Spring is just around the corner, and with the coming of spring comes another season we anticipate almost as much. That’s right friends, it’s wedding season. The time of year when we start dreaming of — and maybe even planning — our own future walk down the aisle. Inspiration is everywhere, from the cherry blossoms that would make such a lovely centerpiece, to your best friend’s wedding three weeks from now. But, if we’re really talking inspiration, there’s no looking away from the wedding of the year; dare we say the decade?
You know what we’re talking about.
Even the most cynical of hearts had to melt a bit when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, sorry, Her Royal Highness, the Duchess of Sussex, exchanged their first public kiss as husband and wife. It was a beautiful moment that perfectly captured an undeniably gorgeous wedding ceremony.
Of course we didn’t expect anything less. In addition to access to the Queen’s personal jewel collection and a real-life castle, the happy couple also had an estimated budget of over $55 million (Canadian) for the wedding of the year. That’s a far cry from the just over $30,000-plus that the average Canadian wedding costs.
Well Canadian brides, just because you don’t have millions to spend doesn’t mean you can’t take some inspiration from Meghan and Harry’s nuptials. Below we round up advice from some of the country’s leading wedding experts to find out how you can incorporate a bit of Meghan and Harry’s style into your big day.
“Meghan’s choice took me by surprise!,” says Lori Conley, David’s Bridal senior vice-president of product and design, of the Givenchy gown Markle wore for her ceremony The dress was, she adds, “Completely appropriate for a bride who has broken so many of the traditional norms.”
She explains that brides who love Meghan’s first dress should look for a sleeved gown constructed from “a structured cady fabric” in order to get that crisp, architectural look. As well, says Conley, “The boat neck is a fresh take on the currently prevalent off the shoulder trend. It’s a beautiful way to reinterpret the trend.
“Brides who want to channel this look are in luck as the runways of New York Bridal Fashion week were filled with clean and crisp silhouettes and fabrics,” says Brittany Vickers, operations manager at Vancouver’s Blush Bridal. She says that brides after Meghan’s dress may want to check out this gown from Rosa Clara, while those looking for a more daring take should look into Livné White, in particular, his Celine and Melissa gowns.
For those of you who preferred Meghan’s second dress, Vickers note you’ll want to opt for a “clean, silk crepe gown” such as this one from Pronovias.
Meghan’s dress isn’t the only sartorial statement that brides might want to take some inspo from. “I also hope that brides will embrace the classicism of a great statement tiara and veil such as Meghan chose for today,” says Conley.
Vickers agrees, “The true drama came from her monarch length veil embellished with soft floral lace and her ‘something borrowed,’ the Queen Mary Filligree tiara.” If you’re after that look, she says to keep your shoes and jewellery understated and pick up a tiara such as this one and a cathedral-length veil, such as this one or this one.
Décor & Flowers
“What I love about the decor for the royal wedding was that it was understated and extravagant at the same time,” says Alicia Keats, principal planner at Vancouver’s Alicia Keats Weddings + Events. She explains that brides who fell for the royal wedding’s décor should request lush greens and fragrant white florals.
They should also consider their own spin on the floral arch that decorated the entrance to St. George’s chapel. “By taking the opportunity to decorate the entrance to the wedding, it allows for a first (and lasting) impression,” she says, adding that this touch doesn’t have to over-the-top expensive, “It can be done as lavishly and tastefully as the royal wedding or it can be done in a more understated way with candles or minimal greenery.”
Also surprisingly accessible is Meghan’s bouquet. “Her bouquet was simple in style, smaller in size and relatively inexpensive; it’s a bouquet any Canadian bride could replicate,” notes Rachel Andrews from Calgary’s Hera Weddings & Events, who adds that some of its flowers were handpicked by Harry (hint, hint grooms).
The bouquet also featured forget-me-nots, which the Palace announced were included to honour Princess Diana, who loved this delicate plant. We think incorporating the favourite flower of a loved one who can’t be with you and your partner at your wedding is a subtle but touching way to include that person in your big day.
“A fun way for Canadian brides to emulate the royal wedding would be in their choice of transportation,” says Keats. In addition to a horse-drawn carriage, the couple also opted for a vintage Jaguar. Keats explains that if you can’t track down the vintage car of your dreams through a rental agency, “Keep your eyes out for show and shines and approach the owners of the cars to see if anyone would be interested in being a part of your wedding. We have had success with this in the past.”
Alternatively, “If a vintage car is not reflective of who you are, perhaps choosing something that is reflective of a cause close to your heart might be a better fit for you. The Duke and Duchess used an electric car to take themselves to their reception, reflecting the importance to them of environmental care,” says Keats.
“Comparative to past royal weddings, Meghan and Harry kept their guest list relatively smaller and filled with the people that mattered most to them,” a decision that Andrews thinks couples should always aim for. Other moves that she thinks you should steal? Serving up an organic dinner – “It’s always the right choice” – and a late night snack.
She also loved how the couple opted for multiple receptions, “Splitting up the events with possible different guest lists also gives you the opportunity to spend more time with everyone.”
Then there was their choice to go with a DJ. “Often a couple can feel pressured to have a band only because it’s seen as the ‘better option,’” says Andrews, who adds that opting for a DJ is usually cheaper. Who knew cribbing Meghan and Harry’s wedding ideas could actually save you money!
If you’re sweet on the look of the royal wedding cake, says Sherry Sawatzky, cake designer at Saskatoon’s Sliced Decadence says you’re in luck, “It is a beautiful representation of what is trending now for wedding cakes.” She notes that white, cream and blush pink with floral accents is a very popular look right now, as is buttercream icing, so finding your version of Meghan and Harry’s cake might not be that difficult.
Make that “cakes” since technically they had three. Thankfully, the couple is also on-trend there. “In 2018 more couples are choosing multiple cakes of various sizes to create beautiful displays for their guests to enjoy,” says Sawatzky.
While Meghan and Harry’s honeymoon destination is still a mystery, many are speculating that the couple spent time in Namibia, a location that Canadian couples with a taste for adventure might want to consider. “It’s such a unique destination that is packed full of once-in-a-lifetime experiences,” says Flight Centre travel agent Zoë Allen, who recommends visiting during the June until October dry season. “That makes spotting the elusive ‘Big 5’ (leopard, lion, rhinoceros, elephant and Cape buffalo) a little bit easier, as the animals tend to congregate towards the watering holes.”
While this southwest African country offers accommodations for all budgets, Allen says, “For those truly wanting to live like a royal on their honeymoon I would suggest checking into Little Kulala in Sossusvlei.”
Getting to Namibia will likely take you a few flights but Allen says that it’s worth the effort, “There is just something so romantic about that feeling you get standing in the vastness of the Namib desert underneath the stars, feeling like you are all alone out there with the love of your life.”
Sounds like a plan. Now to find a spouse.