There are weddings, and there are weddings—the latter of which manage to vicariously satisfy the near-impossible standards of our little-girl dreams. From ten-tier cakes and a surprise performance by Lady Gaga to tying the knot with a real-life prince, these extravagant nuptials transcend your average I do’s and set the bar exceedingly high for brides and grooms everywhere. As we await the marriage of the decade (ahem, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s royal wedding in May), we take a look back at the most envy-inducing and awe-inspiring ceremonies of the year. Here, 2017’s cream of the crop.
Homepage photo: @voguemagazine
Serena Williams And Alexis Ohanian
The tennis champ and Reddit CEO's Beauty and the Beast–themed fairy-tale wedding boasted a guest list that rivals even major Hollywood soirees: Beyoncé, Kim Kardashian, Anna Wintour, Ciara and La La Anthony took their seats on sofas instead of chairs as they watched the greatest athlete in the world walk the aisle at the New Orleans Contemporary Arts Center in a Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen princess gown complete with a bouquet of white roses and jewels worth about $3.5 million (NBD). "I wanted the whole thing to be as non-traditional as possible," Serena explained.
Harley Viera-Newton And Ross Schwartzman
At her West Village nuptials to fellow DJ Ross Schwartzman, the fashion girl wore not one but three Valentino dresses: a long-sleeved lace column gown for the ceremony, an ethereal embroidered frock that evening and a chic mini with a vintage faux-feather coat for the party. "In an attempt to take the outfit into The Crown territory, I'm wearing the dress with a Miu Miu pearl and crystal tiara," Harley described her dinnertime look, polishing off the stylish ensemble with a Victorian-inspired clutch by Charlotte Olympia.
Ariana Austin And Prince Yoel Of Ethiopia
We bid adieu to yet another formerly eligible prince—this one being Joel Makonnen, or the royally titled Prince Yoel of Ethiopia, who married American beauty Ariana Austin in an Ethiopian Orthodox ceremony in Maryland. Rare is it that one is fortunate enough to wed an actual prince charming, but it's worth noting the bride herself has an illustrious lineage, with her maternal grandfather once the lord mayor of the Guyanese capital, Georgetown. That's a match made in royal heaven.
Babba Canales And Carl Waldekranz
The NYC-based power couple took their wedding to the country where they first met, setting up at Swedish palace Häringe Slott where they hosted a Burning Man–inspired bash, a garden-party-like ceremony and a reception that involved skinny-dipping in a nearby lake. Main highlight: The toastmasters dressed up as sharks as Katy Perry's "Firework" played for 160 dancing guests while the couple made their way to the dinner table. "This opening act quickly set the bar for what would turn out to be the dinner party of a lifetime," Babba explained.
Leslie Cohen Amon And Ronen Chichportich
Kim Kardashian and Kanye West were unable to book the Palace of Versailles, but as connections would have it, the swimwear designer and her groom managed to secure the storied venue for their society wedding. (Side note: It wasn't even their first choice.) Although a friend custom-designed her dress, that friend just so happened to be Giambattista Valli—and she even got the Musée Rodin privatized for a pre-wedding carnival. Oh, and on the big day itself? The party was shut down at 4am due to an uninvited guest by the name of Vladimir Putin, who was scheduled to meet President Macron in the Château that evening. We'll stop now.
Sophie Lasry And Alexander Swieca
The descendants of billionaire hedge-fund managers, Sophie and Alexander exchanged vows at Cipriani Wall Street, where A-list guests included celebs like Jennifer Lopez and the unlikely pairing of Hillary Clinton and Tiffany Trump. (That's one way to unite political parties.) The new Mr. and Mrs. Swieca stood under a traditional chuppah for the ceremony, got down on the dance floor for their number then promptly hopped into a getaway car—in the form of a vintage taxi cab, no less. How Instagram-worthy.
Lolita Osmanova And Gaspar Avdolyan
What happens when two of Russia's wealthiest offspring tie the knot? A $10 million affair featuring thousands of candles, a ten-tier cake, floral arrangements worth $500,000 and a surprise performance by pop superstar Lady Gaga herself. Exchanging their vows at the iconic Dolby Theatre, where the Oscars are traditionally held, Lolita and Gaspar set the record for what is arguably the most extravagant wedding we've witnessed thus far—and, yes, we've scoured every page of the Vogue Weddings book.
Ekaterina Malysheva And Prince Ernst August Of Hanover
It may have been a civil ceremony, but the fashion designer's bespoke Sandra Mansour Chantilly lace gown boasted a full-length train that was as lavish as her groom's status. Of course, it wouldn't have been a royal wedding without the prince's family diadem, an heirloom that formerly belonged to the daughter of Germany's last kaiser. They celebrated their marriage in a jubilant service at Market Church after arriving in a silk-lined horse-drawn carriage. (But of course.)
LouLou Skayhan And David Baker IV
For the ceremony, the couple enlisted the National Museum of Bermuda, a site that had been a British naval base for 200 years, where the officiant presented the newlyweds with a lock and key that was subsequently thrown off a cliff into the Atlantic Ocean. (Not dramatic at all.) Also notable: LouLou and David traveled by sailboat to the reception venue, which just so happened to be a nearly 350-year-old restaurant known as the Waterlot Inn, and the wedding party got to board the boat for a sunset cruise. Lucky.
Pippa Middleton And James Matthews
It's only fitting to include Pippa and James' nuptials at St. Mark's Church. After all, the socialite remains fairly close to royalty, considering her sister and brother-in-law are the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton and Prince William, respectively. The affair was made even more memorable with pre-wedding headlines that detailed her selective guest list, the majestic cost of the whole thing as well as Prince George and Princess Charlotte's roles as page boy and flower girl. A bride's gotta have it all.
Victoria Swarovski And Werner Muerz
When your family is a leading producer of crystals—oh, and your husband-to-be happens to be a successful property investor—it’s hard to imagine your wedding dress as anything less than showstopping. So it came as no surprise when Victoria Swarovski (a well-known Austrian singer in her own right) positively sparkled at her Trieste, Italy, nuptials in June. Her dress, designed by Michael Cinco, was tricked out with 500,000 crystals and a train that stretched an impressive 26 feet. Casual.