It has been a whirlwind week of emotions for all royal fans across the globe—from the surprise of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's engagement announcement, to jealousy and utter disappointment (yes, we're not ashamed to admit it) that he is no longer on the market, and then excitement again that we know the exact date of their wedding so we can start dreaming about every single detail of their big day.
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And while there are a lot of unknowns, royal weddings actually tend to have plenty in common. That is, of course, because the British monarchy has a number of wedding traditions that have stood the test of time and that couples are still expected to incorporate in their weddings today. Take carriages, for example.
"As royal newlyweds leave the wedding ceremony they take a ride to the reception in a horse-drawn carriage. The British royal family rides in the State Landau, a 1902 gilded open carriage. In case of rain, a Glass Coach would be used instead," explains WeddingWire trend and royal expert Anne Chertoff.
Scroll down to find out which traditional elements unite all royal weddings, giving us a sneak peek at what to expect from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding.
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The (Very) Tall Cake
"The wedding cake is a centuries-old tradition, and bakers go all out when it comes to designing a royal wedding cake," says Chertoff. She explains that Princess Diana and Prince Charles’s 5-tier wedding cake was adorned with the family's coat of arms, while the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s 8-tiered cake had sugar flowers and the couple's monogram. And Queen Elizabeth's wedding cake (pictured here on the left) reportedly weighed 500 lbs.
The Kiss on the Balcony
"No royal wedding is complete without greeting the public on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, followed by the first public kiss between the newlyweds. The balcony is historically the location for many major royal family milestones and this moment is arguably one of the most anticipated of the day. It’s guaranteed to produce an iconic image used for years to come," says Keith Phillips of Classic Photographers.
The Groom's Military Uniform
"Unlike the bride, the groom’s attire is a much simpler decision. Like the many family members before him, Prince Harry will be expected to be in military dress, as is the standard. For his Big Day, Prince William wore the red uniform of the Irish Guards while Prince Charles sported his full dress naval commander uniform when he married Diana, Princess of Wales," explains Kylie Carlson of the UK Academy of Wedding & Event Planning.
Kids play a major role
"It’s a British tradition to have children in the wedding party as flower girls or 'baby bridesmaids' and pageboys. The children are made up of the couple’s nieces and nephews, godchildren, cousins, children of close friends or their own kids, and can be as young as 2 and as old as 17. While planning their wedding, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will surely ask Princess Charlotte and Prince George, his niece and nephew, to be part of their bridal party," says Chertoff.
So we are guaranteed a total cuteness overload.
"Royal brides have more often than not said 'I Do' to sleeves on their big day although the overall look may vary," adds Jennifer Taylor of Taylor’d Events. So while there's no way of knowing the exact silhouette Meghan Markle will choose, we can be pretty sure that a strapless mermaid design wil not be part of her royal wedding.
The Bridal Bouquet
"Every single bridal bouquet since 1840 has included a sprig of myrtle from Queen Victoria’s very own garden. Myrtle symbolizes love and fidelity, which makes it the perfect match for such a happy occasion," explains Carlson. Royal brides in the past have also favored elegant white blooms. What's one thing that we won't be seeing at Meghan Markle's wedding? The bouquet toss is a definite no-no at royal weddings.
"A veil is must-have accessory to tie together the perfect royal ensemble. Most brides in the royal family opt for a cathedral length like Sophie, Countess of Wessex, did, but Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, selected a shorter version trimmed in lace," adds Taylor.