Royal Wedding Kate Middleton Prince William

What I learned, liked, and loathed

Our editor-in-chief's musings on the wedding of the decade

Timing really is everything

Kate and Will's royal wedding ceremony was a great example of how timing makes a big difference. When it comes to the timing of music to generate emotional moments, these pros nailed it. Now let's just say you don't have access to The State Trumpeters of the Household Cavalry to announce your arrival. No matter. The point is the music selections, as old school as it comes, and Kate's processional, as slow as we've seen, were timed to coincide beautifully. Having your ceremony musicians at your rehearsal and asking them to edit the music as required, can help you achieve the same result.

Personal wedding websites

The world's most popular personal wedding website, officialroyalwedding2011.org, is not a template we commoners should be following. My editors and I checked Kate and Will's official wedding website regularly so we could learn every detail, but for couples, revealing so much information before your event can make the actual event a bit of a snooze for your guests.

Instead, the goal of your wedding website should be to provide useful resources for guests—directions, hotel options, local cars and cabs, and a general outline of the day, or weekend activities. It should feel personal, reflect your story as a couple, and share appropriate information about the key people in your lives or in your wedding party. The one thing we liked about the royal wedding website was their tastefully "hidden" request for donations in lieu of gifts. Your list of wedding registries should be equally out of sight when visitors first arrive at your wedding website.

Sexism is alive and well

I must admit I was rather surprised at the dramatic hand off of Kate from her father to her husband. Personally, I've never loved this "Who gives this woman?" part of a traditional Christian ceremony. But if Kate liked the idea, why not have her Mom (sorry, her Mum) there to also "give her away" considering she was an equal in raising her?

Kate's dad's lifting up her hand and giving it to Will, just felt wrong to me. I got over it until they were pronounced "Man and wife"! Huh? How about husband and wife?

This huge event with 2 billion viewers was an opportunity to delete from our culture some of the "wedding traditions" that are rooted in the (patriarchal—and not-too-distant) past. In particular, the very real, yet-to-be vanquished idea of women being the property of men. We say we should fight against acts of sexism in other parts of the world, yet when we include them in our own lives, in a very important event, we call it "tradition." This may be something to think about as you plan your ceremony, even if you don't change a word.

Bridesmaids in white?

Let's take a quick look at what bridesmaids are all about. Way back in ye olden days, a bride was a very valuable commodity because of her dowry and other payments her family had to make to the groom for taking her into his fold. So brides were often the victims of kidnapping. (Like they didn't have enough to worry about?) In an effort to confuse would-be thieves and camouflage the bride, her female friends and family dressed in clothing similar to the bride's.

The royal tradition of including young girls from family friends as bridesmaids makes sense—these folks had some serious security. But we were delighted to also see an adult attendant, Kate's sister Pippa, in white. We've been predicting the return of white bridesmaids dresses for a while now, and hope that vision of loveliness will inspire brides to dress their bridesmaids in similar attire.

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