The royal wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry is just around the corner. Here's a cheat sheet of everything you need to know about the big day:
On Dec. 15, Kensington Palace announced that Meghan and Harry will tie the knot on Saturday, May 19, 2018.
Other notable May weddings in the British royal family: Princess Margaret and Antony Charles Robert Armstrong-Jones (May 6, 1960) and Peter Phillips (Princess Anne's son) and Autumn Kelly (May 17, 2008).
On Feb. 12, 2018, Kensington Palace announced that Meghan and Harry's wedding ceremony will begin at 12 p.m. London time (7 p.m. Manila time), followed by a carriage procession one hour later around Windsor Town. The couple will also celebrate with a reception at St. George's Hall, according to the Palace.
On the same day, the Palace announced that The Archbishop of Canterbury will officiate the wedding with The Dean of Windsor conducting the service.
As noted in the official announcement, the Royal Family will take care of Meghan and Harry's wedding bill. For comparison, Kate Middleton and Prince William's 2011 wedding cost an estimated $34 million (P1.7 billion), with $32 million (P1.6 billion) going to security alone (via CBS News).
According to Kensington Palace, Meghan and Harry will say "I Do" at St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle, where Harry was christened when he was three months old in 1984. According to The Guardian, the chapel holds about 800 guests (compared to Westminster Abbey's 2,000). As noted above, Harry's cousin Peter Phillips tied the knot there with his Canadian bride, Autumn Kelly, in 2008. St. George's Chapel is also where Harry's father, Prince Charles, and the Duchess of Cornwall, held their televised religious blessings after their civil ceremony in 2005.
The Palace announced on Feb. 12, 2018, that Harry's father, Prince Charles, will host a private evening reception for the newlyweds, their close friends, and family.
Bishop Michael Bruce Curry will give the wedding address, Dean of Windsor, the Rt. Revd. David Conner, who will conduct the Service, and the Most Revd. and Rt. Hon. Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, will officiate Meghan and Harry's marriage vows.
Two weeks before the wedding, Prince Harry's Press Secretary gave a detailed update on everything from guests to how the public will have access to extra trains in and around Windsor on the big day. Her mom, Doria Ragland, will travel with Meghan by car to Windsor Castle on her wedding day. The Press Secretary also noted that Harry's late mother, Diana, will be a big part of the wedding day: all three of Diana's siblings will be in attendance, with older sister Lady Jane Fellowes set to give the reading.
Meghan's dad, Thomas Markle Sr., was previously confirmed as the one who would walk her down the aisle. On May 14, just four days before the wedding, TMZ reported that he won't attend the wedding after all following reports that he had staged and sold photos of himself reading a book about Great Britain. He also told TMZ that he suffered a heart attack six days ago but checked out so he could attend the wedding. "He's now decided not to go because he doesn’t want to embarrass the Royal Family or his daughter," reports the outlet.
In response, Kensington Palace released a brief statement confirming that Markle Sr. will indeed not be at the wedding. Per a spokesperson, "This is a deeply personal moment for Ms. Markle in the days before her wedding. She and Prince Harry ask again for understanding and respect to be extended to Mr. Markle in this difficult situation."
Just one day later, Markle Sr. told TMZ that he changed his mind because he hates "the idea of missing one of the greatest moments in history and walking my daughter down the aisle." In an interview with TMZ that same day, however, Markle Sr. confirmed that he will have heart surgery on Wednesday morning (May 16) and will not be able to make the wedding after all. Markle Sr. has also since credited the open letter his son Thomas Markle Jr. wrote to Harry telling him to back out of the wedding as what caused his heart attack in the first place.
The Carriage Ride
On Princess Charlotte's third birthday, May 2, Kensington Palace revealed details of what Meghan and Harry will ride in during their post-ceremony procession through Windsor Town. Presenting, the Ascot Landau carriage, one of five in the Royal Mews that are typically used for official and ceremonial state events including coronations, state visits, and—you guessed it—royal weddings.
Meghan and Harry will be pulled by father-and-son duo Storm and Tyrone, two Windsor Grey horses.
As a backup, the palace also confirmed that the covered Scottish State Coach will be available on May 19 in case it rains on the blessed day.
On March 20, 2018, Kensington Palace announced the Harry and Meghan asked pastry chef Claire Ptak of Violet Cakes in London to make their wedding cake, which will be a lemon elderflower creation "that will incorporate the bright flavors of spring." (So, not the previously rumored banana cake. Too bad.) The cake will be covered with buttercream and adorned with fresh flowers. Meghan and the pastry chef have a special connection: she was previously interviewed for Meghan's lifestyle site The Tig.
On April 1, 2018, Kensington Palace announced that London-based Philippa Craddock has been hired to provide everything floral on May 19th. Craddock, who is self-taught, will locally source flowers from the Crown Estate and Windsor Great Park gardens to decorate both St. George's Chapel and St. George's Hall. While it's unclear what exact flowers will be used for the big day, flowers that bloom naturally in May include branches of beech, birch, hornbeam, white garden roses, foxgloves, and Meghan's favorite, peonies.
Meghan and Harry announced via Kensington Palace on April 13 that Alexi Lubomirski will be taking official photos at Windsor Castle following the wedding ceremony. Lubomirski is the same photographer who snapped the gorgeous engagement photos of the couple at Frogmore House.
On April 24, Kensington Palace confirmed Meghan and Harry's plans for their service music. According to an announcement, the couple took "a great deal of interest and care in choosing the music for their service," which will include several "well-known hymns and choral works" under James Vivian, Director of Music at St. George's Chapel. Among the performers is 19-year-old cello prodigy Sheku Kanneh-Mason, who confirmed that Meghan personally called to ask him to play.
FYI this is just for the wedding ceremony so don't lose hope on that Spice Girls reception rumor just yet!
Via PEOPLE, Meghan and Harry have tasted and approved the wedding reception menu from the kitchens at Windsor Castle. The couple’s 600 wedding guests will be served bowls of food and canapés prepared with classical seasonal produce from the Queen's royal estates. The canapés are meant to be consumed in two bites while the bowls are to be eaten standing up. Mark Flanagan, the royal chef who's leading the kitchen crew on the big day, told reporters, "The day of the wedding has fallen very kindly for us. All the British vegetables are just coming into season. That's been a point of focus for us." As PEOPLE points out, produce that’s in season right now include everything from asparagus to peas to tomatoes.
Along with the wedding date announcement on Nov. 28, Kensington Palace revealed that Meghan will be baptized and confirmed into the Church of England before her May 2018 wedding. While Meghan attended a Catholic high school, she was not raised Catholic, with her father being an Episcopalian and mother a Protestant. Kate Middleton underwent something similar in the weeks prior to her wedding to Prince William in 2011.
According to PEOPLE, Meghan was secretly baptized into the Church of England on March 8 in a ceremony conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Photos of Meghan and Harry's wedding invitations were released on March 22nd. Taken at the workshop of Barnard and Westwood in London, England, the photos reveal that the invitations will use Harry's legal name, "Henry," and that guests will head to a lunch reception at St George's at the invitation of Queen Elizabeth. According to Kensington Palace, the invitations feature the three-feathered badge of Prince Charles printed in gold ink.
The Wedding Party
On April 26, Kensington Palace confirmed that Harry had asked his brother Prince William to be his Best Man. Harry was William's best man at his 2011 wedding to Kate Middleton.
According to Prince Harry's communications secretary Jason Knauf, Meghan has chosen to not have a maid of honor on her big day. "She has a very close-knit group of friends and did not want to choose one over the other," Knauf said. "All have been actively involved in helping her prepare for the day and will be there in the days beforehand. She's very happy to have their support."
On May 16, three days before the big day, Meghan and Harry announced their bridesmaids and page boys. Per royal protocol, children make up the group.
- Princess Charlotte
- Florence van Cutsem (Harry's goddaughter)
- Remi and Rylan Litt (Meghan's goddaughters)
- Ivy Mulroney (Meghan's BFF Jessica Mulroney's daughter)
- Zalie Warren (Harry's goddaughter)
- Prince George
- Jasper Dyer (Harry's godson)
- Brian and John Mulroney (Meghan's BFF Jessica Mulroney's sons)
The Guest List
While nothing has been officially announced, a dream guest list would include the Obamas (who have worked on various charitable initiatives with Harry), the Trudeaus (Meghan is close friends with First Lady Sophie Gregoire Trudeau), Serena Williams (also another BFF of Meghan’s), the cast of Suits, the Beckhams (who also attended Will and Kate's wedding in 2011), Priyanka Chopra (Meghan once interviewed her for her lifestyle website The Tig), Misha Nonoo (rumored to be the mutual friend who originally set up Meghan and Harry), and Rihanna (Harry and the Bad Gal met up to bring awareness on World Aids Day in 2016 and volunteered to take HIV tests together).
On April 10, 2018, Kensington Palace announced that after consultation by Her Majesty's Government, "an official list of political leaders—both UK & international—is not required" for the wedding. Royal reporter Rebecca English also points out that since Harry is not a direct heir to the British throne, a formal guest list is not required. Plus, St George's Chapel can't hold that many people so, some cuts are expected.
The Other Guests
On March 2, 2018, Kensington Palace announced that Harry and Meghan have "invited 2,640 people" to the grounds of Windsor Castle to watch the bride and groom's arrivals, their wedding guests' arrivals, and the carriage procession following the ceremony. The group includes 1,200 members of the public "from every corner of the United Kingdom" nominated by nine regional Lord Lieutenant offices; 200 people chosen from charities and organizations Harry and Meghan "have a close association with"; 100 students from two local schools in the Windsor Castle community; 610 Windsor Castle community members; and 530 members of the Royal Households and Crown Estate.
Ahead of a Suits episode in 2016, when her character Rachel Zane wore a wedding dress, Meghan spoke to Glamour to talk all things well, wedding dresses. At the time, Meghan revealed that she’s “a lot more relaxed” than her character but that she loved the low ballerina inspired neckline on Rachel’s dress.
Of her dream wedding gown, Meghan offered this:
"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. Delphine Manivet and Christos Costarellos are faves of mine for their uniqueness and beauty. And I will always be a fan of Ellie Saab. J. Mendel is spectacular as well, especially for more structural designs."
In the same interview, she revealed that her favorite celebrity wedding dress belonged to Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, calling the gown, “Everything goals.”
The Wedding Will Be On TV
All major cable networks in the U.S. will be broadcasting the wedding. NBC's Today Show will begin its coverage at 4:30 a.m.; ABC News and Good Morning America will kick things off at 5 a.m.; CBS will also have an early start at 4 a.m. (all times are in Eastern). BBC America, PBS, and E! News will also have coverage.
According to a spokesperson for the engaged couple in November 2017, Meghan and Harry will try to involve the public as much as possible, which could mean airing their big day around the world. "The couple of course want the day to be a special, celebratory moment for their friends and family," the spokesperson said. "They also want the day to be shaped so as to allow members of the public to feel part of the celebrations too and are currently working through ideas for how this might be achieved." (via The Guardian)
The Engagement Ring
As previously revealed, Harry designed the three-stone diamond ring with British jewelers Cleave and Company. The center stone is from Botswana, a place close to the couple’s hearts, and the two side stones are from Princess Diana's personal collection. The yellow gold is Meghan's "favorite," according to Harry.
As the couple told the BBC’s Mishal Husain in their first joint interview since getting engaged, Harry proposed over a typical cozy roast chicken dinner at their cottage in early November. "It was a nice moment, it was the two of us," Harry said. "I think I managed to catch her by surprise as well."
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.