Legendary Brides is an irresistible social history of the most influential brides of the 19th and 20th centuries. Beginning with Queen Victoria, who initiated the bridal tradition of white satin, lace and orange blossoms, and ending with Carolyn Bessette who came to symbolize simple, unadorned elegance, Letitia Baldrige tells us the stories of eight weddings. Consuelo Vanderbilt, Wallis Simpson, Queen Elizabeth II, Jacqueline Bouvier, Grace Kelly, and Diana Spencer complete the string of legends.
A brief chronology of how each couple met is followed by a description of the wedding in exquisite, in-depth, yet tasteful detail and accompanied by several stunning photographs and illustrations. One learns that Princess Grace's gown was made of twenty five yards of silk gros de longre, three hundred yards of antique Valenciennes lace and that her lace-trimmed veil consisted of ninety yards of silk tulle; Princess Diana's wedding ring was crafted from the same nugget of Welsh gold used for the rings of the Queen Mother, the Queen, and Princesses Margaret and Anne; Jackie Bouvier carried a bouquet of pink and white spray orchids, stephanotis and miniature gardenias. The preparations, the ceremonies, the receptions and quotes from those involved in each occasion are all brought together in an entertaining chronicle of events.
After the description of each bride's wedding, a particular wedding topic is highlighted. For example, in the chapter on Queen Victoria, guidelines on yesterday's and today's gowns and rings are given. Romona Keveza seems to be Ms. Baldrige's designer of choice, and her gowns serve as visual aids in the glossary of gown styles and dress details. This is, of course, a book written by the contemporary expert on etiquette, and much advice on invitations, cakes, floral designers, and attendant gifts is offered.
An added bonus is the montage of photos on scattered pages that depict other royal and Hollywood weddings. A beautiful book to help capture the look and feel of an elite wedding, but somehow makes you think twice about how few of these weddings were true and heartfelt.