From the cake to the venue, here's the lowdown on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding.
With just a few days until the long awaited royal wedding between Prince Harry and actress Meghan Markle, more and more wedding planning details are emerging by the minute as the big day draws closer. While we're still waiting on the edge of our seats to see who might design Markle's wedding dress and what it will look like, the couple has been fairly open regarding their wedding plans, and we couldn't be more grateful. We now have insight on everything from the pair's florals, wedding cake, and even their chosen royal carriage. To help curb your royal wedding fascination and prep you for a May 19th royal wedding binge, we rounded up every titbit of nuptial-related info pertaining to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, for your reading pleasure.
For months, we had all been waiting with bated breath for Prince Harry to pop the question, and he finally granted our wishes in early November. The lovebirds revealed during their first joint interview that were enjoying a quiet Sunday night at Nottingham Cottage (where they'll live at Kensington Palace), cooking a roast chicken, when Harry suddenly proposed. Markle described the moment as "very romantic." Much to everyone's dismay, their exciting engagement wasn't officially revealed to the public until a few weeks later. Clarence House ever so modernly took to Twitter to release a statement announcing the big news. The duo has been together since 2016 after meeting on a blind date (talk about the setup of the century).
In another Twitter announcement (which must be the royal news platform of choice) just a day after the engagement news broke, Kensington Palace shared the location of the upcoming royal wedding—St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle, home to several royal festivities, including Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla's blessing in 2005 and Harry's baptism in 1984. Compared to Westminster Abbey, where Kate Middleton and Prince William tied the knot in 2011 in front of more than 1,000 guests, St. George's Chapel can only fit about 800 people for a much more intimate feel. It's predicted that Harry and Markle will only have about 600 attendees at the church. It seems even royal weddings wouldn't be complete without a little drama, and the couple was actually denied their original dream wedding venue. According to a source, the duo wanted to tie the knot at Frogmore House, where they took their dreamy engagement photos, in all its green, garden-y glory. But, apparently royal aides nixed this historical home. Rude.
DATE AND TIME OF ROYAL WEDDING
Although Kensington Palace revealed the venue immediately after the engagement, the official date, Saturday, May 19, 2018, didn't go public until mid December (also via social media). Reportedly, Harry wanted a quick turnaround for the wedding and chose a venue close to home so that his grandfather, the 96-year-old Duke of Edinburgh, could attend. The whole day will be available to watch on BBC, ITV & Sky News just before something called the FA Cup? Some football thing, never heard of it...!
Following their vows, Harry and Markle will parade through the streets of Windsor in a horse-drawn carriage. Kensington Palace revealed May 2 that the couple chose the Ascot Landau carriage, which will be pulled by father-and-son horses named Storm and Tyrone on the big day.
Harry and Markle chose California-bred Claire Ptak, owner of Violet Bakery, to craft their wedding confection. According to a tweet from Kensington Palace, the royal couple "asked Claire to create a lemon elderflower cake that will incorporate the bright flavours of spring. It will be covered with buttercream and decorated with fresh flowers." Ptak's pastries heavily rely on organic ingredients, and Markle had previously interviewed the chef for her former lifestyle blog, The Tig. Traditionally, royal weddings have featured alcohol-soaked fruit cakes, and it was originally believed the couple had chosen a banana cake to commemorate their wedding. However, since this yellow fruit is Harry's favourite, it could make an appearance as a groom's cake.
Kensington Palace announced the wedding ceremony performers April 24, and they have quite the talented lineup. Sheku Kanneh-Mason, a 19-year-old cellist who won the BBC Young Musicians contest in 2016, will be joined by the southeast England-based Christian gospel band Karen Gibson and the Kingdom Choir. The big day will also feature the Choir of St George's Chapel, and all music will be led by James Vivian, Director of Music at St George’s Chapel.
For the aspect we're most interested in, we seem to have the least info. We do know, however, that Markle will mimic Kate Middleton and wear two different looks throughout the day. But when it comes to the designer(s), we're still in the dark. Hints have been dropped for Alexander McQueen, Inbal Dror, and Roland Mouret, one of Markle's go-to designers. As of recently, Ralph & Russo, the design duo behind Markle's engagement photo dress, is pegged as the top wedding dress contender, according to a source via Daily Mail, who also added that the gown has a £100,000 price tag (about $135,000). However, no further confirmations have come forth (but we do know that it won't be Vera Wang). Several bridal designers also submitted their predictions of what the fashion-forward future bride's gown could look like.
While Markle and Harry have become slightly notorious for defying royal protocol, there are some long withstanding rules the couple can't dodge. For one, strict royal rule decrees that Markle can't officially wear a tiara until after she's married. However, the chances of her rocking one on the big day are high. She most likely has several historical royal options to choose from, including the Spencer Tiara that Princess Diana wore on her big day or a few headpieces belonging to the Queen Mother. Or, the bride-to-be could go the original route and design her own custom hair accessory. Markle also has to brush up on some royal etiquette before she joins Harry's fam, like knowing when and who to curtsy to and refraining from taking selfies. Harry, Markle, and their wedding guests will have to by abide by one other royal tradition at the receptions — not eating after Queen Elizabeth is finished with her meal. Grab that wedding cake while it's hot, royal guests! In preparation for her royal status, Markle even deleted her social media accounts.
THIER ROYAL TITLES
While Markle unfortunately will not become Princess Meghan :( following her wedding, she will earn some pretty sweet new credentials from the Queen herself. Traditionally, the Queen gifts the royal bride and groom with their official titles on their wedding day—one for use in England, and another separate moniker for Scotland. Currently, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex is pitted as the couple's official English titles. Their Scottish titles, however, will require a bit more brainstorming on the Queen's part, according to Harper's Bazaar UK, since she has to consider the other members of the royal family and their ranks. One option is the Earl and Countess of Ross, but the last royal to assume the Ross title was executed in 1649. The Queen may choose to steer clear of this label because of its rather unlucky connotation...
THE INVITE LIST
The royals mailed wedding invitations to their lucky guests March 22, in the name of Harry's father, Prince Charles of Wales. The stationery features ivory card stock with a black script font and Prince Charle's Three-Feathered Badge embossment in gold. The invites deem the dress code as a "uniform, morning coat, or lounge suit" for men, and a "day dress with hat" for female guests. Despite having fewer wedding attendees than expected, Markle and Harry chose not to extend plus one privileges to all their guests, but it makes sense considering they both have quite the large social circles and simply can't invite everyone. Wedding guests also had to be pre-approved by both the Queen and the government. Each invite came with seven pages of "critical guidance" instructions outlining the do's and don'ts of royal wedding guest etiquette. With Markle's acting career and Harry's A-List posse, there's bound to be no shortage of celeb friends at their ceremony, (including, reportedly, two of Harry's exes). Not all of the couple's cronies are officially confirmed, but we can count on Priyanka Chopra, the Spice Girls, and Markle's former Suits co-stars, including her on-screen hubby Patrick J. Adams, to make an appearance.
Rather than ask guests for a new blender or china set, Harry and Markle have decided to request charitable donations. Kensington Palace declared via Twitter April 9 that the soon-to-be-married couple chose seven different organizations that they hold close to heart, and established a Royal Wedding Charitable Donations page to donate to each. The charities include CHIVA (Children's HIV Association), which helps young children with HIV in the U.K. and Ireland; Crisis, an organization dedicated to the homeless; and Myna Mahila Foundation, a charity that supports women in Mumbai's slums by providing employment and sanitary products. They also chose Scotty's Little Soldiers, a charity that supports children of deceased members of the British Armed Forces; StreetGames, which uses sports to empower children to build positive communities; Surfers Against Sewage, a marine conservation that works to protect oceans and beaches; and The Wilderness Foundation UK, a charity that teaches urban youth the importance of wild nature and science.
WHO PAYS FOR THE WEDDING?
Taxpayers will also contribute to the day, in the form of security. Dunne's number above likely doesn't include this cost. While it is unclear exactly how much was spent on security at Prince William and Duchess Kate's 2011 London nuptials, some estimates put it at $32 million, and according to CNN, the "government provided the police with a special £3.6 million grant that was used to cover overtime pay for officers."
BUT... THE ECONOMIC BENEFIT?
On the other hand, the wedding itself is expected to generate a lot of money for the U.K. Reuters estimates an economy boost of £500 million from the royal wedding, a majority of which will come from the increased number of tourists. Wedding parties and souvenirs are also expected to rake in even more moolah, so stock up on your "I ❤️ Harry" badges & get down the pub!