Prince Harry and Meghan Markle officially tied to the knot on May 19, 2018 at Windsor Castle, and their ceremony has drawn a lot of comparisons to Prince William and Kate Middleton's back in 2011. Here's how these two very different couples made their celebrations their own (and, yes, you can love both!).
After dating for more than six years, William and Kate announce their engagement in November 2010. William proposed on a safari trip in Kenya in October of the same year.
Harry and Meghan hit it off on a blind date back in July 2016. In November 2017, the couple happily announced their engagement with a photoshoot and interview.
The prince selected two diamonds from his mother's collection to flank a central cushion-cut stone sourced from Botswana. For the band, he chose yellow gold— .
The bride used her full name on the invites that went out to all 1,900 guests.
The London church traditionally hosts royal weddings, coronations, and other major events. It's only a five-minute drive from Buckingham Palace, where the couple kissed (twice!) in front of thousands of well-wishers below the iconic balcony.
Located 40 minutes outside of London, this church located on the grounds of Windsor Castle holds less people, but it's still a top choice for high-profile weddings. Prince Edward, the younger brother of Prince Charles, tied the knot with Sophie Rhys-Jones there in 1999.
The long lace sleeves drew comparisons to Grace Kelly and '50s bridal style, but Burton also drew on the brand's signature corsetry by creating an hourglass silhouette. She even added some subtle padding around the hips for extra oomph. All together, the lace and satin ensemble cost a reported $434,000 to make.
The French fashion house was a surprising choice, but there is a U.K. connection. British designer Clare Waight Keller, the brand's first female artistic director, created the gown. "After meeting Ms. Waight Keller in early 2018, Ms. Markle chose to work with her for her timeless and elegant aesthetic, impeccable tailoring, and relaxed demeanor," Kensington Palace announced in a statement. "Ms. Markle also wanted to highlight the success of a leading British talent who has now served as the creative head of three globally influential fashion houses–Pringle of Scotland, Chloé, and now Givenchy."
Queen Elizabeth II lent the bride a pretty amazing "something borrowed." The monarch originally received the Cartier Halo tiara on her 18th birthday and the gorgeous diadem includes nearly 1,000 diamonds.
The platinum piece also belonging to Queen Elizabeth II dates back to 1932, but the circa-1893 center brooch is even older. Eleven sections make up the flexible band, and it's pierced with interlaced ovals and pavé set with large and small brilliant diamonds. The center, detachable brooch itself is set with 10 more diamonds.
The Duchess of Cambridge had flowers embroidered around the edge of her veil to match her dress.
Much longer than her sister-in-law's veil, Meghan surprised her groom and paid homage to her new home by featuring flowers from all 53 of the countries in the British Commonwealth on it.
She took a few classes from Bobbi Brown makeup artist Hannah Martin because the Duchess of Cambridge insisted on doing her own makeup for her big day. She kept her overall look fairly natural for the ceremony and used Bobbi Brown eyeshadow shades "Rockstar" and "Ivory" to finish off her face.
Her good friend, Daniel Martin, had the task of creating Meghan's wedding day look. He later revealed that it was important for the bride to look natural and for her freckles to appear—she just wanted to look like herself on the biggest day of her life. The Dior ambassador and celebrity makeup artist also said that they did their makeup trial over the phone, rather than in person, because they know each other so well.
Kate's bouquet contained local flowers like lily of the valley, sweet William, myrtle, hyacinth, and ivy. She also embraced the royal tradition, dating all the way back to Queen Victoria, to carry a sprig of myrtle in her wedding bouquet.
Meghan's bouquet featured an array of blooms such as forget-me-nots, sweat peas, lily of the valley, astilbe, jasmine, and astrantia. Princess Diana's favorite flower was the forget-me-not.
Kate was the first of his three children to get married. Her parents also gave her the Robinson Pelham diamond earrings she wore on her wedding day.
After her dad Thomas Markle announced he could no longer attend the wedding due to his health, the future King of England stepped up to the plate. Meghan walked through the first section of the church—the nave—by herself, then the Prince of Wales escorted her up to the altar.
Because William is next in line to the throne and because Westminster Abbey is a much bigger venue than where Harry and Meghan got married, hundreds more people were invited to their wedding. Kings, queens, and celebrities from around the world came to see their nuptials.
Despite a smaller number of guests at Meghan and Harry's wedding than at Kate and William's, it was a star-studded affair. Amal and George Clooney, Serena Williams, Priyanka Chopra, and more celebrities came to their big day.
Her sister Pippa Middleton assisted with the nine-foot train and helped wrangle members of her bridal party. When Pippa married James Matthews last year, the Duchess of Cambridge didn't serve as hers (she reportedly didn't want to detract attention from the bride!), but she did return the favor of keeping unruly page boy Prince George and flower girl Princess Charlotte in check.
The bride decided against having a maid of honor because she "has a very close group of friends and didn't want to choose one over the other," a spokesperson for the couple stated. The bride did rely on her close pal Jessica Mulroney to serve as her "secret wedding planner" though.
Kate broke tradition by having Pippa be her maid of honor. She also asked Grace van Cutsem (William's goddaughter), Eliza Lopes (Camilla's granddaughter), Lady Louise Windsor (William's cousin), and Margarita Armstrong-Jones (William's second cousin) to serve as junior bridesmaids. Tom Pettifer (Prince William's godson) and Billy Lowther-Pinkerton (the son of William's secretary) served as William's pageboys for the wedding.
Princess Charlotte (daughter of Kate and William), Remi Litt, Rylan Litt, (Meghan's godchildren), Ivy Mulroney (the daughter of Meghan's's stylist Jessica Mulroney), Zalie Warren, and Florence van Cutsem (the goddaughters of Harry) were in Meghan's wedding party. Brian Mulroney, John Mulroney (sons of Jessica Mulroney), Jasper Dyer (Harry's godson), and Prince George (Kate and William's son) acted as Harry's pageboys.
Six field maples and two hornbeams measuring up to 25-feet tall flanked the aisle along with almost 30,000 flowers mostly grown at Windsor Great Park's Valley Gardens in Surrey. The neutral-colored blooms included azaleas as well as lily of the valley and myrtle in the bride's bouquet.
Their florist Philippa Craddock also selected a neutral color scheme with an emphasis on flowers that bloom naturally during the spring season, such as white garden roses,, and foxgloves. She also used silver birch and English oak foliage for added greenery in the elaborate archways constructed both outside and inside the chapel.
Pastry chef Fiona Cairns led the charge in creating the eight-layer, 220-pound fruitcake. The traditional British flavor lasts for years (it's often served at later christenings!), but no one ate the final decorated creation that later went on display. Guests actually nibbled at 600 separate slices of fruitcake for breakfast on the morning of the wedding, Cairns told Town & Country.
The couple tasked baker Claire Ptak with their unusual choice. She and her crew of six used 200 Amalfi lemons, 500 organic eggs from Suffolk, and 10 bottles of Sandringham Elderflower Cordial to bake the lemon sponge confection. It was filled with lemon curd and iced with a Swiss meringue buttercream, which she revealed in a video.