Photographer Slim Aarons was the unlikely inspiration for Wedding Crashers

Published April 23, 2018

IMAGE COURTESY OF NEW LINE CINEMA

Clothes on Film is a series in which we explore iconic looks from film and television that have stayed in our minds years after they first hit the silver screen.

In Wedding Crashers [2005], two divorce mediators—John (Owen Wilson) and Jeremy (Vince Vaughn)—spend their weekends trying to get under the garter of women at weddings that they were not invited to. While crashing one wedding, they end up spending the weekend with a politician (Christopher Walken) and his family.

Both men fall into unexpected relationships: John with Claire (Rachel McAdams) and Jeremy with Gloria (Isla Fisher). The film’s most unexpected relationship, however, isn’t so apparent in the film. It was the unlikely inspiration behind the comedy blockbuster’s numerous costumes: the luxuriant images of socialite photographer Slim Aarons. Wedding Crashers costume designer Denise Wingate talks about how she channeled his ritzy prints into the creation of a whopping eight weddings worth of costumes.

DENISE WINGATE: Wedding Crashers was literally one of the hardest movies I’ve ever done. The first four days of shooting, we shot eight weddings and it wasn’t just a scene of Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson and that little group. We did the whole wedding—bridesmaids, preacher, band, guests, everything. We had different sets and I had [mood] boards everywhere. I thought I was gonna lose my mind completely during that production. We had the Irish wedding, the Indian wedding, the Chinese wedding, the Italian wedding—all with different color schemes. A big inspiration of mine for that movie was the photographer Slim Aarons. He did a lot of [images of] upscale, West Palm Beach during the ’60s type photos.

I wanted this movie to be very classic, so if you watched it ten or 15 years after it was made it would still look contemporary. Once I got through those weddings, the rest of the movie was a blast. I think at that point Rachel McAdams had just done The Notebook [2004] and she was lovely to work with and open to trying new things. With those bridesmaid dresses, we did a peach in the beginning and then deep red at the very end. We had to look at the colors to find the right red. And then those praline, sort of taupe-y dresses from the wedding back east? Those were the peach dresses that we ended up dyeing because the peach was too orange. They were still wet with dye by the time we were shooting them. It was non-stop.