As we get ready to celebrate the one year anniversary of William and Kate, we look back the wedding of the century and wonder: How has the Royal Wedding changed the way Americans choose to wed? Here, we examine how the royal wedding is impacting our nation's nuptial script—and what it means for you.
Photo: Getty Images
On the day of Kate Middleton's wedding to Prince William, the couple's official Royal Wedding website announced: "Miss Middleton chose British brand Alexander McQueen for the beauty of its craftsmanship and its respect for traditional workmanship and the technical construction of clothing." Almost a year later, Kate re-emphasized that respect yesterday by personally thanking the dressmakers who spent hours stitching the design into reality.
The Duchess payed a private visit to the Royal School of Needlework at Hampton Court Palace, expressing her gratitude to a group of about 30 members. The team worked on her custom McQueen gown while wearing gloves and without even knowing the identity of the designer. They learned the origin of Kate's dress the same as the rest of us on April 29, 2011, on TV.
No surprise, then, that the school's chief executive, Susan Kay-Williams, was just as tight-lipped in commenting to the Daily Telegraph following Kate's visit: "It was lovely to meet the Duchess of Cambridge and to show her what the Royal School of Needlework does."
Visit our Royal Wedding page to relive your favorite moments.
—Phillip B. Crook
Photo: Courtesy of Mattel
If you choose to purchase Mattel's Royal Wedding William and Catherine Barbie dolls, $100, do your memorabilia collection a favor and keep them away from children with markers. My sister made that mistake and her Barbies' faces paid the price. It would certainly be a shame, after all, to mar the Barbified Duchess's miniature Alexander McQueen wedding gown, trimmed in lace and faux pearl buttons—or her sparkling earrings and tiara meant to represent the 1936 Cartier Halo Tiara and matching diamond dangles lent to Kate by Queen Elizabeth.
Accordingly, plastic Will (with a notably full head of hair) also wears his wedding-day finest in a replicated red Irish Guard uniform and a royal blue sash. Although Mattel plans to officially release the figurines in time for Kate and Will's first anniversary in April, you can order the pair now at BarbieCollector.com. (Just, you know, no Sharpies.)
—Phillip B. Crook
But we could be counting for a while. Pippa Middleton is reportedly dating George Percy, the heir to the Duke of Northumberland—a title that just so happens to earn him a $500-million estate and Alnwick Castle (the set for Hogwarts in the Harry Potter franchise). The couple became friends while attending Edinburgh University and have been romantically linked before, during intermissions with former boyfriend Alex Loudon. Pippa and George allegedly picked their romance back up at the Middleton's New Year's Eve party.
—Phillip B. Crook
"Diana: A Celebration" opens this weekend at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, where Diana's wedding gown—the crown jewel in the exhibition celebrating her life—will reside until June 10.
Now more than thirty years old, the trend-defining gown features a 25-foot train of ivory silk taffeta, antique lace that once belonged to Queen Mary, hand-embroidered mother-of-pearl sequins, and some 10,000 pearls. Although couturier David Emanuel and his wife Elizabeth spent months preparing the gown under top-grade security, the first polyester-satin knockoff hit department stores just five hours after the Royal wedding in 1981.
—Phillip B. Crook
Photo: Getty Images
It's certainly been a big year for Kate Middleton: her royal wedding to Prince William captivated millions as she transformed from a commoner into queen-to-be; her classic, feminine fashion choices and effortless elegance have made her a style icon (notably sporting sheer hosiery, for example); and now the Duchess of Cambridge has turned 30!
Despite predictions of a lavish, 80s-style bash thrown by her sister, Pippa, sources report that the royal celebrated her milestone birthday at the London screening of Warhorse, stealing the show in a glamorous Alice Temperely full-length evening gown. We're wishing you the very best this year—Happy Birthday, Kate! —Rosie Purdy
Although it's been months since the royal wedding ignited a worldwide Middleton frenzy, the world's obsession with all things Pippa (her clothing, her love life, and, yes, even her butt) is still going strong. So don't be surprised if the trendsetter's glamorous New Year's Eve party—which she hosted under a grand white tent in the Middleton's backyard—sparks a frenzy for similar tented fêtes.
The 28-year-old party planner and in-law to the royals celebrated the New Year with a soiree fit for, well, royalty. Beneath the $5,000 tee-pee style tent (or kata), Pippa's party boasted a dance floor and seating for 100 guests, including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. According to one attendee, Pippa even booked a nearby hotel in case of overflow.
While tented wedding receptions are nothing new, you can bet that they'll be on the rise in 2012 thanks to Ms. Middleton. So a word to the wise: If you're thinking of hosting your reception under a tent this year, make the reservation now before they're snatched up like one of Pippa's Zara dresses. —Rosie Purdy
Photos: Getty Images; courtesy of The Royal Collection
What do 60 years on the British throne get you? Lots and lots of diamonds. To commemorate this milestone year in her reign, Queen Elizabeth will offer the public access to some of the monarchy's most precious jewelry, namely two-centuries worth of diamonds. The show, called "Diamonds: A Jubilee Celebration," will open at Buckingham Palace in August.
Among the baubles on display will be a 23.6-carat pink diamond set in a flower-shaped brooch (above) made from 200 smaller diamonds. Geologist J.T. Williamson discovered the rare diamond in 1947 and presented it to the Queen in honor of her wedding (above) that same year. Cartier then fashioned the stone into a brooch in 1953. Also on view will be a crown made from 1,187 diamonds for Queen Victoria's official Diamond Jubilee portrait in 1897, as well as Victoria's coronation necklace and earrings.
Luckily, that other diamond-loving Liz already had her big jewelry moment in 2011, making 2012 truly Queen Elizabeth's year to shine. —Phillip B. Crook
Photos: Getty Images (Pippa); Courtesy of net-a-porter.com
Was anyone not taken with Pippa Middleton's sleek white bridesmaid dress at the Royal Wedding? From the moment she appeared in the Alexander McQueen by Sarah Burton design, Kate's older sister had the world captivated with her demure smile, buxom derriere, and silk-crepe gown that so beautifully framed both. Now, the signature draped neckline and cap sleeve shoulders are up for sale in a modified version of the gown on Net-a-Porter's UK site. There the dress sells for 1,995 British pounds—or about $3,100—although shoppers waiting to swipe the gown in their own currency should call in advance to secure a reservation. —Phillip B. Crook
Love Pippa's look but can't afford the designer price tag? Revisit our guide to stealing her style for every budget.
Photos: Getty Images (Kate and Pippa); Courtesy of Herobuilders
The obsession with the royal bride has reached a new level: Kate Middleton is now an action figure. American toy company Herobuilders has transformed the iconic wedding looks of Kate and her sister Pippa into collectibles. While the dresses are replicas of the Alexander McQueen gowns the sisters wore—Kate with her lace-covered arms, and Pippa in her slinkly, cowl-neck number—the dolls feature bulkier builds than the women's real-life figures. And although the muscular physiques are certainly a far cry from the sisters' actual waif-like body types, the doll designers were sure to recreate one feature true to the real thing: Pippa's much-talked-about backside.
These figurines, which are already in high-demand, can be purchased through herobuilders.com. The "Pippa" doll costs $49.95, and "Kate" in her handmaid replica wedding gown will set you back $189.95. (A version of the Kate doll in a standard-issue Herobuilders wedding dress is also available for $49.95.)
Some have criticized the Dutchess of Cambridge for being too thin these days, but a royal bodybuilder? I'm not so sure... What do you think? A fun transformation? Or offensive, unattractive reinterpretation?
Being the only known royal to have a pierced tongue, surely Zara Phillips (the Queen's granddaughter) would opt for an adventurous wedding gown befitting her wild-child personality. Nope! When she married England rugby player Mike Tindall in Edinburgh on Saturday, Zara wore a silk faille and duchess satin gown with a chevron-pleated bodice by Stewart Parvin, her grandmother's favored English couturier. Set against a swept-up hairstyle and a tulle veil, the bride also wore a diamond tiara on loan from her mother, the Princess Royal. But that's about as glitzy as the affair got, commanding far less pomp and circumstance than Kate and Will's grand wedding earlier this year. Perhaps in acknowledgment of that fact, the Duchess of Cambridge attended the ceremony in a Jane Troughton gold coat dress (below) that she wore once before to a wedding in 2006, although she snazzed the look up this time around with an asymmetrical hat. Some people are calling it an oversize potato chip—but we aren't those people. —Phillip B. Crook
Photo: Getty Images
On April 29th, we all saw Kate Middleton's wedding gown on the small screen, followed by seeing it on the glossy pages of every tabloid known to man for weeks afterward. Now, it's our chance to see Kate's Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen gown in person.
For just $28.50 (and the cost of a flight to London, of course) you can see Kate's wedding gown, shoes, and diamond earrings, plus replicas of the bouquet and wedding cake at Buckingham Palace. You'll also get to revel in the beauty of the vintage Cartier tiara that Queen Elizabeth loaned Kate on her wedding day. (Not bad for "something borrowed.")
This exhibit runs from July 23rd to October 3rd as a part of Buckingham Palace's Summer Opening tour, and from what we've heard, tickets are already difficult to come by, with attendance up a whopping 107% from last year's Summer Opening. Guess we're not the only ones who love a good fairy tale. —Louisa Bilbrough
Photo: Getty Images
Either one of two things has happened: 1) The European hosiery industry has successfully lobbied the Duchess of Cambridge or 2) The Queen has commanded her granddaughter-in-law to resume the covered-leg coyness of bygone eras—because why else would Kate suddenly sport sheer stockings? And during summer of all seasons?! Whatever it is compelling her royal sheerness (there are rumors of a palace dress code), Kate has sparked a resurgence in pairing pantyhose with leg-baring dresses, no matter their cut, color, or fabric. Whether or not flocks of women will join her in rolling up the nylons remains to be seen. But for those of you voting yes, the Duchess's style of choice is the more iridescent the better, which at the very least is an upgrade from white Easter Sunday stockings. —Phillip B. Crook
Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images
While folks on this side of the Atlantic geared up for the Fourth of July weekend, subjects of the principality of Monaco gathered for a whole different kind of celebration. Not to be outdone by Will and Kate, Prince Albert II and South African beauty Charlene Wittstock spent $65 million and three days celebrating their nuptials. The 78-hour festival included two ceremonies, royal processions, a feast from megachef Alain Ducasse, and star-studded galas at the Monaco port and the glam Monte Carlo Casino. Then the couple jetted to Her Serene Highness's homeland, where the wedding hoopla continued with a reception on Thursday night.
But royal blood isn't required for a multiday marital bash. We asked our Facebook readers: What do you think of the full-weekend wedding? See their responses, and join the conversation at Facebook.com/brides.
Q: Would you host a multiday celebration for your wedding?
I love them! From the welcome party to golfing for guys (and gals), bridesmaids' luncheons, the wedding, and the send-off brunch, it's all memorable and fun!
We had a small destination wedding. From pre-wedding events to the day of, we had a total of three days to spend with family and friends. It was beautiful and stress-free.
It is too long after the whole day's events; you just want to sleep. So nope, no thanks.
I love the festivities, too—but $65 million? There are so many better things to do with that money!
—Barbara Lombardo Sesskin
In the current economy, when people are watching themselves, I think it's rude, lacks class, and is purely bourgeois. No wonder the royals are out of touch.
—Arielle Silverman, BRIDES Magazine