate Moss' boho phase - her first job was at MoneySavingExpert.com, sourcing the best deals for everything from restaurants to designer sales.

However she quit after two years to follow her true passion, fashion journalism, and after many years of internships and freelance stints at magazines including Red, Cosmopolitan, Stylist and Good Housekeeping, landed her dream job as the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire UK.

Her favourite part of the job is discovering new brands and meeting designers, and travelling the world to attend events and fashion shows. Seeing her first Chanel runway IRL at Paris Fashion Week was a true pinch-me moment.