It’s that time of year to where we all start thinking of what we are really thankful for, and as my family can tell you this year Good TV & Film was one of my Thanksgivings at the dinner table this year! And, how could I help, with so many great costumes to look at and learn about! I recently picked up a copy of US Weekly’s 100 Greatest Movie Weddings and another book called I Do! I Do! : The Origin of 100 Classic Wedding Traditions and felt inspired to list some more of my favorite movie bridal gowns!
Elizabeth Swann’s Wedding Gown from Pirates of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
Poor Elizabeth Swann was denied her magical wedding day, not only was the ceremony rained out, but her husband to be was thrown in jail for Piracy. The film takes place in the mid eighteenth century, around 1742 according to filmmakers, and accordingly Elizabeth’s gown is Golden. Ever since the Elizabethan Era, when sumptuary laws, laws which taxed luxury spending for the lower classes, caused silver and gold silks, velvets and laces to be en-vogue amongst the nobility. Elizabeth being the daughter of a British peer, dons a stunning gold silk taffeta gown with lace trim and embroidered with pearls paired with a ivory silk chiffon veil with pear embellishments. While the gown appears gold on film it is actually a mustard ivory and bone color with ivory lace accents. While the gown is only seen for moments on screen, and albeit in a poor state due to Elizabeth sitting in the rain it captivates the audience and it’s beauty, had the day not been ruined is apparent to the viewer.
Ravenna’s Wedding Gown from Snow White and the Hunstman
The film may have been about Snow White (link to snow white blog), but it was the wicked queen Ravenna who captured the audience’s eye, with several sumptuous gowns. Her first elaborate gown the viewers see her in is her wedding gown, an off the shoulder off-white and golden gown with a full skirt and a pale gold train, it also included and eerie skeletal bolero. Costume Designer Colleen Atwood wanted Ravenna to look dangerous yet very beautiful. “Ravenna’s costume(s) go on a journey from lightness, which you see there in the beginning [where] she’s sort of this golden personage. But, there’s always an element of trapped death in her costumes, such as the skeletal cage around her shoulders in her wedding costume…She comes from kind of a hopeful place, thinking she’s going to be a queen again…her costumes kind of crumble along with her. They go from light to dark to very dark at the end,” Atwood says. Her wedding gown serves as a warning sign, but is ignored by the entire court.
The Queen’s Wedding Gown from Mirror, Mirror
That other Snow White costume delight, Mirror, Mirror also features an elaborate wedding gown worn by the wicked stepmother. While Snow White may have chosen to go the more traditional route by donning blue, the preferred color of bridal gowns for the medieval bride as it represented purity, her stepmother choose an elaborate white hoop skirt ball gown for her big day. The gown is the largest in the film, and is made from over 25yards of ivory silk formed into large petals which were layers upon one another; the gown also features silk chiffon sleeves and veil. The bodice repeats the same layered leaf pattern as in the skirt, but in smaller scale and with embroidery. In the end the Queen’s wedding gown weighed 60 lbs and was 8 ft in diameter. The Queen’s gown stand in sharp contrast to Snow White’s in that the shoulder are still pointed, more angular, representing the Queen’s cold nature and desire to attain and maintain beauty.
Allie’s Wedding Gown from The Notebook
We may not get to see Allie’s actual wedding gown to Noah in this classic romance but viewers do get the treat of seeing Allie all dolled up for her wedding to Lon. The gown is cut in a 40s style and made of lace and silk, it appears to be strapless from afar at first, but in reality there is a sheer layer with silk covered buttons. The gown is lavish and on the cutting edge of fashion, something Allie’s parents could afford and was available now that World War II was over. Allie pairs the gown with pearl earrings and a hair wreath made from small white flowers and an attached cathedral veil. She looks the perfect bride, thus her friends and family’s bewilderment when she faints at the sight of her first love Noah’s appearance in the newspaper. In the end the lovebirds get together, albeit in soaking clothes and blankets but cheered on by viewers none the less.
Margaret’s Wedding Gown from The Proposal
While Margaret may not actually marry or intend to marry in this gown she does at least look good while trying. In the film the gown is produced after the couple decided to throw an impromptu wedding and Grandma pulls her wedding gown from 1923 out of the closet. When we first see the gown it is a large and billowing sack on Margaret, as Grandma was pregnant when she was married and quite larger than Margaret. When we next see the gown during the ceremony, it is fit beautifully; the champagne silk clings her curves but does not restrict her. Ever the minimalist, Margaret pairs it with simple sprig of wax flowers in her hair, another 20s period piece, and a small blue opal necklace. Costume Designer Cat Thomas, had the gown modeled after the style of Katherine Hepburn’s gowns from her romantic comedies, likening Margaret to Hepburn’s on screen persona’s. In the end, it’s easy to see why Andrew chases after Margaret when she leaves him at the (fake) alter, after seeing her in this gown!
Tracy Lord’s Wedding Gown from The Philadelphia Story
Speaking of the effervescent Katherine Hepburn, in one of her most famous roles, the Philadelphia socialite Tracy Lord, Hepburn dons a beautiful White gown designed by famed costume designer Adrian. The role, later made famous again by Grace Kelly in the musical remake of the film High Society (a surprisingly more genteel less witty Tracy emerges with Kelly, though both Hepburn and Kelly hailed from high society backgrounds like their characters) called for a fast talking witty and fiery heiress on the eve of her second marriage when her much talked about first husband arrives to win her back once more. Having come from generations of money, it was important that Tracy be in fashion but not on the cutting edge, it was en vogue at the time for reservation to be the display of money. Her wedding gown is modest by design in comparison with her gold beaded white silk rehearsal dinner gown. Her wedding gown is instead made to make her look more youthful, and more importantly for her family more virginal. Made of layers of silk chiffon the gown features a ruffled collar whose layers wing out beyond her shoulder and sheer sleeves with belled ruffles at the end and a clever rectangular bodice which is tied in upside down bows with thick tubing. Paired with a large sun hat with ribbons hanging down her front, Tracy looks like a modern Scarlett O’Hara, comfortable with courting all her beaus, even on her wedding day!
There are still plenty more beautiful movie wedding gowns on my list, Part Two of my Movie Wedding Dresses Review to follow soon!
My favorite Wedding Gown is the one featured in Mamma mia! 🙂
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I loved the wedding dress Helena Bonham Carter wore in Sweeney Todd. So romantic!
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