It’s officially Royal Wedding Week! This Saturday the 19th of May, our favorite redheaded prince Harry of Wales will wed actress and philanthropist Meghan Markle at Windsor Castle. But while a lot of the wedding will look familiar to American viewers, many elements of the wedding will be very different. Meghan may be American, but this is an English royal wedding after all. Here’s what to expect.
The Wedding Party
- US WEDDINGS: Usually brides and grooms opt to have their best friends and family members stand with them on their wedding day.
- UK WEDDINGS: Traditionally English wedding parties are made up of children, but most modern brides choose to have adult bridesmaids and groomsmen. However, they almost always follow behind the bride instead of preceding her.
- THE ROYAL WEDDING: Being American, Meghan is likely to buck tradition and go for a grown-up wedding party. However, she could follow in Kate Middleton’s footsteps and have an adult Maid of Honor and several children in the wedding party.
The Dress Code
- US WEDDINGS: The dress code can vary wildly at American weddings, but the theme tends to be celebration! From black tie to beachy chic, people love to put on their best for a wedding.
- UK WEDDINGS: English weddings in general tend to be more laid-back affairs. People still get dressed up, but they’re far less likely to encounter a black tie dress code.
- THE ROYAL WEDDING: The Royal Wedding, however, is an entirely different story! Prepare to see a lot of hats, the English staple of fancy attire.
- US WEDDINGS: We all love those photos of emotional grooms watching their brides walk down the aisle, but that’s not the tradition everywhere…
- UK WEDDINGS: In the UK, grooms actually face forward while their brides walk down the aisle with everyone else watching.
- THE ROYAL WEDDING: William chose to face forward while Kate walked down the aisle, and there’s no reason to believe Harry won’t do the same. While we’re bummed that we won’t get to watch him watch Meghan, maybe we’ll get a touching moment at the end of the aisle when they finally face each other!
- US WEDDINGS: While not everyone writes their own vows, it’s very common in the States for brides and grooms to opt for a personalized ceremony.
- UK WEDDINGS: It’s very rare for British couples to write their own vows. More commonly, vows from the couple’s religious or non-religious tradition of choice are used.
- THE ROYAL WEDDING: There has been speculation that Harry and Meghan will combine approaches by reciting traditional vows before adding their own sentiments.
- US WEDDINGS: It’s pretty standard to get toasts from the Maid of Honor, the Best Man, and possibly one or more parent at the reception, usually sweet and sentimental.
- UK WEDDINGS: Across the pond, however, women don’t give toasts at weddings. The Best Man, the father of the bride, and the groom give speeches. And that Best Man’s speech? It tends to be more of a roast than a toast!
- THE ROYAL WEDDING: Harry took it easy on his brother in his Best Man’s speech, so maybe William will return the favor. We’ll just have to wait and see if any women take the mic.
- US WEDDINGS: From chocolate to caramel, from decadent fillings to stunning toppings, the wedding cake is the pièce de résistance at the reception.
- UK WEDDINGS: The cake of choice at UK weddings, however, is… fruitcake. While that may sound less than ideal to US couples, fruitcake is a much-beloved staple in the UK!
- THE ROYAL WEDDING: All we know about the royal wedding cake is that it’s being made by Claire Ptak, the owner of Violet Cakes in London.
With an American woman marrying an English prince, who knows what traditions they’ll choose to include in their wedding. But whatever it looks like, we know it will be a truly spectacular event, and we can’t wait to watch! With a noon wedding in the UK, we’ll have to tune in at 7am ET or 4am PT to see Meghan and Harry tie the knot! ABC and Good Morning America will have coverage starting at 5am ET (2am PT).