Since Prince Harry announced his engagement to Meghan Markle last year, there has been a whirlwind of guessing at what the royal wedding will look like.
From predicting the dress designer to musing over the cake filling, there is no end to the details that will feed our royal wedding frenzy.
What we do know is the wedding will take place on Saturday May 19, with the ceremony starting at 12pm. Harry and Meghan have chosen to hold the service in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, and have invited around 600 guests.
Of course, with a royal wedding comes a raft of rules, regulations and tradition. Here are a few you might see feature in Harry and Meghan’s big day:
1. The Queen must give written permission
In normal circumstances, one might consider asking for a partner’s hand in marriage to be a simple ask-the-parents-first job, but not in the royal family. It is stated in law that the Queen must provide written permission on a formal notice of approval before any of her six closest heirs to the throne can get down on one knee.
Fortunately for Meghan, she seems to have won over her soon-to-be-grandmother-in-law as the Queen announced her approval to Parliament last year.
2. The groom wears a military uniform
Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert started this trend for royal grooms, with both Prince Charles and Prince William following suit. It is expected that Prince Harry will carry on this trend and wear his Blues and Royals uniform, but don’t be surprised if he chooses otherwise and asks for everyone to wear a morning suit.
3. The bride wears a white dress
There has been vast speculation about the dress Meghan will wear, but you can bank on it being white, or at least a shade along those lines, as has been tradition since Queen Victoria’s wedding in 1840. It is also customary for a royal bride to wear lace.
4. The ring must be made from Welsh gold
Starting with Queen Elizabeth’s mother, every royal bride’s wedding band has been made from gold sourced from a particular mine in North Wales. The gold in question is even more valuable than any mined in Australia or South Africa.
5. The bouquet must contain myrtle
This is another trend said to have been started by Queen Victoria, who allegedly carried a sprig of myrtle down the aisle after receiving the plant from Prince Albert’s grandmother (some people dispute this).
6. Female guests must wear hats
Women who attend the ceremony as guests traditionally wear fascinator hats throughout the ceremony, and recently the ‘bigger is better’ approach has taken hold. Princess Beatrice of York showed off a spectacularly strange headpiece at William and Kate’s wedding in 2011. Look out for another weird and wonderful collection of headgear at this year’s royal event.
7. There are no adult bridesmaids
Traditionally, bridesmaids at royal weddings have always been children. That is, up until Kate broke rank and made her sister Pippa her maid of honour. There are reports Meghan has already chosen her own maid of honour, so prepare to see this tradition go out the window at this year’s royal wedding too.
8. Wedding vows
As per tradition, the royal wedding vows to be read out by Prince Harry and Meghan at their wedding will come from the Book of Common Prayer. However, both Princess Diana and Kate omitted the word ‘obey’ from their wedding vows. It is likely Meghan will follow suit, but will she make any other changes?