By Scott Johnson
Photo Credit – Alexi Lubomirski
After months of planning, speculation and anticipation Prince Harry and Meghan Markle wedded on Saturday, officially becoming the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. While many of us were still asleep when it happened, I salute those who either stayed up late or got up early to witness the historical occasion, because it really takes a lot to get up early on a Saturday to watch a wedding in which most of us have no connection.
To those who waited to watch it after the fact (or if you decided to pay and watch it at a movie theater, which I guess is a thing) then you’re a lot like us on the West Coast. Alas, Royal Weddings are often the only international marriages we ever really care about, other than whatever “royalty” we wish to place on people like the Kardashians or other celebrities.
It seems like there are two distinct sides to every Royal Wedding: those who care…and those who don’t. On the one hand, especially for us in the wedding industry, marriage is a glorious celebration of love and happiness. Weddings themselves are, in a way, their own industry. From the cakes, dresses, decorations, venues, flowers, and just about everything else that goes into a wedding, there are often dozens, if not hundreds of people involved in one that isn’t even “Royal.” So when an honest-to-God Royal Wedding happens, you bet your butt that all of us in the industry stop and pay attention.
On the other hand, particularly for us who have no ties to Great Britain (nor live in any nation presided over by Elizabeth II), all this hullabaloo might just seem like far too much distraction from more important matters, especially when you realize that Harry and Meghan don’t hold any real claim to the throne, nor that Meghan won’t officially even be a “princess” (that right is held to blood-members of the family).
So this little recap is going to be geared towards that second group because those who already care about the wedding probably already watched it and ingested all of the minute details like it was their very own.
With everything kicking off in November, when Harry proposed to Meghan, it seems like the wedding has come and gone in the blink of an eye. Which, in some cases, is true. Taking less than six months to plan their wedding (We know; that sounds just as shocking to us because one would think Royal Weddings would take up to a year to plan), the day finally came. May 19, which in British history bears a grim reminder (it was the day Anne Boleyn was beheaded by Henry VIII, Harry’s ancestor), will hopefully now have much more happy connotations.
In leading up to the day, one thing caught my eye: the cake. With an estimated 200 lemons, 500 eggs, and an absolutely astonishing 40 pounds worth of butter, sugar and flour (each), you probably gained 10 pounds just reading all of that. Taking six bakers almost a week to craft this magnificent piece of art, they only had one shot at making it right, considering the astronomical amount of ingredients, so you can imagine the sheer pressure going into a single cake. What’s even more crazy is that the tradition isn’t even to have a cake. Rather, It’s to have a fruit cake. Some traditions we’re perfectly ok breaking.
Shortly before 10am, the first celebrity guests arrived at St. George’s Chapel (a break from the traditional Westminster Abbey). I’m not sure about you, but the person who arrived first is the one I bet anyone would die to have at their wedding: Oprah—freaking—Winfrey. Talk about a great wedding gift giver, huh? On that note, Meghan and Harry refused standard gifts (though Elizabeth gave them a “small” castle). Instead, they asked for donations to their favorite charities including Scotty’s Little Soldiers, Surfers Against Sewage, and Children’s HIV Association.
Along with Oprah, Idris Elba, James Blunt, George Clooney, the Beckham’s, and even Tom Hardy were in attendance. One of the biggest surprises, despite the star-studded guest list along with all the royalty, is that this wedding is actually smaller in comparison to previous Royal Weddings. For instance, Princess Diana had the most guests at a whopping 3,500. The next smallest was William and Kate’s with about half that at 1,900. Meghan and Harry didn’t even reach 1,000, instead opting for a much more manageable 600. Though, to most everybody else, that still seems like quite a lot. And you’re exactly right.
With the guest list this small, it’s easy to guess this was one of the lesser expensive ones as well. Diana’s, back in 1981, cost an astonishing $110 million while William and Kate’s was only $34 million. Meghan and Harry spent approximately $45 million. Again, that sounds like a lot because it is.
As the first hour of arrivals sped onwards, the rest of the family and friends made their way into the chapel. With a few last minute touches, Meghan arrived right at noon in her Givenchy dress designed by Clare Waight Keller. Footage showed Harry getting a little emotional upon the arrival of the love of his life.
A few minutes later, the bishop started the ceremony before asking the first important question of the evening “are there any reasons they can’t lawfully marry?” Michael Curry, the bishop from North Carolina, brought a certain amount of excitement to the wedding that nobody was expecting. Preaching one of the greatest sermons in probably all of wedding history, he was even able to toss in some MLK quotes. As the audience, and even William, stifled their laughter at the bombastic speech, it became even more clear that this whole thing came out of left field. Meghan, though, seemed to eat up every single minute of it.
Following the incredible speech, the Kingdom Choir performed an equally legendary rendition of Stand By Me. If that song got to you before, it will do so even more now. But after that came the vows, and then the long-awaited kiss; they were officially married and the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
As far as Royal Weddings go, we’d have to say this one was pretty grand. With the bride being American, it surely threw some of the British traditions for a loop—and we’re all for it! Surely, this wedding will be reminisced on with pride and happiness. Everything went off without a hitch, and it was the perfect ending to what could literally be a fairytale story.
Did you watch the wedding? Didn’t care to? Let us know in the comments below, we’d be happy to know!