By Sonia Abrams
Royal wedding fever swept the globe on Friday, April 29. In the months leading up to the wedding, speculation was rife surrounding the style, flowers, and of course, the dress. The media filled hours of airtime second-guessing the style and color scheme. When the wait was over, Kate and William’s style, beliefs, ethos, and personality were communicated to the world. Their wedding oozed modernity, tradition, and glamour. It was incredibly intimate, despite the estimated worldwide television audience of 2 billion and the 1,900 guests seated at Westminster Abbey. No doubt, brides will try to emulate the following elements of the royal nuptials.
Tradition. In the U.K., many couples opt for civil ceremonies. Church weddings are less popular. It’s likely we’ll now see a dramatic increase in couples taking their vows in a church. Other traditional elements included a personal prayer written by the couple and the personally chosen hymns.
The Dress. Sarah Burton, British fashion designer for Alexandra McQueen, created the best-kept fashion secret for years—a dress that blended tradition with all that is good about modern British bridal design. Inspiration was drawn from Grace Kelly’s gown. Kelly, like Kate, was also a commoner marrying into a monarchy with her 1956 wedding to Prince Rainier. Designs have already been produced that feature similar features as Kate’s, such as long sleeves and the mix of lace with appliqué. The narrow sleeves, plunging neckline, masses of ivory and white satin silk will be a huge trend. And with the padded hips to make the waist appear smaller, it made for a timeless, simple, and dramatic effect.
The Veil. Kate’s mid-length, silk tulle, traditional veil trimmed with hand-embroidered flowers cemented the traditionalism. Nothing flows and drapes better than silk tulle—shimmery and transparent. Many brides think veils are stiff and so shy away from them, but having seen how immaculate, feminine, and glamorous Kate looked, brides in 2011 will likely sport tulle veils.
Format of the day. William and Kate’s wedding showed flexibility in the design of the wedding day. A mid-morning ceremony followed by a three-hour champagne and canapé reception and an evening party gave the couple quality time together and allowed them to absorb the day. Not all wedding ceremonies have to start at 2 p.m. or 3 p.m. as is often the case. Kate and William’s approach was guest-focused and allowed the day to flow without anyone being rushed and with ample time for the couple to greet guests.
Bridesmaids and wedding party. Pippa Middleton is now a legend, thanks to her ivory McQueen cowl-neck, full-length slim dress. The organza-covered buttons and lace decoration echoed her sister’s bridal gown and could have been a wedding dress as well. The aesthetic decision to dress all the bridesmaids in white was stunning. This trend will be copied on thousands of aisles worldwide.
English country garden floral. The abbey resembled an English country garden with lily of the valley, myrtle, sweet William, and hyacinth. It gave the abbey, in the middle of London, an inviting, lush feel. The flowers were white, green, and cream. The color story was pure, simple, and serene. There were no bouquets or corsages for the adult bridesmaid, just a floral spray in her hair. The young bridesmaids had head posies and mini pomanders.
Eco-conscious event. Everyone realized the floral design would have a green ethos when it was revealed that London-based florist Shane Connelly had been commissioned for the floral duties. Connelly has an eco-friendly and green philosophy that Kate and her father-in-law, Prince Charles, appreciate. An avenue of English maple trees lined the aisle in Westminster Abbey. In a nod toward eco-consciousness, the maples enhanced the English country garden style but also were seasonal and able to be replanted at Highgrove Gardens, Prince Charles’ estate in Gloucestershire. The flowers and plants, sourced locally, were donated to charities.
No doubt the royal wedding of William and Kate has left its mark on the wedding industry. For those of us in England, it was a day to be proud of our British monarchy and all the pomp and pageantry on display. It was an amazing spectacle that unfolded seamlessly with plenty of “wow” moments.
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