Royally Speaking: A Pre-Wedding Peek
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The royal wedding date for Prince William and Kate Middleton is almost here, and the world is abuzz. The Queen has officially given her consent, so everything’s a go. What a relief.

The big mystery is Kate’s dress. We don’t know what the dress looks like, and we won’t know until the wedding, so we can’t talk about that. I can only hope that they don’t put some God-awful thing on her like they did to Diana. So it’s a wait-and-see on the dress. William is going to wear a uniform of some sort, but we don’t know which one. I’m wondering if Prince Charles will wear a uniform as well, from one of the armed services that he's never served in. Another wait-and-see.

We do know there are going to be parties. The Queen is hosting the wedding party at Buckingham Palace, and then Charles is throwing some sort of shindig later on the wedding night. There’ll be more to talk about after the wedding, I’m sure, so we’ll get to everything eventually.

  
 
At Westminster Abbey, notable guests include David Beckham (with the pouting, pregnant Victoria in tow, no doubt), Elton John, director Guy Ritchie (Mr. Madonna), singer Joss Stone, and more than 46 foreign royals from, among other places, Denmark, Norway, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, and Morocco. (Psssst, Kate: The Saudis give the best gifts.)

The Queen, of course, and other royal family members will sit in the front row, across the aisle from Kate's parents and brother, James, closest to the abbey’s sanctuary, where William and Kate will stand. (This is where my seat was, but since I can’t go, someone else will take my place.)

The foreign royals will sit behind the British royals. Oddly, the Spencer relatives are sitting with the Middletons, across the aisle from the royal family, instead of on the groom’s side. Hmm. Bad blood here, maybe?

Other foreign dignitaries, the Middletons’ family friends, British government and defense officials, families of British soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, William’s army colleagues, and people who work for William’s charities will be seated around the abbey.

Half of the 1,900 guests at the Abbey will have obstructed views and will rely on video screens to keep up with what’s going on.

And for those who think the American President got snubbed, you should be aware that Palace officials said that only crowned heads of states are traditionally invited to royal weddings, and that political leaders who are not from the 54-member Commonwealth of nations, such as President Barack Obama or French President Nicolas Sarkozy, weren’t sent invitations. Well, I guess that’s kind of a snub.

Anyway, I did get some scoop on the menu for the Queen’s reception. Apparently Kate has chosen a fruitcake as the main wedding cake. (I guess fruitcake is traditional wedding cake in England—and they can leave it there. If that were the case in America, that very same cake would be passed around for many Christmases to come.) Word has it that the cake will be tall and tiered, covered in cream-and-white decorative flowers that will include roses for England, shamrocks for Ireland, acorns for strength, and, of course, sweet William flowers as well. The cake will be cut and put in individual boxes for the guests as a memento (since no one’s going to eat it). William’s having a groom’s cake, which will be some sort of “top secret family recipe” chocolate cake.

Following the wedding, 600 guests will head to the palace for a reception, where they’ll feast on 10,000 canapés, including smoked salmon on beet blinis and quail eggs sprinkled with celery salt, prepared by some 21 chefs. Let’s see—10,000 canapés divided by 600 guests equals 16.6 canapés per guest. If you don’t like smoked salmon, beet blinis, or quail eggs, you better eat a bowl of cereal or something before you go, because while the Queen herself decides the majority of the menu, William and Kate have chosen nonvintage Pol Roger champagne for their wedding, and you’re liable to end up half in the wrapper if you get into the bubbly and all you have to eat are those little canapés.

If you’re planning on attending the wedding (unfortunately, I have to work—you can imagine the couple’s disappointment), make sure you’re properly attired. For the guys, it’s a morning suit, uniform, or “lounge suit,” per the invitation. A morning suit is long tails, a tie, and waistcoat. A uniform is—well, a uniform, and a lounge suit is, I think, a regular two-piece men’s suit. (When I think of lounge suits, I think of those leisure suits from the 1970s, and I doubt anyone will be turning up in one of those.) The suit should be understated—gray, black, or blue works, but you could be a little bold with the tie.

For the women, a nice dress is in order in pastel shades, as long as you don’t look better than the bride. (Yeah, like someone’s gonna be able to do that.) But, of course, we’re talking about Britain, so all eyes will be on the hats. And I can’t wait to see the hats.

By the by, an outfit for the wedding can get very expensive, so if you need to save money, you can always make your own hat. Here’s how. You will need a frisbee, a hot glue gun, and a dead bird. If you prefer fur to feathers, you can substitute a nice roadkill in place of the dead bird. (I saw something on the side of the highway that looked like a combination of both, but I was in the high-speed lane and couldn’t stop.) You will also need ribbons, bows, and other trimmings of your choice. Fire up the hot glue gun and stick the dead bird/roadkill to the frisbee. Make sure you get it on there nice and snug, so the wind doesn’t take it away and land it in someone’s lap. Adorn with trimmings. Have fun! Be creative! Indulge your inner princess! Camilla will be green with envy. You don’t even have to be a guest—you can wear your homemade hat whilst watching the wedding on the telly. And feel free to send me your hat pictures at maryann@nightsandweekends.com. I’d love to see them.

I’ll have more on the wedding after the big day.

Stay tuned.

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