Archive for Monday, April 25, 2011


No common affair: How the royal wedding will stack up against typical American nuptials

April 25, 2011


The royals of the House of Windsor do weddings a little different than most people. Especially compared with weddings of American commoners, royal weddings are a little bit more extravagant.

Here is a side-by-side look at how American weddings stack up against the upcoming one of Prince William and Kate Middleton, which is April 25. (The nuptials will be shown on television starting at 5 a.m. Central time.)

Britain's Prince William and  Kate Middleton leave the wedding of their friends Harry Mead and Rosie Bradford in the village of Northleach, Gloucestershire,  England on Oct. 23, 2010. William and Kate will be married April 29, 2011.

Britain's Prince William and Kate Middleton leave the wedding of their friends Harry Mead and Rosie Bradford in the village of Northleach, Gloucestershire, England on Oct. 23, 2010. William and Kate will be married April 29, 2011.

The venue:

Americans can get married anywhere, as long as they have a valid wedding certificate and an officiant: on the beach, in Vegas, at City Hall, in a park, at a hotel.

Carmen Hocking, Lawrence wedding coordinator and owner of A Beautiful Wedding, says, “I’m seeing a lot more outdoor weddings, with South Park as an increasingly popular venue. But for the most part, people still choose to get married in a church.”

Royals also get married in a church, with the upcoming one to be held at Westminster Abbey, the astoundingly statuesque cathedral that has had daily services for a thousand years. The Abbey was established by the Henry III and has been used for royal coronations, weddings and funerals.

The budget

American wedding budgets range from $10,000 on the lower end to more than $40,000. The average runs between $20,000 and $25,000, Hocking says. About 40 percent of the budget is spent on the reception. Traditionally, the bride’s parents foot the bill for the wedding, but some couples share the cost or pay for their own nuptials.

The shindig for the royals is expected to cost somewhere between $20 million and $60 million. The biggest part of the budget will be for security, which is to be the taxpayers’ burden. Prince Charles is to pay for the bulk of the other expenses, with a donation likely from Queen Elizabeth, and a specific expense, such as the wedding dress, paid for by Kate’s parents.

The attendants:

Americans usually have anywhere from one to 10 attendants who stand with the bride and groom, with one each designated as the maid (or matron) of honor and the best man. Then there might be junior bridesmaids, flower girls or ring bearers, who are usually children, but occasionally have been pets, Hocking says.

Donne Kerestic, CEO of 1800 Registry and ABC News expert on royal weddings, says, “Traditionally, U.K. bridal parties are quite different from that of the U.S. In the past, royal grooms have chosen more than one best man, or supporter as it is sometimes called, but Prince William has made it clear that Prince Harry offers all the support he needs.”

Kate will have her sister, Pippa, as her matron of honor. She will also have four bridesmaids and two pageboys who are the children of royalty or close friends.

The guests:

Americans invite their friends, family and co-workers to their big day. Guest lists generally run between 100 and 250 people, Hocking says.

Of the royal wedding, Kerestic says, “More than half of the guests will be family and friends of the couple, and there is an expected 1,900 guests. Royal invitations are typically sent in cream envelopes addressed only to a wife in the case of couples.”

The guest list also includes heads of state, celebrities, religious leaders and the butcher, baker and pubkeeper of the bride’s hometown. The lunch reception guests, hosted by the Queen at Buckingham Palace, are pared down to 600. And then the intimate dinner reception given by Prince Charles shrinks to a cozy 300 invitees.

The music:

Americans use a variety of musical instruments and musicians for the ceremony, including violinists, pianists, organists, harpists or string quartets.

Hocking says, “There may be a soloist that performs in the prelude, or more rarely, during the ceremony.”

The musicians at William and Kate’s wedding will include The Choir of the Westminster Abbey, the Chapel Royal Choir, the London Chamber Orchestra and The Fanfare Team from the Central Band of the Royal Air Force. The eight-member Trumpeters of the Fanfare Team will perform a specially commissioned piece, “Valiant and Brave.”

The reception:

American receptions are held in country clubs, restaurants, hotels or sometimes at home. The reception generally involves a meal and drinks, with some opting for a cash bar. Besides a wedding cake, some couples choose to have a groom’s cake.

Hocking says, “The groom’s cake is traditionally red velvet, but sometimes chocolate. Some grooms like it to express their personality or hobbies — I’ve even seen one groom’s cake in the shape of a beer cooler. It was very realistic looking!”

The royal wedding reception will be held at home — in Buckingham Palace, home to the Queen. She will host a luncheon, the menu of which has not been disclosed, but is sure to showcase the best of British game and delicacies. The wedding cake will be a multi-tiered brandy flavored fruitcake, decorated with a variety of flowers, which Kate chose specifically to symbolize wedding themes. Prince William has requested another cake made from chocolate and McVities, a British tea cookie.

The name:

Traditionally, American brides take their husband’s last name, and that still applies to the majority of couples in the United States. However, a bride retaining her maiden name or taking on a hyphenated last name is not uncommon, and there are even cases of both husband and wife taking on a joined hyphenated last name.

William’s title is His Royal Highness, Prince William of Wales, which would transfer to his bride, making her Princess William of Wales. However, the Queen could gift her with the title Princess Catherine of Wales, even though traditionally this is given only to born princesses. The Queen is also expected to gift William with a title of Duke, which is higher than Prince, thus making the couple a Duke and Duchess.


Bob Forer 7 years, 1 month ago

Who the hell cares. Its just another wedding. They happen by the tens of thousands every day throughout the world. The American public's curiosity and fascination with celebrities is indicative of a dying culture. It's a shame that people find their lives so meaningless that they feel that have to live their life vicariously through others.

Kontum1972 7 years, 1 month ago

wonder how long it will be before they knock off Kate...since she is not of Royal Blood?

mb after the first child....time will tell.

somedude20 7 years, 1 month ago

Who are the people that care about this turd fest? This morning the lead story on Good Morning America was not the storms that went through St. Louis. Not Japan's nuclear problems nor was it about Libya no, it was about this stupid wedding. Oy Vey!

Bingoj1 7 years, 1 month ago

Who cares? A bunch of rich people who didn't earn the money they got are marrying? Blah blah blah,...WHO CARES??? They will be on the cover of the Enquirer within a month of getting married. Royalty should be abolished and they all made to get REAL that's news.

akt2 7 years, 1 month ago

An awful lot of griping from a bunch of haters that don't care. You just wasted 5 minutes of your lives posting about the subject. Like it or not, it's part of history. Just not in your four corners of the world.

bastet 7 years, 1 month ago

My goodness, it must be terrible for you all to have to spend so much time announcing to the world that you won't be spending any time watching this event. Exactly how high is your blood pressure right now as you think about how you won't be thinking about it, and about how much you don't care and how much you care that people know you don't care?

Jan Rolls 7 years, 1 month ago

Who cares about a comparison. When was the last time a price got married in the U.S.? Why did LJ even waste space on this stuff?

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