The countdown is on for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's highly anticipated wedding. On May 19th the couple will tie the knot in a televised event that will be viewed across the globe.
While reports of drama have already arisen - most notably with Markle's paternal side of her family - the two love birds will be going full steam ahead with their nuptials, which will arguably one of the happiest days of their lives.
Since Harry and Ms. Markle announced their engagement back in November, details have slowly emerged to the delight of their royal fans.
But for those who are unaware of these tidbits of information, have no fear, because we've complied a list of every crucial detail we know about the wedding of the year.
Back in March it was announced Claire Ptak, the owner of the East London-based Violet bakery, was given the honor of making Harry and Markle's wedding cake.
Instead of following the royal tradition of serving a fruitcake, Kensington Palace announced California native will make a lemon elderflower cake, which will be covered buttercream and decorated with fresh flowers.
"I can't tell you how delighted I am to be chosen to make Prince Harry and Ms. Markle's wedding cake," Ptak said.
"Knowing that they really share the same values as I do about food provenance, sustainability, seasonality and most importantly flavor, makes this the most exciting event to be a part of," the baker added.
Last month it was revealed English Alexi Lubomirski was chosen as the official photographer for the big day, which doesn't come as a surprise since he was the one to capture Harry and Markle's engagement photos.
"I could not be more thrilled or honored to photograph this historic occasion," the fashion photographer said in a statement released by the couple’s office at Kensington Palace.
"Having taken Prince Harry and Ms. Markle’s engagement photos, it brings me such joy to be able to witness again, the next chapter in this wonderful love story."
Interestingly enough, this will be the first wedding he's ever shot.
On May 12th it was confirmed Harry and Markle asked the Most Reverend Michael Bruce Curry, the 27th Presiding Bishop and Primate of The Episcopal Church to give a sermon during their wedding. This breaks another royal family tradition, as the speech has been given by a senior clergy from the Church of England in previous ceremonies.
For those unaware, the Episcopal Church is part of the Anglican Communion, which also includes the Church of England (the religion followed by the royal family).
"The love that has brought and will bind Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle together has its source and origin in God, and is the key to life and happiness," Curry said in a statement. "And so we celebrate and pray for them today."
While we won't know what Markle's dress will look like until she walks down the aisle, there has been plenty of speculation over the style and designers in charge of what will be one of the most memorable wedding gowns.
While the London-based brand Ralph & Russo has been ranked as the front-runner for designing Markle's wedding dress, Burberry, Erdem, Stella McCartney, and Roland Mouret have also been named contenders for the coveted role.
Although it's estimated the wedding gown will cost a staggering £100,000 ($136,000 US) and will be paid for by the royal family, it's also been rumored Markle will also have a second dress, which she would change into following the ceremony.
"She will have two dresses, one for the ceremony and another dress for the evening,” a source told Vanity Fair. “The plan is for her to change after the ceremony so that she can party the night away in something glamorous and less restrictive."
"Meghan can’t wait to surprise everyone, especially Harry. The wedding dress itself will be traditional and elegant. There is talk of some lace and sleeves and Meghan has been working very closely with the designer who has been sworn to secrecy," the source added.
Even though rumors of Markle having a typical wedding party have been dispelled, Harry will have a best man. Kensington Palace has confirmed the groom has chosen Prince William as his best man, a role he served during his brother's 2011 nuptials.
"The Duke of Cambridge is honored to have been asked, and is very much looking forward to supporting his brother at St George's Chapel, Windsor on May 19th," the palace wrote on Twitter.
This announcement breaks protocol, since royal weddings typically don't have best men, but rather "supporters."
According to People, Harry will also have several page boys, which are rumored to include his nephew Prince George and his godson Jasper George Galloway Dyer.
While Markle won't have any of her close confidants in her wedding party, she will have the support of bridesmaids of a much younger generation.
These girls are rumored to be her soon-to-be niece Princess Charlotte, Ivy Mulroney, the daughter of her close friend Jessica, and her goddaughters Rylan and Remi Litt.
While not official positions, Kensington Palace has also revealed what roles Markle's parents will have during her big day.
Among the 600 guests Harry and Markle have invited to celebrate their big day are several big names in the celebrity sphere.
These include Elton John, Ed Sheeran, the Spice Girls (who are rumored to perform), Serena Williams, Priyanka Chopra, and Markle's former Suits co-stars Gabriel Macht, Sarah Rafferty, Patrick J. Adams, Gina Torres, and Wendell Pierce.
In an unusual move, two of Harry's ex-girlfriends, Cressida Bonas and Chelsy Davy, have also been invited.
According to Town & Country, "both women are apparently on good terms with the Prince," so it may not be as bizarre as it seems.
Also in attendance will be Harry's aunts and uncle from his mother's side, Lady Jane Fellowes, Lady Sarah McCorquodale, and Charles Spencer. Fellowes is also expected to give a reading during the ceremony.
Of course, his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, will be in attendance, but it's unknown if his grandfather, Prince Philip, will be able to make the big day, as he's still recovering from hip surgery.
Despite the fact that more than 2,000 members of the public have been invited to share the couple's big day, several high-profile names have failed to make the cut.
This includes Harry's friend, former President of the United States, Barack Obama. It's been revealed the couple have decided against inviting political figures.
"It has been decided that an official list of political leaders — both U.K. and international — is not required for Prince Harry and Ms. Markle's wedding," Kensington Palace said in a statement. "Her Majesty's Government was consulted on this decision, which was taken by The Royal Household."
Markle's half-siblings also didn't receive an invite, which seems obvious for several reasons. After it was announced Markle and Harry were in a relationship, they have given several interviews to the media, ragging on their sister.
Earlier this month, Thomas Markle Jr. wrote a letter to Harry, where he told the prince it's "not too late" to call off the wedding, along with calling his bride to be a "jaded, shallow, conceited woman."
However, he soon ate his words as he penned another open letter, where he asked his sister to reconsider her paternal family's snub.
Samantha Grant has also spoken poorly of her half-sister, by publicly calling her "narcissistic and selfish" and a "shallow social climber." She is constantly speaking to the media about Markle, going back and forth from positive to negative comments.
She plans to release an autobiography called The Diary of a Pushy Princess’s Sister, which is bound to be filled with unfavorable claims.
While Harry's former aunt, Sarah Ferguson, has scored an invitation to the wedding ceremony, she was left off the guest list for the reception hosted by Prince Charles.
While her ex-husband Prince Andrew and her daughters Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, have been invited to the after party, very few people still consider her a member of the royal family.
"Numbers are limited to the evening party. She is not a member of the royal family anymore and Prince Charles simply doesn’t have time for her," according to a source from the Daily Mail.
"He just can’t see why she is still such a big part of his brother’s life," they added.
Wedding Venue and Receptions
Unlike William and Kate Middleton's wedding, Harry and Markle have opted to have their ceremony at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.
Once the nuptials have been completed, all of the 600 guests will make their way to St. George's Hall, where the Queen will host a luncheon, followed by a reception at Waterloo Chamber, St. George’s Hall, and the Grand Reception Room in the castle.
"The Christmas party is always held there. They’ll hold the wedding reception there, too. It is a well-proven system and arrangement," a former staffer told People.
Later in the evening, a more exclusive reception for 200 guests at Frogmore house will take place, which is rumored to be be wild carnival and festival-themed. It's speculated the Spice Girls, Coldplay, and Ed Sheeran will perform.
"Both Harry and Meghan love a party and have a wild side – and the reception will be no different," a source told the Daily Star. "Safaris and festival fever are the themes being enveloped into their day – embracing everything the pair love."
"It might be a royal wedding, but neither Harry or Meghan are stuffy people and the last thing they want is their nuptials to be," they added.
But what will be on the menu during the couple's luncheon? Instead of a tradition sit-down meal, the royal chefs will prepare bowls of food and canapés. They're designed to be eaten in two bites, while standing up - for maximum socializing.
“We know the couple wanted us to make sure we used all of the local seasonal produce as much as possible throughout their menu, and this recent good weather is really helping us to achieve that. They’ve been involved in every detail,” royal chef Mark Flanagan said.
While details of what ingredients will go into the dishes are limited, it's said the royal family enjoys the seasonal British produce like asparagus, peas, and tomatoes. There also won't be any new recipes either.
"There’s no experimentation on Saturday whatsoever, tried and tested and predominantly classics," Flanagan said.
Last month it was revealed the happy couple will be spending their honeymoon in Namibia - specially at Hoanib Valley Camp in the city of Kaokoland.
According to Travel and Leisure, the country, dubbed "Africa for beginners," is known for its mountains, sand dunes, and huge deserts, was chosen since the "southwestern African nation is filled with once-in-a-lifetime experiences."
This isn't the first time the couple has been to Africa. During the beginning of their courtship, Harry took Markle to Botswana in an effort to get to know each other better.
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