Last week I went with my daughter as she chose a tailor to alter her wedding dress. The tailor pinned the dress to fit and created the bustle so we could see how it would look (and it was beautiful…like every time she tries it on). The experience was one step in many toward the final day which will be an intimate gathering of immediate family and close friends. They are keeping it small so they can talk with everyone and enjoy all aspects of their day. And less complicated also reduces the pre-wedding stress so they can enjoy the entire process as well as the celebration.
How different this planning is from the Royal Wedding. This week invitations were sent to some 1900 people to attend their ceremony, including more than 1,000 of the bride and groom’s “closest family and friends,” plus members of the royal family, foreign royal families, members of various levels of government and more. The Queen is inviting about as many people from the Prince’s charities as we are in total.
The gold-stamped invitations included the dress code for attendees. The acceptable attire is uniform, morning coat or lounge suit. I didn’t know what that meant until I saw these examples. Apparently “morning dress” is something between formal and business wear and for women includes a hat and gloves. Where do you buy such a hat? No problem. The bride-to-be has enlisted a milliner to custom design hats for some of the guests.
Well okay. I guess the Queen’s in charge. In fact, it was reported that Her Majesty was “not amused” that some planning happened without her consult. This article stated that she called her grandson and said “Are you going to cycle to the Abbey?” I had to read a few lines before I realized that was an insult (from my pro-bike mindset, I thought for a second something creative was going on). The Prince, apparently, was preempting the planning with tweets and the Queen wasn’t happy. She wanted him to stop being “trendy” and be realistic. I mean really, why would his finance wish to ride in a car rather than the horse-drawn glass carriage? The Calvary Guards will be on duty anyway so using a car is wasteful (and bucking tradition). And by the way, she didn’t approve of a breakfast buffet. I don’t think the Queen does buffets.
Personally, I’d rather ride around in a hatchback checking out tailors without paparazzi and a steady flow of tweeting following every move. It seems the Royal Wedding is setting the tone for the type of marriage Prince William and Kate Middleton will have (very public, grounded in centuries of tradition and expectations). And I hope my daughter’s wedding also sets the tone for their life. If so, it’ll be thoughtful, prioritized, surrounded by people who care deeply for them as people, not for their “positions.” (And with a mother who would rather cycle to the Abbey than insist on a glass-drawn carriage.)