The Most Iconic Wedding Dresses of All Time

Jackie Kennedy Bridal Party
Photo: Pat Candido/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

We could look at beautiful wedding gowns all day, every day, and this collection has some stunners. We're starting our list with Wallis Simpson's stunning slip-of-a-gown that was at the height of fashion in 1937 when she married the Duke of Windsor. Other royals that made our list are Grace Kelly, Queen Elizabeth, Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle, and—of course, Princess Diana and her over-the-top confection for her 1981 nuptials to Prince Charles. Rest assured, we didn't give all the attention to the beautiful brides across the pond. We're also showcasing American royalty of our own including Jackie Kennedy, Nancy Reagan, Caroline Kennedy, and Jenna Bush Hager. We couldn't leave off a few of our favorite fictional characters and their epic dresses either. No Southern wedding dress list would be complete without at least a mention of Shelby's 80s-centric look from Steel Magnolias. Take a look through these stunning gowns through the years and share with us your favorite. Did we leave someone off the list? Let us know!

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Wallis Simpson

Wallis Simpson
Hulton Archive/Getty

Wed Edward VIII, Duke of Windsor in June 1937

This silk crepe dress was at the height of fashion when Simpson wore it to marry the Duke of Windsor. The designer dyed the fabric a light shade of blue to match her eyes. He appropriately deemed the hue "Wallis blue."

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Shirley Temple

Shirley Temple
Keystone-France/Getty

Wed Sgt. John Agar in September 1945

Shirley Temple was just 17 years old when she married Sgt. John Agar. She wore a satin wedding gown and large tiara.

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Josephine Baker

Josephine-Baker
AFP via Getty Images

Wed Jo Bouillon in June 1947

The Missouri-born entertainer married French composer Jo Bouillon at Château des Milandes, her home in Southwestern France. Baker wore a belted square-neck sheath dress, but her feathered hat and braided updo stole the show.

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Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II
Hulton Archive/Getty

Wed Prince Philip in November 1947

Less than three months before her November wedding, Queen Elizabeth approved a design from Britain couturier Norman Hartnell. The gown was constructed with duchesse silk satin, white seed pearls, silver thread, intricate appliques, and a silk tulle veil. The tulle train was attached to the dress at the shoulders.

To learn more about this incredible dress and how it came together, click here.

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Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor
Frank Worth, Courtesy of Capital Art/Getty

Wed Conrad 'Nicky' Hilton in May 1950

Taylor became known for her wedding style—as there would be many looks to choose from through the years. In her first marriage to Conrad 'Nicky' Hilton, the actress wore a satin ball gown that showed off her tiny waist and a voluminous veil.

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Kay Banks (Elizabeth Taylor)

Kay Banks
Transcendental Graphics/Getty

Wed Buckley Dunstan (Don Taylor), 'Father of the Bride' (1950)

The same year she tied the knot with the hotel heir, Taylor starred as Kay Banks in the original Father of the Bride. Her on-screen look was more conservative than her real-life wedding day style, but still played up her iconic curves.

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Ava Gardner

Ava Gardner
CBS via Getty Images

Wed Frank Sinatra in November 1951

The halter-neck dress was paired with a sheer shawl. A simple, double strand of pearls completed the bridal look.

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Nancy Reagan

Nancy Reagan
Hulton Archive/Getty

Wed Ronald Reagan in March 1952

The future First Lady donned a gray wool suit with a shawl collar.

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Jackie Kennedy

Jackie Kennedy
Bachrach/Getty

Wed John F. Kennedy in September 1953

The wedding gown that went down in history as being one of the best of all time almost didn't happen. Ten days before her wedding to JFK, Jackie's dress was destroyed in a flood in designer (and Alabama-native) Ann Lowe's studio. Lowe ended up pulling together the new gown, complete with bouffant skirt and portrait neckline, just in time for what would go down as one of history's most iconic weddings.

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Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn
ullstein bild via Getty Images

Wed Mel Ferrer in September 1954

Pierre Balmain designed Hepburn's tea-length dress. It featured a high neck and satin sash and was paired with elbow-length gloves. A flower crown gave an ethereal touch to her wedding day style.

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Debbie Reynolds

Debbie Reynolds
Weegee/International Center of Photography/Getty

Wed Eddie Fisher in September 1955

Reynolds wore a lace gown with cap sleeves. A short veil and pearl jewelry completed the young star's look.

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Grace Kelly

Grace Kelly
3777/Gamma-Rapho via Getty

Wed Monaco's Prince Rainier in April 1956

The wedding gown that's widely considered the most famous of all time was a confection of silk, taffeta, tulle, and Belgian lace. It took three petticoats (embroidered with little "something blue" bows) to support the bell-shaped skirt.

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Princess Margaret

Princess Margaret
Central Press/Getty

Wed Antony Armstrong-Jones in May 1960

The long-sleeve, silk organza gown featured a fitted v-neck bodice and pleated, full skirt. Norman Hartwell, who designed her sister's dress more than a decade earlier, created the look.

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Eartha Kitt

Eartha Kitt
Bettmann/Getty Images

Wed Bill McDonald in June 1960

South Carolina native Eartha Kitt wore a custom chiffon dress trimmed in satin for her at-home wedding to real estate developer Bill McDonald. She finished her wedding day ensemble with a 5-strand pearl necklace, along with coordinating satin hat, shoes, and handbag.

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Nancy Kwan

Nancy Kwan
Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

Wed Peter Pock in June 1962

Actress Nancy Kwan married Austrian ski instructor Peter Pock at the Paddington Registry Office in London. For the simple ceremony, Kwan chose a lace and shantung silk dress with a matching bolero jacket and statement headband.

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Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton
via Pinterest

Wed Carl Dean in May 1966

Parton's bridal style was short and sweet. A simple tulle veil was the finishing touch.

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Priscilla Presley

Priscilla Presley
Frank Edwards/Fotos International/Getty

Wed Elvis Presley in May 1967

If there was any question what decade the Presleys said "I do," one only needs to take a look at Priscilla's dress—and hair—to find out. The organza gown with beaded sleeves had a flowy silhouette that was a popular style at the time. It was topped with a three-quarter-length veil.

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June Carter

June Carter
via Pinterest

Wed Johnny Cash in March 1968

Carter chose a short dress in light blue lace with bell sleeves for her wedding to crooner Johnny Cash. Low satin heels and a flower headpiece completed the ensemble.

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Ina Garten

Wed Jeffrey Garten in December 1968

The Barefoot Contessa was 20 years old when she exchanged vows with Jeffrey Garten at her parents' Connecticut home. An anniversary post shows the bride wearing a floral brocade dress with fur-trimmed sleeves, a single-strand of pearls, and a bow-topped veil.

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Tricia Nixon

Tricia Nixon
Paul DeMaria/NY Daily News Archive/Getty

Wed Ed Cox in June 1971

For her White House wedding, Nixon wore a V-neck gown with delicate lace and pearl embroidery. The veil cascaded out of a coordinating headpiece.

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Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin
Afro American Newspapers/Gado/Getty Images

Wed Glynn Turman in April 1978

Franklin wore an ankle-length white dress to marry actor Glynn Turman at her father's New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan. The soul singer completed her wedding day ensemble with a brocade robe trimmed in fur and ending in a train that followed her up the aisle.

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Diana, Princess of Wales

Diana, Princess of Wales
Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty

Wed Prince Charles, Prince of Wales in July 1981

The sleeves, the train, the tiara—who could forget this iconic look? The dress was comprised of ivory silk taffeta and antique lace. Diana's gown was kept under such tight wraps that a backup dress was constructed on the off chance that the details of this dress were leaked before the big day.

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Diana Ross

Diana Ross at her wedding
Jörg Schmitt/picture alliance/Getty Images

Wed Arne Naess, Jr. in February 1986

The Grammy-winning artist married the Norwegian businessman in a lavish ceremony in Switzerland. She wore a satin gown with a lace neckline, sleeves, and veil paired with a tiara and flowers in her hair.

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Caroline Kennedy

Caroline Kennedy
PL Gould/Getty

Wed Edwin Schlossberg in July 1986

The dress was designed by Carolina Herrera, a favorite designer of Caroline's mother, Jackie. The silk organza gown had a drop waist, high round neck, and short sleeves.

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Diahann Carroll

Diahann Carroll
Photo by Richard Corkery/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

Wed Vic Damone in January 1987

The Tony Award-winning actress wore an ivory suit with puffy sleeves and a peplum waist to marry musician Vic Damone in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

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Shelby Eatenton Latcherie (Julia Roberts)

Julia Roberts in "Steel Magnolias," 1989
TriStar Pictures via IMDb

Wed Jackson Latcherie (Dylan McDermott), 'Steel Magnolias' (1989)

Shelby's off-the-shoulder number featured satin beads up the back and a large taffeta bow. A few years later, Julia Roberts would wear a slightly similar look (with fewer florettes) for her role in Runaway Bride.

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Annie Banks (Kimberly Williams-Paisley)

Annie Banks
Touchstone/Getty

Wed Bryan MacKenzie (George Newbern), 'Father of the Bride' (1991)

Before she was Brad Paisley's bride, Kimberly Williams played one on-screen in the Father of the Bride reboot. The fitted bodice transformed into a full skirt with a large swathe of lace trim.

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Iman

Wed David Bowie in April 1992

The rockstar and supermodel married two years after meeting on a blind date, and their storied but private romance is considered one for the ages. Though both fashion risk-takers, their wedding looks were timeless, with the groom in tails and a white boutonniere and the bride in a Hervé Léger silk halter gown, long white gloves, and drop earrings.

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Dorothy Zbornak (Bea Arthur)

Dorothy Zbornak
Joseph Del Valle/NBC/Getty

Wed Lucas (Leslie Nielsen), 'Golden Girls' (aired May 1992)

Who remembers this TV wedding? We're not quite sure what was going on between the fit, lace, and those rings in v-formation, but it's definitely one that's hard to forget.

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Mariah Carey

The Wedding of Mariah Carey and Tommy Mottola
Mitchell Gerber/Corbis/VCG/Getty Images

Wed Tommy Mottola in June 1993

If you can't tell by the volume of the dress and the tiara on her head, the Grammy winner was supposedly inspired by Princess Diana's legendary bridal look when planning her own big day. The Vera Wang-designed ensemble featured a 10-foot veil and 27-foot train. The corset was embellished lace while the sleeves and skirt were satin.

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Celine Dion

Celine Dion
Michel Ponomareff/Getty

Wed Rene Angelil in December 1994

Understated is not a word that can be used to describe Dion's bridal attire. A large headpiece was just the beginning of this unforgettable look. Embroidery, lace, diamonds—every kind of opulence one can imagine was incorporated into the gown's design.

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Nicole Kidman

Nicole Kidman
Justin Lloyd/Newspix/Getty

Wed Keith Urban in June 2006

The one-shouldered gown with empire waist felt both vintage and modern. The bride wore her hair half up with soft curls falling just below her shoulders.

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Jenna Bush Hager

Jenna Bush Hager
Shealah Craighead/The White House via Getty

Wed Henry Hager in May 2008

Hager selected a gown by Oscar de la Renta, a favorite designer of former First Lady Laura Bush. It featured a V-shaped back and stunning embroidery. The bride kept the look natural and opted to forego a veil.

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Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker)

On The Set Of "Sex And The City: The Movie"
Marcel Thomas/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Wed John James Preston (Chris Noth), 'Sex and the City' (2008)

Though the fictional Carrie originally intended to wear something modest for her wedding, a Vogue photo shoot and custom Vivienne Westwood gown inspired her to "up the ante" on the dress and the guest list. The strapless corset ballgown boasted two colors and types of fabric. In a total Carrie move, she also donned a turquoise bird hair piece to add some drama to the already theatrical look. Fans know the wedding didn't go on as planned, but the bridal ensemble has a lasting place in costume design history.

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Beyoncé Knowles

Wed Jay-Z in June 2008

Tina Lawson, mother of the bride, designed the Houstonian's dress for her New York wedding ceremony. In this snapshot shared on Lawson's Instagram page, you can see the Southern mama fixing her daughter's train before the Carters walked down the aisle as husband and wife.

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Chelsea Clinton

Chelsea Clinton
Handout/Getty

Wed Marc Mezvinsky in July 2010

Designer Vera Wang created the bridal look for the former First Daughter. The strapless gown featured stunning ivory silk organza and a beaded belt.

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Kate Middleton

Kate Middleton
Anwar Hussein/WireImage/Getty

Wed Prince William, Duke of Cambridge in April 2011

The long-sleeved dress set off a shock wave of imitation styles almost instantaneously. The gown complete with a fitted bodice, plunging lace overlay, and stunning train has become one of the most iconic bridal looks.

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Gabrielle Union

Wed Dwayne Wade in August 2014

The actress and NBA star married at Chateau Artisan in Miami, Florida, and the bride wore a Dennis Basso gown. It featured a strapless sweetheart neckline and bow detail on the back. From the gorgeous photos, you would never know the wedding took place during a hot August in South Florida.

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Solange Knowles

Wed Alan Ferguson in November 2014

For her New Orleans wedding ceremony, Knowles chose a sleek ivory gown and attached cape designed by Humberto Leon for Kenzo. She completed the look with gold cuff bracelets by Jill for Lady Grey.

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Nicky Hilton

Nicky Hilton
Neil Mockford/Alex Huckle/GC Images/Getty

Wed James Rothschild in July 2015

Hilton wore a gown fit for royalty for her July wedding at Kensington Palace. The stunning lace dress, designed by Valentino, featured long sleeves, a high neck, a fitted bodice, and full skirt.

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Sofia Vergara

Wed Joe Manganiello in November 2015

The two actors wed in a flower-filled ceremony in at The Breakers in Palm Beach. She wore a stunning sweetheart-neck custom couture gown designed by Zuhair Murad. The entire dress was embroidered, including pearl and sequin details, and the full ballgown skirt detached at the reception.

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Eva Longoria

Wed José Bastón in May 2016

For her sunset ceremony, the Texas native wore a custom, form-fitting gown designed by her friend Victoria Beckham. Longoria and husband José Bastón chose to marry at their home in Mexico, surrounded by 80 of their closest friends and family.

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Ciara

Wed Russell Wilson in July 2016

The NFL quarterback and Grammy-winning artist had a true fairytale wedding at a castle in England. She wore a custom Roberto Cavalli Couture gown with a lace overlay, trumpet sleeves, and a tulle skirt and train. The long train featured a sweet detail, the couple's initials, woven into the lace pattern.

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Pippa Middleton

Pippa Middleton
Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty

Wed James Matthews in April 2017

Pippa's bridesmaid dress for Kate's wedding made waves, so there were high expectations when it came to what she would wear for her own big day. The gown was a custom creation by British designer Giles Deacon. It featured cap sleeves, a high neck, and a heart-shaped cutout on the back.

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Idina Menzel

Wed Aaron Lohr in September 2017

The broadway star, singer, and actor Menzel married fellow actor Lohr in a private, "magical" ceremony at their home. Her lace, off-the-shoulder gown was designed by Carolina Herrera and featured a slim, colored belt. She wore a headband by Jennifer Behr and stud earrings to top it off.

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Serena Williams

Wed Alexis Ohanian in November 2017

The tennis star married Virginia native Alexis Ohanian at a fairytale-inspired ceremony in New Orleans. Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen designed Williams' strapless ball gown and shimmering cape.

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Chanel Iman

Wed Sterling Shepard in March 2018

Atlanta-native Chanel Iman wore a blush-colored gown with white floral appliques, created by Lebanese designer Zuhair Murad. A matching silk tulle bolero completed the supermodel's ceremony look before she walked down the aisle to see her groom

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Meghan Markle

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex
Ben STANSALL - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Wed Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex in May 2018

Givenchy's Clare Waight Keller designed a silk-cady gown with a bateau neckline in close collaboration with the bride. Her tulle veil featured hand-embroidered flowers honoring each country in the Commonwealth. Since no royal wedding is complete without jewels, Queen Mary's diamond bandeau tiara held the 5-meter-long veil in place.

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Rose Leslie

Kit Harington and Rose Leslie Wedding Sightings
Mark Milan/GC Images/Getty Images

Wed Kit Harington in June 2018

Game of Thrones might be a fantasy, but the co-stars' fairytale wedding was totally real. The show's production took a break for the couple to wed at a church in Rose's hometown of Aberdeen, Scotland, and held their reception in her family's castle—a castle, y'all! The bride, whose mother is a direct descendant of King Charles II, wore a long-sleeve lace gown with an illusion boat neckline and belt detail. According to multiple outlets, the gorgeous dress was designed by Elie Saab. A sweet floral headband topped off her look beautifully.

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Araminta Lee (Sonoya Mizuno)

Wed Colin Khoo (Chris Pang), 'Crazy Rich Asians' (2018)

The groundbreaking film's costumes are incredible throughout the movie, but one of the most jaw-dropping moments is the wedding between Lee (Mizuno) and Khoo (Pang). Costume designer Mary E. Vogt chose Malaysian couture designer Carven Ong to create the stunning (and waterproof!) gown. The look included a sheer jumpsuit embellished with countless Swarovski crystals and other gold accents. The attached skirt included billowing layers that were inspired by Mizuno's history as a ballet dancer.

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Barbara Bush

Wed Craig Coyne in October 2018

The activist and daughter of former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush wed the actor in a secret, sweet ceremony at her family's estate in Kennebunkport, Maine. She wore a custom ivory silk gown designed by Vera Wang with a "something borrowed" bracelet of her late grandmother's and "something blue" earrings from her twin sister, Jenna Bush Hager.

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Princess Eugenie

Princess Eugenie
Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage

Wed Jack Brooksbank in October 2018

Princess Eugenie wore a Peter Pilotto gown with a fitted bodice and a full pleated skirt. She requested a v-style back to show the scar from her childhood scoliosis surgery. Queen Elizabeth II lent her granddaughter the Greville Emerald Kokoshnik Tiara to complete her royal ensemble.

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Priyanka Chopra

Wed Nick Jonas in December 2018

Actress Priyanka Chopra asked Ralph Lauren to design her dream dress for her Western ceremony in Jodhpur, India. The gown featured hand beading and embroidery that took the Ralph Lauren team more than 1,800 hours to finish.

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Katherine Schwarzenegger

Wed Chris Pratt in June 2019

The famous pair tied the knot in Montecito, California, in an intimate ceremony with family and close friends. The bride and groom wore custom-designed Giorgio Armani on their wedding day, which included Katherine's strapless, sweetheart lace dress. The column gown featured a full train in the back, and she wore her grandmother's earrings along a combination of a custom lace-trimmed veil and a tulle veil once worn by her mother, Maria Shriver.

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Hailey Baldwin

Wed Justin Bieber in September 2019

Though the mega-star couple technically tied the knot a year earlier in a simple courthouse wedding, they chose to have their dream wedding at our region's beloved Montage Palmetto Bluff in South Carolina. The intimate ceremony was held at Somerset Chapel, and Hailey wore custom-made lace, off-the-shoulder, mermaid gown and veil (which had the words "Till Death Do Us Part" stitched on it) designed for her by the late Off-White designer Virgil Abloh. "I will never be able to fully express how grateful I am to have known him and worked with him, from walking on his runways to having him design my wedding dress and all the other amazing moments in between," she wrote on Instagram following his passing. "I felt he was always rooting for me."

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Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters

Wed Tim Tebow in January 2020

The model and former Miss Universe from South Africa married the Florida-native football star at a sunset ceremony in Cape Town. The bride wore a timeless silhouette with an off-the-shoulder neckline and button details down the back, custom-designed for her by David's Bridal. A low bun, pearl drop earrings, and a cathedral-length tulle veil completed her classic look.

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Princess Beatrice

Wed Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi in July 2020

After postponing her May wedding due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, Princess Beatrice and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi exchanged vows in an intimate ceremony. Just weeks before her re-scheduled nuptials, she chose to wear a Norman Hartnell gown belonging to her grandmother. Princess Beatrice customized her "something borrowed" with new organza sleeves and an ivory Duchess satin hem. To complete her look she wore the Queen Mary diamond fringe tiara, the same tiara worn by Queen Elizabeth II for her 1947 wedding ceremony to Prince Philip.

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Gwen Stefani

Wed Blake Shelton in July 2021

The pop and country stars wed at Shelton's Oklahoma ranch in a chapel he built especially for the occasion. The bride wore custom Vera Wang Haute gowns to the ceremony and reception. Her wedding gown was strapless with a sweetheart neckline and tulle high-low skirt. Not only were her outfits legendary, but both dresses paid tribute to her kids in sweet ways.

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Issa Rae

Wed Louis Diame in July 2021

The actress, writer, and producer surprised fans with the news that she was married by posting photos on Instagram, joking that her girlfriends (i.e. bridesmaids) "all coincidentally had on the same dress." The famously private couple wed in France, and the bride wore a custom Vera Wang gown with a strapless sweetheart neckline, belt detail, and tulle ballgown skirt. She wore her hair in a gorgeous low ponytail with a lace-trimmed veil and stud earrings.

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Lady Kitty Spencer

Wed Michael Lewis in July 2021

The British model and niece of beloved Diana, Princess of Wales, stopped the Internet in its tracks when photos of her stunning wedding gown were released, though it was only one of five handmaid dresses she wore on her big day in Rome. Since she's a global ambassador for Dolce & Gabbana, it's no surprise the brand was behind each of her custom looks. The puffed sleeves and corseted midsection gave the high-neck, lace gown a modern, high-fashion feel to the Victorian-inspired look. A sleek low ponytail and natural makeup offset the dramatic gown.

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Jasmine Tookes

Wed Juan David Borrero in September 2021

The supermodel and social media executive celebrated their wedding in Quito, Ecuador, with a ceremony and reception bursting with fresh flowers. The bride wore a jaw-dropping custom gown by Zuhair Murad, which featured a timeless design with modern details. A 15-foot train and billowing skirt were beautifully paired with a high-neck, long-sleeve lace bodice. At the reception, the skirt detached to reveal the entire lace gown, which was more form-fitting and perfect for dancing the night away.

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Lily Collins

Wed Charlie McDowell in September 2021

Surprise! The actress secretly wed the director at the Dunton Hot Springs in Colorado, in a wedding that had the Internet lapping up every bit of "cottagecore" Pinterest inspiration. For the intimate, outdoor ceremony, the bride wore a lace, long-sleeve Ralph Lauren gown with a mock-neck. The real scene-stealer of her outfit, however, was the lace hood and cape, also designed by Ralph Lauren, which further enhanced the magical feel of the occasion.

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Paris Hilton

Wed Carter Reum in November 2021

In perhaps the most publicized wedding of 2021, Hilton and Reum married at her late grandfather's estate with a lavish, days-long celebration that included six outfit changes. Her ceremony dress, designed by Oscar de la Renta, featured a high-neck with a full tulle skirt. Instead of classic lace, the detailed design was meant to look like pressed flowers, which were also woven into her veil.

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