On this the eve of of the Royal Wedding I though it would be nice to look back at some previous British Royal weddings and at the Royal wedding traditions that have developed through the years…

Royal Wedding Traditions

Photographs: bridalwave.tv

White Wedding Dress

It is a tradition for the royal bride to wear a white wedding dress, a tradition that originally began with the royal family’s Queen Victoria in 1840.

Royal Wedding Traditions

Photographs: bridalwave.tv

The Bouquet

When Queen Victoria married Prince Albert in 1840, she carried myrtle, known as the herb of love, in her bouquet. After the wedding, Victoria planted a myrtle shrub in her garden at the Osborne House on the Isle of Wight and since then every British royal bride has carried a bouquet containing a sprig plucked from the same shrub.

In an act of love to honor the armed forces Royal brides leave her bouquet in Westminster Abbey at the grave of the Unknown Warrior. The Queen Mother unknowingly created the tradition when she laid down her bouquet in remembrance of her brother who has lost his life in the Battle of Loos.

Royal Wedding Traditions

Photograph: alphabeticallistofflowers.or

Welsh Gold Wedding Ring

A tradition beginning with the Queen’s late mother in 1923, all of the royal women’s wedding bands have contained precious Welsh gold from the same nugget mined in Dolgellau, North Wales – a variety of gold that is very valuable. While the original nugget is almost depleted, the Queen has since been presented with another large nugget for future wedding bands, including Catherine’s.

Horse Drawn Carriage

Most royal brides arrive to their wedding in horse-drawn regal style, Diana chose an 1881 Glass Coach purchased for George V’s coronation in 1911. Once they are married traditionally the newly married couple depart the ceremony in the same carriage.

Catherine has chosen to break with tradition and instead will arrive at Westminster Abbey with her father in a car. She selected the Queen’s Rolls Royce Phantom, it’s large windows allow onlookers a great view of the bride to be. Catherine and William have chosen to stay with tradition when leaving the Abbey and will be transported in the same carriage that Charles and Diana chose, a 1902 State Landau originally made for the coronation of Edward VII.

Photograph: dailymail.co.uk

Ceremony Location

The most traditional location for a royal ceremony is the Chapel Royal at St. James Palace, which housed the weddings of Queen Anne, George III, George IV, Queen Victoria and George V. More recent royal couples have since outgrown the small chapel, which seats 100, as the ceremonies have become more of a public spectacle. For her 1919 ceremony, Princess Patricia of Connaught brought Westminster Abbey into vogue for royal weddings for the first time in 605 years.

Two alternatives are the much larger St. Paul’s Cathedral where Charles and Diana wed or the much smaller St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle. Westminster was chosen for King George V’s daughter Mary, Queen Elizabeth’s parents, and the Queen’s own wedding and Katherine and William have also chosen Westminster.

Ceremony Music

Some popular royal wedding choices have been Mendelssohn’s Wedding March, the hymn The Lord’s My Shepherd, and Widor’s Toccata from Organ Symphony No. 5. Official recordings of William and Catherine’s music will be available on iTunes from May 5th.

Photograph: womenshistory.about.com

The Wedding Party

The use of children in bridal parties in the royal family has been a longstanding tradition. The bride is accompanied by a group of bridesmaids, usually younger girls between the ages of 10 and 12. The Queen had eight bridesmaids, and Diana had five, ranging in age from 5 to 17. Traditionally all the bridesmaids wear the same dress regardless of age.

Photograph: seattlepi.com

Walking Up The Isle

English Royal brides lead the processional up the aisle, with their bridesmaids in tow unescorted by ushers, who stand at the front of the church with the groom. Pageboys have the duty of carrying the train of the bride’s dress.

Photograph: paulcahill.wordpress.com

Wedding Guests

Male Royal wedding guests are traditionally expected to wear military uniforms, morning dress (a single breasted coats with tails) or lounge suits. Female attire is less strict, though hats are an absolute must!

Wedding Breakfast

Most British weddings are held at noon and are followed by a seated formal meal called a “wedding breakfast”. The Queen’s wedding breakfast was held in the Ball supper-room at Buckingham Palace for a small party, as was Diana’s for about 120 guests. William and Kate are braking tradition and opting instead for an 11am ceremony, 600 guests will join the new couple at the Palace for a buffet style wedding breakfast hosted by the Queen with a canapé menu.

The Wedding Cake

It is a tradition for the royal wedding cake to be a fruitcake, usually made with raisins, ground almonds, cherries and marzipan and is cut using the groom’s ceremonial sword. The fruitcake is served at the wedding reception along with another traditional cake, the groom’s cake. It was once English custom for this to be a fruitcake as well, but today, the groom’s cake is likely to be chocolate.

Photograph: brides.com

Are you planning a British or Royal inspired wedding? Will you be adding any of these traditions to your plans for a thoroughly regal wedding day?

3 Responses

  1. Aisling Nelson

    Wow- great post Pamela! You’ve really done your research…I didn’t know about the wedding breakfast tradition. Love those towering cake towers too :-)

    Reply
  2. Honor The Bridetobe

    […] British Royal Wedding Traditions In an act of love to honor the armed forces Royal brides leave her bouquet in Westminster Abbey at the grave of the Unknown Warrior. The Queen Mother unknowingly created the tradition when she laid down her bouquet in remembrance of her . She selected the Queen's Rolls Royce Phantom, it's large windows allow onlookers a great view of the bride to be Catherine and William have chosen to stay with tradition when leaving the Abbey and will be transported in the same . […]

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.