Wedding ceremonies have existed for thousands of years, and during that time there have been some truly iconic bridal dresses that have influenced generations of brides.
From the earliest known ceremonies in ancient Mesopotamia to the glitz-filled ceremonies of today, weddings have been filled with fashions that have continued to influence dressmakers to this day.
Here are some of the most important dresses in history.
The wedding between the young Queen Victoria and Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 1840 was the first royal wedding as we understand it today. Given that the last reigning English queen to get married was Queen Mary in the 16th Century, people were rather excited.
It was filled with innovations that we see as standing in weddings today; Victoria’s dress was made of white silk and lace, there were street parties as people celebrated the ceremony, and there would also be the very first wedding photograph, although it was taken several years after the ceremony.
Before Queen Victoria, white dresses were not the standard, but after her famous wedding, not wearing white is seen as a bold statement.
One of the most elegant and memorable gowns ever worn to a wedding, Grace Kelly wore a dress designed by Helen Rose for her wedding to Prince Rainier III of Monaco which featured long white lace sleeves and a v-shaped neckline.
It has proven incredibly influential, with Kate Middleton’s dress, in particular, being described as taking inspiration from Mrs Kelly’s famous gown.
The late Lady Diana Spencer was known for her truly iconic looks, and she wore perhaps the most famous revenge dress in all of fashion in 1995 when Prince Charles admitted to infidelity.
However, her wedding dress, featuring a colossal 25-foot bridal train and worth over £35,000 in 2021 money, was designed to go down in history in the same way Grace Kelly’s had.
If Grace Kelly’s dress was elegant in its understatement, Princess Diana’s was elegant due to its ostentatiousness. Its huge puffed sleeves, silky soft fabrics and 10,000 pearls were all hotly desired and copies were made within hours of it being revealed.