Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding day is only a few months away, but until now, all we'd been told was the date and the venue. That's clearly not enough information for those of us who need to figure out exactly how early we need to set our alarm clocks in order to catch a glimpse of the bride walking down the aisle though (don't lie, you know you're going to do it too), but thankfully, Kensington Palace decided to do us all a favor Monday by finally sharing the royal wedding details with the world. In a tweet thread (so very 21st Century), the palace shared everything royal watchers want to know about the couple's upcoming May 19 wedding, including the time and location of the ceremony, who will be officiating, and the route of the official royal wedding procession.
Though they officially announced their much-anticipated engagement in November, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have stayed mostly mum on the topic of their actual wedding (though they have made a number of adorable public appearances as a couple, which almost makes up for it). Kensington Palace did confirm the date and the location (St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle) in December, but, until now, the rest of the details have mostly been speculation.
Though it wasn't entirely surprising that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle chose a May wedding date (with the Duchess of Cambridge set to give birth to her third child in April, it wouldn't have made much sense for the wedding to happen before then), it was a bit unexpected that the couple picked a Saturday instead of the more traditional option of a Friday wedding. The switch was made in an effort to allow more of the British public to attend, and now, they'll know exactly when to show up: the wedding will begin at 12 p.m. local time (which is 7 a.m. Eastern Time, or the particularly painful hour of 4 a.m. on the West Coast), according to CBS News. Following the ceremony, the couple will begin a two-mile carriage procession that will bring them back to Windsor Castle, on a route similar to that of Prince Edward and Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, during their wedding in 1999.
The procession will begin around 1 p.m. local time, according to Kensington Palace, approximately an hour after the couple ties the knot in a ceremony conducted by the Dean of Windsor (the Archbishop of Canterbury, however, will be the one officiating during the vow exchange). Once Markle and Prince Harry arrive back at Windsor Castle, they will attend the first of two wedding receptions: the first, at St George's Hall, will be "for the couple and the guests from the congregation," while later in the evening, Prince Charles will be hosting a second private reception for close family and friends.
While two wedding receptions might seem a bit over the top, it's the same arrangement Prince William's wedding to Kate Middleton used in 2011: according to People, 650 guests attended the couple's first reception at Buckingham Palace following their wedding at Westminster Abbey, though the couple also partied with about 300 family members and friends later that night (with the bride even changing into a new Sarah Burton gown for the occasion, according to The Mirror).
Fans hoping for a royal wedding on the same grand scale of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's might be disappointed, however. Unlike the 2011 wedding, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's decision to have a smaller wedding at Windsor Castle (about 45 minutes away from Buckingham Palace in London, according to People) means there won't actually be a traditional first kiss on the royal balcony — though they will at least be taking the same horse-drawn royal carriage for the procession that the Duke and Duchess did (as well as Prince Charles and Lady Diana at their 1981 wedding at St. Paul's Cathedral). But they will likely pose for photos on the chapel steps like Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, did at their 2005 wedding at St. George's Chapel.
Even though Prince Harry's wedding to Markle will be less of a spectacle than his older brother's wedding, they will still share one important element: the public will be able to watch along as the event is broadcast live. There will likely be a "pool camera" capturing footage of the wedding, which means media outlets will be able to run the footage on various networks, and it will also be available to stream online, according to The Sun.
There are still plenty of other details about the wedding remaining unconfirmed — who's designing Markle's dress? Who will be in the wedding party? Who is and isn't invited? — but it's unlikely Kensington Palace will comment on those aspects of the day prior to the wedding itself. But now we at least know what the timing of the day will be like — and, most importantly, exactly when we should plan our early-morning royal wedding viewing parties.
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