Dear William and Kate,
Even dyed-in-the-wool modern-minded femmes have succumbed to your wedding brouhaha. After all, how often does one witness a royal wedding? Sure, Hollywood has had its share of self-professed royal figures with the money (if not the sense) to throw over-the-top ceremonies. But an actual, real-life fairy tale? We're so there.
As you prepare for your April 29, 2011, ceremony, it's only natural to recall the July 29, 1981, wedding of William's parents: Lady Diana and Prince Charles. It was a lavish, global spectacle full of pomp and circumstance -- a real-life fairy tale.
Because so many of us fondly remember Di and Chuck's wedding, something Prince William obviously couldn't witness first-hand, we thought we'd share a few things you both should consider including on your big day, next.
A Carriage Ride
For many of us, catching a glimpse of Lady Diana in a horse-drawn glass coach headed to her nuptials was the highlight of 1981. A true Cinderella moment.
But the idea of horsepower isn't a winner for one contemporary princess-to-be. Instead, Kate is opting for a luxury car to transport her along a winding route to Westminster Abbey, where she and William will wed Friday, April 29.
It's rumored the move is a shining example of the couple's efforts to keep costs in check. However, some have pointed out that the horse carriages and guards are on duty on the wedding day anyway so there's no extra expense. Perhaps Kate finds arriving via coach a tad over-the-top.
The good news, for Monarch-watchers like us at least, is that William and Kate have relented in one respect: They'll embark on married life with a horse-drawn carriage ride to whisk them away from the Abbey and on to the reception -- just like Charles and Diana, who ponied up for a post-nuptial carriage ride on their big day.
A Fabulous Wedding Singer
We'd like to see a golden warbler headline this royal event for the most obvious reason of all: What good's a reception without song and dance? Of course, we're willing to bet our country estate the performers courted by William and Kate will do a better job than Adam Sandler and his back-up band did in "The Wedding Singer."
Luckily, Prince William has access to some of the best musicians in the world -- and not only because he's heir to the British throne. In 1976, his father, Prince Charles, founded The Prince's Trust, a charity designed to give disadvantaged youth a boost. Some of the trust's ambassadors include pop stars Bryan Adams and Phil Collins, tenor Russell Watson and blues singer Joss Stone, who counted Prince William among her enthralled audience members during an Armed Forces concert in 2008.
With a line-up like that, the royal couple might not need our two cents, but that's never stopped us before: What about the singer Pink? She could turn any boring ol' reception into a dance party.
A royal wedding demands an equally royal guest list. But we're convinced it's time to let a few thousand commoners crash the party, too.
What's that? Convinced Westminster Abbey simply can't accommodate throngs of onlookers? Then perhaps the royals should consider one sheikh's decree; he commissioned a custom-built stadium for his guests. When Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai, married a real-life princess in 1981 -- the same year Lady Diana and Prince Charles wed -- a whopping 20,000 guests viewed their vows while seated in this stadium. A large number of "commoners" only seems fitting, since Kate is a commoner, too.
It's rumored that 100 members of the public will receive invitations to the wedding, most likely drawn from charities that William and Kate support. But wouldn't it be cool if 100 random commoners received invitations, lottery-style?
A Fairy Tale Ending
Sure, we've been raised by mothers who've insisted we know (good-and-well) how to rescue ourselves, but what gal doesn't want a little happily ever after?
So we implore you, William and Kate, give us that fairy tale ending. Make this wedding stick -- even if one of you leaves your royal socks three feet from the royal hamper on a regular basis. Above all, adore each other -- no matter the hour or circumstance.
Of course, if this newest royal marriage does go south, the divorcees can still do some good. Take the oft-divorced Liz Taylor, for example. When Richard Burton proposed, he presented her with a 69-carat Harry Winston diamond engagement ring. The stone, which had once been part of a 240-carat diamond mined in 1966, cost Burton a reported $1 million. But when the couple's marriage dissolved, Taylor sold the ring in 1978, announcing that she planned to fund a hospital in Botswana with the proceeds.
A Prince in Uniform
We still remember the image of a dapper Prince Charles in full naval dress uniform in 1981 as he and Lady Diana tied the knot in front of 3,500 guests and an estimated 750 million television viewers.
And we've taken note as his son, Prince William, embarked on military training with Britain's Royal Air Force, becoming a helicopter pilot with the Royal Navy's Search and Rescue Force.
But all this royal watching has led us to only one conclusion: Please, oh please, Prince William, don that uniform for the wedding. We admit, we're a sucker for a man in uniform, but that's not the only impetus behind our request. We're also smitten with tradition. Prince William's grandfather (the Duke of Edinburgh) and his father, Prince Charles, both walked up in the aisle in Royal Navy dress uniforms. We hope Prince Williams does the same.
At Least One Pachyderm
When reality darling Nicole Ritchie wed musician Joel Madden in 2010, the couple's guests were shocked to discover an elaborately dressed elephant make an appearance at the ceremony. Although the elephant in the room was a surprise to nearly everyone, including the groom, we think we know where Ritchie got her inspiration.
Not only does she believe elephants to be good luck, but she was inspired by the lavish elephant-studded wedding in the movie, "Coming to America," in which Eddie Murphy played an African prince.
While we have mixed feelings about introducing a 7-ton (6.35 metric ton) pachyderm onto the Westminster grounds, the idea does embody something we wish for the royal couple. Although they may not opt for such an exotic twist, we do hope they put their own spin on tradition. There's nothing like shaking it up a bit to bond with the people.
A Gorgeous Gown
The oft-photographed Kate's evolving-yet-elegant style is expected to be mirrored in her wedding gown. Although we'll certainly have to wait until the big wedding day reveal to find out for sure, we hope she doesn't lean to the austere. On this singular day, British economy aside, we want to see something extraordinary, like yards of fabric and scores of hand-sewn beading befitting a queen-in-waiting.
Kate, as a former assistant accessories buyer for a British fashion chain, you'll bring plenty of your own ideas to the design table -- a different tack than the one reportedly taken by Lady Diana. "Shy Di", who was younger and less fashion-savvy at the time of her marriage, left most of the dress details to designer Elizabeth Emanuel. Not that the end result wasn't great: The silk taffeta and lace gown, with its puffy sleeves and 25-foot (7.62 meter) train was a showstopper in the '80s.
We only wonder if the cost of your gown will rival one of the most expensive dresses on record -- a $12 million gown featuring 150 carats worth of diamonds. Kate, if you can pull that off, you can bet we'll all be talking about the royal jewels.
When Lady Diana and Prince Charles wed in 1981, the ceremony included five bridesmaids. Although there's no word on whether Kate will match -- or best -- her late mother-in-law's number of ladies in waiting, we have one teensy request: Let's set a record!
When it comes to weddings with the largest number of bridesmaids, Suresh Joachim and his fiancé, Christa, hold the top spot, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. The couple married in the company of 79 bridesmaids. That's a far cry from the average wedding party, which typically includes five attendants for the bride and groom each.
Or, William and Kate, you could go after the oldest bridesmaid category. The honor currently goes to the late Edith Gulliford. In 2007, at 105, Gulliford was a bridesmaid during a wedding ceremony in Chatham, England, a stand-up that earned her a Guinness World Record for oldest bridesmaid.
Whatever the number Kate settles on, we're sure there's no shortage of takers. Any number of us would love to wear a bridesmaid's gown on this royal wedding day.
When members of the Royal Navy baked a five-tier royal wedding cake for Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding, few probably imagined a single piece would sell at auction 27 years later. But that's exactly what happened in 2008, when a former royal servant sold a piece of the iconic wedding cake she'd stored in an attic for safekeeping.
The slice, measuring a sizeable nine inches (22.87 centimeters), may have come from that original five-tier creation -- or one of 23 other official wedding cakes. Either way, it fetched more than $1,800. We wonder whether William and Kate's helpers could someday be so lucky.
Whatever the case, we hope the royal bakers go all-out when it comes to wedding day confections. After all, royal cakes have a long history of over-the-top proportions. Take Queen Victoria's 1840 wedding cake, for example. With an impressive nine-foot (2.74 meters) circumference and 300-pound (136 kilograms) weight, the affair was sure to feed the masses. Now if only the royal servants would add a reception line for those of us waiting in Trafalgar Square.
A Real-world Budget
In a distinctly avant-garde move, palace officials have used Twitter to announce details of the royal wedding arrangements. We hope they're as modern-minded with the wedding budget as well. After all, we commoners who wed other commoners surely had to mind our dollars and cents. Unless we're Vanisha Mittal, daughter of steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal, of course.
When Mittal's only daughter wed in 2004, the Paris-based event cost more than $60 million, with guests housed in five-star hotels and invited to wedding parties hosted in specially constructed wooden castles and Versailles art galleries.
While the royal wedding may -- or may not -- top this $60 million high note, we like the tone you, the royal couple, has already set via special request. You've reportedly asked guests to make charitable donations rather than send lavish wedding gifts. That is a princely move we can certainly appreciate.
Americans don’t have a royal family, but are fascinated by royalty. HowStuffWorks looks at five Americans who married into royalty.
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