Brides find inspiration for their gowns everywhere from family photos to fashion magazines, so why not the movies?
Some of the most beautiful wedding dresses weren’t part of a real ceremony – they were simply part of a set. From Lauren Bacall’s off-the-shoulder dress in How To Marry a Millionaire to Sonoya Mizuno’s over-the-top look in Crazy Rich Asians, costume gowns have been inspiring real-life brides for years.
These dresses may not have had much screen time, but they still made an impact. Keep reading to see 25 of the best wedding dresses to grace the silver screen.
1. How To Marry a Millionaire (1953)
In How To Marry a Millionaire, three models scheme up ways to bag rich husbands. Only one, Schatze Page (played by the legendary Lauren Bacall), succeeds…or does she? Schatze gets cold feet while wearing a shoulder-baring ecru lace dress and pearl necklace. Eschewing a veil, she walks down the aisle in a striped sunhat, but I much prefer the look bareheaded.
Wardrobe director Charles LeMaire and costume designer Edward Travilla received an Academy Award nomination for their work on the film.
How To Marry a Millionaire is available to rent on Amazon Prime Video.
2. Funny Face (1957)
Everything Audrey Hepburn did was iconic, and her character Jo’s wedding dress in Funny Face is no exception. After modeling the gown, Jo wears it to reunite with fashion photographer Dick Avery (Fred Astaire) at the end of the light-hearted musical. Jo wears a ballerina-inspired gown with a full skirt and bateau neckline.
Funny Face is streaming on YouTube.
3. The Princess Bride (1987)
If you want a gown fit for a princess, then look no further than Buttercup’s wedding dress in The Princess Bride. Her gown appears to have a blue tint to it – after all, all-white wedding gowns are a relatively modern thing. The empire waist dress featured intricate beading and dramatic sleeves.
Believe it or not, The Princess Bride was a box office bomb that later became a cult classic – people are still quoting the film today!
The Princess Bride is streaming on Disney+.
4. Steel Magnolias (1989)
Southern bride Shelby, played by Julia Roberts, walks down the aisle in a dress that is most definitely a product of the 1980s. Still, it doesn’t overwhelm Roberts’ frame and showcases her amazing hourglass figure. The gown features sweet pink rosettes to complement the bride’s bouquet and the rest of the wedding decor.
“When I opened the door to the church, it really did look like it had been hosed down with Pepto-Bismol, just like the line in the movie. I couldn’t believe they found so much pink,” Steel Magnolias screenwriter Robert Harling said according to USA Today.
Steel Magnolias is streaming on Netflix.
5. Romeo + Juliet (1996)
Baz Luhrmann’s modern adaptation of the Shakespeare classic has been endlessly praised for its visuals (who hasn’t seen the image of Claire Danes in angel wings as Juliet?). The wedding scene, although short, emphasizes just how young the star-crossed lovers are, with Juliet in a girlish white dress, embroidered gloves, and a messy updo.
Romeo + Juliet is available to rent on Apple TV.
6. Runaway Bride (1999)
After the success of Pretty Woman, Roberts and Richard Gere reunited for Runaway Bride. Roberts’ character Maggie wears not one but five wedding dresses in the film. However, it’s the final dress that’s most suited for her – a sign that she’s finally chosen the right groom. Maggie wears a lace-accented Amsale Aberra gown that shows off her collarbones.
Costume designer Albert Wolsky picked the dress off the rack at Saks Fifth Avenue because it fit Roberts perfectly and reminded him of “the cover of a romance novel,” he said according to E! News.
Runaway Bride is available to rent on Amazon Prime Video.
7. The Wedding Planner (2001)
The Wedding Planner tells the story of Mary and Steve, but it’s what Mary wears to marry another man that makes a mark.
Mary comes from a very traditional Italian family and decides to let her father arrange her marriage (it doesn’t go as planned). She wears a fitted, shoulder-baring gown and minimalist jewelry. She’s also got a unique veil situation – it appears to be attached to a vintage-inspired hat.
The Wedding Planner is available to rent on Amazon Prime Video.
8. Sweet Home Alabama (2002)
I’ll admit that Sweet Home Alabama is far from my favorite romantic comedy. However, main character Melanie’s simple wedding gown paired with a birdcage veil is absolutely divine. Reese Witherspoon, who played the role of Melanie, revealed in February that she still has the wedding dress from the film.
"I remember that scene that was shot in the rain, and I'm in the wedding dress, and I run away from my wedding, and I run to see Josh Lucas on the beach," Witherspoon said, according to People. "And it was pouring down rain, but I remember thinking, 'This is such a crazy, amazing moment. I'm going to remember this forever.’”
Sweet Home Alabama is streaming on Hulu.
9. Love Actually (2003)
Bet you didn’t think a dress from a Christmas movie would end up on this list! Any alternative bride would swoon over the feather-accented gown worn by Keira Knightley’s Juliet.
But the dress was almost very different! More than a decade after the movie’s release, costume designer Joanna Johnston revealed that director Richard Curtis wanted a more “sexy” look.
“Richard Curtis wanted [Keira's] character to be kind of sexy, even as a bride. He wanted her to be dressed ready for the end of the scene where they’re partying, so he had this idea of a crop top, with a bare tummy,” Johnston told Grazia in 2016.
“I told Richard, ‘You don't want a bare tummy going into church!’” she continued, “So I went for a sheer, layered style instead with petal details underneath; gauzy and multi-layered.”
Love Actually is available to rent on Amazon Prime Video.
10. The Notebook (2004)
Ah, The Notebook. Love it or hate it, it’s a staple of the romantic film genre. But no one can deny that protagonist Allie’s 1940s style is impeccable.
We never see Allie walk down the aisle in this gorgeous lace dress with an illusion neckline – but we do see her faint at her gown fitting when reminded of her true love by a newspaper article (watch the clip). It’s pretty clear that her wedding won’t go through when we see her wallowing in the bathtub, still wearing her veil.
The Notebook is available to rent on YouTube.
11. The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (2004)
The Princess Diaries might be the platonic form of the early 2000s teen movie. Its sequel finds heroine Mia Thermopolis looking for a husband so she can assume the throne as queen of Genovia.
The princess, played by actress Anne Hathaway, walks down the aisle in a beautiful silk-and-lace dress featuring a scalloped neckline, dramatic train, and flowing veil. Her white bouquet cascading with ivy is also a showstopper. Interestingly, Hello! pointed out in 2022 that real-life royalty may have taken inspiration from Mia’s look: Princess Claire of Belgium wore a strikingly similar gown designed by Edouard Vermeulen.
The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement is streaming on Disney+.
12. Monster-in-Law (2005)
There are technically two wedding dresses in Monster-in-Law, but luckily only one of them is worn at the wedding. Jane Fonda plays the monster, errr, mother-in-law who shows up in white to stop her son’s marriage to Charlie (Jennifer Lopez).
Despite the drama, Charlie looks divine in a cream ballgown complete with a plunging neckline plus opera gloves, floor-length veil, and matching rosette for her hair.
Monster-in-Law is streaming on FuboTV.
13. The Wedding Date (2005)
It’s not the main character of The Wedding Date who wears the white gown – it’s her younger sister. Protagonist Kat has a secret to hide at the wedding, but so does her sister Amy. Despite her duplicity, Amy looks downright heavenly in a bias-cut dress and tiara on her big day.
Kat has some great dresses in this film too – I particularly love the twirl-worthy blue dress she wears in the ballroom dancing scene.
The Wedding Date is available to rent on Amazon Prime Video.
14. Sex and the City: The Movie (2008)
After many bumps in the road, Carrie Bradshaw and Mr. Big finally tie the knot in Sex and the City: The Movie. Carrie wants a simple courthouse wedding and correspondingly simple outfit – until designer Vivienne Westwood gifts her a decadent strapless gown. (Westwood reportedly did not enjoy the movie when she screened it.)
Sex and the City: The Movie is available to rent on Amazon Prime Video.
15. Mamma Mia! (2008)
Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) looks like a Greek goddess walking down the aisle with a beachy sunset behind her. She wears an empire-waist dress replete with tulle and ruffles. Her flowing locks are crowned with a metallic laurel wreath to hold up her veil. But the wedding doesn’t go as planned!
Mamma Mia! is available to rent on YouTube.
16. Bride Wars (2009)
Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway are romcom icons – so it’s only fitting that they would star in one together. They play Liv and Emma, two women who could not be more different. This is reflected in the dresses they walk down the aisle in – both are designed by Vera Wang. Liv’s ballgown in particular inspired many brides, including Kim Kardashian.
Bride Wars is streaming on Max.
17. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 (2011)
Bella Swan’s wedding gown may look simple from the front, but the back is absolutely breathtaking with its intricate scrolling lace. Designer Carolina Hererra pulled out all the stops to make it a masterpiece. The crepe satin gown featured French Chantilly lace and nearly 200 buttons, according to Vogue. No wonder it took four seamstresses six months to make it.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 is streaming free with ads on Amazon Prime Video.
18. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)
Dramatic is an understatement to describe Katniss Everdeen’s wedding dress. Now, she doesn’t actually wear it to her wedding – the Hunger Games Quarter Quell gets in the way.
The showstopping gown was created by Indonesian designer Tex Saverio, who has also dressed Lady Gaga and Kim Kardashian, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is streaming free with ads on YouTube.
19. The Great Gatsby (2013)
Sadly, we only see Daisy Buchanan’s wedding dress in flashback, but it looks like a gorgeous version of the ideal 1920s bridal gown. Daisy wears a long strand of pearls, a metallic headband to secure her veil, and a gauzy, ornate gown.
The Great Gatsby is available to rent on Amazon Prime Video.
20. I Give It a Year (2013)
I Give It a Year certainly cuts to the chase: Main characters Nat and Josh fall in love, get engaged, and get hitched all before the two minute mark.
Nat (Rose Byrne) looks radiant in a close-fitting gown with sheer cap sleeves, a silver waist belt, and floral headband.
I Give It a Year is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
21. The Age of Adaline (2015)
The Age of Adaline features so many great vintage looks, including Adaline’s 1931 wedding dress. With her hair in a chic bob, Adaline (Blake Lively) looks radiant in a creamy lace-accented gown with long sleeves.
The Age of Adaline is streaming on Netflix.
22. Cinderella (2015)
Undoubtedly the crown jewel of Disney’s live-action remakes, Cinderella has beautiful, detailed costuming. Cinderella’s hand-painted floral wedding dress is no exception, and it took a team of 16 people more than 500 hours to create.
“Creating the wedding dress was a challenge. Rather than try to make something even better than the ball gown, I had to do something completely different and simple,” costume designer Sandy Powell told Vanity Fair. “Cinderella wins the Prince’s heart through her goodness, so I wanted to show this through her clothes. I wanted her to stay modest and pure even though she was going to be a part of royalty.”
Cinderella is streaming on STARZ.
23. Crazy Rich Asians (2018)
Crazy Rich Asians was perhaps the most highly anticipated film of summer 2018 – and it definitely delivered in the costume department. The extravagant Singapore wedding of heiress Araminta Lee was an absolute spectacle – the bride walked on water during the ceremony in a gown featuring thousands of crystals.
“It's a jumpsuit that we made out of stretch tulle, and it's studded with gold Swarovski crystals, and the skirt goes on top of it, we basically attached it to the bodice," costume designer Mary Vogt revealed to InStyle. “Sonoya was a dancer, she was a ballerina, and she's a very fun character and playful, so she could pull off a fun and playful, eccentric dress.”
Crazy Rich Asians is available to rent on Amazon Prime Video.
24. Marry Me (2022)
Believe it or not, this is not the last Jennifer Lopez movie on this list. In Marry Me, Lopez plays pop singer Kat. She impulsively agrees to marry a man holding a sign that says “Marry Me” at one of her concerts. To her surprise, the man, played by Owen Wilson, goes through with it – perhaps he was momentarily stunned by the innumerable sparkling crystals embroidered on Kat’s gown.
The Zuhair Murad bridal gown would not be the easiest to walk down the aisle in though – it weighs 95 pounds thanks to multiple layers of silk taffeta, horsehair, and tulle, according to Variety.
Marry Me is streaming on STARZ.
25. Shotgun Wedding (2022)
There are action movies, and there are wedding movies – rarely will you get a two-for-one. Shotgun Wedding, starring Lopez and Josh Duhamel, is that rare exception. Israeli fashion label Galia Lahav created 28 versions of Lopez’s dreamy tulle ballgown so that it could be shredded and torn throughout the fighting.
“I’ve always loved shades of blush and nude tones,” the label’s head designer Sharon Sever said. “So I wanted to incorporate that in the dress. The effect of the lavish tulle and the layering was very important to me, because our work [at Galia Lahav] is always known for that. The personal touch that’s in every dress.”
Shotgun Wedding is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
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