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How Meghan Markle Paid Tribute to Royal History With Her Two Wedding Looks

You'll love her 'something blue.'
WINDSOR, UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 19: Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex leave from the West Door of St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, in Windsor on May 19, 2018 in Windsor, England.
Ben STANSALL - WPA Pool/Getty Images
Esther Lee
by Esther Lee
Updated May 18, 2020

Much anticipation accompanied the topic of Meghan Markle's wedding dress leading up to her 2018 nuptials to Prince Harry, but no one could have prepared for how resplendent the Duchess of Sussex looked on that fine day. The royal bride wore not one, but two stunning custom gowns: a Givenchy wedding dress comprised of details that paid tribute to the Commonwealth and British Royal tradition, followed by a sleek Stella McCartney gown that hugged Markle's figure as she waltzed into her evening reception. The amount of thought and detail that went into designing Meghan Markle's wedding dress (both, in fact) required thorough research about the history of the royal family, as well as elements of hope, intersecting to pave the way for a bright future ahead for the newlyweds. 

Here, we detail Meghan Markle's wedding dress designs, along with inspiration from select designers for looks that are just as breathtaking. 

Meghan Markle's Wedding Ceremony Look

The former Suits actress stunned viewers around the world with her double-bonded silk Givenchy gown custom-designed by the fashion house's former creative director Clare Waight Keller. The gown itself, comprised of a simple silk crepe, featured a bateau neckline, structured three-quarter sleeves and a sculpted waistline that fell into a train made of triple silk organza. 

Another big component of Meghan Markle's wedding dress, her veil, also paid tribute by including a custom embroidery of 53 flowers, which symbolically represented the Commonwealth and its 53 countries. In December 2018, Markle shocked fans when she presented Keller with the British Womenswear Designer of the Year award at the British Fashion Awards. In response, Keller gushed: "This woman is so amazing. I got to know Meghan on such a personal level. To have someone like that trust you on such a personal moment in their life... I can't thank you enough because it was the most beautiful moment."

To top her wedding day look, Markle chose the Queen Mary Bandeau Tiara: a diamond bandeau tiara made in 1932 with a center brooch that dates all the way back to 1893. The piece was borrowed from Queen Elizabeth II, and previously belonged to Queen Mary. Of course, this was considered her "Something Borrowed," while her bouquet included a "Something Old." The royal wedding florist, Philippa Craddock, also subtly alluded to how the sprigs of myrtle in Markle's arrangement reportedly were plucked from a plant that grew from the myrtle used in the Queen's own 1947 wedding bouquet. A tad more symbolically, Craddock also included forget-me-nots, one of Princess Diana's favorite flowers, into the bridal bouquet.

Finally, her "Something Blue" was the most sentimental detail of all, nodding to her love story with Prince Harry. In an interview with ITV, Markle showed where a piece of blue fabric was stitched into her wedding veil. "Did you see it?" she asked. "The piece of blue fabric that's stitched inside? It's my something blue… It's fabric from the dress that I wore on our first date."

Romona Keveza wedding dress
Romona Keveza

Wedding dress by Romona Keveza

Viktor & Rolf wedding dress
Viktor & Rolf

Wedding dress by Viktor & Rolf

Romona Keveza wedding dress
Romona Keveza

Wedding dress by Romona Keveza

Rosa Clará wedding dress
Rosa Clará

Wedding dress by Rosa Clará

Claire Pettibone wedding dress
Claire Pettibone

Wedding dress by Claire Pettibone

Justin Alexander wedding dress
Maria Valentino/MCV Photo

Wedding dress by Justin Alexander

Rosa Clará​​​ wedding dress
Rosa Clará​​​

Wedding dress by Rosa Clará

Temperley wedding dress

Wedding dress by Temperley

Meghan Markle's Evening Reception Look

Meghan Markle's wedding reception dress came unexpectedly—and it didn't disappoint. Her custom Stella McCartney gown for the 185-person evening reception at Frogmore House featured a sexier silhouette and a high halter neckline she paired with one of her signature piece-y updos

The halter neck crepe gown generated such attention that a month later, the label produced an evening gown collection called "Made With Love" that included a limited-edition piece that resembled Meghan Markle's wedding dress for her evening reception. 

As part of her late-night look, the newly-minted Duchess of Sussex sported an aquamarine ring that formerly belonged to the late Princess Diana. It was initially considered by many royal fans to be Markle's "Something Blue"—but even if it weren't, there are plenty of elements Markle incorporated into her big day that could qualify as this final charm. The forget-me-nots in her bridal bouquet, for instance, were a beautiful shade of blue, and her reception shoes, silky satin heels by Aquazurra, featured a nude mesh and painted blue soles.

Amsale wedding dress

Wedding dress by Amsale

Liancarlo wedding dress

Wedding dress by Liancarlo

Viktor & Rolf​​ wedding dress
Viktor & Rolf​​

Wedding dress by Viktor & Rolf

Christina Ottaviano wedding dress
Christina Ottaviano

Wedding dress by Christina Ottaviano

Elizabeth Fillmore wedding dress
Elizabeth Fillmore

Wedding dress by Elizabeth Fillmore

Justin Alexander wedding dress
Maria Valentino/MCV Photo

Wedding dress by Justin Alexander

Jenny Packham wedding dress
Jenny Packham

Wedding dress by Jenny Packham

Viktor & Rolf​ wedding dress
Viktor & Rolf​

Wedding dress by Viktor & Rolf

Birenzweig wedding dress

Wedding dress by Birenzweig

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