With three months until the long awaited royal wedding between Prince Harry and actress Meghan Markle, there are numerous wedding planning details that we're still left in the dark about. Who will serve as Markle's maid of honor? Who gets the honor of designing her iconic wedding gown? Most important, WHO will make the cut for the coveted guest list, and how can we land an invite? Thankfully, though, the duo revealed many of their royal wedding plans early on, giving fans plenty of time to book plane tickets, set up royal viewing watch parties, and stock up on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle T-shirts. While not every detail has been made public or finalized, here's everything we know about the royal wedding so far. As the wedding day draws closer, here's hoping more major details emerge soon because, TBH, we definitely don't have the patience to wait until May 19.
For months, we had all been waiting with bated breath for Prince Harry to pop the question, and he finally granted our wishes in early November. The lovebirds revealed during their first joint interview that were enjoying a quiet Sunday night at Nottingham Cottage (where they live at Kensington Palace), cooking a roast chicken, when Harry suddenly proposed. Markle described the moment as "very romantic." Much to everyone's dismay, their exciting engagement wasn't officially revealed to the public until a few weeks later. Clarence House ever so modernly took to Twitter to release a statement announcing the big news. The duo has been together since 2016 after meeting on a blind date (talk about the setup of the century).
Made by Cleave and Company, Markle's stunning three-stone sparkler features a center diamond from Botswana, where the couple vacationed prior to the proposal, surrounded by two side stones from the late Princess Diana's collection. Harry revealed that he chose a yellow gold band (trendy!) for the ring "because that's her favorite," and he incorporated his mother's diamonds "to make sure that she's with us on this crazy journey together." Boyfriends, take note—Prince Harry did good. As for wedding rings, jewelry experts predict that the royal pair will opt for simple Welsh gold bands, which has been a royal wedding tradition since Prince Harry's grandparents.
In another Twitter announcement (which must be the royal news platform of choice) just a day after the engagement news broke, Kensington Palace shared the location of the upcoming royal wedding—St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle, home to several royal festivities, including Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla's blessing in 2005 and Harry's baptism in 1984. Compared to Westminster Abbey, where Kate Middleton and Prince William tied the knot in 2011 in front of more than 1,000 guests, St. George's Chapel can only fit about 800 people for a much more intimate feel.
It seems even royal weddings wouldn't be complete without a little drama, and the couple was actually denied their original dream wedding venue. According to a source, the duo wanted to tie the knot at Frogmore House, where they took their dreamy engagement photos, in all its green, garden-y glory. But, apparently royal aides nixed this historical home. Rude.
The Date and Timeline
Although Kensington Palace revealed the venue immediately after the engagement, the official date, Saturday, May 19, 2018, didn't go public until mid December (also via social media). Reportedly, Harry wanted a quick turnaround for the wedding and chose a venue close to home so that his grandfather, the 96-year-old Duke of Edinburgh, could attend, according to royal expert Kate Nicholl. Quite the family man. Their wedding date will fall on the same day as two retrogrades and a planetary movement, so the stars are aligning in this royal couple's favor.
May 19 also happens to conflict with two other events in the United Kingdom—the FA Cup Final and, on a lesser note, National Redhead Day (perfect for Harry!). The FA Cup Final, a beloved soccer match, marks the last game of the Football Association Challenge Cup and has one of the highest attendance rates in the world. Since neither event can change dates, many soccer fans expressed their anger over both U.K. festivities falling on the same day. Plus, royal weddings traditionally take place on weekdays. However, a palace spokesperson noted that Prince Harry and Markle's Saturday wedding would "give the public the greatest opportunity to watch, come out, support and get involved." The spokesperson also acknowledged the sporting event, noting that they would be considerate of the FA Cup moving forward with wedding plans.
The couple will officially tie the knot at noon in the U.K., which means your royal wedding viewing parties will begin at 7:00 a.m. EST or 4:00 a.m. PST if you live across the pond. The archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. and Rt Hon. Justin Welby will marry the couple, and Rt Rev. David Conner, the dean of Windsor, will lead the hour-long church ceremony. Following their vows, Harry and Markle will parade through the streets of Windsor in a horse-drawn carriage. Afterwards, the newlyweds will enjoy, not one, but two receptions—one inside Windsor Castle at St. George’s Hall, and another hosted by Prince Charles at a private location. At some point during the wedding, Markle plans to make history and defy tradition by giving a speech dedicated to her groom, which no royal bride has ever done.
In honor of Harry's favorite fruit, the betrothed couple chose a banana cake to serve at the wedding. Royal weddings typically feature some sort of fruit cake, but this is the first time said yellow fruit will grace a royal wedding cake. Bananas also pay homage to the couple's relationship, when Markle shared a photo on Instagram of two bananas cuddling, which is believed to indicate the beginning of her courtship with Harry.
The couple hasn't revealed their potentially scrumptious wedding dinner menu, but rumor has it Markle wants to incorporate an American food trend into the reception—late night comfort food for guests to munch on. Forget fish and chips; this royal bride is reportedly introducing friends and family to the finest American cuisine, from grilled cheese to hot dogs and hamburgers (but, most likely gourmet, of course).
Several musicians volunteered their vocal talents for the royal wedding reception, but it seems Ed Sheeran might be lucky enough to seal the deal. Royal wedding planners just recently requested the love song extraordinaire's presence to serenade the royal couple on the dance floor, but the singer/songwriter has yet to publicly declare his acceptance. We hope he does, because a live Ed Sheeran first dance song truly couldn't be more "Perfect." Reporters previously asked Sheeran in December if he might perform at the long-awaited royal nuptials, and he jokingly responded, "Yeah, why not." Looks like he might get his shot, after all.
And, because one royal performer just isn't enough, the Spice Girls may or may not be officially reuniting at the wedding of the year. Mel B confessed to The Real February 27 that all five members of the former girl band received invites to the wedding (jealous) AND also implied that they would be making a comeback for a royal wedding performance. We really Wannabe there.
A healthy lifestyle has long been an integral part of Markle's routine, and she's also keeping up with variations of her favorite yoga and Pilates regimens from across the pond. When in L.A., Markle has been known to frequent studio classes like Y7 and Platinum Pilates, which her close friend Heather Dorak owns. While neither of these programs have yet to make it to London, Markle has made do with a hot yoga studio near the palace for pre-wedding workouts. Fit for a royal, this specific location has special lights designed to prevent Seasonal Depressive Disorder. According to Joe, the owner of Markle's fave L.A. juice kitchen, Revitasize, the bride-to-be also likes to stock up on fruits and veggies when she's stressed out to keep her energy levels high.
As for beauty, Markle already takes extra measures to maintain her to-die-for complexion, so she'll most likely continue the same skincare routine up until the wedding. London-based facialist Nichola Joss is partly responsible for Markle's stunning skin. Joss works her Markle magic through frequent face massages, including her notoriously extensive "inner facial," which features a massage so thorough that it goes into the inner mouth. If it works for future royalty, maybe we should all hop on board.
As a royal preliminary step, Markle, who grew up Christian, also has to get baptized and confirmed in the Church of England—headed by Queen Elizabeth—before being married on May 19. Quite the royal to-do list!
What would a wedding be without plenty of liquor flowing? The royals are keeping their alcohol selection classy (and surprisingly affordable)—Markle and Harry reportedly chose Chapel Down winery to provide vino for their reception. Will and Kate used the same vendor for their 2011 nuptials, so the wine must be good if it gets the royal stamp of approval not once but twice. Prices for Chapel Down's bottles vary, but you can sip like royalty and get your hands on a white Bacchus for just $16.89.
For the aspect we're most interested in, we seem to have the least info. Hints have been dropped for Alexander McQueen and Inbal Dror, but all signs might be pointing to Rouland Mouret, one of Markle's go-to designers. When asked by WWD about the notorious wedding gown, this London-based designer gave just a vague enough answer to hint he might be The One. However, no further confirmations have come forth. Several bridal designers also submitted their predictions of what the fashion-forward future bride's gown could look like.
Omid Scobie, a royal reporter and biographer, confirmed Markle's first top-secret dress fitting to ABC News on January 19, so she has definitely locked in a lucky label already. However, she tried on a few options and still has yet to say yes to her royal dream dress. According to Scobie, Markle "expressed the desire to wear something simple and classy and very elegant" on the wedding day. He also revealed that Markle's close friend and bridal stylist, Jessica Mulroney, flew in to London to help the bride-to-be during the fitting. Mulroney is assisting with the royal wedding planning alongside Markle.
Royal or not, every bride-to-be deserves one last fling before the ring. However, Markle's soon-to-be elevated social status means it's probably safe to assume shots and strippers won't be making an appearance. The future bride reportedly celebrated her bachelorette March 4 at a secret five-star resort. Casual. Markle most likely enjoyed some R&R with her bride tribe, although her mom and seven-months-pregnant Kate Middleton weren't able to attend.
While Markle and Harry have become slightly notorious for defying royal protocol, there are some long withstanding rules the couple can't dodge. For one, strict royal rule decrees that Markle can't officially wear a tiara until after she's married. However, the chances of her rocking one on the big day are high. She most likely has several historical royal options to choose from, including the Spencer Tiara that Princess Diana wore on her big day or a few headpieces belonging to the Queen Mother. Or, the bride-to-be could go the original route and design her own custom hair accessory. Markle also has to brush up on some royal etiquette before she joins Harry's fam, like knowing when and who to curtsy to and refraining from taking selfies. In preparation for her royal status, Markle also recently deleted her social media accounts.
While Markle unfortunately will not become Princess Meghan following her wedding, she will earn some pretty sweet new credentials from the Queen herself. Traditionally, the Queen gifts the royal bride and groom with their official titles on their wedding day—one for use in England, and another separate moniker for Scotland. It's highly likely that the pair will become the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to those in the United Kingdom, according to Harper's Bazaar UK. Their Scottish titles, however, will require a bit more brainstorming on the Queen's part, since she has to consider the other members of the royal family and their ranks. One option is the Earl and Countess of Ross, but the last royal to assume the Ross title was executed in 1649. The Queen may choose to steer clear of this label because of its rather unlucky connotation.
When it comes to friends and family, it seems like the Spice Girls are the only confirmed guests right now, so it's unclear whether official invites have been mailed yet. Wedding guests must be approved by both the queen and the government, so those lucky enough to make the guest list cut won't know until closer to the wedding date. With Markle's acting career and Harry's A-List posse, there's bound to be no shortage of celeb friends at their ceremony, (including two of Harry's exes). However, Barack and Michelle Obama, who have become Harry's close pals, might not be in attendance. In order to remain neutral, the Foreign Office, which strives to maintain Britain's best interest, advised the royally engaged couple not to invite any foreign leaders to the wedding. This also means that current U.S. president Donald Trump probably won't get an invite, either, but only time will tell who gets a seat at St. George's Chapel.
Based on former royal wedding invitations, Harry and Markle will probably stick to a traditional stationery style, marked with Queen Elizabeth's signature gold stamp. And with Markle's former role as a freelance wedding calligrapher, you can bet on a beautiful script gracing the coveted cards.
Being the amazing couple that they are, Prince Harry and Markle announced via the Royal Family website that they want to include the public in their nuptials, so 2,640 lucky citizens will get to watch the bride and groom make their grand wedding entrance. But these won't be just any commoners—1,140 people will be members of the Windsor Castle area and members of the Royal Households and Crown Estate; 100 students from the Royal School, Great Park, Windsor, and St George's School, Windsor Castle; 200 from charities and organizations the couple holds near and dear; and 1,200 members of the general public from all ages and backgrounds in the United Kingdom, who will be nominated for the privilege by nine regional Lord Lieutenant offices. Can this apply to the United States as well?
Sources indicate that Markle plans to invite both her parents to the royal wedding. However, it's up in the air whether mom or dad will get the privelage of walking her down the aisle. It was originally reported that Markle's father, Thomas, would get to do the honors. More recently, though, a source indicated that Markle is considering bucking tradition and walking down the aisle with her mother, Doria Ragland. Either way, both parents came together to give the couple their blessing, releasing a statement after their engagement announcement.
As for Harry, he still has yet to ask William to serve as best man, but TBH who else would he pick? It's also highly likely that, as Harry's only niece and nephew, Prince George and Princess Charlotte will have their own adorable roles in the wedding, probably as a page boy and mini bridesmaid. After participating in Pippa Middleton's wedding, these two tiny royals are wedding party pros.
Despite the tradition that the bride's family foots the wedding bill, the royal family will cover most of the costs. Kensington Palace declared early on that "the Royal Family will pay for the core aspects of the wedding, such as the church service, the associated music, flowers, decorations, and the reception afterwards," which they also did for Will and Kate's wedding. With an estimated cost of $670,000, this six-figure wedding will rack up quite the expenses. However, because the royal family won't spot all the wedding expenses, Markle will most likely have to buy her own wedding dress, as Kate Middleton did. British taxpayers will also contribute to the wedding budget to pay for increased security in the areas surrounding the wedding venue.
The Economic Benefit
On the other hand, the wedding itself is expected to generate a lot of dough for the U.K. Reuters estimates an economy boost of 500 million pounds (or $680 million) from the royal wedding, a majority of which will come from the increased number of tourists. Wedding parties and souvenirs are also expected to rake in even more moolah, so stock up on your "I ❤️ Harry" swag.