I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her…
Remember that line from Notting Hill? Well, maybe I’m just a sucker for a good royal romance, but even with all the pomp and procession of the royal wedding, at the end of the day that’s what I felt like it came down to. Just a boy and a girl, standing in front of each other and promising to spend their lives together. I know we also all bought into the last big royal romance (and look how that turned out), but Kate and William really did seem totally jubilant and in love, and I loved being part of the London celebrations. I’m sure you’re sick to death of reading about it (are you though, really?) but after a week of reflection, here’s my take – the Top 10 things I loved about last Friday’s royal wedding!
1. The trees in the abbey
I’m sorry, but this was bold, even for a royal bride. Totally changed the concept of ‘church flowers’ which, if anything, have been getting more understated in the last few years. I wondered if it would look odd – too showy for a building that, after all, has a long history. But kudos to you, Kate. Somehow it looked completely natural and classic, but at the same time, a little bit magical. The way a fairytale wedding should be. I know not every bride would be able to pull this off, but it may count as one of my favourite wedding details ever.
2. The dress. Oh, the dress.
Of course. You don’t need me to tell you how incredible it was. I was expecting something special but man alive, it literally took my breath away. And not just me – this was the reaction in Hyde Park when Kate stepped out of the car:
I’ve always been a huge fan of Grace Kelly’s wedding style (see the Cap Classique feature about that wedding here) and I LOVE that Kate referenced this and made it her own. The lace was insane. The train, the veil, the tiara. There’s not a single thing to fault in Kate’s whole look and I have to believe its classic lines won’t date the way Princess Diana’s did (although you never know, right?). And I know this is going to spawn many many copies, but I implore you now – lace is not for amateurs. Cheap lace looks… well, cheap. Go quality or go home. On the upside, is this the swan song for everything strapless? Because wow, I hope so.
3. The hot bridesmaid
This was the moment I really decided that Kate was a top bird. I mean, she’s gorgeous, obvs, but she also has a gorgeous sister. And instead of doing the stereotypical bridezilla make-your-bridesmaids-look-heinous trick, she totally picked a dress that made Pippa look A-mazing, knowing that gazillions of people were watching, and letting her have her moment in the spotlight too. Take note bridezillas, it didn’t take a thing away from the main attraction. And that dress showed that sexy and demure can co-exist in a single outfit. Oh, and PS – white bridesmaids dresses? Liking it.
When I moved to the UK and was told that everybody wears a hat to weddings, I’ll admit, I wasn’t keen. Even if I do like doing the hats and fascinators thing when I go to Ladies’ Day, the only time I’ve worn a hat to a wedding was my uncle’s, and if I showed you evidence of that early ’90s atrocity you’d never forgive me. Let’s just call it the Hat of Shame. But following some insanely awesome hats from the guests (not YOU, Princess Beatrice!), my mind is made up and I will definitely be rocking some kind of head candy at the wedding I’m attending in Devon next month. (Although I still won’t be bringing my own confetti, in the British tradition. That’s just WEIRD.)
5. Kate’s natural beauty
When I was a teenager and Pammy Anderson came on the scene, it was the first time that looking like a p*rnstar became a mainstream beauty aspiration. On the one hand, bonus, at least curves got a shot at being cool again. But in the years since, I’ve watched fashion and p*rn merge to a degree that I find a little frightening. And I am so completely thrilled that we have a new style icon who is very, very pretty but in such a natural, albeit glamorous way. The idea that hundreds of little girls were looking at Kate with the same awe I had for Diana made me very happy. I also loved that she wore her hair down (it being her trademark, after all!) and that she did her own makeup. She looked truly beautiful.
6. The veil
When I was a little girl, I used to love the idea of walking down the aisle, peeping at my future husband through a veil, and the moment my dad would lift it and give me a kiss on the cheek to wish me luck as he gave me away. Then I ran into a bunch of feminist issues with what all of that represents. I’m not saying I’ve totally reconciled myself with that, but when I looked at Kate’s pretty veil I sort of fell in love with that look all over again. I still love flowers on brides, but I’ll be glad to see more veils again, as will inevitably happen.
7. Personal symbolism
This was the one thing I’d like other brides to learn most from Princess C. Throughout the wedding, it was clear she’d put so much thought into the symbolism of her choices, and that these were personal and special. There were the aforementioned trees, which referenced her country girl upbringing and represented strength and resilience. In her bouquet, she combined lily of the valley (sweetness and renewed happiness), hyacinth (constancy), myrtle (a tradition for royal brides) and Sweet William (aaahhh!). The lace on her dress included roses, thistles, shamrocks and daffodils, representing England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. And the Grace Kelly reference obvious in the dress itself was perfect for a normal girl who finds herself marrying into a dynasty.
Brides, you may not have nations to represent, but you can still bring symbols of your lives together and your backgrounds into your own wedding. It just takes some creative thought and attention to detail, but it is always worth it in the end!
8. The evening dress
Oh it was so lovely, wasn’t it? Even if Kate’s waist does look the size of my pinkie. Loved the sparkly belt and LOVED the angora cardigan. I’m hoping to see a lot of brides rocking this look as their main wedding dress, and I thought it was the perfect complement to the day dress. Something for everyone!
9. Two cakes
Now I admit, this is literally a case of me wanting to have my cake and eat it. I know groom’s cakes have been big in the States for a while, but I’m less keen on the whole novelty cake direction a lot of them go in. What I liked about William and Kate’s cakes was that one of them was a traditional, incredibly pretty, white cake while the other was made of a favourite biscuit dessert. Sort of in line with the cheese cakes, pies and other cake alternatives that have been so popular recently. If you love these but you also want the traditional, why choose? Have both if you can afford it.
10. The perfect exit
This was the biggest (and best) surprise of the day for me. In fact, if we’d had any idea, we probably would have stayed on the mall, where we’d been for a while after the kiss. I thought it added a thoroughly modern and fun touch to the end of the day, and I’d love to see more brides and grooms make a fun exit, be that with a vintage car, or sparklers or just a change of outfit (I love the old tradition of a ‘going away outfit’, I have to admit!).
But for me personally, maybe the best part of the whole day was being in London, being in Hyde Park in the centre of the action and getting to spend the day with my lovely mum, Lesley. Plus, I got to meet the fabulous Annie of Marry You Me, who was there with her husband. The two of them came to sit with us and enjoy a picnic of Pimms, cucumber sandwiches and champagne (even if it was 11am!). Watching with another wedding blogger was brilliant, as Annie and I could gossip about all the details as they happened (sorry Brandon and mum!) and everyone around us was waving flags and getting into the spirit of the day. I wasn’t going to brave the crowds, but I’m so glad I did!
So, what did you all think? What were your best bits?