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The 'Downton Abbey' Wedding

As Matthew and Lady Mary get ready to walk down the aisle — finally! — in season 3, we have the sneak peek

Forget the Royal nuptials. The real wedding of the century belongs to Downton Abbey's Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens) and Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery). After much on-again, off-again angst, the couple capped off season 2 with a romantic engagement. The series' third season, which premieres in the U.S. on PBS' Masterpiece Jan. 6, kicks off just two months after the proposal, with the Crawleys preparing for the grand celebration. That's not to say it actually takes place, however. ''We don't start with the wedding necessarily happening,'' teases creator Julian Fellowes, who is well aware of the expectations surrounding this event. ''Like the proposal, you can't just go on and on and on with them not getting together,'' he says. ''There does come a moment when you think either they've got to put up or shut up.'' Hear, hear!

The Wedding Dress
To outfit the bride-to-be, Downton Abbey costume designer Caroline McCall spent eight weeks conceptualizing and creating the perfect gown: a long-sleeved lace dress fitted with tiny Swarovski crystals and rice pearls that would ultimately become the series' most expensive costume to date. ''Sometimes the character can be quite hard,'' says McCall of Lady Mary. ''I wanted her wedding dress to have a bit of softness. I wanted her to look really romantic, really elegant.'' To complete the ensemble, McCall added a vintage veil borrowed from a friend, which she accented with an antique 45-carat floral diamond tiara worth nearly $200,000 from U.K. jeweler Bentley & Skinner. ''You have to treat it like any other costume,'' says McCall about creating the much-anticipated look. ''I had to try and not let any of the razzmatazz that goes on behind the scenes [affect me].''

Originally posted Nov 23, 2012 Published in issue #1235 Nov 30, 2012 Order article reprints