If Labour leader Ed Miliband needed inspiration ahead of his wedding to long-term partner Justine Thornton today, he might have done worse than to flip through a newly published encyclopaedia of Hollywood nuptials.
Weddings and Movie Stars (Reel Art Press) is an exhaustive compilation of photographs, many of which previously unpublished, running the full gamut of Hollywood drama by recording the glitziest (and most talked about) to the most top secret (and heavily-shrouded) movie star marriages.
The 288 page tome gives witness to iconic ceremonies and pairings - not to mention the dresses!- including unforgettable images such as a glorious-looking Grace Kelly on her wedding day to Prince Ranier III of Monaco in 1956 in that dress which so closely resembles that worn so recently by another commoner-turned-princess.
Another portrait captures nineteen-year-old Lauren Bacall lounging lazily in a decidedly low-key wedding dress soon after her wedding to Humphrey Bogart, after being joined to whom the ingénue is reported to have gasped guilelessly ‘Oh goody!’
And Marilyn Monroe can be seen joyfully emerging from Francisco City Hall on the arm of Yankees superstar Joe DiMaggio. Their brief marriage, the second for both, only lasted 9 months but DiMaggio, who never remarried, is thought to have held a candle for the actress for the rest of his life and regularly placed red roses on her grave after her untimely 1962 demise.
Glimpses of real weddings, including Madonna’s to Sean Penn in 1985, John and Yoko’s, Elizabeth Taylor’s numerous betrothments and register signings, Mia Farrow at home with Frank Sinatra and Sarah Jessica Parker at her surprise wedding to Matthew Broderick, are interspersed with iconic images from Hollywood films of couples getting hitched.
Diana Rigg looks sensational in a slinky Marjory Cornelius lace trouser suit worn for 007’s one and (so far) only wedding in 1969 film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service; while Brigitte Bardot appears true to her sex-kittenish reputation in the rather saucy publicity portrait of her wearing white for the film 1956 that shot her to international stardom, And God Created Woman.
Bob Willoughby’s shots of Dustin Hoffman grabbing the hand of a wedding-dress clad Katherine Ross at the end of The Graduate is one of the most recognisable wedding movie sequences, but the previously unpublished shots included in the book bring a freshness of perspective to the scene.
The book even includes so-called marriages of convenience such as the secret civil wedding of Rock Hudson to his agent’s secretary Phyllis Gates. The event was reportedly rather hastily arranged in response from threats from Confidential magazine to expose Hudson’s alleged homosexuality.
From true romance to timely engagement - and a visual representation of the car crash divorces waiting to happen- the pictures ooze glamour, lavishness and old time Hollywood. If having been saturated by the vision of William and Katherine’s wedding you’re looking to freshen up your ideas of the perfect fairytale, Weddings and Movie Stars is a very informative and amusing place to start.
Weddings and Movie Stars is available at www.reelartpress.com priced £49.95