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Countess Sophie's pearl-encrusted wedding dress was wildly different from other royals

The Countess of Wessex was a beautiful bride on 19 June 1999

sophie wessex wedding dress prince edward
Nichola Murphy
Nichola MurphyWeddings Editor
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Prince Edward, 58, and the Countess of Wessex, 57, are celebrating their 23rd wedding anniversary this weekend, which has got us reminiscing about the royal bride's very unique wedding gown. 

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As the couple exchanged vows at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle on 19 June 1999, former public relations consultant Sophie Rhys-Jones looked beautiful in a silk organza coat dress designed by Samantha Shaw. Although it was covered with dazzling embellishments, it was nothing like the puff sleeves and full skirts chosen by Princess Diana and Sarah Ferguson, who got married in the 1980s.

WATCH: Most incredible royal wedding dresses of all time

Sophie's dress was decorated with over 325,000 pearls and crystal beads – some of which lined her V-neck, cuffs and skirt while others dotted across the fabric. However, they weren't shaped in any particular motifs like many other royal ladies.

When the Princess of Wales walked down the aisle to marry Prince Charles in 1981, she wore a wedding dress by David and Elizabeth Emanuel with hand-embroidered mother-of-pearl sequins and pearls that formed a heart motif on the gown.

edward sophie wessex wedding

The Countess of Wessex's gown was decorated with over 325,000 pearls and crystal beads

Meanwhile, Sarah, Duchess of York's gown by Lindka Cierach featured precise beadwork incorporating various symbols including anchors and waves representing Prince Andrew's sailing background, and even the Duchess of Cambridge opted for a dress with floral motifs cut from lace.

READ: Sophie Wessex's stunning £105k engagement ring has sweet link to Princess Diana

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Sophie paired her elegant dress with a full-length veil made of silk tulle and crystals which was held in place by her beautiful diamond tiara, originally from the Queen's private collection. Made up of four open scrollwork motifs, the piece of jewellery was designed and remodelled by the Crown Jeweller, David Thomas of Asprey and Garrard.

princess diana wedding dress

Princess Diana's wedding dress featured puff sleeves and a heart motif

To finish off her outfit, the Countess added a black and white pearl necklace and matching drop earrings which were a wedding gift from Prince Edward. The royal had them made by Asprey and Garrard, who was also responsible for Sophie's engagement ring.

Prince Edward announced his engagement to Sophie in January 1999 after presenting his bride-to-be with a two-carat central oval diamond. It is flanked by two smaller, heart-shaped diamonds, and is reported to be worth somewhere in the region of £105,000 ($149,000).

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