While we're counting down the days, minutes, and seconds until the moment when Meghan Markle heads into St. George's Chapel to wed Prince Harry, we're willing to bet that most royal wedding guests are counting down to what comes after the ceremony—the royal wedding receptions! Yes, there are two, and yes, we're incredibly jealous that we didn't make the guest list. But who exactly did make the cut? And where will these exclusive events be taking place? Here's what we know:
Round One: The Queen's Luncheon
Hosted by: Queen Elizabeth II
Time: In the early afternoon, following the ceremony
Location: Windsor Castle at St. George’s Hall
Guest List: 600
The first of these two shindigs will be the Queen's luncheon, a traditional wedding breakfast that will occur after the hour-long ceremony at St. George's Chapel. Since some of us across the pond may be a little unfamiliar with the concept of a wedding breakfast, here's the deal: while U.S. couples usually opt for nighttime receptions, that wouldn't necessarily be conducive to the morning start-time of royal weddings.
Therefore, the ceremony is followed by a brunch called a "wedding breakfast." Following Prince William and Kate Middleton's 11 a.m. ceremony, 600 guests headed to Buckingham Palace for their buffet-style wedding breakfast hosted by the Queen. Reportedly, 10,000 canapés were served, and it sounds like Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's will have a similar menu and guest list.
All 600 guests that are reportedly set to attend the ceremony—such as David and Victoria Beckham, Priyanka Chopra, and Serena Williams—have also been invited to attend the Queen's luncheon for Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, which will be taking place at St. George's Hall's Waterloo Chamber on the Windsor Castle grounds. With a modern Gothic style and a grand ceiling, St. George's Hall is also where the Queen hosts her Christmas party (that the bride-to-be attended herself this past year!)
There, the royal kitchen staff and Mark Flanagan, Head Chef of The Royal Household, have been busying themselves preparing all the noms for the event. According to a post from the official Kensington Palace website, the food will be made from "the freshest produce available," and ingredients will be sourced from local farms and even Queen Elizabeth's Windsor estate."Luckily the seasons have just fallen perfectly and that's become the main focus in the decision making of the menus," noted Flanagan. "The couple have been very involved in every detail of it."
Pastry chef extraordinaire Selwyn Stoby, along with a team of fellow trained bakers, will be on dessert duty the day of the wedding. Stoby had previously been busy baking chocolate truffles (apparently a popular pick for Windsor receptions), mini crème brûlée, panna cotta-topped biscuits, and yellow macarons for the recent Windsor Horse Show, and these perfectly seasonal treats would also make an excellent menu addition for Prince Harry and Markle's formal breakfast reception.
Of course, the star of the show will be the wedding cake. Kensington Palace previously announced that the wedding cake will be a lemon elderflower confection, baked by Claire Ptak, and "will incorporate the bright flavours of spring." It will be covered with buttercream and decorated with fresh, edible flowers. Yum!
Round Two: The Private, Evening Reception
Hosted by: Prince Charles
Location: Frogmore House
Guest List: 200
Following the Queen's luncheon, Prince Charles will be hosting a second reception for the newlyweds at Frogmore House later in the evening. Reportedly, only around 200 guests have scored invitations to this more-exclusive bash. One person left off the guest list? Sarah Ferguson has allegedly only been invited to the ceremony and the Queen's luncheon—and the Duchess of York is not pleased! According to the Daily Mail, Ferguson has reportedly been "complaining about the 'snub' to anyone who will listen," despite the fact that certain royal sources think she's "lucky to be going at all," which is due to the fact that Fergie remains close to Prince Harry—despite an icy relationship with the rest of the royal family.
But for everyone who is attending, this royal reception promises to be quite the bash. Taking place just a half a mile south of Windsor Castle at Frogmore House, this venue was also the spot of Harry and Meghan's engagement photos, so we already know that this setting is simply stunning. Markle is also rumored to be slipping into a second, less formal wedding dress for the event, and celebrity performers are also expected to be lending their talents, making it even more of a can't-miss event.
For months now, rumors have been circulating of the Spice Girls, Ed Sheeran, and Elton John performing at Prince Charles' reception. And although we won't know until May 19, sources say that an Elton John performance is practically a sure thing. However, don't expect his set to go viral. If any photos of the party at Frogmore House are released, it will be done at the discretion of Kensington Palace and guests will have to surrender their phones to ensure the pictures don't end up on Instagram. Sources also state that the royal bride and groom wish to serve their guests a late-night snack to keep the party going. Someone save us some In-N-Out!