‘I Love Lucy’: Here’s Why Lucille Ball Wore Black Wool on Her Wedding Day

by Atlanta Northcutt

Nobody can say they love Lucy as much as Desi Arnaz.

The fact Lucille Ball went against all of the typical wedding day “rules” by wearing black wool instead of a white gown makes the iconic actress even more lovable.

Desi Arnaz Loves Lucy

The famous actress met her future husband Desi Arnaz while on the set of the renowned TV sitcom series I Love Lucy. The onscreen relationship between the TV wife and husband parallels the real love between the two individuals while the cameras aren’t rolling.

When Ball and Arnaz wed in 1940, Lucille took a page out of her character’s book by donning all-black wool at the wedding instead of going with the typical long, lacy, and white wedding gown, even if it was by accident.

The star’s unusual fashion choice has a much deeper story than just deciding to throw the clothing on her body.

An Unraveling Set of Plans

Ball’s star grew brighter and brighter, and with that extreme amount of success comes the need to travel to more film and appearance locations. At one point she rushed from New York to Milwaukee in order to make a few appearances for the show and upcoming projects. However, Ball must stay in Milwaukee for a much longer period of time than originally thought. A day-long trip turns into five days, delaying her return to New York.

When things were still on schedule, Ball told Arnaz she’d be returning to New York the next day. They planned to discuss their partnership more thoroughly upon her return. When the situation changed, at no fault of Lucille’s, Arnaz became angry.

Lucille Ball wrote an autobiography entitled Love, Lucy. In her memoir, Ball claims that Arnaz would constantly make angry phone calls each night to her asking when she was coming back to New York. The book says that he even accused the actress of cheating on him with another A-list actor.

Missing Luggage Makes For a Lasting Story

Due to the continuous rise of tension, Ball decides to make her return to New York in order to appease the man she loves. When leaving, the actress is so frazzled that she forgets to bring her suitcase with her. Instead, Lucille asks her assistant to bring the luggage containing her clothing the next day.

The catch is that Ball has no way of knowing she will soon be marrying her love later that day.

The Surprise Wedding of Arnaz and Ball

The reason Arnaz was so angry about Ball’s tardiness is that he was attempting to arrange a secret elopement between the two. After days of planning, canceling those plans, and then making new ones for what is to be their most magical moment, he becomes frustrated.

Although Ball did make her return to New York, it was impossible for the TV and movie star to receive her clothing. She checks into the hotel in the early morning hours, only to walk down the aisle as a bride the next morning.

The black wool outfit is all the star has available to wear on her surprise wedding day. With all of the hullabaloo going on around her, Desi, and the overall wedding, Lucille says she didn’t even think of not having an appropriate marriage outfit until she was going to bed the night before the ceremony. Ball describes herself as “fit to be tied,” once realizing she would be getting married in the same wool clothing she’d worn the previous day.

A Very “I Love Lucy” Style Marriage Ceremony

So after all of the drama and intense moments leading to this surprise wedding, how did Desi Arnaz feel about marrying his future-wife in such an informal and unusual type of bridal wear?

Ball says that Arnaz was so happy that the two were finally eloping that he wouldn’t have cared one bit about what his bride would be wearing. As long as the couple left the ceremony as man and wife, Arnaz was thrilled. The clothing was the least of his concerns. Arnaz’s focus was on meeting Lucille at the altar and beginning their lives together.

Ball describes Arnaz as being “much too elated” to notice the black ensemble.

Lucy and Ricky’s Lasting Love Story

Desi and Lucille had the judge waive both the five-day waiting period and necessary health exam in order to wed as quickly as possible. Now that everything was in place and Lucille was finally in New York, what else could go wrong?

Like a typical episode of I Love Lucy, nothing goes as planned. Throughout all of the chaos, Arnaz makes the mistake of forgetting to buy his love a wedding ring. The actor’s business manager hustled to Woolworth’s department store and ended up buying a brass ring. Of course, Desi was sure to gift the love of his life with a platinum ring following the actual ceremony. However, Ball says she lovingly kept the brass ring among her jewelry collection for many years to come.

The story shows how the love felt between the two stars is so much more than black and white.