For the most part, when we think of royal weddings, our minds immediately dart to horse-drawn carriages leaving St. George’s Chapel, amidst a sea of cheering Brits. While the weddings of Diana, Kate, and Meghan are prominent here in the U.S., the truth is, royal weddings aren’t limited to the U.K. Across the globe, royalty from different countries, cultures, and traditions celebrate marriage with wedding festivities that are equally opulent, inspirational, and iconic as the ones we obsess over in England.
And while we still love the Windsors, it's time to give other royals across the globe their due. From Japan to Brunei, these are just a few of the royal weddings that are inspiring around the world.
Prince Joel Makonnen and Princess Ariana Austin
Location: United States
We know what you’re thinking, a royal wedding in… Maryland? When Austin met Ethiopian Prince Joel Makonnen at a nightclub in D.C. what followed was quite literally a Cinderella story. According to Vogue, to get her attention, the lawyer told the Harvard-grad that she “looked like they’d stepped out of an ad for Bombay Sapphire.”
Though he kept his royal lineage under wraps at first, Makonne eventually revealed himself as the great-grandson of Ethiopia’s last emperor, Haile Selassie. And yes, that makes him a bonafide prince.
The couple wed in a traditional Ethiopian Orthodox ceremony on September 9, 2017, in Temple Hills, Maryland, followed by a reception in Virginia. On top of honoring the groom's Ethiopian roots, the party also paid tribute to the bride’s Guyanese heritage and the American setting through music: The reception was scored by a live Ethiopian band and a DJ, who spun soca, go-go, and hip-hop classics.
Lord Ivar Mountbatten and James Coyle
Location: United Kingdom
Lord Ivar’s 2018 nuptials to James Coyle marked the British royal family’s first same-sex wedding. Two years after coming out, Mountbatten exchanged vows with Coyle at Bridwell Park, a country house in Devon. The most touching family detail? Mountbatten, son of the 3rd Marquess of Milford Haven and the Queen of England’s cousin, was walked down the aisle by his ex-wife, philanthropist Penny Mountbatten.
King Letsie III and Anna Karabo Motšoeneng
For royal weddings, bigger is always better. When 23-year-old Anna Karabo Motšoeneng wed the King of Lesotho, an over-the-top affair was a given. The two exchanged vows with a traditional Catholic ceremony in a very non-traditional setting: the country’s national football stadium, with 40,000 spectators in attendance.
The wedding also marked a significant milestone for the royal family: Anna Karabo Motšoeneng was the first-ever non-royal to marry into Lesotho’s monarchal family. After all, real-life fairy tales warrant mass celebrations.
Prince Nikolaos of Greece and Tatiana Blatnik
“Mamma Mia, with aristocrats,” was how one magazine, cited by Vogue, described this Greek heir’s nuptials. From Queen Letizia of Spain to Willem-Alexander, king of The Netherlands, all of Europe’s buzziest royals descended on Prince Nikolaos’s wedding to then-event planner Tatiana Blatnik.
At their coastal evening ceremony, held at the Cathedral of St. Nicholas, Blatnik wore a tiara borrowed from Nikolaos’s mother’s collection. Topped off a strapless lace gown, the bride paired her royal jewels with a sheer bolero. The most royal aspect of their ceremony? After exchanging vows, the newlyweds left in a horse-drawn carriage
Pierre Casiraghi and Beatrice Borromeo
Grace Kelly's 1956 wedding gown is still the blueprint for brides today, inspiring everyone from Miranda Kerr to Paris Hilton. So naturally, when her youngest grandson Pierre Casiraghi married an Italian heiress with an aristocratic lineage of her own, all eyes were on bride Beatrice Borromeo's dress. For the ceremony and reception, which took place at Rocca d'Angera castle on her family's island in 2015, she opted for two custom looks by Armani.
At the ceremony, the bride wore a high-neck ivory gown of Chantilly lace and silk chiffon finished with half-sleeves and a long silk train and tulle veil. But she didn't stop there. For the reception, which she entered by boat (casual), the bride debuted a sleeveless Grecian-style gown.
Given the couple's fashionable backgrounds—she's a model, and he's an ambassador for Dior—the guestlist was thick with style royalty. From late Italian Vogue editor Franca Sozzani to Giambattista Valli, this royal wedding was one for the ages.
Princess Mako and Kei Komuro
There's something undeniably romantic about royals abdicating the throne for love. When Japan’s Princess Mako wed her college sweetheart Kei Komuro last fall, she did just that—and sparked controversy in the process. Her father, Crown Prince Akishino, even refused to approve the wedding, which pushed their nuptials back four years. But at last, in October 2021, they tied the knot with a low-key civil ceremony in Tokyo.
Instead of following the ceremony with a reception, they immediately went into a press conference, where she explained her decision to renounce her royal title. Keeping with the day’s tone, her wedding look was unconventional but still classic: She opted for a pastel skirt suit, which she paired with pearls and a brooch.
Giving it all up for your spouse? Now that's true love.
Princess Hajah Hafizah Sururul Bolkiah and Pengiran Haji Muhammad Ruzaini
Princess Hajah Hafizah Sururul Bolkiah’s 2012 nuptials took place when Instagram wedding hashtags weren't quite an established trend yet. But if she decides retroactively to add one, we might suggest #MoreIsMore. As the daughter of Brunei’s sultan, every aspect of her week-long wedding celebration was extravagant. From her beaded gold wedding gown to the 17-gun salute that sounded off after she exchanged vows, her nuptials to Pengiran Haji Muhammad Ruzaini Brunei delivered plenty of royal pageantry.
Hosted at the Sultan’s 1,700-room palace, the celebration boasted nearly 3,000 attendees, including diplomats and politicians from across Asia. In lieu of walking his daughter down the aisle, the Sultan had 16 royal guards escort her into the ceremony.