Iconic Wedding Dresses: Jacqueline Bouvier

Jacqueline Bouvier was a woman famed not only for her marriage to John F. Kennedy and for being the most popular First Lady of the United States, but also for her iconic style and grace.   

New York born Jacqueline Bouvier belonged to the same social circle as US Representative John F. Kennedy. As a result, the pair were first introduced in the spring of 1951 at a dinner party hosted by mutual friends.

The couple began dating within an instant and two years later John proposed, allegedly in booth three of Martin’s Tavern in Georgetown on the evening of June 24, 1953.  

iconic wedding dresses

The happy couple subsequently tied the knot on September 12th, 1953. Their wedding ceremony took place at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in Newport, Rhode Island. The socialite and young senator seemed completely smitten with one other on the special day.

Their wedding was much anticipated all over the world and was
considered the social event of the season. As a result, an estimated 800 guests attended the extravagant affair and thousands of fans lined the streets outside to catch a glimpse of the newlyweds.

After the ceremony, guests made their way to the evening reception at Hammersmith Farm which consisted of 300-acres of glorious land belonging to Jackie’s stepfather.

Following the celebrations, the couple jetted off to spend a two-week honeymoon in Acapulco, Mexico.

Take a look at this gorgeous 1950’s gown below!

Jacqueline Bouvier’s Iconic Gown

Jacqueline’s beautiful dress took over two months to complete. The gown was created by incredibly talented New York designer Ann Lowe, at her mother’s request . With designs known as society’s “best-kept secret”, Ann Lowe was the first African-American women in high fashion.

The gown featured a statement off the shoulder, portrait-swathed neckline. Feminine and elegant yet demure, the neckline displayed her beautiful collarbones and skimmed her shoulders. The dress had a feminine fitted bodice, and a large ball gown style detailed skirt.

The incredible piece contained over 50 yards of ivory silk taffeta and featured intricate pleating and swirls of ivory-coloured faille. Her full bouffant skirt featured interwoven bands and minute wax flowers.

Her Accessories

She wore her grandmother’s lace veil. Attached to a delicate lace tiara, it flowed all the way down to the floor and into a long train behind her. The tiara sat on her hair of pin curls and the elegant up-do framed her face beautifully.

Jacqueline complemented her neckline with a delicate pearl necklace which sat high on her neck.  This family heirloom was complemented by a sparkling diamond pin on her dress. The pin was a gift from her parents.

On her left hand, she also wore a sparkling diamond bracelet, a present from the groom the night before the wedding. Her Van Cleef & Arpels engagement ring featured a tapered baguette 2.84-carat emerald beside a stunning diamond with a spectacular diamond open-halo setting. The iconic emerald ring has influenced many a bride to opt for a beautiful green stone we’re sure.  Jacqueline also wore elegant gloves to her wrist to finish off her bridal look.

To accentuate her gown, Jackie held a bouquet of white and pink orchids and gardenias that were simply elegant. Finally, the couple departed their wedding reception under a shower of paper rose-petals.

Brides of the 1950s

Weddings were starting to become a high fashion affair, brides flocked to bridal stores to view that latest runway wedding gowns and accompanying accessories.

Consequently, women were starting to look to their icons and high fashion designers to create their dream wedding dress. And brides were not afraid to emulate their Hollywood idols and splash out on the most expensive gown they could afford.

The neckline combined with the small corset-style waist and the full skirt was the go-to silhouette of the decade. Wedding gowns were structured and moulded to perfectly fit the body. This was due to the fabrics they used.

Ribbed silks and Duchesse satin was the main fabric of choice. Lace infused with gold or silver thread was also popular. Cotton or polyester blends made lace readily available and affordable, and they were commonly used for the gown, veil and even the gloves.

Ball gown style dresses, much like Jacqueline Bouvier’s were popular, with statement veils to match.

1950s Bridal Gowns

Remaining modest in churches, dress sleeves were long and tight fitting. Therefore, the sleeves were all the way down to the wrist, with a medieval style cuff. Higher cuts and scalloped shapes were popular along side sweetheart necklines.

iconic wedding dresses

The mid 50s saw the introduction of layers. As a result, a modest bridal gown was standard attire for the church ceremony. The dress was then transformed for the evening reception.

Gowns were strapless or featured three-quarter length sleeves, paired with a silk, satin or lace jacket or detachable sleeves.

The body of the dress began to simplify too.  Necklines became much more rounded without collars. Short sleeves and bodice-style gowns became popular.

1950s Accessories

The wedding tiara was worn throughout the decade before being replaced by small hats. These were often intricately detailed and covered with beading and flowers.

With the arrival of Queen Elizabeth’s wedding in 1953, there was a revival of jewelled crowns, which would much later become flower crowns.

iconic wedding dresses

Veils were still extremely popular. Consequently they were passed down from mothers and grandmothers, they continued to be ‘something old’. As a result, Jacqueline’s rose-point lace veil attached to a small tiara of lace and orange blossoms was no different.

Jacqueline’s iconic wedding dress was much anticipated and did not disappoint. Capturing the true essence of 1950s bridal wear, the gown was beautiful and iconic. As well as providing inspiration for brides at the time her bridal look is replicated by modern women today.

Jacqueline Bouvier remained married to John F. Kennedy until his assassination in 1963. Her iconic bridal gown is now housed in the Kennedy Library in Boston.

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