Royal Wedding Tips
Many brides may have dreamed that one day they would marry a prince, like Cinderella and Prince Charming. Or in modern times, like Meghan Markel and Prince Harry. While marrying a prince might seem like a dream come true, here is a reality check.
The huge difference between what you can do for your wedding and what Meghan can do for hers, is that you and your fiancé/e can have a real and final say, a casting vote, in every aspect of the ceremony and the wedding, from writing your own vows, exchanging rings, choosing the venue, the guest list, the celebrant and whether you change your name and if so, what that new name will be.
Not so Meghan, who will be bound by royal etiquette protocol and time-honoured traditions and customs of how weddings are done in the Royal Family.
Where and by whom: Meghan and Harry will be getting married in Westminster Abbey by The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welsby. They will therefore be having a traditional Anglican/Church of England wedding ceremony. Yours can be held anywhere you wish and performed by a registrar, minister or celebrant of your choice, with exactly the words, rituals, customs, readings, music and traditions that you want.
To change or not to change your name: You and your fiancé/e may wish to take on each other’s surnames, totally, or by double-barrelling, or creating a new name that combines the two – thus the marriage of Rogers and McGregor can become Mr. and Mrs. Roger, Mr. and Mrs. McGregor, the Roger-MacGregor’s, the McGregor-Rogers, or the McRogers. The only boundary is your own creativity. Not so with Meghan and Harry. It is traditional when Royalty marries, that they are given a new name. Harry and Meghan’s will definitely not be the Windsor-Markel’s or the Markel-Windsor’s! The Queen will most likely bestow the title of Duke and Duchess of Sussex on them.
Wedding planning and planners: We might all dream of a wedding budget where money is no object. Again, that dream can come at a price. Yes, if you are Meghan and Harry, you will not need to be counting the pounds and pence like the rest of us, but they will be having to have others decide on every aspect of the ceremony, probably a whole team of planners, and experts in protocol and etiquette. Again, people provided for Meghan rather than chosen by her and Prince Harry.
Rehearsals: I always advise wedding couples to have a rehearsal: it gives them an idea of the timing, flow and feel of their ceremony, and in advance, you might practise the first dance. For Meghan, you can just imagine the amount of grooming she is being put through, from how to curtsy, how to sit (feet crossed at knees or ankle,) how to hold her chin for the photos (parallel to the ground), how to process up the long aisle of Westminster Abbey (elegantly and in stately-fashion) to how to say her vows. You will be being married in the presence of those you love and cherish, the people you have chosen to invite. Meghan and Harry will be married in front of a live audience of thousands in the Abbey, and millions worldwide. No pressure to be perfect!
Wedding party and witnesses: Again, the huge difference here between what you can do and what Meghan can’t do, is the choice of who is in your wedding party. You can invite your children, nieces, nephews, children of friends, the family dog, to be part of the bridal party. Meghan and Harry will be obliged to follow the tradition of having any number of royal children, dressed in silks, satins and velvet, to strew petals. Though perhaps, Meghan will be allowed to have a best friend or two in the bridal party. Unlike Meghan, you can choose who will be your witnesses. She will most likely be told who will be the witnesses.
What you wear: For every bride, the wedding gown is a matter of vital importance, on which endless hours are spent researching, and then more endless hours on fittings till it is absolutely perfect. And no doubt Meghan wants her dress to be stunning, sensational and elegant. Indeed, Haute Couturiers around the world are vying for the honour of designing her dress. It is probably one of the very few aspects of her wedding in which she will have the final say. And as to Harry, there is no question of his wearing a tux, or tails or morning coat. Prince Harry, in keeping with a Royal custom, that dates back to Prince Albert, will be in military uniform. Harry’s brother, Prince William, wore a red uniform from the Irish Guards for his wedding with Kate Middleton, and his father, Prince Charles, wore his full dress naval commander uniform for his wedding with Princess Diana. Prince Harry served in the army for ten years, rising to the rank of Captain and undertook two tours of Afghanistan.
Wedding Bouquet: The choice of which flowers to have in your bouquet is something on which every bride has strong views and strong preferences, based on colour, scent, shape and season. A royal bride must have myrtle in her bouquet.
Exchange of rings: In 99.99 of the hundreds of weddings I have conducted over the past 10 years, the couple has exchanged rings. However, it is customary for the royal groom not to wear a wedding ring – something both Philip and William have adhered to. However, Charles wore his wedding ring throughout his and Diana’s marriage until 2005.
Watch this spot for Don’t Panic tips that apple to any wedding couple.