Though Elizabeth Taylor walked down the aisle eight times, only once did she do it in a so-called “traditional” bridal gown. Taylor’s first wedding, to Conrad “Nicky” Hilton in 1950, when the actor was a studio darling, came courtesy of MGM with the elaborate, veiled gown with a nipped in waist a bespoke creation by costume designer Helen Rose.
Just two years after that, Taylor would forgo the fuss to marry her next husband, Michael Wilding, in a prim, collared skirt suit, holding a sweet posy of flowers. It was on the occasion of her third marriage to Mike Todd, however, that Taylor showed signs of the dramatic diva that has since become her legacy. Married in Acapulco, Mexico, she wore swathes of white silk-chiffon that framed her tiny waist and came with a more contemporary take on the bridal veil, a glamorous hood. A Closer Look At Elizabeth Taylor’s 10 Spectacular Engagement Rings10 PHOTOSVIEW GALLERY
That was also the last time she would wear white on her wedding day. Taylor’s ensuing five weddings saw the Academy Award winner opt for a changing colour palette and silhouettes that adhered to the most alluring trends of the day. Look back over her adventurous bridal wardrobe below.
- Bettmann1/86 May 1950Elizabeth married Conrad Hilton at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills, wearing a traditional full-skirted, seed pearl-encrusted white wedding gown. The 18-year-old bride worked with costume designer Helen Rose — who also designed Grace Kelly’s wedding gown — to create a MGM-funded dress that drew inspiration from the one she wore onscreen in Father Of The Bride and is said to have taken 15 people three months to make. It was auctioned in 2013 for £122,000.
- Fred Mott2/821 February 1952To marry the English actor 20 years her senior, Michael Wilding, at Claridge’s in London, Taylor called upon Helen Rose once again but went against tradition, instead opting for an A-line suit for the nuptials. Forgoing a veil, she instead carried a posy of flowers which matched blooms in her hair and wore a modest pearl necklace.
- PictureLux / The Hollywood Archive / Alamy Stock Photo3/82 February 1957Twenty-four-year-old Elizabeth married her third husband, Mike Todd, in a small wedding ceremony at City Hall in Acapulco, Mexico. For the occasion, the bride wore a white silk-chiffon gown with a dramatic sweeping hood. The pièce de résistance of her look, however, was her emerald-cut diamond engagement ring, which she affectionately nicknamed her “ice skating rink” for its elaborate size and carats (at 29.4, it was a whopper). Bridesmaid for the day was her best friend Debbie Reynolds who attended with her husband — and Elizabeth’s future spouse — best friend of the groom, Eddie Fisher. The marriage would come to a tragic end as Todd lost his life in a plane crash in March 1958.
- Bettmann4/812 May 1959Having converted to Judaism, Taylor married her fourth husband Eddie Fisher – the best friend of her late third husband Todd – at Temple Beth Shalom in Las Vegas. She wore another hooded dress, but this time opted for a deep green style that came fitted at the waist before falling to a full skirt. On her wrist, the bride wore a bracelet given to her by Fisher in lieu of an engagement ring.
- Hulton Archive5/815 March 1964Taylor first married her Cleopatra co-star, Richard Burton, in Montreal in the spring of 1964. Again subverting wedding traditions, the actor chose to wear a knee-length, marigold-hued, empire-line dress by Cleopatra’s costume designer, Irene Sharaff, with an elaborate ponytail by Alexandre de Paris laced with orange blossom. The couple had yet to select an engagement ring, so Taylor wore a Bulgari brooch given to her by Burton.
- Apic6/810 October 1975Taylor and Burton would wed for the second time in Botswana in 1975. This time, Elizabeth wore an ombré dress by the British designer Gina Fratini and piled her hair on top of her head in a feather-adorned up-do. It sold at auction in 2011 for $62,500 (£47,000).
- Danita Delimont / Alamy Stock Photo7/84 December 1976For perhaps her most private wedding, Elizabeth and senator John Warner said their vows on Warner’s estate in Virginia. The bride wore a matching cashmere coat and turban-style headwear, while the groom wore a simple suit and striped tie.
- Kypros8/86 October 1991The actor would next marry Larry Fortensky at a lavish celebrity-filled celebration at Michael Jackson’s Neverland ranch. The bride — photographed here with the groom in May 1992 — wore a bespoke, lemon-hued, Valentino lace gown featuring a lace tiered skirt and a plunging neckline. Picture rights for the nuptials were sold to People for $1 million (£758,000) and the funds were used to launch the Elizabeth Taylor Aids Foundation.