Today’s blog entry is a reprint of our essay about the royal wedding, which appeared last Thursday in the Philadelphia Inquirer. We wrote it before the wedding, and then parked ourselves in front of the TV to watch everything from the royal arrival to the party at night. A few thoughts:
1. Those hats make the little lace doilies you cover your head with look pathetic. We’ll be wearing feathered 3-foot-tall fascinators next Yom Kippur.
2. When William and Kate curtsied to their Bubbie, the Queen, on their way out of the abbey, she didn’t jump out of her seat and give them a hug, a kiss, or pinch their cheeks. But we know she isn’t a Jewish grandmother, so why were we surprised?
3. Why was the bride’s younger, very attractive sister wearing white? Trying to upstage the bride?
4. Our souvenir mugs are in the mail.
Just Like Any Wedding, But With More Canapes:
On Friday, Prince William of Wales will marry Catherine Middleton. This wedding of the century will be watched by millions and chronicled by thousands. But even though the royal wedding is much grander than others, the basic decisions involved are the same.
For example, today’s young couples have to decide whether to have a trendy destination wedding, a stripped-down eco-conscious event, or something more in keeping with tradition. And it’s no surprise that William and Kate went traditional. After all, his family comes with King Edward VII’s 1902 coronation carriage, the glittering Strathmore Rose Tiara, and a fabulous venue for the party: their 775-room castle.
Most couples have to expect wedding input, both welcome and unwelcome, from their moms, but they don’t usually have to worry about their grandmoms. That changes when grandmom is Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her Other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith. She might have some input.
Here are a few other issues every couple has to deal with:
The wedding website: Like many couples, Kate and William have one, and they look like any other adorable young couple in their portrait on the home page. But instead of sections on “How we met” and “Hobbies we share,” they have a message from the Archbishop of Canterbury. And while many couples like to brag about their wedding cake, only they can claim a baker who, according to the site, has been in business since 1741 and is working on a 12-layer fruitcake that will serve 600.
Who is clicking on the royal site? Not just Uncle Joe, who needs directions to the church. It has 5.4 million hits so far. And their Facebook page has 43,334 friends and counting.
The families: Who is “marrying up,” the bride or the groom? It’s hard for families not to compare themselves to each other. The Middletons are self-made millionaires. But the queen has all those jewels, castles, and, at one time, Australia. Advantage: royals.
The bill: There wasn’t a big debate in this case over whether the groom’s family would pay for the flowers or the band. Most of the costs of the royal wedding are being covered by Parliament and the royal family. It seems the queen has made a few investments over the years …
The guest list: About 1,900 people are invited to the ceremony at Westminster Abbey, but only 600 got invites to the reception at the palace. Think you had trouble deciding who should be invited to the rehearsal dinner or the Sunday brunch?
Kate’s parents invited the butcher, the mailman, and the pub owner from their hometown in Berkshire. This “Bucklebury bunch” will sit alongside dignitaries and heads of state. It’s kind of like when your future mother-in-law invited her hairdresser.
Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, is not on the guest list. The queen has issues with her bad behavior, and she’s an “ex” now anyway. We had the same dilemma when it came to cousin Sheila: She used to be married to cousin Bob, but then she made that toast.
The menu: Remember the awkward phone call you made the week before your friend’s wedding to remind her that your date was a vegetarian with a gluten allergy? Chances are this won’t be a problem for Kate and William’s guests, because the Master of the Household is directing his chefs to prepare “a repertoire of 150 different kinds of cold, savory, hot, and sweet canapés.” One of them is bound to be watercress on a rice cracker. (They are making 10,000 canapés, and we did the math: about 16 per person. Victoria Beckham can give her extras to Sir Elton John.)
Favors: For us, wedding favors are a box of personalized mints or a picture frame. For the royals, they’re an industry. In England alone, it’s estimated that people will spend upward of 26 million pounds (about $43 million) on wedding tchotchkes.
The official commemorative souvenirs include bone china teacups with the couple’s initials in gold and silver. Unofficially, you can buy everything from paper dolls to playing cards emblazoned with their images.
Gifts: Kate won’t be stuck holding a tacky lace bag to collect envelopes at the reception, nor will there be a table piled high with shiny packages. Rather, the royal couple has asked everyone to contribute to charities that are close to their hearts, and they’ve set up a website to make it easy (www.royalweddingcharityfund.org). This is a classy option – and it will save them a trip to Harrods to return the fondue pot.