TBT: Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier's Wedding Photos

grace kelly wedding portrait

Photo: Getty Images

Before there was Duchess Kate, or even Princess Diana, there was Princess Grace, the original fairytale princess bride.

How many of you have Grace Kelly's wedding dress pinned on your inspiration boards? Sure, her name is synonymous with classic style and she's the most often thrown around wedding muse for many brides-to-be. But how much do you really know about Grace Kelly and her wedding day(s)? Not to worry, we're here to fill you in on all the details (and photos) of Princess Grace's wedding to Monaco's Prince Rainier III on April 19, 1956 — from the quiet civil ceremony, to the grand royal wedding of the century!

It read like a Hollywood script: movie star meets Prince, falls in love, becomes Princess! And the whole world got caught up in the frenzy that was the courtship of Prince Rainier and Grace Kelly. The Philadelphia native movie star Kelly met Monaco's Prince Rainier III while attending the Cannes Film Festival in 1955. After a year-long romance, the couple made things official in a lavish ceremony that put any other royal wedding ceremony to shame.

With her family, bridesmaids and about 80 pieces of luggage in tow, Kelly set forth for the French Riviera aboard the ocean liner SS Constitution. When the party arrived in Monaco the future Princess was greeted by 20,000 (out of 23,000!) of her loyal subjects. For the next two weeks, preparations were made for the OG wedding of the century. Reporters and fans descended upon the tiny principality in such fervor for the week-long celebration that the Prince was forced to call in French riot police.

grace kelly civil wedding

Photo: Pinterest

After a private civil ceremony in the Palace throne room, where Kelly wore a stylish and ladylike champagne and pink floral embroidered suit (created by Helen Rose) with a juliet cap topping off her blonde locks, the couple was legally married. The royal couple spent the night before their church wedding at the at a lavish gala at the Monaco Opera — where the future Princess looked the part in a white silk Lanvin gown.

grace kelly wedding

Photo: Getty Images

Then, finally, on April 19, Grace Kelly of Philadelphia officially became her Serene Highness, Princess Grace of Monaco, and she did so in spectacular fashion in Monaco's Saint Nicholas Cathedral — filled to the brim with white lilacs and lilies-of-the-valley. And then, came the breathtaking moment when the bride appeared in all of her iconic glory. Grace Kelly's wedding dress has become the stuff of designer, bride-to-be, and fashionista inspiration, the symbol of fairy tale wedding, and one of the most-often referenced wedding gowns in history. The high-necked, long-sleeved dress with a long billowing skirt (and a 10 and a half foot long train) was also designed by MGM costume designer Helen Rose — who also designed Elizabeth Taylor's first wedding gown when she married Conrad "Nicky" Hilton, and Taylor's trend-setting dress in Father of the Bride — and made from 125-year-old Brussels lace, taffeta, and thousands of hand-sewn pearls.

Do you see similarity to another royal bride's Sarah Burton-designed wedding gown? Oscar de la Renta famously said of Grace Kelly's famous wedding day look: "On her wedding day, Grace Kelly gave new meaning to the word icon. Her whole look, from the regal veil to the feminine lace details and the conservative gown, made her an ageless bride." Kelly paired the spectacular dress with shoes from David Evins, with a copper penny tucked into the right shoe for good luck. The bridesmaids wore yellow silk gowns designed by Joseph Hong of Neiman Marcus and Priscilla Kidder, of Priscilla of Boston fame.

See more:
The Most Iconic Brides of All Time

grace kelly wedding ceremony

grace kelly wedding rings

Photo: Getty Images

The groom, who in Monaco tradition made his entrance after the bride, wore a military uniform, which he designed himself. After a nervous Kelly and Rainier exchanged rings, the couple said their vows, with Kelly whispering "Oui" when asked if she took the prince as her husband. We told you, fairy tale!

grace kelly wedding cake

Photo: Getty Images

Among the 700 guests who watched as wedding history was made, were such heavyweights as Cary Grant, Gloria Swanson, Ava Gardner, Aristotle Onassis, and Conrad Hilton. After the ceremony, guests were treated to a six-tier white wedding cake, a gift to the newlyweds from the pastry chefs at Monte Carlo's Hotel de Paris. It doesn't get more royal and over the top than a pair of live turtledoves being freed from your wedding cake as your prince cuts into it with his sword does it?

grace kelly rolls royce wedding

Photo: Getty Images

As a gift from the people of Monaco, the newlyweds received a Rolls Royce convertible, which they used as their mode of transport while parading around the streets of Monte Carlo.

The newly minted Princess and her Prince sailed off into the sunset on a gift from Onassis, a 147-foot yacht named "Deo Juvante II," and spent heir honeymoon around the Mediterranean.

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