On May 19th, royal family fans all over the world rejoiced, because Prince Harry and former American actress, Meghan Markle, finally tied the knot! Millions of people in the United Kingdom and all over the world were watching the wedding ceremony that took place at St. George's Chapel, in Windsor Castle. We've all been waiting for this day since last November when the couple announced their engagement. There were a huge number of suggestions and speculations about the royal wedding, and last Saturday we could finally see where we were right or wrong.
This significant royal event took place seven years after the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, and it featured quite a few unique features and interesting differences. Prince Harry and his beloved Meghan (who're now officially known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, courtesy of Queen Elizabeth II) broke quite a few of royal traditions, which made their big day even more special.
Please note that we're not here to compare Kate and Meghan or decide who's better. Both of them are gorgeous women, who devoted a lot of effort into making their weddings amazing. So let's see how the details of these beautiful royal weddings, from dresses and flowers to cakes and carriage rides, differed from each other.
15 The Bride's Dress
Kate Middleton looked gorgeous in her wedding dress, and so did Meghan Markle. But, as we see, these were absolutely different dresses.
Kate's gown was designed by Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen. The Duchess of Cambridge took an active part in the creation of her dress. According to the statement issued by the Palace on their wedding day, "Miss Middleton wished for her dress to combine tradition and modernity with the artistic vision that characterizes Alexander McQueen’s work." It's interesting to note a few details about this beautiful gown: it was inspired by the Victorian style, it had a nine-foot-long train, and it featured handmade lacework on the skirt and bodice.
Last week, we saw something very different on Meghan, the current Duchess of Sussex. Prince Harry's bride chose the wedding gown designed by Clare Waight Keller, an acclaimed British designer. Currently, Waight Keller works as an artistic director for Givenchy (which proves how experienced this designer is). Meghan's dress had a minimalist design that featured three-quarter sleeves and a bateau neckline. Just like Kate, Meghan took an active part in the creation of her gown and worked closely with the designer. I'm sure she did. I mean, this day was so important to her!
14 The Groom
Both princes wore their uniforms to their weddings. Prince William's outfit was very bright. He wore Irish Guards Mounted Officer’s uniform that featured a forage cap instead of a bearskin hat that's more traditional for this suit. But we understand why he didn't wear it. I mean, he wouldn't look as nice if he had this huge black furry hat on his head. Quite possibly, it'd distract all the attention from the bride, which is inadmissible on a wedding. The forage cap, which Prince William wore instead, bore a motto "Quis Separabit?" It translates as "Who shall separate us?" As you can see, it has a very deep meaning for a wedding!
Prince Harry's wedding attire was different to that of his brother. He wore the frock-coat uniform of the Blues and Royals. According to the statement issued by the Kensington Palace, the groom could do it because "Her Majesty The Queen gave her permission for Prince Harry to get married in his uniform." We're all lucky that she allowed Harry to wear this attire, because he looked very handsome in it. It's interesting that the groom's grandmother also gave him her permission to leave his short beard on, because traditionally those who wear Army uniforms have to be clean-shaven.
13 The Veil
Kate's gorgeous Victorian-style dress was complemented with an equally gorgeous veil. It was rather short in comparison to other veils. The Royal School of Needlework designed and created the veil and crafted it with hand-embroidered flowers. When Kate arrived to the wedding ceremony, she wore her veil over her face. It was lifted up by her father after he walked her down the aisle. Since it was a very touching moment, a royal expert stated after the ceremony, "I’ll never forget watching Kate's dad, Michael, lift his daughter's veil at the altar before giving her hand to Prince William."
Meghan's veil was much longer than Kate's (it was five-meters-long). Like her wedding gown, it was designed by Clare Waight Keller.
Eagle-eyed viewers could notice that the bride's veil wasn't plain white — it had a lot of embroidery on it. Later it was revealed that, according to Meghan's wish, all 53 countries of the Commonwealth were represented on it through embroidered flora. According to a source, "The workers spent hundreds of hours meticulously sewing and washing their hands every thirty minutes to keep the tulle and threads pristine." Their efforts weren't done in vain, because the resulting composition was spectacular.
Meghan also arrived to the ceremony, wearing her veil, and it was lifted up by her groom in the beginning of the ceremony.
12 The Tiara
As soon as the veil is lifted from the bride's face, everyone can see her tiara in all its glory. For Kate Middleton, the tiara was her "something borrowed" on the wedding ceremony. The bride was honored to wear Queen Elizabeth's Cartier Halo Tiara (aka Cartier Scroll Tiara). This beautiful piece of jewelry was presented by King George VI (Elizabeth's father) to Queen Mother in 1936. When Elizabeth turned 18, her mother presented it to her. We can only guess how happy Kate was to wear the tiara with such a meaningful story for the royal family.
Meghan's tiara also was the bride's "something borrowed." It was an elegant bandeau tiara that used to belong to Queen Elizabeth's grandmother, Queen Mary. In the center of this piece of jewelry, there is a beautiful brooch that consists of 10 diamonds that were presented to Queen Mary in 1893. Later, in 1932, the brooch was turned into a tiara. When Queen Mary died in 1953, the tiara was passed on to Elizabeth. Reportedly, Meghan chose the tiara with the help of the Queen, and I'm sure that she was also honored to be allowed to wear it on her highly publicized wedding day.
11 The Hair And Makeup
On her wedding day, Kate Middleton proved to people all over the world that she didn't want others to do everything for her.
Prior to her wedding, the bride took several makeup lessons from a famous makeup artist, Arabella Preston, and did her wedding makeup on her own. The result was stunning; the bride had soft smokey eyes, pinky lips, and cheeks.
Kate's hair was also beautiful. She wore her hair down with loose waves pinned back by her ears. This style suited the deep neckline of her dress perfectly well, and the bride looked very elegant.
Unlike Kate, Meghan decided to allow a celebrity makeup artist Daniel Martin to do makeup for her. The former actress is known for her natural-to-no makeup style, and her wedding day wasn't any different. The bride barely had any base makeup on, other than the concealer below her eyes. The makeup artist focused on Meghan's eyes and put smokey grey eyeshadow on them. Other than that, the bride had peachy blush cheeks and a soft pink lipstick.
Speaking of her hair, Meghan decided to make a more formal version of her favorite messy bun with center-parted tendrils tucked behind her ears during the ceremony. Thus, Meghan managed to comply with the royal etiquette and preserved her own style, at the same time.
10 The Brides' Bouquet
Kate Middleton's wedding was very traditional in many ways, including the bride's choice of a wedding bouquet. According to a tradition that dates back to Queen Victoria's wedding, the bride has to carry a sprig of myrtle in her bouquet, and Kate complied with this rule. It's interesting to note that the sprig in Kate's bouquet came from the same plant as the one Queen Elizabeth herself carried on her wedding day in 1947. Other than myrtle, Kate's bouquet featured lily-of-the-valley, hyacinth, sweet William, and ivy. Sweet William, as we all can understand, was a nod to her beloved groom.
Meghan Markle didn't forget to include myrtle to her wedding bouquet, and it also came from the same plant as Queen Elizabeth's and Kate's. Other flowers that were seen in her bouquet were scented sweet peas, lily of the valley, astilbe, jasmine, and astrantia, as well as forget-me-nots. The latter were added as a tribute to Princess Diana, because they were her favorite flowers. It was very sweet of the bride to honor her late mother-in-law's memory on her special day. The flowers were bound into a bouquet with a naturally-dyed red ribbon.
Do we all agree that both bouquets were wonderful?
9 The Walk Down The Aisle
Kate Middleton was walked down the aisle of Westminster Abbey by her father, Michael Middleton. Both of them looked great and their walk resembled a scene from a fairy tale.
While the bride was making her three-and-a-half-minute procession, the choir was singing "I was glad," an anthem written by Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry. It was composed back in 1902 for the coronation of King Edward VI. When Kate and her father approached Prince William, Mr. Middleton lifted up her veil and gave his daughter's hand to the groom.
Since Meghan Markle's father couldn't attend the ceremony due to his recent heart surgery, the bride's walk down the aisle was very different. Meghan made most of her way by herself, while pageboys were carrying her veil behind her.
(FYI, it was the first time the royal bride walked down the aisle unescorted!)
For some people, it proved once again that Meghan is a strong and independent woman who is ready to challenge some of the royal traditions.
At the final steps toward her groom, she was accompanied by Prince Charles. When he gave the bride's hand to the groom, Prince Harry thanked his father and then looked at Meghan and uttered, "You look amazing. I'm so lucky." It was such a sweet moment!
8 Queen Elizabeth
If you haven't noticed this interesting detail before, we're here to tell you that Queen Elizabeth wears bright colors at all social occasions — including royal weddings.
As Sophie, Countess of Wessex once revealed, Her Majesty does it to "stand out for people to be able to say 'I saw the Queen.'" Now you know the truth: if she didn't wear bright colors, no one would be able to spot her from afar.
At the wedding of her elder grandson, Queen Elizabeth wore a yellow outfit. It was a two-piece crepe wool ensemble designed by Angela Kelly. (FYI, this woman has earned a status of an official curator of the Queen's wardrobe.) Her Majesty also wore a matching yellow hat with silk roses and a diamond brooch.
Last Saturday, Her Majesty didn't break her tradition and showed up in a bright outfit, as well. Her dress, hat, and coat had lime, lemon, purple, and gray colors. The dress and coat were designed by Stewart Parvin, while the hat was created by Angela Kelly.
Interesting fact: June McLeod, a color expert revealed the meaning of colors in the Queen's outfit. She said that green symbolizes growth, rebirth, as well as intention for the future, while purple signifies pride and cleansing. I wonder if the Queen knew about it when she chose the colors...
7 The Bride's Mother
Carole Middleton, the mother of Duchess of Cambridge, had a truly royal look on her daughter's wedding day. Her elegant sky blue outfit was designed by Catherine Walker. Mrs. Middleton complemented her short blue dress with a blue wool crepe coat-dress that featured braid trimming on her waist and cuffs. Her matching blue hat was designed by Jane Corbett. The outfit was accompanied by a small clutch, elegant shoes, and minimal jewelry. Wasn't she a graceful royal mother of the bride?
Doria Ragland, the mother of Duchess of Sussex, didn't yield to Carole Middleton in her elegance last Saturday. She also looked gorgeous in her mint green dress that was embroidered with white florals by Oscar de la Renta. Her matching cocktail hat elegantly complemented the outfit and looked great on her. Tiny clutch, even fewer jewelry, and almost no makeup gave the royal mother of the bride a beautiful and natural look.
Since Doria was the only family member of the bride (Meghan's father couldn't come, and she doesn't have any siblings), she had to strongly support her daughter on her big day.
And, in fact, she coped with this task very well. I mean, you could see her love and support toward Meghan with a naked eye!
6 The Bridesmaids
At the wedding of William and Kate, Pippa Middleton, Kate's sister, was her bridesmaid. Her look stunned everyone, and some people even thought that she eclipsed the bride herself, because she also wore a white gown. Her form-fitting dress was designed by Alexander McQueen.
As it was revealed after the ceremony, the white color wasn't chosen to compete with the bride. In her interview with Today, Pippa explained, "I think the plan was not really for it to be a significant dress. Really just to sort of blend in with the train," saying that everyone's reaction to her gown was "unexpected."
In early May, it was revealed that Meghan Markle decided not to have a Maid of Honor at her wedding. Instead, she wanted children to be bridesmaids and pageboys. These children were chosen by Meghan and Harry. The bride asked her two godchildren and three children of her friend Jessica Mulroney to help her at the wedding, while Harry opted for his nephew and niece (William and Kate's kids) and three godchildren. Overall, Meghan had 10 kids to accompany her at the ceremony and carry her long train.
Who can say that it was a bad choice? I mean, it was great — Meghan looked so sweet around all these beautiful children!
5 The Best Man
At Prince William's wedding, his brother Harry was his best man. Prince Harry looked very handsome in this role. He wore the uniform of a captain of the Blues and Royals, and his outfit was accompanied by a forage cap. Obviously, he didn't wear a sword that traditionally accompanies the suit (because who wears a sword to a wedding ceremony at a church?). With his cross-belt and gold waist belt, as well as aiguillettes, Prince Harry could attract as much attention as the groom.
At his own wedding, Prince Harry asked his brother to be his best man. It was a logical choice. After all, the two seem to be very close to each other. However, it came with a problem...
Harry's wedding day coincided with the FA Cup Final. Since Prince William is President of the Football Association, he had to attend the occasion. At some point, it was stated that he'd try to get to both events somehow, but eventually, William only attended his brother's wedding (it's a rarer occasion than a Cup Final, right?). He wore his uniform to the ceremony (it was very similar to the one Harry wore when he was his best man) and looked very handsome.
4 The First Kiss
The first kiss is probably the second most awaited moment at a royal wedding ceremony (following the first glance at a bride's dress). We can always see the pressure lied upon the bride and groom at these events, and I kind of feel relieved when it's finally over and they can publicly declare their love to each other. It's a very important moment, isn't it?
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge shared their first official kiss as a married couple on the balcony of the Buckingham Palace. A lot of royal couples did it, including Prince Charles and Princess Diana. The newlyweds were accompanied by Queen Elizabeth, as well as the bride's family, bridesmaids, and pageboys.
The first kiss of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex was completely different. Most important of all, they didn't share it on the Buckingham Palace's balcony, simply because they chose another location for their wedding. Harry and Meghan, who couldn't look more in love with each other, kissed for the first time on the staircase outside St. George's Chapel on the beautiful background of a white floral archway.
If you ask me, I think that this location was perfect for this sweet moment. It was natural and beautiful, just like the newlyweds!
3 The Procession
After the wedding ceremony, the royal newlyweds are supposed to take a carriage ride and show themselves off to the public. Prince William and Kate took this ride through central London in the Imperial State Landau. This carriage looked amazing, as if it had just gone off the pages of a fairy tale book. But in reality, it was a century-old carriage constructed specifically for Edward VII. The choice of this carriage could have been a nod to the groom's parents, because Prince Charles and Princess Diana also rode it after their wedding ceremony back in 1981.
The carriage chosen by Prince Harry and Meghan was different, but it also looked very fairy tale-like.
It was an Ascot Landau carriage that was significantly smaller, and it was fine for the newlyweds. After all, they only had to ride around the Windsor Castle in it, unlike William and Kate, whose procession took place in London. It also had a different color scheme and looked much humbler than the one of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. But, at the same time, it looked very nice and cozy, which suited Harry and Meghan very well.
I must be strange to drive around just so people can look at you, but this is the life of a royal.
2 The Evening Dress
Both Kate and Meghan chose to change into another dress after their wedding ceremonies to feel more at ease at the reception. Heading to her wedding breakfast at the Buckingham Palace, Kate chose a beautiful white strapless satin gown designed by Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen. The dress had a shining belt around the bride's waist, which accentuated her thin figure. To give a special style to the outfit and, probably, to keep herself warmer, Kate complemented her beautiful gown with a cropped fuzzy cardigan. Her groom also changed from his uniform into a tuxedo for the reception.
Quite the reverse, Meghan decided to keep her arms open during the reception at St. George's Hall in Windsor Castle. The Duchess of Sussex changed into a sleeveless white evening dress designed by Stella McCartney. This gown was made of silk crepe and had a high neck. It looked awesome on Meghan's slender figure and accentuated her beautiful arms. Like Prince William did at his wedding day, Harry also changed into a tuxedo, which suited him just as well as the uniform he wore for the ceremony.
Both gowns are so beautiful that it's impossible to decide which one is better. But... should we choose, after all?
1 The Wedding Party
William and Kate chose a cake designer Fiona Cairns to create their eight-tier wedding fruitcake in 2011. It's interesting that Cairns had never worked directly with the royal family before designing it, even though the royals tasted her cakes on several occasions. The designer also admitted that Kate took an active part in the creation of her wedding cake. "In many ways, I would say that Kate designed her wedding cake, because she knew very clearly what she wanted and did not want," Cairns stated. "The ideas came from her, we had meetings with her, and the brief was from Kate." Wow, this woman put quite a lot of effort into planning her wedding!
Harry and Meghan went to a London-based baker Claire Ptak to ask her to design a wedding cake for them. What her team created was a wonderful lemon elderflower cake that was covered in buttercream and adorned with live flowers. The cake's design was supposed to associate with springtime.
It was beautiful, even though it wasn't a traditional choice for a royal couple, because usually they make fruitcakes, preserving part of it to later serve at the christening of the couple's first child.
Did any other royal couple break more traditions than Harry and Meghan? It seems that these two are leaders in it!
Sources: Telegraph, Today, CNN, Town and Country Mag, Telegraph, E Online, BBC, Town and Country Mag, Town and Country Mag, Town and Country Mag, Harpers Bazaar, Harpers Bazaar, Town and Country Mag, Glamour, Express, Wikipedia, Wikipedia, CNN, Elle, Pop Sugar, Good Housekeeping, Daily Mail, Good Housekeeping, Good Housekeeping, Wikipedia, Wikipedia, BBC, Harpers Bazaar, Town and Country Mag, Harpers Bazaar, Town and Country Mag, Town and Country Mag, Town and Country Mag, Town and Country Mag