Since the announcement last December that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle would be officially swapping ‘I-do’s this spring, the world’s awaited with feverish anticipation. To be honest, some of us started preparing for this the moment we saw the couple at the Invictus Games last summer. Come on, her mom was there! We all knew then, right? But we digress….
Now that the big day is around the corner, and we’re all prepping for our very own from-the-comfort-of-our-living-room royal wedding parties (watch live on CTV with us!) the question is, are you really ready? Do you know your Fergie from your Frogmore, your Ragland from your Russo? And what else do you need to know about the year’s biggest cultural event so far?
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. You’ll rule your royal watching shindig with this comprehensive guide to all things royal wedding.
No wedding is complete without a best man, with the honour going to none other than Prince William, returning the favour for his little bro. No doubt their tight bond made the choice a no-brainer for the groom-in-waiting.
Prince Harry has asked his brother The Duke of Cambridge to be his Best Man at his wedding to Ms. Meghan Markle. The Duke of Cambridge is honoured to have been asked, and is very much looking forward to supporting his brother at St George’s Chapel, Windsor on May 19th. Prince Harry served as best man to The Duke of Cambridge at his wedding to Miss Catherine Middleton in 2011 📷PA
And with just a few days to go, the wedding party has been confirmed, consisting of ten adorable tots, namely: Harry’s godchildren, Florence van Cutsem, three, Zalie Warren, two, and Jasper Dyer, six; Meghan’s godchildren, Remi and Ryan Litt, aged six and seven respectively; and the children of good friends Jessica and Ben Mulroney, twins Brian and John, seven, and Ivy, four. And not forgetting the most well-known of the bunch, Prince George, four, and Princess Charlotte, three. The latter are no strangers to high-profile weddings, of course, having also played pageboy and bridesmaid to Aunt Pippa – let’s hope there’s no upstaging on the day. It’s also official newest royal Prince Louis will be out for the count, given that he’s, y’know, barely a month old.
Meghan decided against a maid of honour (or “chief bridesmaid” as per royal custom), so as not to pick between friends, though acting chum Priyanka Chopra, and stylist BFF Jessica Mulroney were rumoured front-runners for the role. We’re sure they’ll be part of the select circle helping her prepare on the day.
Diana’s siblings will all be in attendance of course, with Harry’s aunt, the Lady Jane Fellowes, expected to give a reading at the ceremony.
Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland, who was spotted jetting to London from Los Angeles Tuesday evening and is set to meet various senior royals before Saturday, will accompany her daughter to the Chapel. And we can now say for sure who won’t be attending, and that’s Meghan’s father Thomas Markle. Following revelations he staged paparazzi photos of himself (half-sister Samantha claimed responsibility, but the damage was done), Markle this week underwent open heart surgery, making it impossible to make the journey. It’s not yet confirmed who’ll be walking the bride down the aisle, but we can bet mother Doria is a strong possibility.
Sadly that’s not been the only Markle drama – the ex-wife and sons of Meghan’s estranged half-brother Thomas were seen touching down in the UK, seemingly flown in by a British news show. We’re stretching to see what they have to add to the festivities, given they’ll be nowhere near the inside of the chapel, and haven’t seen Meghan in 20 years.
And those weren’t the only snubs. Whilst Harry’s ex-girlfriend Chelsy Davy and former aunt Duchess Fergie will attend the ceremony and first reception, they won’t be welcome at a second, more exclusive reception for the couple’s nearest and dearest (y’know, just their closest 200 friends and fam).
The couple will be married by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby; yes, if you’re keeping track, that’s the same Justin Welby who baptized Meghan in March.
In a bid to make the day inclusive, 1,200 members of the public, selected for contributions to their communities, have also been invited to join the couple on Castle grounds, and will be among the first to see them arrive. But some were dumbstruck after being told by Palace officials to bring their own snacks on the day – here’s hoping the Palace can still spring for some burgers.
Invitations to the wedding of Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle, which will take place at Windsor Castle on May 19, have been issued in the name of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. Guests have been invited to the service at St George’s Chapel and to the lunchtime reception at St George’s Hall, which is being given by Her Majesty The Queen. The invitations follow many years of Royal tradition and have been made by @barnard_and_westwood. They feature the Three-Feathered Badge of the Prince of Wales printed in gold ink. 📷 @pa
The ceremony will take place in St. George’s Chapel, at Windsor Castle. As well as being the residence of the Queen and Prince Philip most of the time, the venue’s reserved for more low-key (we use the term loosely) royal weddings, such as Princes Charles’ second go-around, and Princess Eugenie’s autumn nuptials.
Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle are hugely grateful for the many good wishes they have received since announcing their engagement. They are looking forward to the day and to being able to share their celebrations with the public and wanted to share the following details about their wedding on May 19th. They have today confirmed that their wedding will begin at 12noon, followed by a carriage procession at 1pm around Windsor Town, and reception at St George’s Hall. Later that evening, The Prince of Wales will give a private evening reception for the couple and their close friends and family. 📷PA
Come Saturday, we can expect to see members of the public trickling in from around 9:00 a.m. GMT (5:00 a.m., ET), guests arriving half an hour later, and royal family members arriving from around 11:20 a.m. ( 6:20 a.m., ET).
Princes William and Harry will go on a traditional walkabout on foot (as did Will, on the eve of his wedding), meeting crowds of well-wishers on the grounds before heading to the Chapel shortly before noon.
As per strict etiquette, the Queen will arrive last before the bride.
Meghan is expected to appear for noon sharp from her hotel with mother Doria, and after an hour’s ceremony, the couple will embark on a carriage procession –Castle Hill, High Street, Sheet Street, Kings Road, Albert Road and the Long Walk–through the town of Windsor, no doubt a thousand cameras snapping for a slice of royal history. They’ll then disembark for a traditional “Long Walk” through the town before heading back to Windsor Castle for a Queen-hosted lunch reception.
Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle have selected the Ascot Landau carriage for their procession through Windsor Town after their wedding on May 19th. The carriage is one of five Ascot Landaus in the Royal Mews. The carriages are used in official and ceremonial state events, such as Coronations, Royal Weddings and State Visits 📷PA
The wedding venue will be bedecked in the floral creations of self-taught London florist Philippa Craddock.
According to Kensington Palace the arrangements “will include branches of beech, birch and hornbeam, as well as white garden roses, peonies and foxgloves. The designs will reflect the wild and natural landscapes from which many of the plants will be drawn.”
Alexi Lubomirski–the same photographer who took the engagement photos we all loved so much–will be on hand to take formal photographs. Kensington Palace assures us they will be released during the week, but with photos like these in the offing who can wait that long??
A huge thank you to His Royal Highness Prince Harry and Ms Markle, for allowing me to take their official engagement portraits. Not only was it an incredible honour, but also an immense privilege to be invited to share and be a witness to this young couple’s love for each other. I cannot help but smile when I look at the photos that we took. @Kensingtonroyal
The Queen will very soon bequeath the pair official titles, with an announcement from Buckingham Palace expected the morning of the wedding. Like his brother before him, Harry is likely to be offered a dukedom, with speculation they’ll become the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
If Meghan is accompanied by her mother down the aisle, it wouldn’t be as unusual as you might think – it’s a little-known fact that Queen Victoria walked both her daughters down the aisle following the death of Prince Albert. And if the honour does fall to Doria, it would be rather fitting – she was, after all, the one Harry asked for permission to propose in the first place.
As per most engaged couples, the lovers will spend the night before apart (Meghan with mother Doria at Cliveden House Hotel, and Harry with William at the nearby Dorchester Collection Coworth Park in Ascot). Harry will also wait until the ceremony to set eyes on his bride’s gown. Awww.
The Queen has officially consented to the union, as per a British royal tradition dictating the first six in line to the throne seek her approval. Whilst some speculated shade at the different wording when Kate was officially validated to marry William, described “trusty and well-beloved,” such wording is reserved for British and Commonwealth citizens only. Sorry Meghan, but at least now we know it wasn’t personal. Kensington Palace revealed the official “Instrument of Consent,” containing insignia representing the couple’s roots, from the UK to California:
Bearing The Queen’s signature, the Instrument of Consent records Her Majesty’s consent to the Marriage of Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle. #RoyalWedding
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) May 13, 2018
According to The Sunday Times, the couple will be breaking with yet another common wedding tradition, with Meghan to give a speech at the reception. It makes sense – girl’s pretty eloquent, and we’ve no doubt she has a thing or two to say on the biggest day of her life.
Guaranteed to get almost as much attention as the bride herself is her dress. Details have been kept tightly under wraps, but the smart money’s on Ralph & Russo for the accolade, with the gown a rumoured £100,000 ($173,180), a jaw-dropping figure, no matter who you’re marrying. We already know Meghan’s a fan of the design duo, having donned a gorgeous R&R number for the official engagement snaps:
Mother Doria was spotted flying with a Burberry garment bag which may also be a clue as to who’s dressing the day’s VIPs.
Like Kate before her, Meghan will be taking care of her own makeup on the day, but she’ll not be completely without professional help, and according to Harper’s Bazaar, has enlisted Amal Clooney’s hairstylist to get that hair looking princess-perfect. Let’s just hope she’s ready for her close-up – because you can bet your bottom dollar no detail will go unscrutinized.
There is a dress code, as you might expect. For men that entails morning coats or lounge suits (simply “suits,” to us commoners). If they have them, men can also don military uniforms. For women, it’s a simple “day dress with hat.” “Make it a nice one” goes without saying.
Oh, and let’s not forget Harry, of course. It’s said he’ll be decked out in full Royal Marines military uniform, though nothing’s been officially confirmed yet. We imagine his look won’t be a million miles from brother William’s handsomely traditional wedding attire:
With the fanfare surrounding the beautiful clothing, ceremonial ritual, fancy guest lists, and centuries of tradition, it’s easy to forget some of the most fun elements of a wedding – the food, drink, and after-parties.
In a break with centuries of tradition, the wedding cake will be made by Claire Ptak of Violet Cakes, an east London pastry chef whom Meghan interviewed back in her Tig days. Eschewing the traditional fruit cake, Harry and Meghan’s will be a lemon and elderflower bake inspired by fresh spring flavours, buttercream-covered, and adorned with fresh flowers. Mmm. Just thinking about it is making our sweet tooth ache. And if the royal cake tastes as good as her previous cakes look, they’ve struck dessert gold:
Word’s also leaked on a pretty epic-sounding after-party. The second reception (just call it the after-after-party) will be Tiki-themed – yes, you read that right – inspired by the swanky London nightclub Mahiki. Thrown by Princes Charles at Frogmore House a few miles from Windsor Castle, it’s here Meghan will don her equally anticipated second wedding dress. Just picture your fave royals boogying the night away to the sounds of a steel band, rum punch and cocktail umbrellas in hand (it’s a pretty great image, right?).
There’ll be so much to look out for on the day, from royal tradition, to the dazzling guest list, the haute couture fashion, and in the midst of it all just two people looking to start their lives and put on their own modern twist on the occasion. No doubt we’ll be distracted by the pomp and the pageantry, but if we spot these two joyful looking smiles in the middle of the fanfare, we’ll know something’s gone alright on the night:
Don’t miss a moment of the festivities; tune in to CTV News’ live special Harry and Meghan: The Royal Wedding Saturday, May 19, starting at 4 a.m. ET on CTV and CTV.ca.
And get up to speed on everything royal wedding related with The Social’s Royal Wedding Show, airing this Friday at 1 p.m. ET.