The year was 2011 and a stunning British everygirl stood at the entryway to Westminster Abbey’s expansive naive, anxiously waiting to marry her college sweetheart—who also just so happened to be royalty—in the most stunning lace gown since Grace Kelly’s iconic dress. No, this isn’t an homage to Kate Middleton and Prince William’s wedding (although we’ll never turn down an opportunity to re-watch that procession to the altar)—instead we’re taking a look at the genius fashion item the Duchess of Cambridge’s sleeved dress arguably resurrected: The lace bolero.
Since that Friday in April, there has been an undeniable resurgence of wedding gowns with lace accents, specifically lace sleeves (à la Kate’s stunning Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen dress). Lace . . . as elegant as it may be, is tricky; it is delicate, sensitive, expensive, and well, let’s be real, often a major buzz kill when you just want to dance the night away unencumbered. So what is a bride to do when she wants to emulate Kate Middleton for the ceremony and Amal Alamuddin Clooney for the reception, sans wardrobe change? Easy . . . the bridal bolero (as we like to call it).
The bolero, also called a “topper,” a “bridal jacket,” and even a “lace overcoat” (although it doesn’t have to be lace but more often than not is) was first popularized by screen siren, Elizabeth Taylor, in the 1950’s classic Father of the Bride. Taylor’s dreamy A-line dress was designed by MGM’s costumer Helen Rose (also the creator of Grace Kelly’s iconic wedding gown) consisting of twenty-five-yards of silk and a wispy lace jacket cleverly tucked into the dress’ waistband, thus marking the birth of the bridal bolero.
To say we’re obsessed with the bolero is an understatement. It is economical, effortless, and the chicest way to achieve two completely different fashion statements at one’s wedding. With this trend on the rise, we took a look back at some of our favorite bridal bolero moments.
The Details: The ceremony took place in June of 2016 at St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Los Angeles, California. “From my grandparents, to my parents, to my aunts, uncles, and godparents—my entire family has gotten married in this church!”
Connie and her groom, Matt, wanted a traditional, timeless venue for the reception that would match the beauty and elegance of St. Sophia. After exploring several nearby spots, they settled on The California Club.
Bolero Moment: “My Oscar de la Renta wedding dress had two parts! A silk faille strapless sweetheart dress and a custom Alençon lace overcoat, which came off after dinner.”
Photographed by Amy and Stuart Photography
OTM Bride: Brooke Botsford Sinclair
The Details: The ceremony took place in August of 2015 at her alma mater St. George’s chapel in Newport, Rhode Island. Brooke walked down the aisle to “The Prince of Denmark’s March” by Jeremiah Clarke and Father John Rick, who married her parents, officiated.
After the ceremony, the black tie affair kicked off with cocktails on the harbor, followed by dinner and dancing in an elegant tent right off the water. White and green flowers decorated each table, and trees glowing with string lights added warmth to the ambiance of the hot summer night.
Bolero Moment: “The dress, made by Oscar de la Renta, was ideal for our wedding. I really wanted sleeves for the Chapel, but a dress with sleeves wasn’t the most practical choice for a late-August, outdoor wedding in Newport. The tucked-in jacket was the perfect solution.”
Photographed by Bellophoto
Boleros We’re Currently Coveting:
By Meredith Bragg