Written by Abi Coleman
With all the talk about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s big day this May, we thought we’d find out what traditions a royal wedding must uphold, which might make for lovely additions to your own wedding plans.
Sending the bouquet
For 95 years, royal brides have sent their bouquet to the grave of the unknown warrior in Westminster Abbey. In 1923, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother first laid her flowers there in memory of her brother, who was killed during the First World War. If you don’t fancy throwing your bouquet to all the single ladies in your wedding party, then you too could adopt this more royal touch. Laying your bouquet by a loved-one’s headstone or delivering it to an unwell family member who couldn’t attend your big day, is a really royal way to ensure those you love are still part of your wedding.
Double the cake
Although the royal wedding cake is traditionally a boiled fruit cake, the loved-up couple are allowed to have another one in a flavour of their choosing. That’s right, two cakes! So instead of debating with hubby-to-be which flavour would be best, why not consider this royal trait for your special day. Providing a variety of flavours can also help your guests feel thought of, allowing people to choose which cake they’d prefer - especially when ticking off food intolerances! Prince William requested a chocolate biscuit cake for his second choice, and it is rumoured that Harry and Meghan were given a cake made from five tiers of cheese on a visit to Wales. No need to choose between traditional and your favourite flavour - just go royal and have both!
The beautiful bride at a royal wedding is required to wear a tiara, normally borrowed from the Queen for the occasion, with diamonds and jewels crowning the bride’s head with glamour. Now if you’re not into sparkly stones, you don’t have to ignore this tradition all together, as flower crowns, beads or sea glass can be a lovely alternative. The Queen herself wore the Queen Mary Fringe tiara on her wedding day, as did her daughter Princess Anne. But this specific tiara can also be worn as a necklace. This idea of being able to re-wear your tiara might be just the royal hint you’re looking for, so look out for headbands, hair combs and pins that can be used over and over, reminding you of your special day for years to come.
As the guest list for a royal wedding is so long, there is always a plethora of entertainment provided while they wait for everyone to be seated. Choirs sing and orchestras play musical pieces chosen to set the scene for the royal occasion. Instead of your guests waiting in silence, you too can choose to add a bit of royal atmosphere. A playlist of your favourite love songs, a medley from your church choir, or finding a string quartet to play classical music can add extra excitement for your guests and even help relax your groom as he waits. Precede your walk down the aisle with a melodic mash up of your choosing and ignite the anticipation in your guests right from the off.
Every bride likes to have a unique wedding dress. Lace or silk, beads or sequins, train or veil, there is so much variety to make the best fit for you. But for an extra special something some royals have embellished their gowns with that little bit more. When marrying Prince Andrew, Sarah Ferguson had their initials and her family crest embroidered into the train. This royal touch could be just what you’re looking for and could lead to no end of fun deciding what to include. Embroidering the inside of your hubby’s tie can be done for less than £10! Maybe the wedding date, a song lyric or bible reference - any would provide a great talking point for your guests and making a new tradition for your own family for years to come.
Order of service
We all love a good song at a wedding. Classic hymns or new praise songs are a great way to involve all the guests. As well as these crowd pleasers, a royal wedding is also filled with lots of refrains sung by the choir. Mainly consisting of Psalms, they sing out the beautiful words over the church, pointing the congregation to the sovereignty of God and the beauty of his love. So, if you fancy creating more of a royal look to your order of play, why not add in a few of your favourite Psalms too. They can of course be read rather than sung and will help focus the service on your love for each other, and on the love of God for everyone else too.
Illustrations : Imogen Kershaw