Since their late-November annoncement that they were officially engaged, the world has not been able to take its eyes off Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. From the ring (the main diamond is from Botswana) to the details of the engagement (they were “trying to roast a chicken”) we have eagerly anticipated and absorbed every piece of information we can get our hands on. So it goes. The world did the same with Kate Middleton and Prince William, as well as Princes Diana, but at least this time Americans can legitimize our obsession with the fact that Meghan Markle is an American, she is bi-racial, and she stars in our favorite TV Drama Suits.
While we anticipate their Spring wedding, we’ve been educating ourselves on the cherished customs that we practice in the States, that probably originated across the pond.
1. Having a “Groom side” and a “Bride side” started with the royals
Where families sit during a ceremony is an established tradition that symbolizes the separate nature of the families before the ceremony, and then the joining of the two lineages during the reception. Royal protocol dictates that the reigning family sits on the right side of the wedding venue but in the States it has become norm to sit on the side of your relative or friend – and if you’re friends with both bride and groom – then who you’ve known for a longer time. Although this tradition is slowly whittling away with newer, more millenial interpretations of seating arrangements and strict seating guidelines, it is still a royal custom that we adopted for ourselves.
2. They Basically Invented The White Dress
When Queen Victoria married Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha on February 10, 1840, Victoria selected a white wedding dress to wear for the special day. Although not completely unheard of, it was an odd choice at a time when most royal brides opted for more regal, colorful statements and fabrics of heavy silk. She single-handedly popularized the white dress we now all accept as the status quo, as well as normalizing lace detailing to our intricate gowns.
3. Royals Get The Credit For The Two-Cake Tradition, Because Obviously One Isn’t Enough
We’ve all pinned pictures on Pinterest (either seriously or as a joke) of crazy groom cakes shaped after his favorite sports team, or family crest, or weird hobby, but did you know this tradition originally came from the U.K.? At Princess Kate and Prince William’s lavish wedding, each cake (the bride’s and the groom’s) cost a whopping $80,000. Let that sink in. For the price of two cakes, you could buy a Lambourghini. However, these cakes were small change compared to the alleged $34 million price tag of the big day.
4. We Can Thank The Royal Family For Cake Toppers
Speaking of hundred-thousand dollar cakes, what says “sophistication and elevated style” more than a pair of cheap plastic replicas of the happy couple? Harkening back to the 1840 wedding of Victoria and Albert, the second major tradition they set in motion was finishing off their cake with two pint-sized figurines styled after the Queen and King themselves. It was difficult for guests to see them, though, since the tiered cake weighed over 300 lbs. and measured 9 ft in diameter. Hopefully, these guests didn’t have to eat a groom’s cake too.
5. Brides Carry This Flower For Luck
This custom, although not as rigorously adhered to everywhere in the States, is of paramount significance in the South, and this tradition began with – you guessed – Queen-Of-All-Wedding-Trends Victoria. She carried a sprig of myrtle in her bouquet which both honors her preceding generations and their devotion to the act of marriage, as well as supposedly brings “brides good luck in love.” This beautiful, wispy white flower hangs off the end of a gorgeous green plume of thick, luscious leaves and would make a handsome addition to any style or type of bouquet you’re planning… so whether or not you actually believe this flower will boost your luck in marriage, better not to tempt the fates, right?