With an immense royal wedding budget at their fingertips, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry will most likely spare no expense throwing a romantic ceremony that will go down in history. With an estimated cost of $670,000, there's no telling what luxurious decorations and amenities are in store for the widely anticipated affair. (There are even rumors of a Spice Girls performance!) But, while their nuptials will probably fall on the lavish side, it seems the couple expects the exact opposite from their wedding guests.
While no official royal wedding invitations have been sent out to the pair's nearest and dearest (even though we're almost less than 100 days away), it's believed that Prince Harry and Markle will want their guests to make donations rather than buy them gifts.
Prince William and Kate Middleton kicked off this guest gift trend at their wedding in 2011, when they established the Charitable Gift Fund. The duke and duchess chose 26 charities for guests to send donations, and the foundation ended up raising over one million pounds (the equivalent of about $1.3 million). After Will and Kate's engagement, Clarence House released a statement regarding their charitable guest gift protocol. "Having been touched by the goodwill shown them since the announcement of their engagement, Prince William and Miss Middleton have asked that anyone who might wish to give them a wedding gift consider giving instead to a charitable fund," the statement read. "Many of the charities are little known, without existing royal patronage, and undertake excellent work within specific communities. They are charities that have a particular resonance with Prince William and Miss Middleton and reflect issues in which the couple have been particularly interested in their lives to date."
Given both Markle and Harry's passion for charitable endeavors, it wouldn't be a surprise if they followed Will and Kate's lead. A few of Markle's many accomplishments include supporting the United Nations and formerly serving as a Global Ambassador for World Vision, truly making her an idol-worthy future royal. These experiences have also given Markle plenty of public speaking practice, which she can use to her advantage, as it's expected that she'll break protocol and deliver a wedding speech—something no royal bride has ever done. Despite the pressure, we're confident she'll keep her cool during her talk.
As for Harry, he helped establish the Royal Foundation with his brother and sister-in-law, and Markle will become a part of that after she's married. He also started the Invictus Games, a sporting event that benefits injured armed service members. Additionally, Harry holds Botswana, where he's spearheaded numerous relief efforts (and, not to mention, where he picked the diamond for Markle's ring), near to his heart. The list could go on and on for both, so basically these two are a match made in philanthropic heaven.
If the betrothed couple does decide to establish a gift fund for their May 19 nuptials, it's unclear which charities Prince Harry and his bride-to-be might choose, although Sentebale charity, which Harry founded alongside Prince Seeiso of Lesotho, is expected to make the cut. And even more exciting, supporters of the organization (which aids vulnerable children in Lesotho and Botswana) have reportedly scored invites to an exclusive viewing party of the royal wedding—at Kensington Palace!
According to The Daily Mail, emails have already been sent out to Sentebale donors, inviting them to watch the royal wedding on giant TV screens set up at the bride and groom's Kensington Palace home. The charity's co-founder, Prince Seeiso, however, is expected to attend the actual event at Harry and Meghan's wedding venue, St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle. "These invitations, they sometimes either bring them in a stagecoach or boats or whatever, but we will be there be in May," the prince himself confirmed to the tabloid.
Even though St. George's Chapel can only fit about 800 guests (compared to Will and Kate's 1,900-guest wedding), donations from their friends and family will still probably generate plenty of money for whichever causes they pick.
Even if we won't get our royal wedding invites in the mail, we'll hopefully still be able to play a part in Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's big day from afar by donating to their causes of choice.