Meghan Markle’s wedding dress has finally been revealed… and what a dress it is!
After months of speculation over the style she would choose and the designer she’d opt for, the Duchess-to-be finally answered our burning royal wedding dress questions when she stepped out of her car to reveal a stunning full-length Clare Waight Keller for Givenchy gown, with a boat neck - also known as a bateau neckline - and 3/4 length long sleeves.
The designer of her chic, simple dress was one of the best-kept secrets in fashion. Clare was only made the first female artistic director of French fashion house Givenchy last year so this has been quite the coup. Treading the line between traditional and whimsically romantic, Meghan's design was timeless and classic.
Harry whispered, "You look amazing," to his bride as she joined him at the altar, so it evidently got the royal seal of approval too.
Meghan Markle's Wedding Dress: Expert Opinion
Peta Hunt, editor-at-large of You and Your Wedding magazine, says Meghan has picked a "real crowd-pleaser".
"I loved the high boat neck, which is so modern with the clean lines, the tiara and full on veil. It's so romantic and really says 'bride'.
"This is a silk tulle cathedral length veil and works perfectly in this huge chapel. She is definitely wearing the dress and not drowning under a huge gown; it allows her to move and hits all the right notes.
"She has such a great shape this really, really works for her and is so appropriate for the occasion and venue. You need a strong dress to fill this aisle!"
Peta notes that there could be controversy from it's French provenence. "Of course the Queen has approved this already. But designed by Clare Waight Keller for Givenchy - who is British and known for her feminine, romantic aesthetic - it could be a controversial choice because Givenchy is a French fashion house."
If you're looking for a similar dress with silk elements, Peta suggests Viktor & Rolf, Justin Alexander, Sassi Holford and Alan Hannah.
Who Designed Meghan Markle’s Wedding Dress?
Following royal tradition, the designer of Meghan's dress wasn't revealed until she stepped out of the car at St George's Chapel.
After Meghan wore a sheer, ruffled gown by Australian duo Ralph & Russo for her engagement shoot, they became frontrunners to design the dress but Meghan chose a designer who's name hadn't even been among the rumoured list!
Also in the running for the coveted role of designing her dress were British designers Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney, Burberry and Turkish-Canadian designer Erdem, but Meghan went left-field with her French fashion house choice.
She chose Clare Waight Keller (above right), who has previously worked at Ralph Lauren, Gucci and Chloe, but took the helm of Givenchy last year when she was appointed artistic director of haute couture and ready-to-wear for women and men.
Boat Neck Wedding Dresses: How to Find a Wedding Dress Like Meghan Markle's
Boat neck wedding dresses, also known as a bateau neckline, are a popular and elegant choice for brides. It's a classic style which Meghan modernised with a clean, simple cut and beautiful sleeves.
Here are some examples of boat neck dresses if you'd like to get your own copycat version of Meghan's dress.
Justin Alexander - Style 8396
Pronovias - Huarte
Pronovias - Dreide
BHLDN - Bacall
Jennifer Regan - Ariana
Martina Liana - Style 791
Justin Alexander- Style 8727
What Wedding Dress Did Meghan Markle Wear For Her First Wedding?
It’s well-known that Meghan is a divorcée: she married American producer Trevor Engelson in 2011, with their marriage lasting two years. They married in a four-day affair in Jamaica with 102 guests so Meghan’s choice of dress was themed for her destination wedding.
She opted for a simple, boho dress with a beachy vibe. The dress was white and strapless with a notch-neckline and a thick sparkly embellished belt.
It’s world away from her choice of dress on Saturday which, while still being simple, is elegant and timeless. She respected the sanctity of the venue by choosing long-sleeves and covering up any cleavage but showed a hint of skin with her classic boat neck.
What Does Meghan Markle's Wedding Dress From Suits Look Like?
Joining Meghan at St George’s Chapel was her on-screen husband Patrick J Adams, who plays Mike Ross in legal TV drama Suits. Meghan actually had two wedding days with Mike in the show, wearing a very different dress from what she chose for her real-life wedding.
In her final episode of series seven, she walked down the aisle in an A-line gown by Atlanta-based bridal designer Anne Barge. It featured a deep V-neck with intricate floral beading and a black ribbon cinching in her waist. The back featured a sheer mesh panel that is world’s away from she chose to wear in the more conservative setting of St George’s Chapel.
She told Glamour in 2016 of the dress, “It's not my personal style, because I'm a lot more relaxed than Rachel, but I love that I got to play dress-up in this gown.”
Fasion expert Peta says, "Meghan's dress was perfect for her role, but now she has stepped up a gear or two! This is a much stronger statement, more dramatic and a really shows her beauty. The bridal industry is really important in the UK and we produce great designers so it’s great to see her choose Clare."
How Does Meghan's Wedding Dress Compare To Kate's Wedding Dress?
Peta says, "Kate’s was simply very beautiful and understated. It was quite 'Middle England' and very British; Meghan’s however, is a strong statement.
"It is very modern red carpet-worthy one, celebrating the art of couture, and bringing a touch of Hollywood glamour."
Who Designed Kate Middleton’s Wedding Dress?
The Duchess of Cambridge chose Alexander McQueen when she married Prince William in 2011, but her choice of designer was shrouded in secrecy. Embroiderers at the Royal School of Needlework who stitched the lace dress were even told it was going to be used for a TV costume drama!
Designed by the British brand's creative director Sarah Burton, Kate's conservative dress reflected the venue choice of Westminster Abbey with long lace sleeves and an ivory satin bodice covered in lace applique with a small v-neck. Individual flowers of rose, thistle, daffodil and shamrock were cut from lace and hand stiched into ivory silk tulle for the skirt.
The train measured a staggering 8ft 8in and inside the dress was sewn a blue ribbon for her 'something blue'. She borrowed the Queen's 1936 Cartier halo tiara and topped off her outfit with a lace veil and Robinson Pelham diamond earrings, gifted by her parents.
Kate's wedding dress immediately became iconic and sparked thousands of copy-cat version. Her original dress became one of the most expensive wedding dresses ever made, costing an estimated £250,000.
Who Designed Princess Diana’s Wedding Dress?
Kate's train was modest in comparison to the almost 25ft train that Princess Diana wore at her wedding to Prince Charles in 1981. Because her dress was so huge, Diana had trouble fitting in the glass carriage on her way to St Paul's Cathedral to tie the knot and famously arrived with a visibly crumpled train.
Designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel, the dramatic dress was made from ivory silk taffeta from Stephen Walters of Suffolk and antique hand-made Carrickmacross lace that had belonged to Queen Mary. It was hand-embroiered with sequins and 10,000 pearls.
The dress was classically eighties with its large puffed sleeves, frilled lace bodice and huge meringue skirt, but its impact lives on. Diana's wedding dress was voted among the most influential British royal wedding dresses of all time by Time magazine this year.
Royal Wedding Dresses Through the Years
The royals have a long history with interesting wedding dresses, and it was actually Queen Victoria who is credited with popularising the tradition for brides wearing white after she chose a heavy white silk satin dress to marry Albert in 1840.
Here are some other famous royal wedding dresses.
Queen Elizabeth II (1947)
Norman Hartnell designed the Queen's ivory satin dress, which was hand-embroidered with pearls and crystals and a 13ft train, when she married Prince Philip.
Princess Margaret (1961)
Princess Margaret also chose a Norman Hartnell design, this time made from silk organza with 30 metres of fabric used for the skirt alone for her wedding to the Earl of Snowdon.
Princess Anne (1973)
For her wedding to Mark Phillips, Princess Anne went medieval with her dress. She choose a high Tudor neck with billowing sleeves by Maureen Baker, a designer for label Susan Small.
Sarah Ferguson (1986)
When Sarah Ferguson married Prince Andrew, she decided to incorporate his navy background into the design with heavily beaded hearts, anchors and waves, plus bumblebees and thistles from her own family's crest. The initials A and S were sewn onto her train in silver beads.
Camilla Parker-Bowles (2005)
Zara Phillips (2011)
Princess Anne's daughter Zara wore a duchess satin gown with a chevron pleated corseted bodice by Stewart Parvin for her marriage to Mike Tindall. The diamond tiara was borrowed from her mother.
For more about Meghan's gorgeous gown you can read a full overview from our sister brand - You & Your Wedding