Before Prince Harry and Meghan Markle publicly tied the knot today at St. George's Chapel, Prince William and Kate Middleton set the tone for 21st century royal weddings with their 2011 nuptials. If you think royal mania is currently at an obsessive all-time high, Will and Kate's notorious ceremony was similarly the talk of the town seven years ago. But despite Will and Kate originally laying the groundwork for upcoming ceremonies within the royal fam (and Prince Charles and Princess Diana before them), Prince Harry and Meghan Markle took their own wedding approach in more aspects than one.
From the guest list to the engagement ring, the younger royal heir and his new bride took an original route for plenty of their planning aspects. Although both weddings were obviously beautiful in their own ways (we're STILL talking about Kate's wedding dress), we rounded up seven differences between the two historic ceremonies.
1. The Rings
While both Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle's engagement rings allude to the late Princess Diana, the gems are drastically different. Prince William proposed to Kate with his mother's ring, a 12-carat oval sapphire sparkler surrounded by 14 diamonds.
Harry took a less colorful approach to Markle's engagement ring, but created a completely bespoke piece just for his bride. While Kate's ring features one large stone, Markle's ring includes one main center diamond with two smaller diamonds on each side. Harry selected the main stone from Botswana, and the surrounding gems came from his mother's collection. This prince also differed from his older brother by choosing to sport a wedding band, which is a tradition that not all royal men have chosen to adopt.
2. The Dresses
Both brides sported long sleeve dresses when they walked down the aisle, but Meghan's gown erred on the more minimal, simplistic side. The former actress commissioned Clare Waight Keller for the French label, Givenchy to design the frock, which gives off the ultimate Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy vibes. The slim wedding dress features a bateau neckline and 3/4-sleeves.
The Duchess of Cambridge, on the other hand, relied on Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen to create her iconic dress, which was estimated to cost $434,000. Kate's timeless look featured a full skirt, V-neckline, and a long sleeve lace overlay.
3. The Tiaras
For her "something borrowed," Kate loaned the Cartier Halo tiara from Queen Elizabeth II. The gorgeous headpiece was made in 1936 as a gift for the Queen Mother from King George VI.
Markle had plenty of tiaras to choose from to accompany her wedding day accessories, but ultimately chose the ornate Queen Mary Diamond Bandeau Tiara. QE2 also lent this accessory to her new granddaughter-in-law, and it features a detachable brooch, ovals and pavé settings, and eleven different sections.
4. The Venues
Traditionally, the royal family has gravitated toward a few specific wedding venues, one of which is Westminster Abbey. In fact, Will and Kate were one of 16 royal couples who tied the knot since the church's founding in 960. The royals also use this spot for coronations.
On a smaller scale, Prince Harry and his royal bride chose to wed at St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle, where the groom was actually baptized. The couple was reportedly denied their first choice venue, Frogmore House, but fortunately it will be the venue of their second wedding reception.
5. The Guest List
Because of their venue, Prince William and Kate Middleton had the capacity to host plenty of guests, and the pair actually invited more than 1,000 people. Some of their wedding guests included the likes of David and Victoria Beckham and Elton John.
While Meghan and Harry invited similar celebs, their wedding venue, St. George's Chapel, can hold about 800 guests. However, the couple chose to limit their list to 600, and had to pick and choose which guests received plus-one privileges. It's also believed that because Harry isn't an immediate heir to the throne, he was able to pull off a much smaller-scale wedding than his older brother.
6. The Carriages
Following Kate Middleton and Prince William's 2011 wedding ceremony, the newly married duo was all smiles as they paraded the surrounding area in the Imperial State Landau carriage. Over 100 years old, this mode of transportation was originally built for King Edward VII.
For Meghan and Harry's obligatory post-wedding carriage procession through Windsor, the newlyweds chose the Ascot Landau carriage for the big day, which has often been used for other royal events, like coronations and state visits. The pair also picked a covered back-up option, the Scottish State Coach, in case of rain.
7. The Kisses
Much to our disdain, the location of Harry and Meghan's venue meant they couldn't partake in the traditional post-wedding balcony kiss. These iconic smooches typically take place at Buckingham Palace, which is unfortunately located about an hour away from St. George's Chapel. But, the two made up for it following their ceremony with a cute peck on the building's steps.
Will and Kate, however, kept in line with tradition and kissed in front of the crowd at Buckingham Palace in 2011 (although their flower girl, Grace van Cutsem, doesn't look too happy about it).