The recent royal wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton was a magnificent occasion. The guest list ranged from the Queen, the royal family and other royal families, to well known couples such as Elton John and David Furnish and the Beckhams through to locals from Kate’s home village. Thanks to the extensive media coverage it was also a day that the public could also share in. This was also aided by the fact that an extra public holiday was granted in honour of the occasion. Organising a wedding favours those with the ability to plan well and in detail and the royal wedding was a prime example of excellent and precise military planning.
This was particularly in evidence during the televised part of the day – the wedding ceremony itself. The arrival and departure times of all the guests were carefully choreographed and as a result it all appeared seamless. Getting 1,900 guests into the abbey at the correct time is something that must have taken those in charge a great deal of time to plan, but it all paid off as everything went without a hitch. The couple were reputed to have been closely involved in all the planning process, particularly the bride. This included such obvious areas such as her dress to the music and the design of the cake. She went for the traditional, tiered fruit cake, whereas Prince William insisted on having one of his favourites, chocolate biscuit cake. The more traditional cake was decorated with a multitude of sugar paste flowers, which all had a symbolic meaning.
For brides interested in symbolism an excellent tradition to include in the big day is the Italian custom of wedding favours. In Italy wedding favours were a way of thanking guests for coming to share the day and to give them a keepsake to take home. The tradition was to give 5 sugared almonds to represent health, wealth, happiness, fertility and long life. This attractive custom has since become customary in many British weddings, with many couples adding their own touch by choosing personalised boxes or bags to put the wedding favours in.
Wedding favours are a way for the bride and groom to give something special to each guest. In return guests can help capture memories by creating a wedding guest book. These are often organised by close family members rather than the bride and groom themselves. A wedding guest book allows everyone to write down a special message, whether it is a memory of a time they have shared in the past or simply congratulations and best wishes for the future. An extra touch can be to get the wedding guest book personalised with the names of the couple or even a picture of them on their wedding day. Alternatively a recent custom has been to get a couple of large plates and get guests to write a message on the plates which are then fired and given to the couple as a unique keepsake of their big day.
Personalised wedding gifts are also a great way of giving the bride and groom something that will simultaneously remind them of their big day but also of their relationship with you. Personalised wedding gifts can range from practical items such as jugs, platters and mugs to more decorative items such as photo frames. William and Kate asked for most of their wedding gifts to take the form of donations to charity but there were a number of commemorative items produced to mark the occasion. Such personalised wedding gifts included mugs and tea towels and will probably be treasured by their recipients for the rest of their lives.
The royal wedding was a great occasion of state. State coaches were used; the household cavalry provided escorts and all the royal family from the most senior to the most junior attended, along with several other royals from around the world. However it also managed to be a private day for a couple who wanted to show their commitment to one another in the time honoured fashion of getting married. It was their wedding day and their devotion to one and other was evident throughout.
However as it was a royal wedding it was also a day in which the public could and did get involved in. This was undoubtedly assisted by the extra bank holiday followed by a scheduled one, making a four day weekend for most. The British public therefore celebrated in style with street parties up and down the country and many thousands lining the procession routes to cheer the couple.
It was a massive state occasion, yet still a private celebration, which is what made it so special and helped make it such a success. The royal wedding epitomised much that is great about Britain – a wonderful pageant organised with military precision.