A Look Back at Audrey Hepburn's Stylish Wedding Dresses

The Breakfast at Tiffany's star had one dress she never even wore down the aisle.
joyce chen wedding news expert the knot
Joyce Chen
joyce chen wedding news expert the knot
Joyce Chen
Wedding News Contributor
  • Joyce writes articles for The Knot Worldwide, specializing in celebrity wedding features and pieces on wedding trends and etiquette
  • Joyce conducts interviews with real couples about how they’ve adapted to the challenges of wedding planning during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic
  • In addition to The Knot Worldwide, Joyce also regularly contributes writing to Architectural Digest, Paste magazine, Refinery29, and TODAY.com
Updated Feb 01, 2022

Audrey Hepburn is reputable for being a movie legend, fashion icon and humanitarian. She's the actress who made the little black dress a fashion staple with her breakout, sleeveless Givenchy number in Breakfast at Tiffany's. The piece has since become one of the most iconic Hollywood looks of all time. Hepburn has also delivered her fair share of wedding day glam via her roles in films like Roman Holiday, Sabrina, and Funny Face, but it's her real-life wedding dresses that continue to inspire brides. (Arguably, Meghan Markle's simple Givenchy gown was created in Audrey Hepburn's style, sparked by the late Hollywood legend's penchant for a simple, classic silhouette.)

Over the years, Hepburn was married twice, but was actually fitted with a total of three wedding gowns—her first wedding didn't happen—but thankfully, the dress quickly found a new owner. Read on to learn more about each of Hepburn's bridal gowns and about each of her chic wedding celebrations.

Audrey Hepburn's First Wedding Dress

  • Wedding date: 1952
  • Marriage to: James Hanson, almost
  • Style: a mid-length, boatneck silk dress paired with elbow-length gloves

Audrey Hepburn's first wedding dress was what we might today consider to be a bit more retro. The dress was a floor-length wedding gown with a wide boatneck neckline and sleeves that came down just past her elbows. The top of the dress was fitted, while the bottom half flared out into a full ballgown. The stunning creation was designed by the Rome-based Fontana sisters (fitting, given that Hepburn was filming Roman Holiday at the time). Hepburn was photographed trying on the gown with elegant, elbow-length gloves, but unfortunately for her—and for her adoring fans—she never actually made it down the aisle in that first dress.

At the time, she was engaged to British businessman James Hanson, but the couple ultimately called off the wedding following a year-long engagement. Instead of letting the gown go to waste, however, Hepburn asked the Fontana sisters to donate the dress to "another girl for her wedding, perhaps someone who couldn't ever afford a dress like mine—the most beautiful, poor Italian girl you can find." The dress was ultimately worn by Amiable Altobella, who wore the stunning design for her farm wedding. Years later, Altobella sold the wedding gown at auction. Vogue UK reported that the Hollywood star's would-be wedding dress sold for a whopping $23,000 in 2009. "I have had a happy marriage, so the dress brought me luck," Altobella said at the time.

Audrey Hepburn's Second Wedding Dress

  • Wedding date: September 25, 1954
  • Marriage to: Mel Ferrer
  • Style: a tea-length wedding dress with ballgown sleeves, a high neck, and elbow-length gloves

Less than two years later, Hepburn met the man who would become her first husband, actor Mel Ferrer, at a cocktail party hosted by their mutual friend, Gregory Peck. The pair hit it off right away, and collaborated on a Broadway play, Ondine; just eight months later, they were heading down the aisle together ahead of their collaboration on the 1955 film War and Peace.

For their wedding, Hepburn wore an iconic dress designed by Pierre Balmain, featuring a tea-length, A-line dress, dramatic ballgown sleeves, a high neck, and a satin sash. She wore a pair of elbow-length gloves to complete the outfit, giving it an even more refined, couture look. It was arguably one of the most inspirational wedding dresses of all time.

The couple wed in Burgenstock, Switzerland, and photos show Hepburn wearing a crown of small white flowers on her head to give her wedding day look a slightly bohemian feel. The pair welcomed their son, Sean Ferrer, in July 1960. By that point, Hepburn was a mega star, and the couple found themselves constantly plagued by rumors of infidelity and jealousy. It was also reported that the couple suffered several miscarriages during their time together. Ultimately, they ended up staying married for 14 years, but decided to part ways in 1968.

Audrey Hepburn's Third Wedding Dress

  • Wedding date: January 18, 1969
  • Marriage to: Andrea Dotti
  • Style: a pale pink minidress with long-sleeves

The same year she and Ferrer split, Hepburn met her second husband, Italian psychiatrist Andrea Dotti, while on a Mediterranean cruise with friends. The pair had a whirlwind romance, and less than a year later, they married in a town hall ceremony in Switzerland. For the occasion, Hepburn teamed up with her longtime friend Hubert de Givenchy, who designed the little black dress she made so famous in Breakfast at Tiffany's. The designer created a demure, if unorthodox, wedding day look for the actress: a ballet pink minidress with long sleeves and a funnel neck, which she paired with white tights and white ballet flats. She wore—as she did with her two other wedding outfits—a pair of gloves to further add to the modesty of the look. She also donned a matching headscarf.

Hepburn and Dotti stayed together for 14 years, during which time they welcomed Hepburn's second son, Luca Dotti. Both partners were ultimately unfaithful to each other, which was a big reason for their split. In the years that followed, however, Hepburn found the true love of her life, Dutch actor Robert Wolders. The pair lived together and loved together, but never actually got married. Though, Hepburn told Barbara Walters in a 1989 interview, she felt like the couple was basically married, just not officially. The actress told Walters that her relationship with Wolders marked the happiest years of her life; in short, she said, "Took me long enough."

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