You may think that us mere commoners have one too many rules and traditions to follow (or buck) when it comes to tying the knot. But in reality, when it comes to strict traditions – the royals take the cake! Sure, we might have our crazy Aunt Karen or our overbearing Grandmother to please on your big day, but try accommodating not only the monarchy, but the entire population of England while you’re at it. From fashion to flowers – today we’re dishing on the top 10 royal wedding traditions that may come as a surprise to you fellow Crown-obsessed brides!
1. Permission to Propose
This tradition might seem familiar to most, as its customary in many cultures to ask the bride’s parents for her hand in marriage. Royals up to the sixth in line to the throne must ask the reigning monarch for permission to marry their future spouse before proposing.
2. Myrtle Sprig
From Her Majesty The Queen to The Duchess of Cambridge and The Duchess of Sussex – a traditional sprig of Myrtle has been present in royal wedding bridal bouquets. Myrtle represents love, fertility and innocence. This special bloom can be found at Queen Victoria’s 170-year old garden at her holiday home on the Isle of Wight.
3. Tiny Bridal Party
And by tiny, we don’t mean in numbers. Traditionally, the royal wedding party is made up of children of the royal family. We can thank this little tradition for providing all the adorable pageboy and bridesmaid content throughout the years – I mean who can forget young Prince George and Princess Charlotte stealing hearts of every onlooker at Pippa Middleton’s 2017 nuptials.
4. Meaningful Headwear
Our fondest, most sparkly, tradition on the list has to be the tiara of course! Its royal tradition that the first time a woman dons a tiara is on her wedding day, as they represent betrothal and unavailability. Typically, the diadem comes from their own family vault – just how Princess Diana famously donned The Spencer Tiara for her unforgettable 1981 wedding day. Other times, the statement piece is acquired by the groom’s family – Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge chose to wear the dazzling Cariter ‘halo’ tiara as her “something borrowed”, lent to her by her majesty the Queen!
5. Let Them Eat Fruitcake
Can’t decide what type of cake to serve at your reception? For royalty, the decision is pretty much a given – in the form of a traditional tiered fruitcake! It may be that the sheer sturdiness and shelf life of the cake factored into this traditional choice, as it is customary for one slice of royal wedding cake be mailed to guests in a commemorative tin post-wedding… I mean, as if we needed any more reason to envy royal wedding guests!
6. You May Now… Not Kiss The Bride!
It may come as a surprise to many that the Church of England actually forbids the traditional kiss at the end of a wedding ceremony in many places, including Windsor Castle, where Meghan Markle and Prince Harry wed, as well as Westminster Abbey, where Prince William and Kate Middleton tied the knot – as the Church deems these significant places “sacred.” So, the traditional kiss outside the chapel for all the public to see was born!
7. A Royal Portrait
All members of the royal family gather in the Throne Room of Buckingham Palace, children and babies included, to stand together and pose for the traditional royal family portrait.
8. The Queen Gets Final Say
The one is short and sweet – when it comes to the guest list, The Queen gets final say. Her royal highness is actually the only person who can send out wedding invitations to perspective guests, as the event is hosted by the Queen herself.
9. Military attire
For formal events, and their weddings of course, it is customary for men to wear full military dress uniforms. The reason behind the tradition comes from the period of military service that senior royal men undergo in order to hold military ranks throughout their public royal careers. Prince William handsomely wore the Irish Guards Mounted Officers uniform while Prince Harry opted for the Blues and Royals.
10. Welsh Gold Rings
The custom of using Welsh gold for royal wedding rings began in 1923 by the Queen Mother. The Queen Mother’s wedding ring, Queen Elizabeth’s, Princess Margaret, The Princess Royal’s in 1973 and Princess Diana’s were all made of the same nugget.