The royal wedding is almost here! On Saturday, May 19, Prince Harry will marry former American actress Meghan Markle. The ceremony will take place at noon in St. George’s Chapel, which is on the grounds of Windsor Castle. All the details are set. The cake? Lemon elderflower. Harry’s best man? Prince William. The royal wedding dress? Top secret.
Royal wedding dresses—and their designers—are always well-kept secrets before the big day. Vanity Fair has confirmed that Meghan will wear two dresses—one classic gown for the ceremony and a second, less restrictive number for the reception. It’s also been hinted that the ceremony dress will involve lace and sleeves of some sort. Beyond that, we can only guess.
We at Kennedy Blue are absolutely buzzing over what Ms. Markle’s dress will look like. Will she go for a classic British dress like Kate Middleton? Or will she opt for a classically-inspired gown with more modern influences? Meghan is an unconventional bride in many ways, but she’s also shown she’s knows how to fit into British social life.
Here are the key elements of the royal wedding dresses we’ve seen in the past:
- Most typically feature long sleeves of either solid fabric or sheer lace—no bare shoulders.
- Royal wedding dresses often have v-necks, though we sometimes see an illusion sweetheart-neckline incorporated into that design.
- Long trains are also typical—Princess Diana’s reached an iconic 24-feet!
- Natural waistlines are the most popular, regardless of skirt styles and silhouettes.
- Last, but not least, beading—royal wedding dresses tend to be dripping with intricately beaded designs.
Here’s what we know about Ms. Markle’s taste in wedding gowns:
- She’s a divorcee, so we can look at her first wedding dress for clues. For her destination wedding in Jamaica, she wore a strapless, floor-length bohemian gown with a notched neckline and a rhinestone belt.
- Meghan has said her all-time favorite celebrity wedding gown was Carolyn Bessette Kennedy’s. This simple slip dress made of white silk is far more unassuming than any of the royal wedding dresses we’ve seen before.
- Ms. Markle got to wear a wedding gown in Suits, the American TV series she starred in. She mentioned in a 2016 interview with Glamour that her character’s ball-gown style wedding dress did not reflect her personal taste. She prefers a more relaxed style herself, but she liked the low-cut ballerina neckline of the unaltered dress. “Classic and simple is the name of the game, perhaps with a modern twist,” she said. “I personally prefer wedding dresses that are whimsical or subtly romantic.”
Will relaxed and royal come together on May 19? Whatever Meghan wears, we know it will be stunning. We’re sure to see the influence in bridal gowns for years to come. Replicas of Kate Middleton’s dress began appearing almost immediately after her royal wedding!
If you’re a bride buzzing over the royal wedding, we’ve got some Kennedy Blue inspiration for you. Based on Ms. Markle’s style and royal wedding dresses of the past, we’ve picked out some Kennedy Blue gowns and accessories we think are fit for Windsor Castle!
Our Picks for Meghan Markle’s Royal Wedding Dresses
The Nicole gown captures many of the traditional royal styles with a modern twist. It has an A-line silhouette, a natural waist, cloth-covered buttons, a flowing train, and an illusion sweetheart neckline with lace and beading. The tank straps would be a refined departure from conventional royal sleeves, a perfect statement for an unconventional bride. The rhinestone belt ties the whole look together with a little Markle sparkle.
We think the Mia gown would be a perfect modern choice for Meghan. The lace-covered gown retains some traditions of royal wedding dresses with its covered buttons, natural waist, and flowing train. The scalloped lace even looks like the edge of Kate Middleton’s veil! The strapless neckline would be an unprecedented choice, but if someone is going to break the status quo, we think it will be Meghan.
The Grace gown looks a lot like Kate Middleton’s reception dress. The Duchess of Cambridge swapped gowns after the ceremony, changing into a simpler white gown with a rhinestone belt. This relaxed but elegant dress also features a chapel-length train, meaning it would look gorgeous the processional in St. George’s Chapel.
This gown is clearly royally-inspired with its intricate details and flattering, yet modest shape. The beaded lace gown flows into a graceful train, and the deep v-shaped neckline is not much different from Kate’s. While the gown has lace straps, it also has a daring open back. Do you think Meghan will go this bold?
The Karlie dress is similar to Carolyn Bessette Kennedy’s, the dress Meghan called her favorite celebrity wedding gown. It’s also a bit like Pippa Middleton’s maid-of-honor dress, albeit with strappy sleeves. The lightweight crepe fabric and simple silhouette suit Meghan’s relaxed sense of style. The dress has a short train as well—do you think it’s elegant enough for a royal processional?
This dress is a more modest, traditional choice. The illusion sweetheart neckline has short lace sleeves and a conservative v-shaped back. The train-free style and lightweight chiffon fit the relaxed silhouette of Meghan’s first wedding dress, however.
The Rosie dress is subtly elegant with a touch of whimsy, a style Meghan likes. The dress has royally-inspired lace cap sleeves and a sweetheart neckline, but it sticks with the floor-length chiffon—no train. We think it’s elegant, classy, and just modern enough to push the envelope for royal wedding dresses.
This dress captures the low-cut ballerina-style neckline Ms. Markle has mentioned she loves. The lace straps and natural waistline tie it loosely to royal wedding dresses of the past, but it would definitely be a bold choice for a royal bride. Still, we think the bohemian look fits Meghan’s preference for a relaxed style.
Could “less restrictive” potentially mean a short dress for the reception? We’ve seen Meghan rock a variety of high-fashion styles on the red carpet. She’d look stunning walking in to the reception hall with this fitted strapless lace dress.
Royally-inspired Wedding Veils
Royal wedding dresses are not complete without royal veils. Many royal brides opt for a cathedral-length veil to trail behind them as they stroll down the aisle. The 112-inch silver-lined Elise veil matches the style of Sophie Rhys-Jones, who wed Prince Edward in the same chapel where Meghan and Harry will marry—St. George’s.
Not all royal brides wear long veils, though. This veil is perfect for the bride who wants to channel her inner Kate Middleton. The Duchess of Cambridge wore a similar finger-tip length veil with scalloped lace edges for her ceremony at Westminster Abbey.
The Zoey veil also captures the elegance of Kate Middleton’s look. Lace is a key element of many royal wedding gowns, and the delicate floral edges of this veil complement that style perfectly.
Royally-inspired Bridesmaid Dresses
In royal weddings, the “bridesmaids” are usually young girls. Royal brides don’t have an entourage of friends and family standing beside her at the altar. Meghan will have a maid of honor, though! Here are a few bridesmaid dresses we think would look great next to Meghan’s royal style.
For Meghan’s first wedding, the bridesmaids wore flowing, boho gowns quite similar to this one. The Allison dress adds a touch of chic class to the bohemian style by adding off-the-shoulder sleeves. It’s simple, yet elegant.
Pippa Middleton looked elegant in her simple, figure-hugging white bridesmaid dress. The Alice design keeps the simplicity of that gown while adding a modest high neckline. It still gets a modern twist, though, with the dramatic slit and strappy back.
Only time will tell if Meghan or her maid of honor will choose a coordinating lace dress for any part of the big day. The Jade design shows some leg with a slit but maintains the class of royal wedding dresses with its floor length skirt, cap sleeves, v-shaped neckline, and natural waist.
Relaxed or regal? Classic or chic? Traditional or trend-setting? The world is wondering what kind of statement Ms. Markle will make on her wedding day. We’d personally love to see her in ivory or blush. These shades are subtle, yet popular ways to break away from the white gown tradition. While it would be unusual, it’s not unprecedented. Camilla Parker Bowles wore a light blue dress when she married Prince Charles in 2005, which was the second marriage for both.
We can’t wait to see what the royal couple wears on their big day! But since royal wedding dresses are always well-kept secrets, we guess the speculation is part of the fun. Will you tune in to see the big reveal on May 19th? Which of these royal wedding inspired dresses do you like best?