When a monarchy is so rich with tradition and protocol, it's hard to envision a royal wedding day that is truly representative of the couple, but Harry and Meghan not only managed to create a day that was filled with emotion and celebration of their love, but also gave nods to their story and who they are both as individuals and as a couple.
So many details were carefully thought out, and the activist couple aligned themselves with a dream team of vendors who were not only talented, but also had ties to socially conscious efforts.
The Photographer: The couple chose Alexi Lubomirski to capture the most important day of their lives, and I have a feeling it was more than just his talent behind the lens that led them to make that decision. Alexi (who actually spent some of his childhood living in Botswana, which as we know holds a special place in Harry and Meghan's love story), is an ambassador for the charity Concern Worldwide and speaks out on bringing diversity into fashion magazines and campaigns.
The Ceremony: It was without a doubt that Meghan's African American roots were celebrated. In a deeply emotional ceremony, Most Rev. Michael Bruce Curry, the first African-American leader of the Episcopal Church, spoke on the power of love and quoted Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., while an all-black gospel choir beautifully sang a moving rendition of “Stand By Me.”
Florals: Harry and Meghan's floral designer pick, Philippa Craddock, is passionate about the environment, avoiding floral foam and using minimal plastic in her business. She also picks a charity each year to raise money toward (this year, it is drop4drop, an organization dedicated to alleviate the World Water Crisis). The blooms that were used in the floral design were sourced locally from the Royal Gardens and included pollinator-friendly plants, and after the wedding, the florals were donated to hospices and women’s refuges.
The Ceremony Dress: Meghan’s choice of designer was clearly thought out, selecting the first-ever female creative director for the iconic brand, Givenchy. Many viewers noted that her dress looked ill-fitting, but I feel that it was intentionally so — after all, do you think one of the biggest design houses in fashion would send an ill-fitting gown down an aisle being watched by billions of people? I feel Meghan purposefully didn’t want it to be skintight, sending a message to young girls everywhere that you don’t have to be super thin, or wear form-fitting clothing to be beautiful. I also loved her very natural makeup look and her choosing not to cover her freckles and moles. In a very unrelatable scenario, Meghan Markle still somehow made it seem like she was just a bride, marrying the love of her life.
The Veil: Her 16-foot cathedral veil also was filled with symbolism. The silk tulle featured a trim of hand-embroidered flowers from each of the 53 counties in the Commonwealth — which the Duke and Duchess of Sussex intend to focus heavily on as their new roles — as well as the Wintersweet (which grows on the grounds of Kensington Palace) and the California Poppy. Crops of wheat were also embroidered into the design, which symbolize love and charity, which is the perfect representation of the activist couple.
The Cake: Skewing from the fruitcake British wedding tradition, Meghan and Harry opted for a delicious lemon sponge cake with elderflower syrup for their wedding cake. The designer they chose was Claire Ptak who runs Violet, an unassuming bakery in East London. But the relationship between Claire and Meghan goes back much further, in fact, Meghan interviewed Claire, who is also formerly a California girl, for her lifestyle blog, The Tig, three years prior. Claire focuses on sustainability and using organic ingredients, and actually used elderflowers from the Queen's residence in Sandringham to create the syrup. The simple but elegant deconstructed tiered cake was placed on gilt stands from the Royal family's collection.
With a world of wedding pros at their beck and call, I love that Harry and Meghan let their activism play a role in who they decided to execute their big day. If you're wanting to follow in their footsteps, be sure to check out our equality-minded vendor guide, filled with wedding pros who are cheerleaders for LGBTQ rights and equality.