Wedding Looks Throughout History
See how much has changed since the early 1900s.
Since the early 1900s, wedding outfits have evolved dramatically. Although classic white wedding dresses still remain popular, these days, everything from bright colors to pantsuits have been incorporated into a bride’s wedding day look. Take a look at how wedding clothes have changed in the last century.
A Turn-Of-The-Century Bridal Look
When Queen Victoria donned a white wedding dress in the mid-1800s for her royal wedding, she probably had no idea that her choice of color would leave a lasting impression on other brides for centuries to come. However, brides followed suit, choosing white or other pale colors for their wedding looks, including this 1899 bride. Early 1900s brides also often accentuated their short haircuts with veiled headpieces.
Burning Love In 1960s Vegas
When Elvis Presley wed Priscilla Presley in Las Vegas in 1967, Priscilla Presley wore an off-the-rack wedding dress. The floor-length dress featured embellished sleeves and neckline with a simple, loose-fitting babydoll cut. Meanwhile, Elvis wore a black brocade silk tux for their big day.
A Dress For A Modern Duchess
When Meghan Markle wed Prince Harry in 2018, many were surprised by her choice of a wedding dress: a Givenchy gown that was minimal but elegant. The dress had none of the intricate lace or embellishments that other royal brides before Markle had chosen. Instead, it featured a boatneck neckline and was complemented by a 16-foot veil.
Hats Off To This 1930s Bridal Look
Embracing the trend of the time, actress Ginger Rogers skipped the veil and instead chose to wear a hat for her wedding day to husband Lew Ayres in 1933. Long sleeve gowns were also popular with Depression-era brides, as were striped ties for 1930s grooms.
An Iconic Gown For An American Princess
Grace Kelly’s 1956 wedding gown to Prince Rainier of Monaco is thought of as one of the most influential wedding looks of the 20th century, emulated by brides like Kate Middleton and Miranda Kerr many decades later. It was designed by the costume department of MGM as a gift and featured embellished lace. Instead of a tiara, Kelly opted for a Juliet cap to keep her veil in place.
Pink Wedding Gowns On The Runway
In 2012, Jessica Biel stunned fans by wearing a bold pink Giambattista Valli Haute Couture gown to her wedding to Justin Timberlake. A few years later, Vera Wang debuted a bridal collection that featured all-pink wedding gowns. This officially marked the transition of pink gowns from offbeat to mainstream.
A Pop Princess’ Royal-Inspired Wedding Look
The design of Mariah Carey’s wedding dress for her 1993 nuptials to Tommy Mottola was reportedly inspired by Princess Diana’s wedding look. Not only did the singer wear a tiara, but her Vera Wang gown also boasted a 27-foot train and 10-foot veil. Carey wore the dress again for her 2005 music video for “We Belong Together.”
Long And Loose Was The Style In The 1910s
In the 1910s, it became the style for wedding dresses to have a more loose-fitting silhouette. Some brides, like this one, also added a sash around the waist. Veils during this period were also very long and tiered.
The Focal Point Is The Sleeves
This 1970s wedding dress was all about the long, poufy sleeves. This trend is credited to the fashion house Dior. It created a wedding dress with a high neckline and “big sleeves with a puff at the elbow” that brides of that decade wanted to emulate.
Mermaid-Style Becomes The Trend
Mermaid-style wedding dresses became a major trend in the 2000s. Mermaid dresses are noted for having a tight-fitting bodice that flares out around the knees. The mermaid dress seen here was featured in the 2007 Badgley Mischka Bridal fashion show.
The Bride Wore Yellow
Having been married eight times, Elizabeth Taylor wore her share of different styles of wedding dresses. But this one at her 1964 wedding to Richard Burton was especially notable for its canary yellow color and babydoll design. Taylor completed the look with flowers woven into her braided hairstyle.
1970s Rock Star Glam
For her 1971 wedding in the South of France to rock singer Mick Jagger, Bianca Jagger chose an equally rock ‘n’ roll wedding ensemble. She wore a white Yves Saint Laurent smoking jacket with nothing underneath it, pairing it with a long, silk skirt and a veiled sun hat. Meanwhile, Mick Jagger chose an offbeat green suit and sneakers.
An Iconic Dress For The People’s Princess
Princess Diana’s wedding gown for her 1981 wedding to Prince Charles was nothing short of epic. Designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel, the dress featured an unheard-of 25-foot train, making it the longest train in the history of royal weddings. It also had voluminous puffy sleeves and 10,000 sewn-in pearls.
Dresses That Show Off A Bride’s Best Side
Bridal trends in the 2010s included wedding dresses with side cut-outs, as seen in this runway photo from Pronovias’ 2017 bridal show. For her 2014 wedding to Kanye West, Kim Kardashian sported the trend with a gown that had sheer lace side cut-outs that accentuated her curves.
A Flapper-Style Wedding Dress
The 1920s were the height of the flapper era, and the wedding dresses of this time reflected that. As seen on this 1927 bride, a knee-length fringed dress and strands of pearls were hallmarks of the 1920s-era style. Paired with a more traditional veil, this wedding look was both bridal and highly on-trend for the time period.
A Camelot Wedding Look
Jackie Kennedy looked like a classic 1950s bride when she walked down the aisle and married then-Senator John F. Kennedy in 1953. Her wedding look included a full skirt and her grandmother’s lace veil. It was reported that Jackie Kennedy later described her wedding dress as a “lampshade” and she revealed that she hadn’t been a fan of the design.
A Trendy ’90s Wedding Dress
As seen on a 1992 episode of “Days of Our Lives,” off-the-shoulder wedding gowns with sleeves were a trend in the ’90s. Dresses in general also got sleeker in the decade following big, poufy 1980s wedding gowns. This particular dress also featured a lace choker.
A Casual 1960s Wedding Look
In 1969, Yoko Ono married musician John Lennon and her outfit became symbolic of the era. Ono paired a white miniskirt with a white hat, white knee socks and casual athletic shoes. Meanwhile, Lennon was equally low-key in a white-colored jacket and corduroy slacks.
A Blue Dress For The Duchess Of Windsor
Although Wallis Simpson’s wedding to the Duke of Windsor didn’t make her an official royal, she still looked every bit the part at the couple’s 1937 wedding. The dress was a soft blue color. Her hat, gloves and shoes were also dyed to match the same shade of blue.
An Over-The-Top ’90s Bride
Singer Celine Dion’s wedding dress for her 1994 wedding to producer René Angelil was show-stopping. The dress reportedly took 1,000 hours to create and had a 20-foot long train. She topped it off with a crystal tiara that weighed 7 pounds.
A Dress Fit For A Future Queen
Designed by Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen, Kate Middleton’s wedding gown for her 2011 royal wedding to Prince William reportedly cost over $300,000. It had lace sleeves and a 9-foot train. Middleton also changed into a second dress designed by Burton for the evening reception.
A Short Wedding Dress With A Long Train
In the 1920s, shorter wedding dresses became the norm. This 1927 bride wore a short wedding dress with a long lace train. She also sported an embroidered headdress.
An Ombre Wedding Dress
For her 2002 wedding to Gavin Rossdale, singer Gwen Stefani chose an ombre pink wedding dress that was ahead of its time. Designed by John Galliano, the gown was dip-dyed by hand to make the bottom of it pink. Stefani topped off the look with an antique lace veil.
A Wartime Wedding Look
During the war-torn years of the 1940s, many brides kept their wedding dresses simple. Some brides even DIYed their wedding dresses to save on cost. This 1940s bride wore a silk taffeta dress with lace accents, while the groom donned a white and black tuxedo.
A Pink And Lilac Look
For her third wedding to Dr. Robert Levine in 1983, actress Mary Tyler Moore chose a blush-hued dress, rather than a white one. The gown featured a high neckline and intricate lace details. She wore lilac eye makeup, as well.
A 1950s Tea Length Dress
Tea-length dresses were popular in the 1950s. The style encompassed the fullness of a ball gown with a shorter length that made it easier to move around in. This 1958 bride accessorized her tea length wedding dress with a veil and ample foliage.
Two Brides, Two Different Wedding Looks
Comedian Ellen DeGeneres and actress Portia de Rossi each wore a different bridal look for their 2008 wedding. DeGeneres wore a cream-colored pantsuit while de Rossi chose a blush gown with a tuxedo top. Both outfits were designed by Zac Posen.
Not every 1960s bride wanted a groovy, offbeat look for her wedding. Some brides still wanted a more classic wedding gown, like this one from French designer Pierre Balmain’s 1966 show. Unlike poufier gowns that were common in the 1950s, this wedding dress featured a slimmer silhouette.
A Vintage-Inspired Bride
For her lavish 2011 wedding to Jamie Hince, model Kate Moss chose a new but vintage-inspired wedding dress by designer John Galliano. The gown had a slim 1920s silhouette but was given a modern spin with the sheer fabric at the bottom. It was also adorned with glittery, gold sparkles.
A Rock ‘N’ Roll Wedding Look
Singer Lorna Luft, daughter of Judy Garland, said “I don’t” to the traditional wedding dress when she married Jake Hooker, lead guitarist of The Arrows, in 1977. Instead, she opted for a satin pantsuit. “It was the ultimate rock ‘n’ roll wedding,” she wrote in her 1999 memoir, “Me And My Shadows.”