Audrey Hepburn was a much beloved actress, both on-screen and in real life. She became a film and fashion icon shortly after entering the world of Hollywood. Because of this, she had many admirers who tried to win her heart, and two that won her hand.
Although Audrey also famously wore a wedding dress for her role in Funny Face, in this article we will focus on the two she wore in her real life.
Audrey was born in Brussels, Belgium, in 1929. Her mother was a Dutch noblewoman, which explains Audrey’s natural poise. Meanwhile, her father (wrongly) believed he was a descendant of James Hepburn, the third husband of Mary, Queen of Scots. It is from here that Audrey got her surname.
In her young life, Audrey learned five languages and received a great deal of privilege. However, World War II soon broke out and Germany invaded the Netherlands, where Audrey was then living. She saw the horror of the Nazi regime up close and it left a big, lifelong impact on her. She performed silent dance routines to raise money for the Dutch resistance effort. Finally, when the war ended, she moved to Amsterdam with her mother.
She moved through professions such as ballet dancing and modelling before deciding to focus on acting. She received her first film role in 1948, worked on London’s West End, a debuted on Broadway in 1951. Her breakout role a year later, Princess Ann in Roman Holiday, cemented her status.
In 1952, she accepted James Hanson’s proposal of marriage. However, at the dress fitting, she realised that her schedule would mean she would rarely see him. She said, “When I get married, I want to be really married.”
Two years later, she attended a cocktail party. Gregory Peck introduced her to Mel Ferrer and suggested they star in a play together. The play in question was Ondine, for which Hepburn won her Tony award. They started a relationship and, while in Switzerland preparing to film War and Peace together, they married.
Audrey Hepburn’s First Wedding Dress
Audrey’s marriage to Mel Ferrer was one of the most anticipated and magical showbiz weddings of the time, and is a well-remembered moment in fashion history.
Her ballerina-length wedding gown featured an accentuated waist and long chiffon sleeves. The dress, created by Pierre Balmain, a French couturier well-known for his sophisticated and elegant designs, was modest and sweet. It had a high collar and a wide sash around her small waist. It was typical of the fifties, and Audrey emphasised this with a pretty halo of fresh flowers in her hair.
The tiny waist and wide shoulders of the gown complemented Audrey’s petite figure. The sweet, feminine and romantic look inspired thousands of brides at the time, and continues to inspire modern brides today.
Sean Hepburn Ferrer
Not long after the wedding, Audrey fell pregnant. However, she unfortunately suffered a miscarriage, and another one a year later. When she became pregnant for a third time, in 1959, she took a year off work. Luckily, it worked, and their son Sean was born on 17th July 1960.
The couples had two more miscarriages before they divorced in 1968.
After her 14-year marriage to Mel Ferrer ended, Audrey met Roman psychiatrist Andrea Dotti while on a Mediterranean cruise. When exploring a Greek ruin, they fell in love. The couple’s love soon blossomed, and they married in Morges, Switzerland on 18th January 1969. Audrey believed she would have more children, retire from acting, and become an Italian housewife.
Audrey Hepburn’s Second Wedding Dress
Dramatically different from her first wedding gown, Audrey wore a simple light pink woollen dress and matching scarf. Hubert de Givenchy, who had created many a piece for her in the past, designed the outfit. The chic dress was relatively short for a wedding gown, but quite normal for the ’60s when everything was mini! It was also common for second-time brides to avoid wearing white, and light pink appears the perfect choice for Audrey. However, it’s just a shame that there aren’t more colour photos around.
Her headscarf, fashioned from the same material as her dress, was an identical shade to her stockings and shoes. Together, it created the iconic look that we all remember. As the couple wed in a Swiss January, we expect Audrey chose this high-collared wool outfit as much for warmth as for appearance! To complement her pale pink dress, Audrey carried a bouquet of pale pink freesias and lilies-of-the-valley.
It’s hard to believe that Audrey’s weddings were fifteen years apart, she looks gorgeous and timelessly chic in all photographs. Furthermore, the gowns she chose seem to possess everlasting style that we still draw inspiration from today.
Luca Andrea Dotti
Audrey’s dream of becoming a mother for a second time came true after weeks of rest and a caesarean section. Little Luca was born on 8th February 1970. Unfortunately, this was to be her second and last child as she had more miscarriages.
Both Audrey and Andrea had affairs while married and they separated in 1982. Although she never married again, she maintained a relationship with actor Robert Wolders until her death in 1993.
Find Your Own Hepburn-Inspired Gown
Vintage style weddings are currently as popular as ever. As a result, if you fancy finding a Hepburn-inspired gown for your own wedding, the search shouldn’t be too hard. Look for tea length dresses, as this was her signature style. If you have a big budget, consider looking at something from Givenchy! Moreover, plenty of online sites and boutiques often stock Hepburn replicas. Even if they don’t, all you have to do is mention Hepburn the boutique owner will know exactly what you are looking for!
Whether you look for a replica of one of Audrey’s wedding dresses, or another of her show stopping gowns, there are plenty of options to emulate the fashion icon at your wedding.
So, Audrey Hepburn wore four wedding dresses, though only two made it down the aisle. Which is your favourite?