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All about Audrey Hepburn’s iconic knee-length wedding dress

It’s no surprise that Audrey Hepburn’s knee-length wedding dress continues to inspire brides today as a style icon.

The actress rose to fame with roles in films such as Roman holidays And Sabrinabut it was during her time on Broadway when she appeared in the play Ondinethat she met actor Mel Ferrer. The couple married on September 25, 1954, in an intimate ceremony on the Bürgenstock mountain in Switzerland. Ferrer wore a simple black tuxedo for the wedding, while Hepburn opted for a knee-length dress with puff sleeves and a bow.

In a series of handwritten letters auctioned in June 2016, Hepburn revealed that she had gone to great lengths to keep her wedding to Ferrer a secret from the press. She wrote to her acting coach and friend Sir Felix Aylmer that the couple planned to bring close friends and family to their secret wedding.

“How we would love to have you with us on our wedding day,” she wrote in the letter. “We will take you by car to our mountain top on Friday, where we will gather our loved ones in our chalet! … The wedding will take place on Saturday … We want to keep it a secret so that it does not appear in the press.”

Although her wedding was kept secret at the time, her wedding dress has become one of the most famous celebrity bridal looks. Here’s everything you need to know about Audrey Hepburn’s wedding dress.

Hepburn’s wedding dress was designed by Pierre Balmain

Audrey Hepburn and Mel Ferrer walk arm in arm on their wedding day on September 25, 1954.

Ernst Haas/Ernst Haas/Getty

Pierre Balmain, who opened his fashion house in 1945, designed the knee-length dress Hepburn wore on her first walk down the aisle. The now-iconic dress featured a flared skirt, puffed sleeves, a high collar and a satin sash that tied into an oversized bow at the back.

Speak with Vanity Fair In February 2023, Hepburn’s son Sean Hepburn Ferrer told the outlet that his mother did not feel the need to adhere to traditions.

“She was an independent woman,” he said. “Considering what wedding dresses are today – with all the frills and long trains and all that – she chose something modern for her first (wedding).”

Her wedding dress could have been off the rack

Audrey Hepburn and Mel Ferrer on their wedding day on September 25, 1954.

Ernst Haas/Getty

Although she turned to a couturier for her wedding dress, it is possible that Hepburn’s dress was not custom-made. Sean told Vanity Fair “Considering how quickly” his parents’ wedding was organized, the actress’ dress was probably “an off-the-rack product.”

He added: “She made decisions pretty quickly.”

As an accessory she wore a flower wreath and gloves

Audrey Hepburn and Mel Ferrer on their wedding day on September 25, 1954.


Hepburn’s bridal accessories were a mix of traditional and modern. While she paired her puff-sleeved dress with elegant elbow-length gloves, a popular accessory at the time, she eschewed the tradition of wearing a veil and wore a floral crown instead.

The actress also chose not to carry a bouquet of flowers, instead carrying a missal to the altar. This was a common accessory for religious brides at the time, and Grace Kelly also wore one at her wedding to Prince Rainier III in 1956.

Hepburn’s wedding dress was exhibited for the exhibition “Intimate Audrey”

Audrey Hepburn and Mel Ferrer on their wedding day on September 25, 1954.

Ernst Haas/Ernst Haas/Getty

In May 2019, Sean opened an exhibition called “Intimate Audrey” in Brussels, Belgium to celebrate his mother’s posthumous 90th birthday. The exhibition has since traveled to other locations, including Italy and the Philippines, and features her iconic knee-length wedding dress.

The exhibition aims to show who Hepburn was as a person and not just a cultural icon. In conversation with Tatler Asia In July 2023, Sean said that when fans view the exhibit, they would realize that she is just a “normal person.”

“If you see her wedding dress, you’ll see it’s a simple little white dress,” he said. “You can become permanently viral, which she is today, all over the world. On Instagram, on every kind of platform. She’s everywhere. And yet you can be a normal human being.”

Her look inspired other brides to wear short wedding dresses

Julie Andrews and Tony Walton on their wedding day.; Sharon Tate on her wedding day in 1969.

PA/PA Images/Getty; Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis/Getty

While still unconventional, short wedding dresses became more common in the 1950s. Hepburn’s Balmain dress was a modern choice that paved the way for other brides of the era and today to move away from traditional floor-length gowns. Celebrity brides such as Julie Andrews, Sharon Tate and Kourtney Kardashian all wore short wedding dresses on their big day.

Zoë Kravitz even wore a dress by Alexander Wang that was very similar to Hepburn’s wedding dress. Funny face For her wedding to her ex-husband Karl Glusman in 2019, she chose a knee-length dress with a low waist.

Hepburn’s iconic knee-length dress wasn’t her only short wedding look. She also wore a blush minidress by Givenchy for her wedding to Andrea Dotti in 1969, which also supported the trend for short and colorful wedding dresses.

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