The biggest wedding of the year is taking place on 19th May as Prince Harry ties the knot with American actress Meghan Markle. To say we’re a little obsessed over here at hitched HQ is an understatement!
We’ve rounded up everything we know about the royal wedding, from how the day will run to who’s going to be on the guest list (including THREE of Harry’s ex-girlfriends!)
Image: Samir Hussein/Getty
When Is The Royal Wedding?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you can’t have escaped the news that Prince Harry - perhaps the world’s most eligible bachelor - and Suits actress Meghan Markle will be exchanging their wedding vows on 19th May at St George’s Chapel in the grounds of Windsor Castle.
It’ll be the biggest royal wedding since the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge married at Westminster Abbey in April 2011.
READ MORE: 25 Royal Wedding Venues Fit for a Princess
But their choice of date has been quite controversial. Firstly, it clashes with the FA Cup final, an event that the Duke of Cambridge, who’s president of the FA, is supposed to be at every year. Secondly, it comes hot on the heels of the birth of the Duchess of Cambridge’s third child, Prince Louis. The wedding is expected to be her first official outing since she left the hospital wing.
And most importantly for all us public who’ll be watching, there won’t be an extra bank holiday like the last royal wedding. Luckily the pubs will be open until 1am so we’ve still got plenty of time to celebrate.
What Will Happen On The Day?
Kensington Palace have released details of how the wedding day will run and, like most royal weddings, it’s an early start.
Guests will arrive from 9.30am to 11am and members of the Royal family will start appearing from 11.20am.
The wedding service, conducted by the Dean of Windsor, will begin at 12 noon at St George’s Chapel, with the Archbishop of Canterbury officiating as the couple say their vows.
Meghan was baptised into the Church of England by Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, in March ahead of the wedding.
The service will last one hour and at 1pm, the couple, now married, will undertake a Carriage Procession from St George's Chapel through Windsor Town returning to Windsor Castle along the Long Walk.
If you’re planning on heading to Windsor for the day (as 100,000 of us are), the carriage procession will be your best chance to catch a real-life glimpse of the newly-weds; it’s expected to last about half an hour.
Image: Press Association
Keep your eyes peeled for Storm and Tyrone too. These are the father and son Windsor Grey horses who’ve been selected to pull the Ascot Landau carriage that the couple will be in.
More than 250 members of the Armed Forces will be playing a part in the ceremony, including state trumpeters and a "staircase party" at St George's Chapel formed by members of the Household Cavalry.
Harry and Meghan will throw two separate events to celebrate with the 600-strong congregation.
Following the service, guests will make their way to nearby St George's Hall for a lunchtime reception being given by Her Majesty The Queen. The couple will be joining straight from their procession of Windsor.
Later that evening, around 200 close family and friends are being invited to a private reception at Frogmore House given by The Prince of Wales.
Where Can I Watch The Wedding?
That depends on whether you’re among the lucky 2,640 members of the public who’ve been invited to watch the couple and their guests arrive and depart from Windsor Castle on the day.
For the rest of us, we’ll have to settle for the TV. Make sure you’re well stocked up on snacks (the royal family are reportedly BIG fans of chocolate biscuit cake) and tea because we can expect hours and hours of coverage.
There’ll be one pool camera inside the chapel to capture the couple actually exchanging their vows and this will be shown on the BBC, ITV and Sky News. Expect coverage to begin early in the morning, although it’ll only get interesting when the guests start arriving at 9.30am.
The TV channels have called in the big guns to try and get us to watch: there’s everyone from Huw Edwards to Dermot O’Leary and Scarlett Moffatt presenting for the BBC, while Phillip Schofield and Julie Etchingham will be leading for ITV. Sky’s coverage will be presented by Kay Burley from Windsor itself.
Live coverage is planned on big screens across the UK, including London, Leeds, Swansea, Belfast and Portsmouth.
Who’s On Harry and Meghan’s Guest List?
The actual guest list is a closely guarded secret, but we do know for certain some of the attendees.
The Queen will certainly be there as she’s hosting the couple’s lunchtime reception, as will all close members of the royal family. There’ll be foreign royals and UK politicians, of course, but it’s Harry and Meghan’s celebrity friends that we’re most interested in.
Meghan has fit seamlessly into Harry’s London social circle, but has her own firm group of friends from home too. Her long list of A-list pals include tennis star Serena Williams, actress Priyanka Chopra and Made In Chelsea’s Millie Mackintosh, who can almost certainly expect an invite. Also on the star-studded guest list are footballer David Beckham and singer Elton John.
READ MORE: How To Host A Bride-To-Be Breakfast Like Meghan
Meghan is very close to her Suits co-stars so it’s possible Patrick J Adams, who played her on-screen husband Mike, Gabriel Macht and Sarah Rafferty will be in attendance.
In an unexpected move, Harry is reported to have invited THREE of his ex-girlfriends too. Singer Ellie Goulding will be coming with her beau Caspar Jopling, who attended Eton school like the Princes, as will actress Cressida Bonas and Harry’s former girlfriend of seven years, Chelsy Davy.
But we'll tell you what Harry and Meghan want, what they really, really want - a bit of girl power at their wedding.
Mel B revealed in an interview that Harry and Meghan have asked all the Spice Girls to attend their nuptials.
Who Hasn’t Been Invited?
President Trump is believed to have not received an invite, and Meghan has been vocally critical of him in the past.
Former president Barack Obama and his wife Michelle, both close friends of Harry, are also said to have not made the cut.
Kensington Palace have also confirmed that Prince Louis, who’ll only be a few weeks old, will not be attending. He will be cared for by a nanny nearby while mum and dad Kate and William celebrate the wedding.
Will Meghan’s Family Be There?
Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland will be attending the wedding, but sadly her father won't be.
Thomas Markle Sr recently suffered a heart attack and Meghan released a statement confirming that he wouldn't be attending so he can "focus on his health".
Her mother will travel with her by car to the chapel and Prince Charles will be taking on the duty of walking Meghan down the aisle.
She has two half-siblings on her father's side but it’s believed neither are invited. She is estranged from her half-brother Thomas Markle Jr and her half-sister Samantha Markle is penning a tell-all book about her so we expect her name has been firmly kept off.
Who Are The Best Man, Maid of Honour and Bridesmaids?
Harry kept us waiting to see who he would pick as his best man, officially called a “supporter” by the Royal family.
Unsurprisingly though, he chose big brother William for the job, returning the favour from when Harry was his best man in 2011. Kensington Palace shared a number of photos of the pair and their brotherly bond, including this excellent shot of them fighting with lightsabers. We can only HOPE Will brings out a lightsaber during his speech.
Naturally, the best man’s speech is one of his biggest duties. With Harry’s headline-making antics, we expect William will have plenty of material and he’s already told reporters that “revenge is sweet”.
On the other hand, Meghan will not be having a maid of honour when she marries Prince Harry, although Priyanka Chopra (above) and stylist Jenna Mulroney were hotly-tipped. The Palace revealed that Meghan simply couldn’t make her mind up about which friend she wanted to choose (we hear ya!).
The Palace said, “She has a very close-knit group of friends and she did not want to choose one over the other.
"They have all been actively involved in helping her prepare and will be there with her to celebrate on the day."
Meghan has followed royal protocol by choosing all children as her bridesmaids and page boys, including Prince George and Princess Charlotte!
As for groomsmen, Harry’s best friend since Eton, Tom “Skippy” Inskip, is likely to be one of the ushers, as is close pal Arthur Landon.
Arthur was by Harry's side on that infamous trip to Las Vegas, while Skippy was there in Croatia when Harry was pictured jumping fully-clothed into a nightclub pool.
Other potential groomsmen include nightclub owner Guy Pelly, friend Thomas van Staubenzee and his brother Charlie, and Pippa Middleton’s husband James Matthews.
What Wedding Dress Will Meghan Wear?
Guaranteed an invite is Meghan’s stylist-turned-BFF, Jessica Mulroney. When not dressing Canadian PM Justin Trudeau’s wife Sophie, she sidelines in styling bridalwear so would be the perfect choice to help Meghan pick out her dream wedding dress.
Meghan is expected to reveal the dress designer very soon, but has already given some hints as to what the dress might be like.
She previously told Glamour magazine, "Classic and simple is the name of the game, perhaps with a modern twist. I personally prefer wedding dresses that are whimsical or subtly romantic." She said the sleek, minimalist white gown worn by Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy in 1996 was her favourite celebrity wedding dress.
We can rule out the fairy-tale, beaded Anne Barge gown she wore as her character Rachel Zane in the fifth series of Suits. "It's not my personal style, because I'm a lot more relaxed than Rachel but I love that I got to play dress up in this gown," she said.
READ MORE: The Internet's Best Reactions To Harry And Meghan's Engagement
Meghan is a huge fan of designer Erdem, choosing one of his dresses when she and Harry went to the wedding of Harry’s best friend Tom Inskip in Jamaica earlier this year.
As she’s marrying in the Royal family, Meghan may choose a British designer. According to fashion expert Peta Hunt of You & Your Wedding, likely options include Kate’s favourite Jenny Packham, who specialises in beaded designs, or Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen, who designed Kate’s dress. Amanda Wakeley, Alice Temperley or even Victoria Beckham are all options.
Oscar de la Renta, Elie Saab and Carolina Herrera could all be potential options if she chooses to go international.
Who’s Giving Speeches?
Traditionally the order of speeches goes father of the bride, groom and best man. As Meghan’s father won't be attending, it's unclear who'll give the first speech but Harry and brother William both will.
In a new tradition from the US that’s becoming more popular here, Meghan will reportedly give a bride’s speech too. She’ll use it as opportunity to thank everyone who has helped the couple during the wedding planning process.
What Will Their First Dance Be?
Whilst Harry and Meghan's first dance song is still a mystery, TMZ have 'confirmed' that Elton John will be performing at the royal wedding this weekend - although it's unclear whether he'll be singing at the church ceremony in St George's Chapel or at the repection later that day.
Image - Getty / Christopher Polk
Elton John's performance at Saturday's royal wedding has sentimental value as he also performed his single Candle in the Wind at Harry's mother, Princess Diana's funeral in 1977.
Pop star Ellie Goulding famously performed her cover of 'Your Song' at the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's wedding reception in 2011 and whilst it's unlikely Harry's ex girlfriend will do a performance at his wedding, Elton may just sing the original version himself.
Who Are The Public Who’ve Been Invited To Watch?
Image: Kensington Palace
These VIP invites are just to celebrate inside the castle walls, not to join the congregation, sadly.
The 2,460 members of the public will be made up of 1,200 young people who have served their community, 200 people from charitable organisations that couple support, and members of the Royal household and people who work for the Windsor estate. They’ve also invited 100 local school children.
The Palace has said they’ll be providing a sausage roll and a cup of tea for the chosen few – hopefully it’s enough to keep them warm if the weather takes a turn for the worse.
What Will The Weather Be Like?
On that note, it actually looks like it could be a sunny day for the wedding! The BBC have predicted that temperatures will reach 19 degrees in Windsor, with sunny intervals and a slight breeze. That's the sort of weather a girl could go strapless in...
There’s only an 11% chance of rain so fingers crossed it’s not a wash-out - we don’t want to fight to see Meghan under an umbrella!
What Will Harry and Meghan's Wedding Cake Be Like?
Rather than the traditional fruitcake, Prince Harry and Meghan have picked an unusual flavour for their wedding cake: lemon elderflower.
Kensington Palace revealed that the baker will be California-born pastry chef Claire Ptak, who's the owner of London bakery Violet Cakes. Claire has a history with Meghan, having been interviewed by her before for Meghan's former lifestyle website, The Tig.
Claire focuses on "seasonal and organic" ingredients and her bakery in Hackney is completely organic.
A tweet revealed: "Prince Harry and Ms. Markle have asked Claire to create a lemon elderflower cake that will incorporate the bright flavours of spring. It will be covered with buttercream and decorated with fresh flowers." Sounds delicious!
READ MORE: Iceland Have Made an £8 Replica Of Harry And Meghan's Cake
What Flowers Are Harry and Meghan Choosing?
Harry and Meghan have picked London florist Philippa Craddock to create the church flowers for their wedding.
A tweet from Kensington Palace revealed that the couple are focusing on in season flowers and foliage - like peonies and white roses - with most of their foliage taken from the grounds of Windsor Great Park, where their chapel is located.
"The floral displays in St George's Chapel will be created using locally sourced foliage, much of which will be taken from the gardens and parkland of The Crown Estate and @WindsorGtPark.
"Where possible, Philippa will use flowers and plants that are in season and blooming naturally in May, including branches of beech, birch and hornbeam, as well as white garden roses, peonies and foxgloves."
Philippa revealed the designs will "reflect the wild and natural landscapes" where the plants are originally found and said that the design process had been "highly collaborative, free-flowing, creative and fun."
The environmentally-conscious couple are also incorporating bee-friendly wildflowers (which make great wedding favours by the way) into the bouquets, and after the wedding will donate the flowers to charity.
Who Will Be Harry and Meghan’s Wedding Photographer?
Image: Kensington Palace
Neither are strangers to a camera so it’s been interesting to see who’ll they pick for the most important photos of their life.
Kensington Palace have confirmed that Alexi Lubomirski will be the official wedding photographer, and luckily we’ve already been given a taste of the kind of photography we can expect.
Alexi took the couple’s engagement photos at Frogmore House in Windsor last year. The intimate photos showed the pair intertwined on the steps of the royal country estate, walking by it’s lake and a beautiful black and white shot of Meghan lovingly cradling Harry's face.
What Is The Royal Wedding Dress Code?
Kensington Palace announced that the invites had been sent out on 22nd March, leaving a nation waiting patiently by the letterbox. Sadly only a select 600 guests were invited to attend.
The invitations revealed that the dress code for guests attending the nuptials is Uniform, Morning Coat or Lounge Suit, or Day Dress with Hat. Harry was a former soldier and now Captain General of the Royal Marines so will be wearing his military uniform to marry.
The couple honoured both their heritages in the invites. "Using American ink on English card, the invitations are printed in gold and black, then burnished to bring out the shine, and gilded around the edge," a tweet explained.
The invitations were made by Barnard and Westwood, which had held the royal warrant for printing and bookbinding since 1985. Unlike William and Kate's invite which had the Queen's embelm at the top, these invites have the three feather badge of Prince Charles.
How Did Prince Harry Propose?
Right back at the beginning of this love story, Harry got down on one knee in early November over a “cosy night in” at their home of Kensington Palace while the couple were roasting a chicken. Despite all the speculation over their relationship, Harry said that he was still able to surprise Meghan and she said yes before he’d even got the words out. “It was so sweet and natural and very romantic,” Meghan said. He took the traditional approach of getting the blessing of Meghan’s parents first before letting his family know.
They officially announced they were dating last November, but revealed they had been set up on a blind date by a mutual friend in the summer. They went on two dates back-to-back in London and then Harry whisked her off a month later for a five-day camp out under the stars in Botswana.
The Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William and Kate all welcomed Meghan into the family with congratulatory messages straight after the announcement. Meghan's parents said the engagement was a "source of great joy" for them.
READ MORE: Where To Find A Budget Version Of Meghan's Ring!
What Does Meghan's Engagement Ring Look Like - And What About Her Wedding Ring?
Image: Samir Hussein/Getty
Harry revealed that he designed the ring himself and had it made by Cleave and Company, the Queen’s personal jewellers.
The triology diamond ring features three diamonds representing the past, present and future, all of which have incredible sentimental value to Harry. Two of the gems are from his late mother Diana's personal collection and the third is from Botswana, where the couple holidayed at the start of their relationship.
As for her wedding band, Meghan is expected to follow in the tradition of having a ring crafted from rare Welsh gold extracted from the Clogau St. David's Gold Mine. The tradition was started by the Queen Mother and has continued to this day with the Duchess of Cambridge. The exact ones that the royal family wear are specially made, but Clogau rings cost £360.
Prince Harry is expected to follow in royal tradition and not wear a wedding band. While his father Prince Charles has always worn a band, Prince Philip never has, and Prince William revealed he chose not to wear one out of "personal preference". It's believed Harry won't wear one either.
Will Meghan Be A Princess After The Wedding?
Image: George Pimentel/Getty
According to British peerage rules, Meghan can’t become a princess through marriage. Princess Diana was given her title by the media, not royalty, which means Princess Meghan is off the cards.
By tradition, male members of the royal family receive a title from the Queen on their wedding day and the Duke of Sussex is the vacant title that Harry’s expected to receive. That means Meghan would become the first Duchess of Sussex after the wedding. If Harry turns down a title, however, and sticks with his princedom, Meghan will become Her Royal Highness Princess Henry of Wales.