Decades before the Duchess of Cambridge and Princess Diana wowed the world with their bridal fashion, American actress Grace Kelly set the standard for royal weddings in her 1956 marriage to Prince Rainer III of Monaco. The Oscar winner became a true princess that day, and she definitely looked the part.
MGM gave her the gown.
Recently emulated by Kate Middleton and Miranda Kerr, the dress by Academy Award-winning costume designer Helen Rose came as a gift from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to their famous star. Rose had also worked on Kelly's wardrobe for four of her films.
The dress broke down into 10 parts.
The studio's wardrobe department created the "fairy-princess" look piece by piece. The lace bodice also came with a slip, skirt support and underbodice. Foundation, ruffled and smoothing petticoats went under the pleated silk faille skirt. Finally, a train insert and silk faille cummerbund completed the outfit.
It used over 400 yards of fabric.
Her cap featured a flower crown.
Instead of an elaborate tiara, Kelly opted for a Juliet cap to hold her veil in place. The headpiece included more pearls and lace, as well as a wreath of paper orange blossoms.
The lace had lots of embellishment.
Seamstresses re-embroidered the antique Brussels lace on her bodice to hide any seams and add hundreds of seed pearls.
The circular veil had an important purpose.
As an A-list movie star, Kelly's wedding was no small affair. She wore a specially designed veil that kept her face as visible as possible to the 600 guests and estimated 30 million viewers watching from afar. Appliqued lace motifs around the edges included two tiny lovebirds.
A prayer book replaced a big bouquet.
Devout mid-20th-century brides often carried a Bible instead of lots of flowers, according to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the current home of Kelly's bridal outfit. The actress received her book as a gift, and MGM then embellished it with silk, lace, and pearls. Kelly carried both the missal and a small bunch of lilies of the valley on the big day.
A penny was hidden in her shoes.
Prince Rainier III already stood close in height to his fiancee, so the bride wore just 2½-inch heels. David Evins designed the pumps, adding seed pearls and lace. He embossed her name in the left shoe and his own in the right shoe, where he also added a copper penny for good luck.
There was another dress.
While the elaborate religious ceremony on April 19, 1956, attracted most of the attention, Kelly first wed her royal beau in a civil ceremony the day before. Helen Rose also created the pink floral ensemble, accessorized with a Juliet cap.
In fact, there were lots of dresses.
To accept wedding congratulations at a quick press conference, the actress donned another tea-length ensemble on April 18, 1956. It wasn't her last look of the day, either. She slipped into a white silk Lanvin gown that night at a gala, Brides reports.
This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.