There are few things more romantic than seeing a beautiful bride marrying her Prince Charming. This past May, the world got a chance to watch as beautiful Meghan Markle married Prince Harry. Millions watched the nuptials and surrounding pomp, from the moment of Markle's arrival on the steps of St. George's Chapel in a vintage car to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's horse-drawn carriage ride through the crowd-lined streets surrounding Windsor Castle.
Many future brides no doubt took note of some of the royal touches that they might want at their own fairy-tale weddings. British royal weddings have influenced wedding day choices of many bridal couples since at least 1981, when Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer. Brides-to-be and the fashion industry are still talking about Kate Middleton's iconic lace-sleeved, deep V-neck 2011 wedding gown. "Long sleeves, V-necks, and lace have been seen all over the bridal runways since, even at the most recent Bridal Fashion Week," Roberta Correia of Brides magazine told style website Racked earlier this year.
And even before the 2018 royal wedding took place, jewelry shops were buzzing about Markle's engagement ring, featuring the classic three-stone setting. "The little diamonds (on) either side are from my mother's jewelry collection," Prince Harry told BBC, "to make sure that she's with us on this crazy journey together."
Trends already beginning to star in bridal showcases include simpler wedding gowns -- ones without glitzy embellishments -- paired with lavish veils and trains that can be removed during the reception to allow for easier movement. Markle walked down the aisle in a sleek, three-quarter sleeve Givenchy A-line gown featuring an elegant boat neck. Her natural makeup further added to this classic look. She balanced things out with an extravagant veil and regal train, which required multiple train bearers.
Markle rejected the idea of a massive bridal bouquet and opted instead for a small, delicate white floral arrangement. Prince Harry helped to select the arrangement of flowers for Markle's bridal nosegay, which included the traditional sprig of myrtle, a symbol of hope and love; white forget-me-nots, a favorite of Harry's mother, Princess Diana; sweet peas; lily of the valley; astilbe; jasmine; and astrantia. The inclusion of Diana's favorite flower may influence other couples to find subtle ways to pay tribute to family members who have passed away.
Another notable feature of the past two royal weddings is the use of pint-size attendants, with multiple flower girls and pages making up most of the bridal party (just two of the attendants at each royal wedding were adults). The bridal industry is expecting to see this more often. "Lately, we've been seeing some bridal parties comprised entirely of cute kids," David's Bridal said in a blog post. "In Great Britain it's a royal wedding tradition to have children as attendants, rather than adult friends."
It's also a tradition for royal weddings to take place early in the day and are celebrated with a breakfast meal. Markle and Prince Harry's wedding reception featured a lemon elderflower cake covered with buttercream and decorated with fresh flowers, as reported by the palace Twitter account. However, earlier reports had suggested that the royal couple would be serving a banana-flavored confection at their reception. These reports seemed to lead some couples to order colorful and fruity wedding cakes.
The royals typically follow the breakfast festivities with a formal luncheon and an intimate dinner at the palace -- making morning ceremonies and brunch receptions another trend to watch in the coming years.
There is no better way to feel like royalty than getting married in a fairy-tale setting. While hardly anyone has the privilege of getting married at Windsor Castle, there are, fortunately, castle wedding venues around the world and even right here in the United States. Couples can take advantage of such palatial venues as California's Chateau Julien; North Carolina's Biltmore Estate; or New Jersey's Pleasantdale Chateau Estate, to name a few.
The most significant aspect of the royal wedding is Meghan Markle herself. The American who married into British royalty has spoken out in defense of women's equality. The next generation of little girls who aspire to be princesses just might have a whole new outlook.