Perennial provocateur Lena Dunham did something entirely uncontroversial this week: she had a lovely time at her wedding.
Per Vogue, the former Girls star and writer married a musician named Luis Felber in a “whimsical, whirlwind London wedding.” The designer Christopher Kane, who has worked with Dunham in the past, made three dresses for the festivities. Her bridesmaids included Taylor Swift and Tommy Dorfman. There were six tiny wedding cakes for guests to pick at. The first dance was “This Will Be Our Year” by The Zombies. All very adorable stuff, indeed.
The bride told Vogue that her ceremonial gown was inspired by 1960s kitsch and Sharon Tate, which is a somewhat morbid inspiration, but whatever Lena wants I guess.
Dunham, who is immunocompromised, did tell Vogue that many of her 60 guests had to cancel traveling due to COVID restrictions and fears. Everyone who had to celebrate the new couple needed to pass “two lateral flow tests”—four words which do not sound very romantic—and present proof of vaccination. (So for everyone whose favorite new parlor game is ‘Which celebrities are anti-vax?’ take T-Swift off of your dance cards now.)
“Hearing from a wedding guest that they can’t make it because they have COVID is a great reminder that this is still going on, and to take all of the precautions seriously,” Dunham said. True, but her wedding is just the latest in a slew of celebrity nuptials that show how big weddings for famous people are back.
Even Issa Rae, a famously private celebrity who understands that her personal life is none of our business, went all-out for her marriage to Senegalese banker Louis Diame in July. The pair jetted off to the South of France—specifically, the fun-to-say locale of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat—to say their vows. Rae wore a custom Vera Wang gown made of hand-sewn crystals for the ceremony, then changed into a V-necked gown by the same designer for the reception.
It all took place in the pale pink Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, which was built between 1907 and 1912 for a member of the banking family. The property boasts nine gardens and a collection of rare porcelain, which sounds somewhat stressful to dance the night away around, but guests seemed to manage.
While we’re in the Mediterranean, lest we forget Kitty Spencer’s all-out bonanza where Princess Diana’s niece bravely partied for days on end and wore not one, not two, but five custom Dolce & Gabbana gowns for the occasion. (Such are the perks when you’re an ambassador of the Italian fashion house, as she is.)
This all took place in Rome, where the model married a businessman named Michael Lewis. Spencer posted a rather cinematic video on Instagram showing her modeling her many dresses and called walking down the aisle “the proudest moment of my life.” And perhaps one of the most expensive, given its grandiosity.
Longtime couple and The Voice co-hosts Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton tied the knot in Oklahoma this July. The ceremony was described as “intimate,” which is true as it was done in secret. But those who attended the party at the duo’s Oklahoma mansion were treated to a pretty lavish spectacle: Stefani in custom Vera Wang for the ceremony, plus a tulle mini dress embroidered with birds to represent her three children. A wedding planner estimated to Brides that both frocks probably cost around $15,000, with her veil going for another $5,000. There was a five-tier wedding cake. Keeping on brand, The View’s host Carson Daly officiated. “There was not a dry eye in the house,” he later revealed on the Today show.
Another bride who chose Vera Wang: Ariana Grande, who also got married at her Montecito home and also hosted an “intimate” but still very luxe affair. Grande walked down the aisle to wed a real estate agent named Dalton Gomez in a custom gown which paid homage to Audrey Hepburn’s character in Funny Face. Only about 20 people showed up to celebrate, with Grande’s rep calling the event “tiny.” But the night still had whiffs of monied minimalism, with the couple’s living room decked out in hanging flowers and pillar candles.
Ultimately, these stars are not just like us, but their big day spending habits might be a reflection of a larger trend. As vaccination rates rise, so do the reasons for people to celebrate–especially couples whose weddings may have been impacted or delayed due to the pandemic.
As Fast Company reported, the number of weddings in 2021 nearly matches the amount that took place pre-COVID. About 1.9 million will take place in the U.S. this year, compared to 2.1 million in 2019. For 2022, the figure is estimated to be around 2.5 million, the highest number since 1984. And budgets are supposedly up, too, with the country’s average cost per wedding around $22,500. That’s maybe not Kitty Spencer-level bacchanal, but it’s not nothing, either.