How to get your party on for the Royal Wedding
The hour is almost upon us. The wedding gallops into view amid an inevitable frenzy of 11th-hour scandal: we still, obviously, donât know what the dress will look like. In Windsor, broom cupboards are going for Â£5,000 a night.
Close up, this hysteria can be wearying. Disengage and focus: you need a crib sheet to the wedding rather than an exhaustive guide to every twist and turn. And while the pubs will be open an hour later on both Friday and Saturday, the best parties will take place at home, in front of the telly, on Saturday.
So grab a pitcher of gin, doff your fake crown and settle in for a session: this is everything you need to know â" including how to throw your own royal wedding viewing party.
Take your seats
The ceremony starts at midday and lasts an hour, though each broadcaster has planned several preceding hours of coverage to amp you up â" guests will be arriving between 9.30am and 11am, and members of the royal family will start arriving from 11.20am.
Once theyâve said their âI doâs Heghan/Marry will be careering through Windsor on a whistlestop carriage tour. TV coverage will wind down at around 3pm â" at which point you are invited to take a nap face first in a cake, or open another bottle and gear up for the FA Cup final at 5.15pm.
The BBC, Sky and ITV will all be kicking off their coverage at around 9am, and competing for the attention of tens of millions of viewers worldwide. About 27 million Brits and 23 million Americans watched Kate and Wills process up the aisle; Harry and Meghan will almost certainly match their audience.
The BBC â" which has waived the licence fee for the wedding so it can be screened at communal events â" is dispatching Huw Edwards, Kirsty Young and Dermot OâLeary to Windsor. Young and OâLeary will be hovering around the moat speaking to the fevered crowd while Edwards will be high in the sky on the roof of the Windsor Guard Room. Gogglebox sweetheart Scarlett Moffat will also be on the ground.
Meanwhile, Sky will have Kay Burley whizzing around Windsor and a panel of experts in the studio including Markleâs former agent, Gina Nelthorpe-Cowne, and wedding planner Peregrine Armstong-Jones â" the mastermind who created the Beckhamâs gold-plated mega-wedding. ITV has Philip Schofield and royal wedding veteran Julie Etchingham: she covered Kate and Willsâs nuptials in 2011. They will be j oined by surprise guests, some of whom, we are assured âknow Prince Harry and Meghanâ.
Arguably, the run-up will be the dizziest, most entertaining hours of the day: animated, scatter-gun speculation, esoteric trivia, blue-sky non sequiturs. If your selected broadcaster is playing it too straight, switch.
You need the high camp of Eurovision â" catty observations, gossipy asides â" but periodically you will also want commentary that engages with robust, academic questions, such as the enduring complexities of the class system and the future o f the special relationship. Do not be shy to tweet if you are not getting it all in abundance. This is your special day.
Your own viewing party guest list is more important than the TV line-up: the latter are being beamed into your living room; the former are literally in your living room, tipping prosecco over the rug and yodelling in your ear when they spot a Spice Girl in a fascinator.
Obviously, arch repu blicans are out: this is not a day for caustic contrarians sneering as Meghan wafts through Windsor Castleâs Galilee Porch. Good-natured heckling will make your party go off with a bang; acid commentary will make life feel futile.
On the other hand, serious royalists will inevitably object to you drinking throughout the whole thing â" even if you do dedicate the 9am G&T to âQueen and countryâ â" and shush you sharply if you snort with laughter or sob.
They will cry, but it will be the merest of glistens in the eye â" lik e a repressed general remembering the Empire â" rather than your drunk honking when Harry melts at the sight of his bride. Blacklist them, as well as anyone who will live blog the ceremony on Twitter â" these people are rarely as funny as they think they are.
Essentially, you want a bunch of wrong âuns out for a good time and using the wedding as an excuse for a right royal carnival.
Assemble an arsenal of far-fetched facts and deploy with nonchalance. For example, do say the invites were designed by Barnard Westwood, using American ink on English card â" symbolism alert.
When the reading starts observe that itâs Lady Jane Fellowes at the ledger â" Princess Dianaâs elder sister. As others speculate about the after-party, suggest itâs at Oceana Windsor before revealing that itâs at Frogmore House, a Grade I-listed building owned by the Crown Estate.
Other facts: the bridal party will be staying at Cliveden â" the grand hotel famous for its association with the Profumo affair â" while Harry will be at Cowarth Park with William.
Pick a theme
Get in the spirit of things by enforcing a theme at your viewing party.
âRoyal weddingâ is multidimensional: you could, for example, dress as guests, with sculptural fascinators and stiff hairdos. As the ultimate power play, dress as the bride.
Or channel the royals in imitation ermine and (plastic) jewel-studded crowns â" a sceptre would also be useful for corralling any latent cynics.
Interpret it conceptually and demand guests dress in red, white and blue, like a Union Jack â" these are also the colours of the USAâs Stars and Stripes and your group would thereby embody this great union of nations. You could also dress up as Prince George.
Food-wise, a Great British spread feels patriotic â" cucumber sandwiches, Pimmâs, slabs of sponge â" but also suggests the twee dystopia of living inside the big tent on Great British Bake Off, being smothered with a Keep Calm and Carry On poster. Furthermore, the sugar crescendo will cause an almighty crash. Serve bacon sandwiches.
Make a mark(le)
Thereâs memorabilia aplenty. Obviously you need the flag featuring both faces and the semi-grotesque Meghan and Harry masks â" any good fancy dress shop will do both.
You need a hodge-podge assortment of crockery â" the best is John Lewisâs by illustrator Milly Green. Top marks if you bid successfully for the plate on eBay commemorating the wedding of Markle to the real Royal Highness, Ed Sheeran of Wales (Google it). If you plan on having a really big day, jeweller Isady is doing a replica royal ring.
And thereâs just about still time to join British Airwaysâs stunt: on Saturday, the airlineâs flight from Heathrow to Toronto will be staffed by a cabin crew of Meghans and Harrys.
Where to watch the Royal Wedding 2018 - In pictures5 show all Where to watch the Royal Wedding 2018 - In pictures
There are certain moments that you must see. Miss the moment Meghan turns up the aisle â" father or no father? â" and you might as well not have bothered.
Plus, these must-see moments make a knock-out â" literally â" drinking game. The whole day is about ritual and ceremony â" get with the programme.
Duly, drink when you see Meghan giggle, and at your first sighting of a newly hunky Harry (rumoured to be âshredding for the weddingâ). Do a shot when the Beckhams arrive, or indeed whenever any unexpected celebrity (Ed Sheeran, that man off Suits, Millie Mackintosh) takes their pew.
Drink whenever you spy the Queen; Wills looking relieved it isnât him this time; and whenever you spy the Archbishop of Canterbury â" extra shot if he is wielding divine paraphernalia.
Take a swig every time you spot Prince George and Princess Charlotte, rumoured to be pageboy and bridesmaid â" after the royal couple they are the people you are most excited to see. If Prince Louis comes â" unlikely â" finish your drink.
One of your chosen broadcasterâs commentators will inevitably coin a catchphrase â" something they think is solemn and captures the reverence of the occasion but does not actually mean what they think it does: drink. When the newlyweds climb into the carriage, strongarm a blue WKD.
If you really want things to degenerate quickly include drinking whenever a commentator compares the event to William and Kateâs wedding â" this will likely be near constant.Source: Google News