A wedding day is a magical, beautiful occasion for all involved. There’s the gorgeous, blushing bride all dressed up in white and the handsome groom who patiently awaits her. Even the guests at most weddings tend to pull out all the stops and show up dressed to the nines. All these characteristics are present in the simplest of weddings, from backyards to churches. Yet, when this exquisite rite of passage includes celebrity brides-to-be, the extravagance increases tenfold. Most celebrities spare no expense in throwing opulent and tasteful soirees for the lucky few who are invited to attend—and for the rest of us to ogle over greedily in the tabloids.
When we reflect back on weddings that we have attended, or maybe even our own special day, we remember the beautiful gown most fondly. The wedding dress is the staple of the wedding and typically sets the tone for the affair—a ball gown primes us for a splendidly over-the-top event while a slinky, satiny number prepares us for a night of sultry romance.
However, there are some select future wives who take a uniquely alternate route altogether when selecting their bridal attire. When we think of what is considered to be acceptable and traditional, they do not come to mind. Some went left when we expected them to go right; others blew our minds with aspects that were completely, ridiculously out of the box. These ten feisty gals went to extreme lengths to find their own places in the wedding annals of our time.
10 Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
When Kate Middleton wed Prince William on April 29, 2011, the entire world was watching. However, few were aware of all the hard work, time, and resources that went into making the famously popular “Royal Wedding” possible. Namely Kate’s dress—a work of art in its own right—required the skill and creative eye of Sarah Burton, creative director at Alexander McQueen. According to the Daily Mail, the designer stated that Kate was “hands on” during the entire construction of the extravagant “Grace Kelly-inspired lace bodice" and attractively detailed design.
The Duchess’ gown was timeless and pristine; exactly what a royal should wear. So, what makes this dress outrageous? Without a doubt, the price tag. The dress alone is rumored to have cost more than $400,000. Perhaps, that’s why it was put on display for the public shortly after the vows. Here’s hoping they sold enough tickets to cover at least part of the excessive price tag.
9 Gwen Stefani
When you think of Gwen Stefani as a bride, you are apt to picture her with claws for nails, her trademark red lipstick, and, perhaps, a black and white striped frock in her two beloved customary colors. However, when the edgy songstress wed Gavin Rossdale in 2002, her look was much more bride-like than we expected. In fact, the pair appeared dashingly conventional—from the waist up! Starting mid-thigh and moving downward to the ground, this star’s silk gown took on a dip-dyed pink hue. The dress was rather fitting, as Gwen is known for revealing a classic, feminine façade with a tinge of punk below the surface.
8 Jessica Biel
For more than a century, we have grown accustomed to brides being clothed in virginal white on their wedding days. So, it ruffles more than a few feathers when wedding gowns are chosen in unconventional colors. Unlike, Ms. Stefani, who held on to a bit of tradition, Jessica Biel kicked custom to the curb when she revealed her wedding dress reminiscent of a whipped pink pastry. The typically coy star surprised us all in the glamorous production that she said “moved like a dream” as she sashayed up the aisle to meet her equally talented beau, Justin Timberlake.
7 Amber Tamblyn
In the vein of celebs totally ditching the 'vision in white' goal for their wedding attire, Amber Tablyn offered a shock of yellow. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants actress wed Arrested Development actor, David Cross, in 2012. The bride arrived at the awe-inspiring outdoor ceremony barefoot in a red canoe and in a color that raised eyebrows. In an interview with US Weekly, the actress described the dress as “marigold” and said that while others may have batted an eye, they shouldn't have. “There’s nothing really traditional about me,” said Tamblyn. Maybe the actress wore the frock as a predictor of sunny skies ahead as she and Cross are still happily married nearly two years later.
6 Melissa Gilbert
Wedding etiquette has always held constant a few precise rules in which attendees of weddings should abide by. Two in particular being: ‘do not wear red’ and ‘do not wear a skimpy dress’. The reasons for both of these being it is an extreme no-no to upstage the bride and wearing a bright attention-grabbing color or something super sexy can certainly pull attention to all the wrong places. But what happens when the bride is the one in red? This is exactly what Little House on the Prairie star did at her own nuptials which she claimed was a choice driven by what the color says about her and her mate. “Passion, fire, love: red says all those things to me,” the star said about her fiery gown.
5 Sarah Jessica Parker
Just as red, and certainly, white, should not be found in the audience on a girl’s special day, black is loath to rear its head during a wedding celebration. For ages, the color of mourning has been said to represent a disapproval of the union if worn by a guest. Imagine what message is sent when the bride herself dons the color of the night. Style icon and Carrie Bradshaw-in-the-flesh star, Sarah Jessica Parker wore a stylish yet ominous black Vera Wang gown to her 1997 wedding to husband Matthew Broderick which was so unlike the many gorgeous gowns we saw her sport in the Sex and the City film. Yet, SJP has regrets about that style decision today and shared that she would “White it up.” if she and Broderick ever did a vow renewal.
4 Nicole Richie
Musical heiress and fashionista daughter of Lionel Richie went above and beyond for her 2010 “I dos” with hubby Joel Madden. Not only was there a real-live elephant at the fancy event but the bride swapped her wardrobe—for a grand total of three outstanding Marchesa wedding dresses. This over-the-top celebrity bride rocked one gown for the vows, a different one for dinner, and yet another one for the party portion of the celebration. What more could we expect from a self-proclaimed daddy’s girl? Then again, Richie’s old pal Kim Kardashian did the same in her 2011 wedding to Kris Humpries in which she wore three separate gowns designed by the talented Vera Wang.
3 Keira Knightley
This English actress makes the list not for her extravagant choice of bridal attire but for her decidedly laid-back, non-fussy gown. While the tulle Chanel number was definitely beautiful, it is especially underwhelming when it comes to celebrity brides. What’s more, when Knightley wore the dress during her 2013 wedding it was her second time wearing it! Plus, she wore it again later that same year to another red carpet event. So, there you have it, this bride apparently loved her wedding dress so much, that she wore it again and again…and again.
2 Marilyn Monroe
The 50s actress and sex icon was known for making waves in fashion and life in general. In her second wedding to New York Yankees baller, Joe DiMaggio, in a San Francisco civil ceremony, the blonde bombshell donned a sophisticated black skirt suit with a fur collar. This was a surprising downscale look for the star who had graced many a red carpet in an array of gorgeous gowns. Marilyn’s choice of clothing proved to be a somber omen for the high-profile couple who divorced only nine months later, although the love affair between the two was rumored to go even beyond her death with DiMaggio sending flowers to her grave for two decades afterwards.
1 Pamela Anderson
Topping the list is probably the bride with the most shocking and revealing wedding dress of them all. While Pamela Anderson was known around America for her busty, bathing suit run in the sun, no one expected her to take to her bikini so much. The Baywatch star married rocker, Kid Rock, aboard a yacht in Saint Tropez and whipped off her thin white dress to reveal a white bikini underneath. The rock and roll pair partied their butts off on the boat before returning to the States later that week to officially seal the deal of their union.