More than $16 million will be spent, and some four billion people around the world will watch. Here's how the young couple will pull it off.
Bring on the Sentiment
There will be one glaring absence on the big day: the mother of the groom, whom William has called "quite simply, the best mum in the world." So it was fitting (and poignant) when Wills proposed to Kate with his mom's 18-carat sapphire-and-diamond engagement ring.
Keep the Plans a Secret
Everyone loves surprises, right? The Brits are mad for Kate's fashion sense. So much so that the royal blue dress the five-foot-ten, size-two beauty wore to announce her engagement-made by Issa, one of her favorite designers-sold out on net-a-porter.com within 24 hours. But the bride has kept mum about her wedding gown.
But Spill Some Details
Before the official press conference, Will and Kate's engagement was announced online, followed by news that the happy couple would be married at Westminster Abbey by the archbishop of Canterbury and that the Queen would throw a traditional reception at Buckingham Palace. But that was enough tradition for the modern couple. The real party will be a private dinner and dance for close friends and family only.
Don't Look Greedy
Royal aides say the couple is asking that guests donate to charity in lieu of sending presents because those bestowed on royals in the past can be, well, a bit impractical. When the Queen Mum and George VI were married in 1923, they were given 1,000 gold-eyed needles.
Arrive (Or at Least Depart) in Style
Kate has said she'd prefer to make her way to the ceremony by car rather than in the traditional, Cinderellaesque "glass coach," though she will depart by carriage. One possible reason besides thrift? She's allergic to horses.
Do a Few Dry Runs First
Two rehearsal carriage rides will take place before the big day, the first for pacing and the second-in the dead of night-with the actual royal carriages carrying people of exactly the same weight as the wedding party. Then coachmen will adjust the springs so that the carriage "doesn't sway too much and make the passengers sick," says a former driver.
Keep Security Tight
All trash bins along the route will be sealed ahead of time to prevent anyone from hiding a bomb inside them. On the wedding day itself, all rooftops will be covered by police to foil potential snipers. Kate will be followed "from the moment she gets up in the morning," says Alex Bomberg, a former royal aide. While the royal family will pay for the wedding itself, the security, paid for by the public, is estimated to cost at least $8 million.
Don't Forget Souvenirs
The wedding will likely generate some $1 billion in revenue. And a chunk of that will come from the mugs emblazoned with the couple's likeness, as well as unauthorized items such as tea towels-and even condoms.
ROYAL WEDDING TIME LINE
C. 765/Cynethryth marries Offa-the first "King of the English"-with church approval.
July 12, 1543/Catherine Parr becomes the sixth and last wife of Henry VIII, the most married royal.
July 28, 1683/Queen Anne weds Prince George of Denmark. Despite giving birth 17 times, she leaves no heirs.
February 10, 1840/Queen Victoria chooses a white wedding gown when she marries the man she calls "my precious Albert"-sparking a trend that continues to this day.
April 26, 1923/The commoner who would later become known as the Queen Mum weds the future King George VI. The couple celebrates with an 800-pound wedding cake.
December 11, 1936/Edward VIII abdicates the throne (to his brother Bertie) to marry the twice-divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson.
November 20, 1947/Princess Elizabeth weds Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, a man she first met when she was eight.
May 6, 1960/Princess Margaret Antony Armstrong-Jones are wed on TV-a royal first.
July 29, 1981/Lady Diana Spencer, the first royal bride in history to omit the word obey from her wedding vows, marries Prince Charles.
June 19, 1999/It is reported that at the reception for Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones, the Queen dances to the Village People's "Y.M.C.A."
April 29, 2011/Prince William and Catherine Middleton will wed at Westminster Abbey.
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