On May 19, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle said their vows before a crowd of thousands inside St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. Millions of brides across the globe watched, taking notes, and wondering, How can I create a royal wedding of my own?
Your Own Royal Wedding
by Cindy Papish Gerber
“Location, location, location,” emphasizes Pania Montumer, owner and event coordinator of P&M Events. ”One of the best things about being a New England bride or groom is that there are so many amazing venues available.” If you always dreamed of getting married in a real castle, it’s achievable!
Winnekenni Castle majestically overlooks Lake Kenoza in Haverhill, MA. This landmark, known as the “City’s Hidden Crown Jewel,” is surrounded by 200 acres of scenic conservation land and walking trails. It offers couples the use of the great hall (equipped with a baby grand piano and interior balcony), an outer deck, a manicured lawn, a courtyard, and a formal garden.
Searles Castle at Windham, a magnificent quarter-scale replica of an actual medieval manor house, is located only 30 miles north of Boston. “Couples not only have an English Tudor castle as their backdrop,” says Shaun DeLorey, sales and operations manager, but the venue “also brings guests through history. As they enter through the authentic Gothic doors from Windsor Castle and past Napoleon’s fireplace from the Tuileries Palace in France, “our couples feel like they are hosting their very own royal wedding.”
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“Nestled on Gloucester’s rocky Atlantic coast, Hammond Castle is the perfect setting for that memorable event,” says Linda Rose, function coordinator. The captivating great hall, Renaissance dining room, courtyard, and oceanside lawn exudes charm, offering a breathtaking backdrop for photos. What’s more, “Walking down the aisle in an actual castle can make you feel like a princess marrying your prince charming!”
Using a horse-drawn carriage will make you “feel just like a queen,” says Jon Frost, owner of Remembrance Hill Carriages. “We provide a team of horses with driver and footman in full livery and top hats. Our white wedding carriage is a replica of the English ‘sociable’ or French ‘vis-a-vis’ design, similar to those used in Europe.” With room to accommodate additional members of your wedding party, this posh carriage will guarantee you a grand entrance.
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Although the royal bouquet will likely contain at least one traditional sprig of myrtle (a custom dating back to Queen Victoria), lily of the valley, and peonies, Sally E. Jablonski, president and owner of Herbert Berg Florist, Inc., advises, “There are other ways to display a royal quality while keeping down costs. By using substitutes like freesia, hydrangea, dahlia, or garden rose, “we can design a romantic-looking, English-inspired short cascade.”
According to UK press sources, Prince Harry has requested that banana (his favorite flavor) be featured in the royal wedding cake. For local couples, Amanda McHugh, owner of Cakes by Amanda, suggests combining “banana cake with a caramel buttercream or adding some gold elements, which are very popular. Nothing says royal like gold!”
While Prince Harry will wear a military uniform, Meghan Markle’s jeweled tiara and exorbitantly priced haute couture gown unquestionably created a major impact. “When Kate Middleton wore a full lace ball gown with a high neckline and long sleeves at her royal wedding, it sparked a trend that’s still happening right now,” explains Natalie Hanson, manager/buyer at 125 Bridal. “Designers will need to quickly translate Meghan’s look for American brides.”
Decor and More
Go all red, white, and blue with British Union Jack decorations or employ an English garden party theme that combines pastels, chintz, and doilies. Alan Greaves, owner of Brits R US, a Massachusetts-based retail and online store—“A Source for All Things British and Irish”—suggests couples offer, “small gift bags at each table with an assortment of individually wrapped British candy and cookies,” as favors. Attaching place cards to imported tea bags or jam jars is yet another “jolly good” idea.
“Adding gold and silver accents, playing with textures like velvet or sequins, a touch of candlelight, and even a bit of sparkle can really change the whole ambience,” says Pania. “It’s important to remember that luxury is personal. Whatever makes you feel like royalty...it’s all about personal preference.”
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