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What You Need to Know About the Royal Wedding

Image Credit: Alexi Lubomirski

This past Saturday, the majority of the modern world set their eyes on England as we all prepared to watch yet another historic royal wedding. It was only seven years ago when we watched Prince William and Catherine Middleton exchange their vows and begin their new lives together as Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. This time we had the privilege of watching Prince Harry marry American actress Meghan Markle and become the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. This wedding was full of tradition, but also had some twists that are not typically seen in a royal wedding.  Here are all the things you need to know about the Royal Wedding of 2018.

The Date

The first untraditional part of the wedding was the day itself. The couple chose to get married on a Saturday. Traditionally, royal weddings take place on a weekday. For example, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were wed on a Friday, but some believed this date was chosen because it follows the American tradition of getting married on the weekend. Others believe the day was chosen to give the Duchess of Cambridge ample time to recover from having her third child, Prince Louis.

The Ceremony
Image Credit: Shutterstock

The ceremony took place in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. Prince Harry and Meghan are the 16th couple to have their wedding at Windsor Castle since the mid-1800s. Queen Elizabeth II gave permission for the ceremony to occur in the place of worship, which seats approximately 800. 

The Guests

It is estimated that around 600 guests were inside the chapel for the ceremony, which is a small wedding compared to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who had nearly 1,900 attendees. While Prince Harry is sixth in line for the throne he was not required to invite political diplomats from around the world, a decision that was made by the Queen and the royal household. Big names such as Serena Williams and her husband Alexis Ohanian, David and Victoria Beckham, George and Amal Clooney, Oprah Winfrey, Sir Elton John, and the Duchess of Cambridge's sister, Pippa Middleton, were present and could also be seen at the receptions.

The Bridal Party
Image Credit: Alexi Lubomirski

Meghan chose to forgo choosing adult bridesmaids as to not upset any of her close friends. However, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, along with eight other children were selected for the roles of bridesmaid and page boy. Prince Harry did choose to have a best man, and of course, it was his brother, Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge.

The Rings

Meghan’s ring was made from a piece of Welsh Gold, a gift from the Queen, and Prince Harry’s was created with platinum and had a textured finish. Both rings were created in the Cleave workshop and brought to the chapel by the Duke of Cambridge, who was Prince Harry’s best man. 

The Kiss
Image Credit: Getty Images

As Prince Harry and Meghan walked out through the flowered arches of St. George’s Chapel, they shared their first kiss as newlyweds and sealed their marriage.

The Titles

On the day of their wedding, Queen Elizabeth gifted her grandson and his wife the titles Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Gifting a male royal with a dukedom is a traditional gift, but this one is special. The title Duke of Sussex has been vacant since 1843, and there has never been a Duchess of Sussex. Prince Harry’s official title is now His Royal Highness, Duke of Sussex, Earl of Dumbarton, and Baron Kilkeel. Meghan is now Her Royal Highness, Duchess of Sussex.

The Dress
Image Credit: Getty Images

For her wedding dress, Meghan wore a Givenchy dress designed by Claire Waight Keller. The dress was a simple design, which made it stand out from previous royal wedding dresses. The ivory silk gown boasted a boat neckline, three-quarter sleeves, and a statement train. The dress was paired with a 16-foot veil, which was hand embroidered with 53 flowers to represent each of the British Commonwealth countries. As she did with Catharine, Queen Elizabeth allow Meghan to borrow a piece of jewelry for the day, and Meghan chose the Queen Mary Diamond Bandeau tiara. Meghan paired the bandeau with simple diamond stud earrings and a diamond bracelet, both designed by French jeweler Cartier. Her wedding shoes were Givenchy duchess satin heels and based on a couture design. Markle paired the dress with a simple bouquet, with a few special touches. A few of the flowers were handpicked by Prince Harry from the couple’s private garden. The entire bouquet included a variety of flowers: scented sweet peas, lily of the valley, astilbe, jasmine and astrantia, sprigs of myrtle, and forget-me-nots, which were a tribute to Prince Harry’s late mother, Princess Diana, as they were her favorite flower.  The bouquet was bound with a naturally dyed, raw silk ribbon.

The Admirers 

Outside of the chapel, it is estimated that over 100,000 admirers lined the procession route, eagerly waiting to catch a glimpse of the newlyweds as they made their way to their lunchtime reception. Many fans could be seen waving flags, holding posters, and just celebrating a wonderful moment in history and wishing the newlyweds nothing but the best. It is estimated that 35 million Americans tuned into the event in their homes, and millions more around the rest of the world did the same.

The Procession
Image Credit: Getty Images

With an estimated 100,000 well-wishers gathered in the streets, Prince Harry and Meghan are all smiles and waves as they make their way down the street in a horse-drawn carriage. The procession lasted approximately 25 minutes and signaled the end of the public events for the day. The procession leads to the first of two receptions, which was hosted by the Queen at St. George’s Hall.

The Receptions

While it wasn’t open to the public, details about the receptions are still available to everyone. Unlike a traditional royal event, there was no seating plan because it was an all-standing party. Prince Harry and Meghan also broke tradition by serving guests what is known as ‘bowl food’- smaller dishes that guests can pick up and carry around as they mingle. During the lunchtime reception, Sir Elton John performed for the newlyweds per the request of Prince Harry himself. Sir Elton John was a close friend of Prince Harry’s mother, the late Princess Diana, and even rewrote and performed his song “Candle in the Wind” at her funeral. Sir Elton remained close to her sons and is often invited to royal events. The lunchtime reception was followed by a private reception at the Frogmore House and was hosted by Prince Charles. Only 200 guests were invited to the second reception.

The Cake
Image Credit: Kensington Palace

Palace officials posted a photo of the wedding cake to their Twitter account. The cake - a lemon elderflower cake that incorporated bright flavors of spring - was made by Violet Bakery’s Clair Ptak. The cake was adorned with branches of beech, birch and hornbeam, white garden roses, peonies, and foxgloves, which were all from the Crown Estate and Windsor Park, and arranged by Philippa Craddock.

The Food

Here is the full menu from the reception:

Scottish Langoustines wrapped in Smoked Salmon with Citrus Crème Fraiche
Grilled English Asparagus wrapped in Cumbrian Ham
Garden Pea Panna Cotta with Quail Eggs and Lemon Verbena
Heritage Tomato and Basil Tartare with Balsamic Pearls
Poached Free Range Chicken bound in a Lightly Spiced Yoghurt with Roasted Apricot
Croquette of Confit Windsor Lamb, Roasted Vegetables, and Shallot Jam
Warm Asparagus Spears with Mozzarella and Sun-Blush Tomatoes

Bowl Food:
Fricassee of Free Range Chicken with Morel Mushrooms and Young Leeks
Pea and Mint Risotto with Pea Shoots, Truffle Oil, and Parmesan Crisps
Ten Hour Slow Roasted Windsor Pork Belly with Apple Compote and Crackling

Dessert Canapè:
Champagne and Pistachio Macaroons
Orange Crème Brûlée Tartlets
Miniature Rhubarb Crumble Tartlets

The Wedding Gifts
Image Credit: Kensington Palace

On April 9th, the Kensington Palace Twitter account confirmed that the couple would like to forgo traditional wedding gifts in favor of donations being made to any of the following charities:

CHIVA (Children's HIV Association)
Crisis (a UK-based homelessness charity)
the Myna Mahila Foundation (supports women in Mumbai's urban slums)
Scotty's Little Soldiers (helps bereaved Armed Forces children)
StreetGames (uses sport to change lives)
Surfers Against Sewage
The Wilderness Foundation UK (promotes the enjoyment of wild nature).
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