25 AUGUST 2001
It was perhaps the most eagerly anticipated moment of an excitement-filled weekend of events when bride Mette-Marit stepped onto the red carpet outside Oslo cathedral, revealing the top-secret detail of the nuptials: her wedding gown.
The many royal watchers who had guessed that 36-year-old Norwegian designer Ove Harder Finseth would create Mette-Maritís dream gown turned out to be right. The royal bride wore a simple and romantic full-length ecru-coloured silk crepe dress, by Finseth and seamstress Anna Bratland, with fitted long-sleeves, a discreet neckline, corset waist and a two-metre train. Her hair, pulled back in a careful chignon, was adorned with a six-metre veil of silk tulle and a magnificent diamond tiara dating back to 1910, a gift from King Harald and Queen Sonja.
The creation, which was designed with input from Mette-Marit herself, was everything a royal bridal gown should be. And it wasnít just the rich fabric and classic lines that made it the perfect selection - the gown is a nearly exact replica of the dress that Queen Maud, Prince Haakonís great-grandmother, wore in her wedding to Haakon VII. Following that theme, in place of a traditional bouquet, the bride held a long garland of green leaves woven with purple and white flowers, which was also similar to the bouquet Queen Maud carried on her wedding day.
In addition to supervising the design of the bridal gown, Mette-Marit - along with her new husband - also had a hand in the look of the coupleís white gold wedding rings. Designed by artist Esther Helen Slagsvold, the rings were a gift from the Norwegian Goldsmiths' Foundation.