Celebrity weddings are fascinating for two reasons: the gossip and the grandeur. They’re the perfect cocktail of relatability and distance; occasions when the pop culture monarchs of modern life finally dress the part. Brides look like princesses (sometimes in actual castles) and some, as unofficial British royalty, even wear a tiara. In the A-list sphere everything – from the glamour to the drama – is ratcheted up a notch. There are designer dresses, star-studded performances, and swords used to cut the cake. The drama is intense: Diplo might show up and leak footage of your private wedding, or Beyonce and Jay-Z might not show up at all. That’s the thrill: it’s all relatable until it suddenly – sensationally – isn’t.
Given the size of the budgets (and the veils), you might think that there isn’t much practical advice to gain from these nuptial extravaganzas. But if celebrities are the tastemakers of our era, there are still lessons to be learned from their megawatt weddings – as long as you know where to look.
Lesson one seems counter-intuitive: it’s not all about the couple. Last year, Zoe Kravitz’s wedding to Karl Glusman was charming in all kinds of ways: the Alexander Wang ballerina dress, the black and white photos which highlighted the couple’s cheekbones (sharp enough to puncture any ego). But the true high point was the picture of Kravitz surrounded by her Big Little Lies co-stars. With Laura Dern smiling in motherly joy, it’s hard not to see the whole ensemble as an alternative cast for Little Women. As much as weddings shine a light on one romantic relationship, they can also celebrate close friendships – your equivalent group might not include Elle Woods from Legally Blonde or Satine from Moulin Rouge!, but the principle remains the same.
Lesson two is surprisingly down-to-earth: saving on cost doesn’t mean scrimping on style. A royal wedding isn’t the first place you’d expect to find budgeting tips, but it’s worth noting that Princess Beatrice wore one of the Queen’s vintage dresses for her wedding earlier this month. Vogue calls her decision “wonderfully sustainable” – and who are we to disagree? Even if you don’t go second-hand, you can always go high street – let’s not forget that Emily Ratajkowski famously wore a sunset-orange $250 Zara suit to her registry office wedding in 2018.
On the big day itself, you’ve got to go big. This brings us to lesson three: be bold. The Beckhams wore a matching plum-colored ensemble for their wedding in 1999, even dressing up baby Brooklyn in a purple tiny bib and top hat. He looks confused in the photos, as babies often do – but it’s hard not to imagine that his shocked expression is partly due to the sheer panache of his outfit. And with his own engagement recently announced, all we can hope for is a reprisal of this stellar look (complete with top hat).
Pressure can be the worst kind of killjoy, which is why lesson four is so important: if you can, don’t take it all so seriously. Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas were originally married by an Elvis impersonator in Las Vegas, and she is refreshingly level-headed about marriage as a hallmark of female fulfillment. Speaking to Marie Claire, she says that there’s a “weird misconception that being married is the greatest thing that’ll ever happen to you” and emphasizes that her personal life doesn’t give her the same sense of achievement – or the same “drive” – as her career. You tell em, Sophie!
And finally, lesson five: the end of a marriage can be as exhilarating as the beginning. If it doesn’t work out, you can always channel Nicole Kidman after signing her divorce papers from Tom Cruise in 2001. There’s a woman unshackled if ever we saw one.
Words by Jaleh Brazell
Graphics by Georgia Walters