The 29-year-old bride, who admitted to pre-wedding jitters, was resplendent in a fitted white V-neck gown with a long-sleeved lace overlay, designed by McQueen creative director Sarah Burton. Her two-meter, 70-centimeter train was folded next to her in the car as she was transported to the Abbey. Once she arrived, she paused for a moment – giving onlookers a peek – and sister Pippa (also in McQueen) appeared, to carry her train.
The dress was composed of French Chantilly lace and English Cluny lace throughout the bodice, skirt and underskirt. The skirt, made of ivory and white satin gazar, was designed to emulate an opening flower: padded at the hips, it flowed out to the floor. The back of the dress was finished with 58 gazar and organza covered buttons fastened by Rouleau loops.
"It has been the experience of a lifetime to work with Catherine Middleton to create her wedding dress, and I have enjoyed every moment of it," Burton said in a statement. "It was such an incredible honour to be asked, and I am so proud of what we and the Alexander McQueen team have created. I am delighted that the dress represents the best of British craftsmanship."
Burton, who doesn't plan to comment further, added, "The last few months have been very exciting and an incredible experience for my team and I as we have worked closely with Catherine to create this dress under conditions of the strictest secrecy. Catherine looked absolutely stunning today ... and I wish TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge every good wish for the future."
But the dress was just one component of Kate's wedding look. The bride wore her brunette locks in cascading curls, and topped the look with an ivory silk tulle veil trimmed with hand-embroidered flowers. It was held in place by a Cartier 'halo' tiara, lent to Kate by the Queen. She wore diamond drop earrings by Robinson Pelham, a gift from her parents. Her handmade shoes, also McQueen, were composed of ivory duchesse satin and lace.
Though the world caught a glimpse of her dress as she made her way from the Goring Hotel – where she spent her final night as a single woman – her husband-to-be, the Duke of Cambridge, was the last to see her gown. In fact, William himself didn't even know the identity of her couturier, according to reports.
Kate chose her dress designer in January, though all parties involved in the decision managed to keep it quiet until today. Phillipa Lepley, Bruce Oldfield and McQueen's Burton were among the front-runners – Oldfield, a Princess Diana favorite, earning even more buzz when Kate's mom and sister were spotted at his London shop earlier this year.
As the wedding festivities continue today, Kate is expected to change into a second (and maybe even third!) dress.
Pascal Le Segretain / Getty