Wedding dress of Jacqueline Bouvier

The dress worn by Jacqueline Bouvier for her wedding to John F. Kennedy in 1953 is one of the best-remembered bridal gowns of all time.[1]

Wedding dress of Jacqueline Bouvier
Jackie Kennedy Wedding Dress from LOC-Master-pnp-cph-3c20000-3c22000-3c22000-3c22085u (cropped).tif
The Kennedys were married in 1953 at St. Mary's Church in Newport, Rhode Island
ArtistAnn Lowe
Year1953 (1953)

The gown was the creation of African-American fashion designer Ann Lowe,[2] who was not credited as the designer at the time of the Bouvier-Kennedy wedding.[3][4] When asked who made her dress, Jacqueline Kennedy said it was a "colored woman."[5]


throwing the bouquet

Janet Lee Bouvier, Jacqueline's mother, hired Lowe to design and make the entire bridal party's outfits. Lowe had made Bouvier's dress for her wedding to Hugh Auchincloss.

The bridal gown, of ivory-colored silk taffeta, featured a portrait neckline and huge round skirt. The skirt featured interwoven tucking bands and tiny wax flowers.[6] Jacqueline Bouvier's lace veil had belonged to her grandmother; a lace-and-orange-blossom tiara tied the veil to her hair. Her bridal bouquet was made of white and pink gardenias and orchids.

She wore little jewelry with the dress, but what she did wear had personal significance. The single-strand pearl necklace was a family heirloom; she also wore a diamond pin from her parents and diamond bracelet from her groom, John F. Kennedy.[7]

Dress Nearly LostEdit

A flood in Lowe's Lexington Avenue workshop 10 days before the wedding ruined the bride's gown and nine of the bridal party's dresses. The designer and her staff worked through eight days (the original time was eight weeks) to reconstruct the gowns and ensure they were delivered on time. Instead of an estimated $700 profit, Lowe lost $2,200 on the project.[8]


The dress was crafted in a very traditional design (particularly the skirt) per the wishes of the Kennedy family, and it won worldwide acclaim. However, Jacqueline had wanted a simple dress with firm lines to complement her tall, slim figure.[9] She later told friends privately that she didn't like the dress's portrait neckline because she felt it emphasized her small bust.[7] She also said that, in her opinion, the skirt looked "like a lampshade."[10]

New York Times coverage of the wedding described Jacqueline's wedding attire in detail, referring to the gown as "a gown of ivory silk taffeta, made with a fitted bodice embellished with interwoven bands of tucking, finished with a portrait neckline, and a bouffant skirt."[3] However, the Times did not name the gown's designer.[3][4] By the mid-1960s, however, Lowe was publicly acknowledged as the designer of the gown.[11]


  1. ^ Daniels, Maggie; Loveless, Carrie (2007). Wedding planning & management: consultancy for diverse clients. Butterworth-Heinemann. p. 214. ISBN 978-0-7506-8233-6.
  2. ^ "Bridal Icons and their influence on Modern Bridal Gowns". Augusta Jones Collections. Retrieved 2 May 2011.
  3. ^ a b c "Notables Attend Senator's Wedding". New York Times. 13 September 1953. p. 1,25. Retrieved 7 August 2021.
  4. ^ a b "Fashion designer dies at 82". Star-News. 28 February 1981. p. 3B. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  5. ^ Christopher Andersen (1997). Jack and Jackie: Portrait of an American Marriage. Avon. ISBN 978-0-380-73031-5.
  6. ^ "Jackie Kennedy Wedding Dress 1953". Retrieved 2 May 2011.
  7. ^ a b Tracy, Kathleen (2008). The Everything Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Book: A Portrait of an American Icon. Everything Books. p. 95. ISBN 978-1-59869-530-4.
  8. ^ Johnson Publishing Company (December 1966). Ebony. Johnson Publishing Company. p. 140. ISSN 0012-9011. Retrieved 2 May 2011.
  9. ^ Tina Santi Flaherty (2005). What Jackie Taught Us: Lessons from the Remarkable Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Penguin. p. 18. ISBN 978-0-399-53080-7.
  10. ^ Ronald Rothstein; Mara Urshel; Todd Lyon (2002). How to Buy Your Perfect Wedding Dress. Simon and Schuster. p. 21. ISBN 978-0-7432-2581-6.
  11. ^ Major, Gerri (December 1966). "Dean Of American Designers". Ebony. Johnson Publishing Company. 22 (2). ISSN 0012-9011.