Our official countdown to the royal wedding has begun. In just a few days, the world will witness Prince Harry and Meghan Markle say, "I do," and we're beyond excited about the event. If you are not among the 600 guests invited to the ceremony, your best bet to catch a glimpse of the couple is in front of your TV. But the fact that you didn't get an invite to the wedding of the year doesn't mean that you can't celebrate with the couple, even if it's from thousands of miles away.
Instead of watching the nuptials alone on your sofa, make a party out of it, and invite a few like-minded royal enthusiasts for a full-on royal-inspired celebration. We reached out to a few professional party planners to help you throw the most epically British fête on this side of the Atlantic.
"As most Americans will be watching the royal wedding as early as 7:00 am, the perfect way to take in the pomp and circumstance is by throwing a very British brunch," suggests Bryan Rafanelli, one of the best event producers in the country with a celebrity client list that includes Michelle Obama, Matt Damon, Allison Williams, and Chelsea Clinton.
The time Rafanelli is referring to is actually the beginning of the ceremony at St George's Chapel, but if you'd like to see the bride (and THE dress) arriving, you'd likely have to start your party at 6 a.m. A number of TV channels will broadcast the event live. For a full list of viewing options, click here.
Now, let's talk decor—the easiest way to up the ante on the celebratory vibe. Rafanelli says that going over the top with spring flowers is a must. "Traditional florals such as lilies of the valley always have had a starring role, along with sprigs of myrtle, a tradition that dates back to Queen Victoria," he explains. Other royal-approved flowers are roses, foxgloves, and the bride’s favorite—brightly colored peonies. "In the event you don’t have enough vases for all your blooms, you can also substitute a teapot to double as a vase."
Of course, you can't celebrate an event like the royal wedding by serving food and drinks in your regular Ikea dinnerware, or worse, plastic plates. Break out your good china and silver. If you don't have any, check out your local antiques store or flea market for mismatched pieces. "What’s more English than vintage floral teacups? Pastel linens, lace doilies, and tiered cake trays for pastries and petit fours will complete the table," says Rafanelli.
Speaking of pastries, to make guests feel like they are celebrating in Frogmore House with the royal couple themselves, serve lemon elderflower cupcakes similar to the cake chosen by Prince Harry and Meghan. You could also serve British biscuits and scones, or if you'd like something more hearty, go for traditional English breakfast fare such as bubble and squeak, according to Rafanelli.
"If it's not going to be a full English brunch, then I would suggest canapes of mini toad in the hole, pigs in blankets, cucumber sandwiches with cream cheese and jelly and ice-cream. You could always have afternoon tea in the morning," says Tara Fay, founder of Xena Productions, a Dublin-based event company. Our recommendation? Opt for Twinings tea or Harney and Sons Royal Wedding Tea with a dash of milk.
"In keeping with Royal wedding tradition, finish the meal with strawberries and cream, as the royals have done since Prince Albert married Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, the Queen Mother, in 1923," says Brittany Westerman of Reed + James Events.
Champagne is always served at an English wedding along with a traditional cocktail like a Pimms, explains Fay, so for arrival drinks, Pimms is the perfect summer offering. Prepare it with Pimms liquor, lemonade, and fresh mint leaves. Another royal favorite is sparkling Prosecco with a dollop of peach puree, which was Princess Diana's preferred drink, according to Susan Dunne, of Weddings By Susan Dunne. Dubonnet cocktail, a simple gin, and Dubonnet rouge mix with a lemon twist for garnish is the Queen's go-to cocktail.
And finally, to make things more fun, plan a few party activities to liven up the crowd. For the perfect Instagram shot, set up a photo-staging area with royal props, such as crowns, tiaras, British guards, Big Ben, top hats, smoking pipes, bridal veils, teapots, and British flags.
"Have everyone give their best-educated guesses on some of the details of the event such as the royal dress designer, the color of the bridesmaid dresses, and who will wear the most outlandish fascinator or hat. Another good one is, have your guests name match a member of each of the European Royal families as they appear on the screen. Make the prize a bottle of Champagne," suggests Fay.
And when the party is over, offer everyone peony seeds to plant in honor of Markle's favorite flower and in celebration of the blooming royal marriage.