William & Kate: The Royal Wedding Recap

I don’t entertain often, but it was easy for one of my oldest and dearest friends Vanessa (a true NYC glamorista, whom I’ve been friends with since 1994), to convince me to hold a Royal Wedding Viewing Party. Given my history with the Royal Family, and the fact that this was, of course, the wedding of the century (so far), I decided to have some fun. I invited my most special friends (particularly those who knew me during my Diana years) to come watch the festivities with me, starting at 6am. And I decorated my apartment with royal partyware and pieces of my cherished collection of Diana books and memorabilia.

These are just a handful of my Royal Family books. I started collecting books like these when I was 8 years old, the summer that Charles & Diana got married. I have over 250 books in total (yes, you read correctly). Most are at my parents’ house in NJ…and they want me to come get them!

I also have about four hundred magazines featuring the Royal Family, mostly between 1981 and 1997. I have some later ones here in my apartment, like this People magazine cover story on William’s 18th birthday in 2000.

For good measure, I also bought some current tabloids about William and Kate…and tiaras and bling for guests who forgot them at home (plus letterpress Union Jack coasters by Sarah Ridgely)..

My lovely friend Alicia Ybarbo–a Today Show producer and co-author of the TODAY Moms book–kindly sent me some commemorative Wills & Kate pieces (an Aynsley plate and these fun “kissing” mugs), knowing how much I’d appreciate them. Alicia, THANK YOU. You have no idea how much this meant to me.

I also got an idea from a Today Show segment to make royal party plates by taping some of my photographs of Diana underneath clear plastic plates:

My party menu included scones, strawberries & cream, and champagne, among other goodies. I even used my wedding china (something I rarely do) as part of the buffet display. Also pictured:

I set everything up the night before. I woke up to my alarm at 5:15am and raced straight to the TV, just as William and Harry were arriving at the church. Turning the TV on then, seeing Diana’s little boys all grown up entering the same Abbey where they had laid their mother to rest 13 years ago, I was very teary. Perhaps some of you felt the same way. It seemed so cruel that Diana–who worked so hard to raise these boys “the right way”–could not see this wedding, while a gazillion other people could easily watch it on TV. I tweeted during the wedding along with a gazillion other people, and one one of my Twitter followers very kindly wrote, “Diana is watching. :-)”

On a sartorial note, I loved loved loved William’s red military uniform (even if it reminded me a teeny bit of an FAO Schwarz wooden soldier). Some of my guests said “Charles wore red at his wedding to Diana, too.” But he did not. I know these things.

As for the bride’s dress…I liked it a lot. It was not what I pictured when I hear Alexander McQueen. I actually thought much less trendy designers could’ve designed the same type of dress. It was far more modern and streamlined than Diana’s 1981 confection by the Emanuels. But overall, it remained a stylish and conservative choice, which was required of this occasion (it doesn’t matter that this is 2011, if you are the Queen-to-Be getting married in Westminster Abbey, your arms are covered!). I was actually glad that Kate was covered up with long sleeves. I think she looks too skinny otherwise. What do you think?

The ceremony was perfect, though I missed parts of it to chat with my guests (most of whom refused to be photographed, claiming they did not look good enough having woken up at 5am). I need to watch and dissect the whole ceremony again. I didn’t catch any references to Diana, which I was hoping for.

Here is my friend Vanessa while we watched the ceremony. Vanessa wore a tiara and other princess accessories on the subway before 6am and no one even blinked. That’s New York.

Of course, one of the best, most long-awaited moments was the Balcony Kiss. We were so excited to see the couple come out on the balcony that we screamed as if we were actually there in person:

And here is the now-famous shot of the kiss with the grumpy flower girl (William’s goddaughter Grace Van Cutsem, nearly stealing the show.

Oh, I wish I could’ve watched the TV coverage all day (I missed the newlyweds taking a spin in an Aston Martin, and arriving for the evening wedding party). But real life beckoned, with school drop-offs and pick-ups, appointments for the kids, and lots of work to do. I DVR’d a bunch of coverage and re-cap shows and don’t know when I’ll ever find the time to watch them!

At the end of the day, I felt elated and relieved…almost like a bride herself. I am so glad that the Big Day went off without a hitch for William & Kate. They seem very much in love and I believe (and really really hope) that their story will have a much happier outcome than Charles & Diana’s. And I continue to hope that Diana–whose greatest love ended up being the two young men she raised–was smiling from afar while we all cheered.

I want to hear from you! Did you watch the wedding? Attend any viewing parties? What did you think of Kate’s dress? Leave your comments below!

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4 Responses to William & Kate: The Royal Wedding Recap

  1. Jill says:

    I got up at 5:00 and then thought maybe I should have slept in… until I saw William and Harry arrive and I got so excited I woke up my nine-year-old and my six-year-old. We snuggled on the couch drinking tea and eating biscuits and watched the whole thing. Loved it! The kiss was too short thought.

  2. Talya says:

    J:
    I was just recounting for my sister Keren today how you had me on my toes when we were in London — up our very first morning at, like, DAWN to catch Lady Di on the way to her morning workout! You certainly were one of her greatest admirers — and such an object of grace she was. I hope you enjoyed your day of royal immersion. Maybe I'll join you the next time — for Princess Beatrice's nuptials 😉

  3. Anna Frye says:

    Did you read Tina Brown's recap on The Daily Beast? She has some nice reflections, specifically about Diana's legacy as an excellent mother to her now-grown sons.

  4. Sarah Ridgley says:

    ohhh, I'm so glad you liked your coasters!!

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