Prince Harry and Meghan Markle tied the knot in May, and the pair's wedding was easily one of the biggest events of the year, with several friends, family and members of the public in attendance, along with millions tuning in through the television.
While the ceremony was unique to Harry and Markle, many speculated on how their wedding would 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 did the same, there were a few key differences between the two.
Harry and Markle married 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 kept their nuptials traditional as well, they did things a little differently.prevnext
Down the aisle
Markle's mother, Doria Ragland, walked 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. Thomas was unable to attend the big day after suffering a heart attack.
Ragland and Thomase, 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."prevnext
The bridal party
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 looked a little different.
For one thing, none of Markle's famous friends served 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."prevnext
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's wedding was a very traditional affair, and while Harry and Markle respected 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 was reportedly 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.prevnext
No bank holiday
While a bank holiday was declared throughout the U.K. for Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding, there was 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 closer 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 had.prevnext
The guest list
William and Kate's wedding was full of royals and dignitaries, but Harry and Markle's will likely had 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 wasn't invited to the nuptials due to the possibility of potential tension with Donald Trump, as a source said that the royals were 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."prevnext
Harry and Markle's wedding brought in some serious tourism to Britain, with ninety-eight percent of hotel rooms in Windsor early-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.0comments
"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.
Photo Credit: Getty / Chris Jacksonprev