I am glad that I wasn’t able to sit down and write this post until now. Saturday morning was such a whirlwind and something I had been looking forward to for so long, that having time to process it has been valuable. Let’s dive in…
First of all, what a ceremony! If you weren’t crazy like me and didn’t wake up at 5 AM to watch it live, you can watch the full ceremony here. It was an absolute joy to watch and they did a beautiful job of blending both Harry and Meghan’s different cultural backgrounds.
After some major controversy involving Meghan’s father, which I won’t even go into here, Prince Charles movingly stepped up to walk his future daughter in law down the aisle. It was a beautiful moment as her met her halfway down the aisle and gave her away to his son, with Meghan’s mother watching on tearfully.
The sermon, given by the Most Reverend Bishop Michael Bruce Curry, first African-American presiding bishop of the American Episcopal Church, was gorgeous, moving, rousing, and decidedly a cultural departure for many in the room. He talked about slavery, quoted Dr. Martin Luther King, and preached about love as a powerful agent of social and cultural change. You can read the whole thing here, and I highly recommend it. After the rousing sermon, Karen Gibson and The Kingdom Choir preformed a gorgeous rendition of “Stand by Me”. You can watch the performance and read about why this was such a political song choice here.
But let’s rewind a bit. After the celebrity and other royal guests arrived (check out initial coverage here, with more to come later), Prince Harry, henceforth to be known as the Duke of Sussex, arrived with his best man, Will.
Thankfully, Harry was allowed to keep his glorious, sexy beard – the first royal to marry sporting a beard since 1893! He had to ask Gran for permission, but it was totally worth it! He and Will are wearing their respective military uniforms and look absurdly handsome. They were very sweet together while waiting for Meghan to arrive, joking and laughing, and making me wish I was a lip reader.
A little later than scheduled, Meghan and her mother, Doria Ragland, left Cliveden House where they had stayed the night, for the quick 15 minute car ride to St. George’s Chapel.
And finally, after some Firm magic where Doria got out of the car, and two adorable pageboys got in, Meghan arrived and we got our first full view of her dress.
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) May 19, 2018
I have to say, I 100% screamed when they announced that Clare Waight Keller of Givenchy had designed the dress. I don’t think ANYONE had guessed a French house, none the less Givenchy!? Before Ms. Keller, a British born designer, took over as the first female head, Givenchy had made some interesting choices under the direction of Ricardo Tisci. They were a Kardashian favorite and honestly, not really my style, so to say this was a surprise is definitely an understatement. Seems like Ms. Keller is returning the house to their more classic roots as a longtime favorite of Hollywood stars like Audrey Hepburn.
I had no idea what Meghan was going to go with other than something simple. In an interview before she even met Harry, Meghan had said that her dream wedding dress was the simple silk slip dress Carolyn Bessette wore to marry John F. Kennedy, Jr. According to the royal press release, timed perfectly with her exit from the car, Meghan chose to work with Givenchy because of their “timeless and elegant aesthetic, impeccable tailoring, and relaxed demeanour”:
True to the heritage of the house, the pure lines of the dress are achieved using six meticulously placed seams. The focus of the dress is the graphic open bateau neckline that gracefully frames the shoulders and emphasises the slender sculpted waist. The lines of the dress extend towards the back where the train flows in soft round folds cushioned by an underskirt in triple silk organza. The slim three-quarter sleeves add a note of refined modernity.
At first glimpse, I loved the dress. It’s classically simple and elegant. As I spent more time with it, I have some concerns about the fit – It looks a bit baggy around the arms and bust – not sure if that was intentional or not. Overall though, I think it’s a fine line between simple and forgettable, and I’m not sure where this will fall in the history of royal wedding dresses for me. Definitely top ten of all time, but probably not top five.
What I adored unreservedly however, was the veil. I cannot understate how much I love a cathedral veil. Back to the press release:
Ms. Markle expressed the wish of having all 53 countries of the Commonwealth with her on her journey through the ceremony. Ms. Waight Keller designed a veil representing the distinctive flora of each Commonwealth country united in one spectacular floral composition…The veil is five meters long and made from silk tulle with a trim of hand-embroidered flowers in silk threads and organza…In addition to the flora of the Commonwealth, Ms. Markle also selected two personal favourites: Wintersweet (Chimonanthus praecox), which grows in the grounds of Kensington Palace in front of Nottingham Cottage, and the California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica) the State flower from Ms. Markle’s place of birth, California…Symmetrically placed at the very front of the veil, crops of wheat are delicately embroidered and blend into the flora, to symbolise love and charity.
The veil was so simple and gorgeous, but included so much that honored her heritage and Harry’s. It was held in place by the Queen Mary’s diamond bandeau tiara, borrowed from the Queen’s collection. There are some great historical details here. I love the way the bandeau shape of the tiara reflects the bateau neckline of the gown. Her other jewels for the day, a bracelet and earrings, were made by Cartier.
The details of Meghan’s bouquet, which was subsequently laid on the Grave of the Unknown Warrior as per tradition, are particularly precious:
Prince Harry handpicked several flowers yesterday from their private garden at Kensington Palace to add to the bespoke bridal bouquet designed by florist Philippa Craddock. The spring blooms include Forget-Me-Nots which were Diana, Princess of Wales’ favourite flower…[the bouquet also included] scented sweet peas, lily of the valley, astilbe, jasmine and astrantia, and sprigs of myrtle, all bound with a naturally dyed, raw silk ribbon…The myrtle sprigs are from stems planted at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, by Queen Victoria in 1845, and from a plant grown from the myrtle used in The Queen’s wedding bouquet of 1947.
After the ceremony, the newly minted Duke and Duchess of Sussex recessed out of St. George’s Chapel and gave the people what they wanted:
For the evening reception, Meghan changed into a very sexy number designed by Stella McCartney, and Harry rocked one hell of a tux.
They look straight out of a Bond movie. I shit on Stella a lot, but she did good here. This was clearly Meghan’s Carolyn Bessette moment and she looks stunning. The large aquamarine ring was her “something borrowed” AND “something blue”: it was owned and worn often by Princess Diana.
There’s a lot more to cover – what the various royal family members wore, how adorable Prince George and Princess Charlotte were, and a whole lot of fascinators, but I will leave it at this for now. Stay tuned for more coverage in the next few days, thanks for your patience and as always, for reading! Cheers!