Inside the fantasy wedding of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier of Monaco, which featured two magnificent gowns

Grace Kelly, the beloved Hollywood beauty, married Monaco’s Prince Rainier III in a magnificent and grand ceremony in 1957.

Although other memorable weddings have happened since then, including the marriages of Prince Charles and Lady Diana and Prince William and Kate Middleton, none have surpassed the sheer majesty of Kelly’s faultless wedding.

The breathtaking images readily demonstrate why it was dubbed “the wedding of the century.”

However, this relationship’s influence on Monaco and people worldwide, as well as its enduring ability to attract people, is beyond comprehension.

Grace married Prince Rainier in a civil ceremony on April 18, 1956, when she was only 26. On April 19, 1956, a religious event was held.

Grace Kelly had already captivated audiences for five years before entering the realm of royalty with her extraordinary performances in films such as “Dial M for Murder” and “Rear Window.” In 1955, she was chosen to represent the American delegation at the Cannes Film Festival after being born in Philadelphia.

During her stay, she was invited to the nearby microstate of Monaco, which borders France, for a photograph with the prince in his famed house. This encounter marked the start of their secret correspondence, which eventually led to their engagement later that year, kicking off the preparation of their spectacular wedding.

Two rituals were required under the Napoleonic Code of Monaco and the Roman Catholic Church: civil and religious ceremonies. To accommodate the civil ceremony and banquet that followed, the Palace of Monaco underwent a complete redecoration.

An estimated 30 million viewers watched the holy ceremony on international television under the direction of Monaco’s Bishop, Gilles Barthe. Grace Kelly wore two stunning bridal gowns, one of which took an incredible three weeks to produce.

Helen Rose, an Academy Award-winning designer, presented these magnificent designs to Grace. They were painstakingly constructed by MGM, the studio that supported Grace during her storied career as a Hollywood star.

Aristotle Onassis (aka Mr. Jackie Kennedy), and prominent entertainers such as David Niven, Cary Grant, Gloria Swanson, and Ava Gardner were among the visitors. Surprisingly, the bride remained in the United States for the wedding preparations.

Grace Kelly and her entourage went on a fantastic journey aboard the SS Constitution ocean liner to attend various engagements. The ship set sail from New York, carrying the bride, her family, six bridesmaids, 80 pieces of luggage, a poodle, and a swarm of excited reporters and photographers.

Over 400 journalists applied for the opportunity to be a part of this expedition, but only a few were chosen. Even those unable to board the ship were given a beautiful spectacle as Aristotle Onassis’ plane suspended overhead, showering the crowd below with red and white flowers.

Prince Albert reflected on the incident and said, “My mother would often reminisce about the entire trip on the Constitution.” She would talk about how much fun the wedding celebration was and how it brought her Philadelphia relatives and friends closer together.”

He also stated that she spoke lovingly of Oliver, a French poodle given to her by Cary Grant, her co-star in Alfred Hitchcock’s “To Catch A Thief.”

Grace Kelly’s arrival in Monaco topped the spectacle of her departure, drawing 1,800 photographers eager to capture the historic occasion. The events preceding the ceremony were similarly taxing.

Albert recalled, “My father said that going through all the arrangements, pageantry, and planning was quite exhausting.”

The meticulous preparations, however, resulted in one of the most magnificent celebrity events of the twentieth century, with Monaco embarking on an eight-day series of celebrations.

On this historic day, forty foreign delegations attended a lavish event with outdoor entertainment and a spectacular fireworks display at the recently rebuilt palace.

The civil ceremony was held the next day in the palace’s Throne Room. Grace Kelly donned the first of MGM’s dresses, a lovely light pink taffeta two-piece set embellished with champagne-colored French Alençon lace.

The ceremony only lasted 16 minutes, and then Grace received her 140 new titles as Princess of Monaco for another 25 minutes.

The newlyweds were forced to replicate their wedding ceremonies for the sake of the news crews.

The second ceremony was performed the next day at the beautiful Saint Nicholas Cathedral. Grace appeared in an exquisite gown made of 150 yards of silk, taffeta, and tulle, complimented by 300 yards of old Belgian lace, capturing the attention of 30 million people.

The future princess chose a Juliet Cap instead of a traditional tiara to secure her veil. To keep her face visible to the cameras, the 90 yards of tulle and her shoes and Juliet Cap were gently decorated with pearls.

Grace chose a 2.5-inch stiletto because she and Rainier were of comparable heights. According to Tatler, her David Evins-designed shoes were customized with Grace’s name inscribed on the left shoe and Prince Rainier’s on the right.

The heels of the shoes were adorned with seed pearls, lace, and a copper penny as good luck and well-wishes gesture.

The magnificent bridal ensemble required the expertise of 36 sewists, who worked diligently for three weeks to create it. Grace Kelly stepped inside the church, representing every feature of an actual princess, instilling pride in the sewists.

Decades later, Kelly’s enthralling bridal gown continues to inspire modern-day princesses. Kate Middleton’s stunning lace wedding gown, designed by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen, has a striking resemblance.

Grace Kelly’s stunning wedding gown is currently on display at the prestigious Philadelphia Museum of Art, allowing visitors to enjoy the apparel supporting future princesses’ dreams.

Brides were frequently observed bringing the Bible down the aisle instead of floral bouquets during wedding ceremonies 1956. Grace got a Bible embellished with silk, pearls, and lace in accordance with this custom. She carried lilies of the valley with the sacred book, demonstrating her unshakeable commitment to tradition.

Lilies of the valley, ageless and magnificent, are still a popular choice for royal brides today.

During the ceremony, Prince Rainier, who was nervous, was assisted by Grace as he placed the ring on her finger. At the same time, she maintained a serene demeanor, enchanting millions of observers.

The wedding culminated with a traditional offering to St. Dévote, Monaco’s patron saint, followed by a spectacular feast attended by 600 people. The buffet contained luxuries such as caviar, lobster, and champagne, which pleased everyone.

The elaborate wedding cake, reported to have cost more than £10,000, included a one-of-a-kind feature: two real turtle doves. The charming turtle doves were released as the groom ceremoniously carved the cake with his sword, symbolizing loyalty, trust, and enduring love. The cake also has a musical box that made it come to life.

Following the festivities, the prince and princess sailed on a seven-week honeymoon onboard Prince Rainier’s gorgeous yacht, the Deo Juvante II. They enjoyed a well-deserved respite after the frenzy of events, anchoring near the magnificent shore of Monaco.

The next day they marked the official start of their honeymoon, leaving behind a treasure trove of memories and images that would last beyond their own lifetimes.

Their fantasy lasted until tragedy struck on September 14, 1982, when Grace Kelly died in a vehicle accident at 52. Following her death, Prince Rainier devoted himself to his tasks and remained unmarried. His death occurred in 2005.