Royal Wedding: What to Know About Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Impending Nuptials

12:29 PM 4/26/2018

by Deirdre Durkan

Where the ceremony will take place, what the invitations look like, who's on the guest list and more.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle - Engagement photo December, 2017 -Getty-LIMITED USE-H 2017
Alexi Lubomirski via Getty Images

The most anticipated nuptials of the year are fast approaching. While Prince Harry and Meghan Markle prepare for their May 19 ceremony, the couple has already made headlines for their wedding selections during their whirlwind romance and sparked their own Lifetime movie.

The Hollywood Reporter has rounded up all the details of their more traditional choices, from using Barnard & Westwood for their invitations to opting not to invite any politicians in favor of sending invitations to 2,640 members of the public who have served their communities.

See below for more on the prince and royal-to-be’s wedding details.

  • The Engagement Ring

    Markle's engagement ring includes two diamonds that belonged to Princess Diana. Royal officials say Prince Harry designed the ring himself. It features two diamonds from the collection of his late mother, which flank a central diamond from Botswana.

  • The Wedding Date

    The May date was selected in order to give the Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, time to recover after the birth of her third child, who was born in April.

    The newborn's siblings, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, are likely to perform as the page boy and flower girl during the ceremony.

  • The Engagement Photographer

    The couple actually discovered their official engagement photographer through Instagram.

    “It was one of the easiest, most joyful jobs because they were so deliciously in love,” he said, adding that he told the couple to “just be yourselves and I will take pictures of you,” Alexi Lubomirski told E! News, while revealing that he was discovered over Instagram by one of Markle’s friends.

    Lubomirski, a fashion photographer, has captured the likes of Angelina Jolie, Beyonce, Jennifer Aniston, Julia Roberts, Gwyneth Paltrow and Lupita Nyong'o.

  • The Dress

    Leading up to the wedding day, bookies were taking bets on which designer Markle would choose for her gown, with Stella McCartney and Tamara Ralph of British couture house Ralph & Russo both as strong contenders. Expected to make a social statement with her dress and also respect her new British home, bets were that she would likely pick a British designer with a sustainable edge (which all point to McCartney as a solid choice for the bride). 

  • The Baptism

    In preparation for the big day, Markle was baptized and confirmed into the Church of England.

    In a private ceremony at St. James' Palace in London, Markle had holy water from the River Jordan poured on her head by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

    While it was not required for her to convert in order to marry the prince, she announced she would anyway before the wedding.

  • The Invitations

  • The Venue

    The couple has chosen to marry at Windsor Castle, not Westminster Abbey.

    Nicholas Witchell, the BBC's royal and diplomatic correspondent, told THR, “It’s a smaller event by definition because of the choice of venue.”

    Witchell detailed that it seats 800, compared to Westminster Abbey, which holds around 2,200.

    “So it’s less than half the size of Westminster Abbey and if you go on to St. Paul’s, I think that can seat in excess of 3,000. It’s a very historical setting, but it is significantly smaller than one of the big London venues,” Witchell explained.

  • The Cake

    The couple have selected Claire Ptak, a pastry chef from California who owns the London-based Violet Bakery, to create a “lemon and elderflower cake incorporating the bright flavors of spring." A statement from the palace said, "It will be covered with buttercream and decorated with fresh flowers."

    The cake will break royal tradition, as fruitcake is the norm — like William and Kate’s opulent eight-tiered fruitcake in 2011.

    Markle previously interviewed Ptak for her former lifestyle website, The Tig. Following the announcement, Ptak shared her excitement saying, she and the royals "share so many of the same values regarding food provenance, sustainability, seasonality and of course, flavor!"

  • The Guest List

    No, the Obamas and Trumps won't be attending the nuptials.

    Kensington Palace said in a statement that "it has been decided that an official list of political leaders — both U.K. and international — is not required" for the wedding.

    The guest list, which will be around 600, however, will expand outside of the royal family to include commoners and leaders in the community on the grounds.

    "Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle have said they want their wedding day to be shaped so as to allow members of the public to feel part of the celebrations too," the palace said.

    This includes a young survivor of the Manchester bombing and a 12-year-old amputee from birth and ambassador for the Steel Bones charity based in Isleham and advocates for people with special needs and mental health issues. Among those in Hollywood who are believed to have scored invites are Markle's Suits co-stars Gabriel Macht, Patrick Adams, Rick Hoffman, Sarah Rafferty and Gina Torres and showrunner Aaron Korsh), along with her agent, Gersh's Nick Collins, lawyer Rick Genow and business manager Andrew Meyer, NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment chairman Bonnie Hammer and pals Priyanka Chopra and Serena Williams (with Reddit co-founder husband Alexis Ohanian).

    Kensington Palace has tweeted many of the stories of young people they asked Lord Lieutenants to select for their strong leadership.

  • The Performers

    Kensington Palace announced that the music will be under the direction of James Vivian, director of music at St. George’s Chapel. There will be performances by the St. George's Chapel choir and Karen Gibson and the Kingdom Choir, a gospel group from southeast England, at the wedding. The performers also include 19-year-old cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, who says he was "bowled over" when Markle called to ask him to play during the ceremony.

    In addition, the orchestra, conducted by Christopher Warren-Green, will be made up of musicians from the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the English Chamber Orchestra and the Philharmonia. Welsh soprano Elin Manahan Thomas and trumpeter David Blackadder also will join the orchestra.

    Organist Luke Bond and state trumpeters from all ranks of the Band of the Household Cavalry also will be part of the ceremony.

  • The Gifts

    Kensington Palace has announced that the soon-to-be-newlyweds would prefer donations be made to charities instead of traditional gifts.

    The charities include those working for social change, the empowerment of women, conservation, help for HIV sufferers and other causes the couple have supported.

    The seven designated organizations are CHIVA (Children's HIV Association); Crisis; the Myna Mahila Foundation; Scotty's Little Soldiers, a charity for bereaved Armed Forces children; StreetGames; Surfers Against Sewage; and The Wilderness Foundation UK.

  • The Bridemaids and Page Boys

    Though inviting a slew of guests, the soon-to-be-newlyweds have chosen special family members to serve as their bridesmaids and page boys. Acting as the bridesmaids for the wedding will be three-year-old Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, three-year-old Miss Florence van Cutsem and two-year-old Zalie Warren (goddaughters of Prince Harry), six-year-old Miss Remi Litt and seven-year-old Rylan Litt (Markle's goddaughters) and four-year-old Ivy Mulroney (daughter of Mrs. Jessica Mulroney and Mr. Benedict Mulroney). The page boys will include: four-year-old Prince George, six-year-old Jasper Dyer (Prince Harry's godson) and seven-year-olds Brian Mulroney and John Mulroney.