Classic Wedding Dresses from the 50s & 60s We Love

Bride and groom from 1955

Wedding dress styles are constantly changing, and brides in the 1950s and 1960s provided us with a variety of trendy looks. From tight-fitting hourglass ballgowns to short and simple mini dresses, there are tons of classic dress styles to remember—and many vintage-loving brides still seek these fashions today. Here’s a look at our favorite dresses from the eras, including celebrity styles!

London bride wearing a strapless ballgown 1950's bride walking with groom on street
1950s bride wearing long-sleeve lace dress 1955 Bonwit Teller wedding dress

Courtesy: insider.com, Adobe Stock via kuco, insider.com

Wedding Dresses in the 1950s

By the 1950s, brides were no longer in a rush to get married. The war was over, so it was time to celebrate! That meant more lavish and formal weddings in a church, followed by a reception at home or in a fancy ballroom.

Like the poodle skirt trend, wedding gowns of the era featured full, poofy skirts, meaning ballgowns and swing dresses were popular. Trains and veils were long, but some brides went shorter with their sleeves, including off the shoulder and strapless.

Lace and tulle were go-to fabrics, and gowns were full of embellishments. To finish their look, brides wore heirloom accessories like vintage jewelry, a brooch, or pearls.

The London bride in the top left looks like a sheer princess. Her gown has regal flair, another popular trend of the ‘50s. The lacey long-sleeve gown with the Peter Pan collar (bottom left) was also very fashionable at the time, but we love the simple gown in the top right.

The bride in the bottom right corner has a unique story. Her 1955 Bonwit Teller gown has been worn by three generations of brides. Her daughter wore the same gown in 1984, and her granddaughter kept the tradition alive for her 2018 nuptials. The gown didn’t need to be altered, just dry cleaned. How special!

Audrey Hepburn's 1954 wedding dress Elizabeth Taylor's 1952 wedding dress Grace Kelly's wedding dress
Jacqueline Kennedy's wedding dress Marilyn Monroe's wedding dress

Courtesy: tatler.com via Ernst Haas for Getty images, eternalgoddess.co.uk via Fred Mott, tatler.com, instyle.com via Bettmann, huffingtonpost.com; 3rd and 5th photo by Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images

As mentioned above, dresses with a high neckline, with or without a Peter Pan collar, were super popular in the ‘50s. Both Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly’s gowns featured a high neckline and long sleeves.

Hepburn’s gown was a white tea-length fit-and-flare with a sash around her waist. Grace Kelly looked like pure royalty for her wedding to Prince Rainier III of Monaco. Her silk-lace gown was estimated at 8 thousand dollars—one of the most extravagant designs of the mid 20th century.

Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor went with a more casual approach on their wedding days—suits! Taylor’s modest A-line suit, designed by Helen Rose, featured a Peter Pan collar and elbow-length sleeves. Monroe chose a chocolate brown, below-the-knee dress with a matching jacket.

Jacqueline Bouvier was simply beautiful in her off-the-shoulder silk-taffeta gown. Her wedding to John F. Kennedy was considered the closest to a royal wedding that America would ever see. She finished her look with her grandmother’s heirloom rose-point lace veil.

1960s tea length wedding dress Bride walking down the aisle in 1964
1960s short wedding dress with daisy scarf 1960s bride with a friend

Courtesy: flickr.com, flickr.com, dessy.com, Adobe Stock via kuco

Wedding Dresses in the 1960s

Welcome to the ‘60s, where brides threw the wedding fashion rulebook out the window. There were many changing trends over the course of the decade, but there was one constant: more relaxed weddings. Brides in the ‘60s were done with the over-the-top celebrations, opting for more casual affairs and backyard weddings. Another emerging trend was the idea to hop on a plane and travel to a destination for your honeymoon.

Boxy, structured silhouettes reigned in the ‘60s, along with shorter skirts (including miniskirts) and baby doll dresses. Anything that was considered fun and daring was popular—like metallic details, oversized elements, flair sleeves, and funnel necks. Many brides ditched the long train and veil and opted for crowns, floral headbands (especially daisies), and hats.

The bride in the bottom left is the epitome of a ‘60s bride: a short column dress, a head scarf instead of a veil, and a daisy bouquet. Looking to the top left, this bride also went with a shorter, tea-length dress, but she kept a traditional (yet shorter) veil.

We also love the two bridal styles on the right. The bride on the top right boasts regal flair (more of a ‘50s trend), but she did opt for a shorter veil and a stunning crown. The bride on the bottom right is probably the most traditional, but we love her unique sleeve details and gloves.

 

Eartha Kitt’s wedding dress Elizabeth Taylor's 1964 wedding dress Audrey Hepburn's 1969 wedding dres
Priscilla Presley's wedding dress Yoko Ono's wedding dress

Courtesy: azazie.com, eternalgoddess.co.uk via Hulton Archive, tatler.com via Getty images, azazie.com, vogue.com

Celebrities in the 1960s really played up the unconventional wedding dress trend. Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, and Yoko Ono all chose short dresses for their respective nuptials. Taylor’s gown really stood out: a bright and bold yellow satin baby doll dress. She finished the look with a diamond and emerald Bulgari brooch and braided updo full of hyacinths and lilies of the valley.

Hepburn’s gown, her second wedding dress, was simple and chic—a long-sleeved, funnel-necked pale pink minidress. Ono went for comfort and ease for her wedding-day look. She chose a white tiered mini dress, floppy sun hat, oversized sunglasses, and sneakers!

Eartha Kitt and Priscilla Presley went the more traditional route. For her wedding in 1960, Kitt wore a flowy short-sleeve dress with a birdcage veil and multiple strings of pearls. Believe it or not, Priscilla Ann Wagner found her gown off the rack in Las Vegas. For her intimate Vegas ceremony, she wore a white floor-length gown with beading on the sleeves and chest. She opted for a long tulle veil with a mini rhinestone tiara. It was perfect for saying “I do” to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

OnceWed.com

About OnceWed.com

Once Wed was launched in March 2008 to meet a need in the marketplace for an online listing service for second-hand wedding dresses. Within a short time, the company had developed into an online wedding publication and resource to provide newly-engaged brides with inspiration and tools to plan their dream wedding. 

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