The countdown to the royal wedding is officially on. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are set to be married in May 2018, so let the speculation begin about the wedding dress, location, guest list, reception menu, and more. The experts at WeddingWire, the wedding planning website, compiled a list of trends & predictions for the upcoming nuptials. According to WeddingWire trend and royal expert, Anne Chertoff, we can expect a dress with a super-long train, an open carriage entrance, and two wedding receptions.
Chertoff explained our obsession with the upcoming royal wedding: “Americans are fascinated with the royal family, and specifically royal weddings for a few reasons. First, many of us are raised on fairytale stories, such as the Disney princess movies, so the royal weddings with titles of princes and princesses bring up childhood memories of stories that have a happy ending. Second, Americans love a great romance. They love that unlike princes and princesses from decades and centuries ago—and even Harry's own parents—Prince Harry is allowed to marry for love. He met Meghan through a friend, and they dated for over a year—the way many of us meet our partners—so it’s relatable. Plus, Meghan’s an American which makes their story truly unique!”
A Showstopping Dress
Every royal walk down the aisle includes an extra-long train. Princess Diana’s train was over 20 feet long, while Kate Middleton’s was almost nine feet long. According to WeddingWire, when Sarah Ferguson got married to Prince Andrew, she had her family crest embroidered onto her gown’s train.
These are a must at royal weddings, according to Chertoff. Normally, the bride will wear a tiara from her family, but for her wedding, Kate Middleton borrowed the Cartier Halo Tiara from the Queen. We’re guessing the Queen may extend the same courtesy to Meghan Markle this spring.
A Carriage Ride
The royal couple normally leaves the ceremony in a carriage for a fairytale sendoff. According to Chertoff, the British royal family rides in the State Landau, a 1902 gilded open carriage. If it rains (and we all know that’s a big possibility in the United Kingdom), a glass coach would be used instead.
The location is important for any wedding, especially so for royal weddings. Westminster Abbey was the setting for the weddings for Prince William and Kate Middleton, and Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip; while Prince Charles and Princess Diana got married at St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Two Wedding Receptions
Yes, two parties—it’s a royal wedding after all. Chertoff says that this trend is relatively new, but inspired by American weddings (which is fitting since Markle is an American after all). Normally British weddings are held in the morning with a breakfast or luncheon reception, while most American weddings are late afternoon to evening affairs. Prince William and Kate Middleton had a morning reception after their wedding and then an evening party, where they changed outfits (remember Kate’s stunning sweetheart neckline dress and cropped angora sweater?)
A Daytime Ceremony
Since there will most likely be a breakfast or luncheon reception, we’re betting that the wedding ceremony will take place during the day. Chertoff says non-royal couples should keep this idea in mind, too: “A daytime wedding tends to cost less because it’s less formal, the decor doesn’t have to be as elaborate, natural light reduces the need for bringing in lights, and menus can be less expensive too.”
The Kids Will Be Involved
As we saw with Pippa Middleton’s recent wedding and her sister’s in 2011, it’s British tradition to include kids in the wedding party as flower girls and pageboys. Both Prince William and Prince Harry served as pageboys when they were younger. We can only assume that Prince George and Princess Charlotte will play a big role in their uncle’s wedding.
A Towering Wedding Cake
The royals go all out when it comes to the cake. Princess Diana and Prince Charles’s cake was five feet tall adorned with the coat of arms, while Prince William and Kate Middleton’s was eight tiers and had their monogram on it.
A Bouquet With a Special Meaning
It’s often customary for brides to choose a bouquet with flowers that have special meanings—and the royals do the same, too. Chertoff says that ever since Queen Victoria carried a myrtle in her bridal bouquet, every royal bride has done the same. Myrtle means good luck in love and marriage.