Grace Kelly: A Monaco Royal Wedding

The late Grace Kelly was an American actress who became a princess. At the age of 26 she married Prince Rainier III in a wedding watched by over 30 million people worldwide. The “Wedding of the Century” was held at Chapel of St. Devote and attended by 600 guests, which included some of Hollywood’s biggest stars, including Gloria Swanson, Ava Gardner, David Niven and Cary Grant.

Grace is a HUGE inspiration to me, not only her wedding day but her beauty, talent and poise. She fascinates me - Grace is feminine, radiant and utterly timeless - and I wanted to have a little bit of her in me when I walked down the aisle. That is, a touch of her french royalty, chic hair and make-up, timeless pearl drop earrings and a dress made with layer upon layer of fabric. Let Grace inspire your wedding too:

The Ring

Grace was originally given a Cartier eternity band of rubies and diamonds when Rainier proposed. When he realised that other leading actresses in Hollywood were wearing large rings, he ordered Kelly a 10.47 carat emerald-cut diamond ring from Cartier. It had two baguette diamonds on the side mounted in platinum. Rainier proposed at Graces’s family home in Philadelphia during the Christmas holiday of 1955.

Engagement Party

An engagement ball was held a the Waldorf-Astoria in New York, January 1956.  Grace left for Monaco by ship, the U.S.S. Constitution with her family, bridal party, friends, and Grace’s poodle, Oliver and a Weimaraner puppy that was a wedding gift.  The voyage lasted eight days.

On arriving to the Bay of Herculese, the Prince’s yacht met the ship. As he took Grace ashore bands played American tunes and a seaplane belonging to Aristotle Onassis flew over the harbour and dropped thousands of red and white carnations. Grace arrived with four enormous steamer trunks and fifty-six pieces of luggage all holding brand new clothes!!

The Ceremony

The couple had both a religious and a civil ceremony attended by various members of their family. At the civil ceremony, Grace wore a two-piece dress of light pink taffeta and champagne lace. She accessorised the outfit with chiffon turban flowers, white gloves and Cuban heels. The prince wore a morning coat, white waistcoat, pleated trousers and grey silk tie.

The religious ceremony church was filled with white lilacs and lilies. And like all weddings there were a few glitches – the pageboy dropped Reiner's ring and Reiner struggled to put Grace’s ring on her finger. The Choir School of the Cathedral sang Bach’s “Uxor Tua” and Purcell’s “Alleluia”.

“The Dress”

Grace’s gown is one of the most beautiful gowns to have ever been made. Designed by Helen Rose who worked tirelessly for six weeks with three-dozen seamstresses to have it fit perfectly. It continues to inspire brides worldwide with replications being made every year. The gown was a wedding gift from MGM film studios for an estimated 4,500 pounds (roughly 36,000 pounds today). This only included the cost of the materials, not Rose’s services!

The dress features a fitted bodice, high collar, long sleeves and ball gown skirt. Thousands of seed pearls were hand stitched onto the gown. It buttoned down to a silk cummerbund and created a bell shape to the floor. The bodice was made of rose point lace over silk net and had to be embroidered by two seamstresses for a month! Under the gown were three petticoats decorated with little tiny blue bows as her “something blue”. The designer admitted that these could have been worn as individual evening gowns!

MGM studios stated that the dress was made from 23 metres of heavy taffeta, 23 metres of silk taffeta, 91 metres of silk net and 274 metres of lace. The finished product only used about a quarter of these amounts! The original sketch of the dress was drawn by Helen Rose herself. It was kept top secret for the few months leading up to the wedding and never left the studio. The gown was enclosed in a private area so that no one could see the gown before it was worn.


Grace’s shoes were from Evins, New York. David Evins, who at the time was a legendary designer, designed them. Evins, at the bride's request, built a copper penny into the right shoe for good luck.

The head piece was a Juliet cap decorated with orange blossoms and a veil that was 90 yards long. Grace’s veil was circular and edged with lace motifs. The veil predominantly was sheer so that the princess’s face could be seen clearly through it.

The Bridesmaids & Flowers

The bridesmaids wore pale yellow organdy dresses which were custom made at Neiman Marcus in America. They had yellow organdy hats and wrist length white gloves to accessorise the outfits.

The princess’s bouquet was made from Lily of the Valley. The ribbon had small sprigs of flowers attached to them. Once the ceremony was over, she left the bouquet on top of the altar of the chapel. The bridesmaids carried bouquets of tea roses and the flower girls carried daisies.

The Reception

Since the couple had two ceremonies, they also had two receptions. The first reception was in the courtyard of Monaco’s pink palace. The 3,000 guests sipped champagne and ate cake!

The second reception was much more elaborate and had only an exclusive 600 guests. It was a luncheon buffet with caviar, shrimp, ham, smoked salmon, soup, salami, cheese, salmon with cucumber salad, cold lobster, chicken and jellied eggs.


The Cake

The cake was a culinary masterpiece. It was six tiers high and was taller than all the guests. The first level was three-dimensional replica of Monaco’s pink palace carved from sugar. The other tiers had scenes from Monaco’s history and a Monegasque crest in red and white spun sugar. On the top perched two cherubs on clouds of filigreed icing. A sword, packaged in a white faille box, decorated with gold and white rope, engraved with the initials “R and G” and tied with a golden cord was used to cut the cake.

The Honeymoon

The newlyweds sailed off into the sunset – but didn’t get far. Grace grew ill and spent the first week of her honeymoon with the flu! After that, they spent several weeks sailing around the Riviera and the coast of Spain.

I think it is wonderful if you too want a touch of Grace in your big day. My only word of advice is to keep it elegant and close to your heart. Whilst it is lovely to admire someone it is also important to still be your own kind of beautiful!



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