Of course you set your alarm to get up in the wee hours to watch Prince Harry and American activist/actress Meghan Markle tie the knot in the most anticipated wedding since William and Kate’s. Most viewers seem to agree that the loss of sleep was worth it, as the ceremony came off as a seamless blend of the best of new and old into an updated, modern-day fairy tale.
Decode 1.8 offers a recap of the royal event, along with some lessons learned from the guests, which you can take along to your next wedding.
The ceremony was romantic without being cloying, the pageantry historical without being stuffy. The bride and groom managed to retain all the royal traditions while gently nudging the festivities into the 21st Century.
Starting with Meghan, now known as the Duchess of Sussex. Her heavy silk Givenchy gown was a stunning statement of elegant simplicity, from the bateau neckline to the relatively modest train. The column of white skimmed her body with restrained, classic lines. It evoked memories of the late actress Audrey Hepburn, also a Givenchy fan throughout her life.
One nod to tradition was Meghan’s gossamer silk tulle veil, five meters (16 feet) long, hand-embroidered not only with the flowers representative of Kensington Palace and the 53 countries of of the British Commonwealth, but also of California, her original home. Another traditional touch was Queen Mary’s diamond and platinum bandeau tiara, on loan from the collection of her new grandmother-in-law, Queen Elizabeth II.
So the Duchess was a hit, but what about all those who attended the wedding? Her “court,” one might call it.
Many of the 600 invited guests echoed the clean, strong lines of Meghan’s dress, but the resemblance ended there. Naturally, since the one inviolable rule for wedding guests is, never wear white. Oprah Winfrey nearly broke that rule, but knew better. When the cream dress she’d planned to wear arrived, she was horrified to see that, in person, it looked bright white. So she scrambled to adjust, finally donning a pale pink Stella McCartney tiered, below-knee length creation. (Note to wedding guests: Don’t wait till 24 hours before the wedding to see your finished dress!)
Since this was a midday wedding, any length except floor-length was acceptable, and that’s what showed up at St. George’s Chapel. All colors (except white!) were present and accounted for, as well, from the queen’s lime coat which she wore over a lime, lemon, and purple printed dress to the mother-of-the-bride’s pale green Oscar de la Renta day dress and coat, enhanced with shy white flowers embroidered on both.
Other colors ranged from Easter-egg pastels (example: Kate’s—the Duchess of Cambridge—sweet cream yellow dress) to brilliant jewel tones to sunny springtime florals. Various hues of purple were evident everywhere: orchid, lilac, amethyst, and lavender, as were sundry shades of blush and blue.
Many attendees featured dresses with matching jackets or coat dresses, in a nod to the formality of the occasion and the religious venue. Others were less restrained in their choices, including George Clooney’s wife Amal’s eye-catching brilliant yellow gown, with the suggestion of a train, by Stella McCartney, and Victoria Beckham in her own design, a figure-hugging, below-calf length silhouette in navy, set off with bright red heels.
Taking their cues from the queen, perhaps, who is never seen outside Buckingham Palace without a hat, the women guests sported either elaborate hats or fascinators, the hair toppers comprising a froth of stiff lace, feathers, tulle, net, ribbons, you-name-it. The hats, from the queen’s to Kate’s to Oprah’s, all perfectly matched their dresses.
The takeaway for guests: Anything classy, appropriate, respectful, and chic goes at a royal wedding. The idea is to celebrate the couple, while donning your most flattering style.