Julie Sprankles @JulieLMS
After months of build-up and anticipation, the big day has finally arrived — Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s nuptials! There was never any doubt this royally cute couple would have an amazing wedding, was there? And, true to form, their special day did not disappoint. From a fiery message from an American minister to poignant performances by a gospel choir (and everything in between), this is one royal wedding that will indubitably go down in history.
It goes without saying the love story between Prince Harry and Meghan was destined to be different from the start. In addition to being a few years older than her groom and having already been married once before, Meghan is an American actress — the former Suits star marks the first time a Hollywood celebrity has worked their way into the royal family’s heart. She is also of mixed race, a fact made mention of many times in the media over the course of the couple’s fairy tale romance.
On this historic day, though, such details are insignificant compared to the love so obviously shared by Harry and Meghan. Here are a few of the best moments from the modern pair’s supremely memorable wedding.
Prince Harry’s pre-wedding mingling
That essence shone through on Harry’s wedding day as he made a concentrated effort to arrive early enough to greet well-wishers. Hours before the ceremony, the groom took to the streets to mingle with his adoring public. Shaking hands, kissing babies — OK, maybe not kissing babies, but he did take the time to stop and schmooze with some of his biggest little fans.
And when he officially arrived back at the church looking super-dapper in his dress military uniform alongside big bro William, Harry continued to wave at the crowd. From the time he exited the ushering Mercedes Sprinter van right up until the moment he crossed the chapel threshold, the royal remained cognizant of his community.
Seeing stars in Windsor
But when Oprah Winfrey strolled up to St. George’s Chapel, you just knew the celebrity guest list was going to be good. Musicians Joss Stone, Elton John, and James Blunt made the cut. Idris Elba and fiancée Sabrina Dhowre arrived looking stunning, per the norm. Other couples that turned out to be big crowd pleasers? George Clooney and his wife, Amal; David and Victoria Beckham; Carey Mulligan and her husband, Mumford & Sons lead singer Marcus Mumford; James Corden with wife Julia Carey; and Serena Williams and her husband Alexis Ohanian.
Of course, a girl can’t get married without her BFFs! Showing up in support for the bride were her famous girlfriends Priyanka Chopra, Abigail Spencer, and Janina Gavankar. In addition to Spencer, several of Meghan’s Suits co-stars hopped the pond to attend her nuptials, including Patrick J. Adams (with wife Troian Bellisario), Gina Torres, Gabriel Macht, and Sarah Rafferty.
The fashion (read: the fascinators!)
Quantico star (slash Meghan’s bestie) Priyanka Chopra opted for a fascinator with a floral design on one side. Amal Clooney, a vision in mustard yellow, wowed with a wide-brimmed hat draped in chic netting. Sarah Ferguson — aka Fergie — channeled classic Brit style with a navy embellished fascinator. Serena Williams went with a vertical sculptural style. Her Majesty the Queen topped off her lime green dress suit ensemble with a lime green hat adorned with bright purple plumage.
Fashion-forward headpieces weren’t the only sartorial statements being made. The royal wedding was a veritable spring runway show, with guests donning all the designer labels: Vivienne Westwood, Givenchy, Stella McCartney, Chanel, Versace, Victoria Beckham (on Victoria Beckham, natch). You name the label, and it was likely there.
The moment of Meghan’s arrival(s)
First, Meghan pulled up to the church in a Rolls Royce with her mother, Doria Ragland, and it was predictably precious. Ragland looked overcome with emotion over her daughter’s big day, and Meghan couldn’t have looked more excited to share the moment with her mother if she tried.
It was when Meghan returned for her grand entrance that the crowd gathering outside of St. George’s Chapel really went wild, though — understandably so. Meghan was pure bridal perfection in a simple yet modern Givenchy gown topped with a tiara on loan from Queen Elizabeth and a veil long enough to hold all her hopes and dreams.
Gracious and charming, as is her way, Meghan patiently waited for the page boys to straighten out her train. As they did, she waved to the crowd and flashed her mega-watt smile at bystanders. Of course, the most special part of Meghan’s arrival(s) was Harry’s reaction. The look on his face pretty much said it all.
Little helpers who made a big impact
You couldn’t possibly recap the best wedding moments without alluding to the children’s choir, either. Twelve young male choristers sang in the Choir of St. George’s Chapel at various moments during the ceremony, to great effect. Ahead of the service, one of those choristers — Leo Mills, 11— told reporters, “I’m super excited. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. If it’s handed to you, you take it. You don’t shy away from it.” (via E! News)
And, finally, rounding out the young participants who made the big day all the more memorable was 19-year-old Sheku Kanneh-Mason. The cello prodigy reportedly hand-picked by Meghan played three pieces: “Apres un Reve” by Gabriel Faure, “Sicilienne” by Maria Theresia von Paradis, and the always timeless “Ave Maria” by Schubert.
That Chicago reverend, though
At one of the more subdued parts of his speech, the good reverend from Chicago quoted Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, saying, “We must discover the power of love, the redemptive power of love, and when we do that, we will make of this old world, a new world.” That part, well, everyone seemed to enjoy it.
What was more comical was gauging the facial expressions of staid Brits in the room as Reverend Curry continued his enthusiastic address. Some guests got the giggles. Others looked downright shocked. Camilla shook her head when the reverend joked of his extended speech, “We gotta get you all married.” But the bride and groom, despite looking amused for a moment or two, appeared moved by the holy man’s message.
The sweet nothings shared by the bride and groom
When the couple exchanged their vows, they (along with the rest of the congregation) let out a laugh as they were led to promise they’d take each other as husband and wife. Why? Perhaps it was something the Dean of Windsor said. Regardless, the way Harry and Meghan rolled with everything in unison during the ceremony spoke to their compatibility as a couple.
The way they held hands throughout the ceremony, the knowing glances they kept stealing — these two are so in love and it shows. Cue hearts melting the world over.
Can we get an “amen” for that gospel choir?
The Kingdom Choir didn’t stop there. In what proved to be one of the most surprising and moving moments to come from the day, the choir serenaded Harry and Meghan as they exited the church. Their song choice for the newly minted husband-and-wife? Etta James version of the gospel hymnal “This Little Light of Mine.”
In keeping with the couple’s core values, the song was an inspired choice. During the Civil Rights era, “This Little Light of Mine” became a sort of rallying cry to end racial segregation. Given Meghan’s upbringing in a mixed-race family and the royal couple’s progressive stances on social issues, it seems only fitting that their wedding service would conclude with the strains of such a salient, joyful, stirring song.
The mother of the bride
Throughout the ceremony, Ragland could be seen looking on in an equal mix of pride and love as her “little girl” married Britain’s most eligible bachelor. She nodded in agreement during Reverend Curry’s enthusiastic address and the Kingdom Choir’s resonant performance. So, basically, she was all of us.
And then, immediately after the service, Ragland was part of one of the most tender candid moments of the big day. As the families began to file out of the church, Prince Charles gently took Ragland’s hand to escort her out. The fast new friends walked and talked together as they headed to watch their kids sign the register.
Harry and Meghan’s first kiss as husband and wife
Waiting for this after-ceremony kiss has become a highly anticipated tradition in royal wedding history which, if you think about it, makes sense. Did you notice the couple didn’t actually kiss inside the church? In royal weddings, the kiss is reserved for after the ceremony, making that on-the-steps PDA the first official kiss shared by the Duke and Duchess of Essex.
Seven years ago, Prince William and Kate Middleton shared their royal wedding kiss on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to great applause. (In fact, William even snuck in a second kiss!)
The fairytale processional
It’s also worth noting how seamlessly Meghan slipped into the persona of a royal. Smiling and waving to the crowd the entire procession, she proved to be a natural. While only time will tell how quickly she will adapt to her new role in the royal family, it’s safe to say she at least looks the part.
All in all, the straight-out-of-a-storybook carriage ride was the perfect culmination of this lovely couple’s fairy-tale romance. Plus, the cheers for this particular royal couple proved deafening. Everyone loves their love.
Oluwole Olusanya is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of one of the fastest-growing lifestyle and entertainment website in the country. He is a banker, writer, blogger, public affairs analyst and a tax consultant. He anchors Trending Topics on SHEFFA where he shares his thoughts and opinions on trending issues.
He is currently studying for a Master’s Degree in Business Administration at the University of South Wales, Wales, United Kingdom. He has diplomas in Banking and Finance, Investigative Journalism, Creative Writing, and Linguistics from Lagos State Polytechnic, Isolo, Lagos, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland and The Open University, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom.