Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are set to tie the knot in just a few months, and the pair's wedding is already shaping up to be one of the biggest events of the year.
“It will be a moment of fun and joy that will reflect the character of the bride and groom,” a spokesperson for the couple told journalists, via The Guardian. “
While the ceremony will be unique to Harry and Markle, many have begun speculating on how their wedding will compare to previous royal weddings including Prince William and Kate Middleton's nuptials, which took place in 2011. That wedding brought Britain millions of dollars in revenue and inspired brides around the world, and while Harry and Markle's wedding will surely do the same, there will be a few key differences between the two.
Harry and Markle will marry in May 2018 at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle, while William and Kate married at Westminster Abbey.
St. George's Chapel and Westminster Abbey are both historic locations, although St. George's Chapel is much more intimate than Westminster Abbey. Harry and Markle's venue holds 800 people, while Westminster Abbey holds up to 2,000.
The two venues are in line with the style of the two weddings — William and Kate's was a grand and stately affair, and while Markle and Harry will keep their nuptials traditional as well, reports say they do plan to do things a bit differently.
Markle is reportedly hoping that her mother, Doria Ragland, will walk her down the aisle on her big day, rather than her father, Thomas Markle.
“I’ve heard that Meghan wants her mother to walk her down the aisle, which would be a sweet moment," a source told Us Weekly.
Ragland and Markle, who are divorced, issued a statement through Kensington Palace congratulating their daughter and Harry when the engagement was announced.
"We are incredibly happy for Meghan and Harry. Our daughter has always been a kind and loving person. To see her union with Harry, who shares the same qualities, is a source of great joy for us as parents," the statement read.
"We wish them a lifetime of happiness," they added, "and are very excited for their future together."
While many will remember Middleton's sister, Pippa Middleton's, turn as the Duchess' bridesmaid in a figure-hugging gown seen 'round the world, Markle's wedding party will probably look a little different.
For one thing, none of Markle's famous friends will likely serve as her bridesmaids, as British tradition is a bit different than the American custom in that children traditionally serve as attendants for a royal wedding, unlike the majority of weddings where the bride's friends take the honor.
"Most royal brides do not have adult bridesmaids," British and European royalty expert Marlene Koenig told Town & Country. "It would be unusual for a royal bride to have a woman in her late 30s as a maid or matron of honor. The Duchess of Cambridge having her sister, Pippa, was unusual. I would be less surprised, however, if one of [Meghan's] friends read a lesson during the service."
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's wedding was a very traditional affair, and while Harry and Markle are reportedly planning on respecting traditions as well, they also want to put their own stamp on things.
“With the wedding, they both want to do things their way,” a source told Us Weekly of the couple. “While they will always be mindful of traditions, the day is ultimately about them and what they want to do.”
Markle has also reportedly been very involved in planning the nuptials, making decisions on everything from decor — clean with "subtle touches of color" — to the menu, which the source says will be “less British” than William and Kate's.
While a bank holiday was declared throughout the U.K. for Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding, there seems to be no such luck this time around.
In November, Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesman said that there are "no plans" for a bank holiday to mark Harry and Markle's wedding.
"There isn't a precedent in this area," the spokesman said, via the Independent, noting that there was no bank holiday when Prince Andrew married in 1986 or when Prince Edward wed in 1999.
In addition to William's wedding, a bank holiday was also held for the 1981 wedding of Prince Charles to Lady Diana Spencer.
While William is further in line for succession to the throne than Harry is, a bank holiday was held for the wedding of Princess Anne in 1973, who was also not a direct heir to the throne.
William and Kate's wedding was also on a Friday, which was perhaps a better warrant for a bank holiday than the Saturday wedding Harry and Markle are planning.
William and Kate's wedding was full of royals and dignitaries, but Harry and Meghan's will likely have a few more famous faces in attendance. Markle counts stars like Serena Williams, Priyanka Chopra and Suits co-star Patrick J. Adams as friends, while Harry is close with politicians like former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama.
The Daily Mail reports, however, that the former POTUS reportedly will not be invited to the nuptials due to the possibility of potential tension with Donald Trump, as a source said that the royals are worried that a potential invitation to Obama would be indicated as a dig at Trump.
A source said that the wedding won't be a "state occasion" and will be for "friends and family only."
Harry and Markle's wedding has the potential to bring some serious tourism to Britain, with ninety-eight percent of hotel rooms in Windsor already booked for the wedding weekend, May 18-20, according to Booking.com.
The Daily Mirror reports that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's wedding attracted an estimated 600,000 tourists to London, according to Bernard Donoghue, director of the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions in the UK.
"The combination of Prince Harry's global fame, Meghan Markle's global fame as an actress, her being American, Britain being much more affordable than it was two years ago, really makes for a potent mix," Donoghue said.
Safe to say, if you want to cross the pond to attend the royal wedding, you'd better act fast.
Photo Credit: Getty / Chris Jackson