After immersing myself in the Royal Wedding prep and dabbling in the realm of foreign correspondence, the day of the Royal Wedding finally arrived. As excited as everyone was for the parade and celebration, I think most Londoners were excited for an extra day off.
Waking Up Early
To walk the wedding route so many times and not see the parade would have been crazy. So I did what only a few of my colleagues were doing, I woke up offensively early on a national holiday to
stand outside in the cold snag a spot along the parade route. While this was incredibly painful – because it was early in the morning, not because I was hung over – it reminded me of the times I got up early as a kid for the 4th of July parade in Wisconsin.
Around 7 a.m. the route was four, sometimes five, people deep from the fences with little hope for in sight. Thankfully, a few late sleepers gave me a chucking and I didn’t feel so bad about my situation.
Eventually, relief came in the form of an open gateway across from the Horse Guard Parade. My spot was at a turn in the parade route and I think most people hadn’t settled there for fear that they wouldn’t see anything or that they were missing out on an even better spot close to Buckingham Palace, a terrible mistake on their part. From this turn, several thousand commoners were able to watch the Royals and foreign dignitaries pass by in Bentleys and Rolls Royces, while the second hour of 50 degree weather slowly crept into our bones.
A Hush of Silence and Collective “Aww”
As the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh passed our location, the Chief Superintendent for the London Metropolitan Police department meandered over to my area of the fence and in a voice just above a whisper said, “She’s 90 seconds away.” The procession was planned so meticulously that you could hold a stop watch to it and now were only 90 seconds away from seeing the woman two billion people were waiting to see.
Each car that had passed earlier in the procession received a loud cheer and applause as they went by but when Kate Middleton’s car approached, the crowd grew silent as everyone shifted for the best possible view. As her car slowly drove by, the air was filled with a soft and collective “Awwww.”
To everyone that “grew up” with William and Harry or watched William and Kate’s relationship develop, Kate was very much their Cinderella.
It’s said that when Kate arrived at the altar, the Duke of Cambridge looked at his bride and told her she looked beautiful. I think everyone along the parade route thought the same thing… And then most of us guys remembered it was her wedding day and we would have to settle for her attractive sister, Pippa. (Don’t worry guys, I handle this one.)
What You Didn’t See on TV
To the international media and out of town guests, the Royal wedding was like a college party. The host, London, got everything ready, all of the attendees were dressed to impress, the pictures looked great, the event had plenty of alcohol, and everyone got home safely. The downside for London is having to clean up the mess, steam clean the drapes*, and find out what happened to the awesome mixed CD we made for the party.
My friend Etosha and I walked the parade route a few days after the wedding and things were starting to look normal but it will take the flowers a little time to recover.
We made a few stops during our walk and noticed that only a few thousand barricades remained, the massive TV studios and scaffolding were starting to come down, and it wasn’t tough to find cheap
trash and trinkets souvenirs.
While is would be a perfect opportunity to remind everyone that weddings are amazing and that the Royal Wedding is really about two people falling in love, I imagine Katie Couric beat that story to a pulp before she even landed in London. However, it’s good to recognize that this wedding was culturally important to the United Kingdom because it was a celebration of Great Britain’s traditions and heritage.
Planning Notes for My Future Wedding
1) As the groom, it’s okay to wear a red jacket.
2) You can throw an awesome party if you’re willing to spend £34 million.
3) Find out what Pippa Middleton is doing in 2014.
4) Make the wedding program available on iTunes.**
5) The international media loves weddings. Save a space for Hessischer Rundfunk’s satellite truck.
6) Make sure someone always has a camera on them – even during the planning stages.
* It was a good college party when you find empty PBR and Natty Light cans behind your couch. It was a great party when you needed to rent a steam cleaner.
** You can download The Official Royal Wedding Program for free from iTunes.