Oh where do we BEGIN? The royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton was even more magical than we imagined. In fact, the wedding - especially the bride - was absolutely perfect.
HCG had very high hopes for the royal wedding, but we were nevertheless unprepared for the sheer greatness of the festivities. And even though we spent countless hours daydreaming in an attempt to predict every detail of Kate Middleton's bridal look, we were still left speechless when we finally caught a glimpse of the bride in all her glory. When we saw Kate emerge from The Gordon Hotel swathed in white lace and duck into the waiting Rolls Royce, we got chills. Apparently when it comes to royal weddings, nearly every woman reverts back to feeling like a little girl.
Needless to say, at 5:40 a.m. I decided it would be a lifelong mistake to miss watching the royal wedding live, and I ditched my scheduled workout class. I cannot recall the last time I've ever felt so sure of any decision. I could barely take deep breaths or blink much less contemplate moving more than two feet from my TV. When Kate arrived at Westminster Abbey and emerged into full view, time stopped. Never before had we seen a more elegant and stunning bride, and we've since decided that no woman will ever look more beautiful than Kate Middleton did on her wedding day.
Let's break it down.
- The dress. As was widely speculated, Alexander McQueen creative director Sarah Burton designed the exquisite gown which was made from hand-cut English lace, French Chantilly lace, and ivory and white satin gazar and was padded in the hips (a McQueen trademark). This NYT headline says it best: "Bride's Dress is a Flawless Success." We especially loved the intense details Buckingham Palace released about the dress: the lace appliques were handmade by the Royal School of Needlework using a technique called Carrickmacross that originated in Ireland in the 1820s. The lace workers washed their hands every 30 minutes and replaced their needles every three hours to ensure that the lace remained pure white (!). The flowers designs in the lace are of actual flowers: rose, thistle, daffodil and shamrock. I can't even provide 1/10 the amount of detail about my own wedding dress. As we anticipated, Kate's dress caused us to wish we wore long sleeves on our wedding day - even though we were married in Cape May, New Jersey on an 80-degree day in late June.
- The tiara. The 1936 Cartier "halo" tiara was lent to the bride by The Queen; originally a gift from the Queen's father, King George VI, to the Queen Mother, the tiara was given to then Princess Elizabeth (now Queen) for her 18th birthday. This tiara was a solid choice that complemented Kate's hair and dress wonderfully. It didn't look out of place or uncomfortable; rather, it looked very fitting.
- The hair. We were pleased to see Kate elected to wear her hair down. One of my favorite phrases from the BBC's online coverage simply described Kate's chosen look: "The bride wore her hair down, with a tiara." !!!
- The veil. Oh how we loved this veil. Made of layers of soft, ivory silk tulle with a trim of hand-embroidered flowers, Kate's veil was so, so gorgeous.
- The transportation. Anyone who watched the royals arriving at Westminster Abbey got quite a show in fabulous cars. William and Harry and the Queen arrived in custom Bentleys, Pippa in a Rolls Royce, and finally Kate and her father in a 1977 Rolls Royce Phantom VI belonging to the Queen. William and Kate rode from the Abbey to Buckingham Palace in the same 109-year-old State Landau carriage Diana and Charles rode in after their wedding. And of course, there's the decked out 1969 Aston Martin DB6 Volante MKll convertible belonging to Prince Charles that William (in an unprecedented move) drove his bride in when they departed the wedding brunch at the palace. The Aston Martin is believed to be one of only 38 made and was given to the Prince on his 21st birthday by the Queen. The helicopter that swept the newlyweds away to an undisclosed location on Saturday wasn't too shabby either.
- The second dress. Though our images of the second dress (also designed by Sarah Burton) have been limited, we have seen enough to know that the second dress was also quite beautiful and reflected Kate's classic style. The diamante detailing around the waist again reminded us that Kate Middleton must be tiny.
- The distractions. Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice need serious help, and we wished they weren't involved in this day at all. Their makeup (especially the fuglier one in beige - Beatrice) was horrific and inappropriate for an 11:00 a.m. wedding. Beatrice's prime seat afforded her significantly more camera time than we would've preferred (which is none). The NYT referred to the princesses' ensembles as "the Mad Hatter outfits worn on Friday by Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice." Spot on. Chelsea Davy was another painful roadside accident to witness. Her sad Alberta Ferretti green lady suit looked as though it was made from noisy taffeta and had a terrible fit. We hate even thinking about it or her.
- The guests. As predicted, Victoria Beckham looked incredibly chic in a navy sheath from her eponymous label, custom towering Christian Louboutin heels and a Philip Treacy fascinator. While we hoped to see more of a bump, we know that simply isn't VB's pregnancy style. We feared Elton John may have dressed a little loudly, but his purple tie was quite appropriate.
- Pippa. Back to someone who is awesome! What we realized most about Philippa "Pippa" Middleton from the royal wedding: girlfriend is skinny. While some people thought it was weird that Pippa wore white (also by Alexander McQueen), we just couldn't get over how good she looked. Pippa's incredibly flattering dress was made of a heavy, ivory satin-based crepe, with a cowl front and with the same button detail and lace trims as Kate’s dress. It was reasoned that Pippa's dress was white to complement the bride. As you may have noticed, when Pippa carried the bride’s train, Pippa's matching dress made the sisters appeared almost as one entity. After we read this we realized we should've made CF wear white on our wedding day; then again, convincing her to wear navy was then a big enough hurdle to overcome. To those who ridiculously propose the question of whether Pippa overshadowed the bride: that's generally pretty impossible for normal brides, and there's not a chance in hell of that occurring here.
Did anyone else realize how immediately after Kate and William were married, every news outlet started referring to her as Catherine? It looks like people really do listen to the Queen.
We hope everyone in the HCG community loved this day as much as we did!