'Twilight' author Stephenie Meyer personally selected Carolina Herrera to design Bella Swan's highly anticipated wedding dress
If you’ve been waiting “A Thousand Years” for your wedding, you’re going to want the dress to be worth it.
Ahead of the release of 2011's The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1, fans were eagerly awaiting seeing the nuptials of Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) play out on-screen. And while there were several elements — the venue, the music, the supernatural guest list — that Twihards were anxious to see come to life from Stephenie Meyer's novel, no detail received more buzz ahead of the film than Bella's wedding dress.
To create the highly anticipated gown, Meyer personally tapped renowned designer — and longtime Twilight fan — Carolina Herrera. "Being a big follower of The Twilight Saga, I was very flattered to be a part of this fantastic project," she told Vogue. "I read the books and saw the first film and have been a fan ever since."
Considering the huge fandom and intense excitement surrounding the fourth film, there was a fair amount of pressure to perfect the dress design. “It had to be magical,” Herrera explained at the Breaking Dawn premiere. “I still have all the sketches and everything because it was so special.”
From how Herrera dreamed up the iconic gown to the stunning accessories that went with it, here's everything to know about Bella Swan's wedding dress.
Bella Swan’s Carolina Herrera Wedding Dress
In order to bring Bella's wedding dress to life, Herrera first had to consider the source material.
"I was of course inspired by Stephenie's description of the gown in the book, but I added the touch of Herrera and also took into consideration the personality and the style of the bride," she told Vogue of her design process.
The designer opted to create a crepe satin and French Chantilly lace gown, which took six months and four seamstresses to make. The dress featured 152 covered buttons along the back — a detail Bella mentions in the book's description of the gown — along with an illusion lace applique and train. The long sleeves featured another 17 buttons each and additional lace detailing, while a subtle V-neckline completed the elegant bridal look.
It was exactly what Meyer hoped for her protagonist’s special moment, which is why she wanted Herrera to make the dress in the first place. “My favorite designer, Carolina Herrera, did the wedding dress," Meyer told E! News. "I wanted the dress to be something special, not something that you're going to see every day. I love what Carolina did with it, she came up with a stunning concept. It's similar to what I envisioned, but with added elements.”
Meyer wasn't the only one overjoyed by the end result. "In the initial fitting when Kristen put the dress on and looked in the mirror, she was very moved," Herrera told Vogue of the first time Stewart wore the gown. "In that moment she was not an actress or a character in a film, she was a bride, and a happy one at that."
But that wasn’t the only wedding dress Stewart wore in the movie. In a nightmare before the wedding, Bella has on a different gown. According to Breaking Dawn costume designer Michael Wilkinson, the contrast between these dresses was important.
“The script gave us a great opportunity to get inside Bella’s thoughts about the impending wedding,” he explained to MTV. “For the nightmare, we chose something that was a version of the dress that she would hate to wear. Something that’s uncomfortable and a dress Bella would be embarrassed in. It was stiff and had a boned bodice that showed a lot of bare skin which she’d be horrified by because she’s a bit of a tomboy.”
To create that vision, the team chose a dress with a revealing boned bodice that Bella would've been "horrified by" along with a “cumbersome, puffy skirt."
On Bella’s real wedding day, however, she needed a look that she’d feel more comfortable in. “The real dress fit Bella like a second skin, and I was really glad about how all that worked out. It reflects her simplicity and elegance,” Wilkinson explained. “I thought it really hit the right note of having some vintage elements while working well for a modern woman.”
Film producers were very careful to keep Bella's dress design under wraps, so much so that they took preventative measures to stop photos from being leaked. According to Stewart, she had to wear a Volturi-style cape to keep the dress covered.
“It was a huge deal keeping this thing shrouded,” she said during Comic-Con in 2011. “You know, you want to feel pretty on your wedding day, and every time they called cut, someone would come and attack you with a Volturi cape, and you’re like, ‘Where am I?’ ”
Still, Stewart called the dress “very pretty,” and fans agreed. The vintage-yet-modern gown became so popular that Herrera started making more by hand and selling them for $35,000 each.
Bella Swan’s Wedding Shoes
White satin heels, a long veil and a bejeweled hair comb completed Bella’s non-nightmare bridal look. The heels themselves were gorgeous — even if Bella could barely walk in them. Her Manolo Blahniks were over four inches high and decorated with crystal embellishments.
Following the release of the movie, fans were clamoring for Bella’s shoes, so much so that Manolo Blahnik released the design a year earlier than planned at a price of $1,295, per Glamour.
Bella Swan’s Engagement Ring
Throughout the books and movies, Bella was never one to care too much about jewelry. Of course, for her wedding, she had to wear one notable piece of jewelry: her engagement ring from Edward.
The large oval-shaped ring featured 69 cubic zirconia stones set on a silver band. And though the sparkler featured no natural diamonds, it was priceless to Twilight fans; in 2016, it was put up for option and fetched a price of $16,800, per E! News.
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