All posts by Cheryl Anderson Brown

A Royal Touch: Children in the Wedding

The traditional American wedding party consists of a maid of honor, best man, a few bridesmaids, an equal number of groomsmen and exactly two children: an adorable flower girl and an oh-so-cute ring bearer. Before the ceremony, the attendants generally stay on the boys’ or girls’ side. Afterwards, the two sides walk arm-in-arm, one maid to one man, down the aisle with the childish couple somewhere among them.

A royal wedding looks quite different. First of all, the male and female attendants are almost never equally apportioned and are even less frequently matched up like blind dates to escort each other awkwardly up the aisle. The groom usually has one or sometimes two “supporters” who walk in with him (but are almost never dressed like him). His supporter is usually a brother or, less often, a good friend. In 2010, a tuxedo-ed Daniel Westling was supported by his soon-to-be brother-in-law Prince Carl Philipp of Sweden in a naval uniform. At the Wedding of the (last) Century, Prince Charles had both of his younger brothers—Prince Andrew in a naval uniform and Prince Edward in a gray morning suit.

A few royal brides draw bridesmaids from among sisters and friends, but it is much more common for all of their bridesmaids to be very young. In fact, there may be no adults in the bride’s party at all. Sometimes, a teenage girl may be the chief bridesmaid as Prince Charles’ cousins Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones and India Hicks (yes, the now famous designer!) were for Princess Diana in 1981. Then, at least two little boys are added, although they are generally called pageboys instead of ring bearers. A four-year-old Prince William was one of four pageboys when Prince Andrew married Sarah Ferguson in 1986.

The children are usually close relatives or godchildren of the bride or groom. At Daniel Westling’s marriage to Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, three tiny future monarchs—all of them her godchildren—were in her party: Prince Christian of Denmark, Princess Catharina Amalia of the Netherlands and Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway.

Amazingly, these children are fairly well-behaved. Although the media had speculated in 1986 that a rambunctious Prince William might run wildly around Westminster Abbey, he only made a few faces and played with his hat. In 2004, Prince Felipe of Spain’s nephew Froilan shouted, “Hola Felipe!” when the groom entered the church. No screaming tantrums or refusals to walk the aisle.

Sometimes, these youngsters are dressed, like their American counterparts, in child-appropriate versions of the adult’s outfits but this is rarely the case. For little boys, the designer (and bride, of course!) often look to military attire or national costumes for inspiration. Royal wedding photos are full of little boys in sailor suits and kilts. Meanwhile, national costume or traditional party frocks are frequently used for the girls. Royal brides with a real taste for history, sometimes draw ideas from the past. Sophie Rhys-Jones dressed her young attendants in dark blue velvet capes and hats, like those worn by the Knights of the Garter, when she married Prince Edward in 1999 and Letizia Ortiz-Rocasolano channeled the 17th-Century master painter Goya for her bridal party when she married the future King of Spain in 2004.

So, if you truly want a princess wedding (even a Las Vegas princess wedding), you should start figuring out which of nieces and nephews don’t mind being dressed like a 400-year-old painting. Of course, there are drawbacks: a six-year-old bridesmaid would probably throw you a Dora the Explorer bridal shower and your eight-year-old nephew should definitely be kept away from the stag party!

A Royal Touch: Blending Your Tastes with Wedding Traditions

Sometimes here at the Viva blog we step back from our trademark themed weddings and remind our prospective brides and grooms that we offer up traditional Las Vegas weddings in some of the most beautiful chapels to ever grace Las Vegas! And what could be more traditional than a royal wedding?

But just like our couples don’t always do things the “traditonal” way, neither did Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and her groom. Here’s our regular guest poster Cheryl Anderson Brown of the Princess Palace blog with their story:

A wedding is supposed to be about the bride and groom, but that doesn’t stop mothers, sisters, and others from insisting on their ideas for your day. Add centuries of tradition and the opinion of an entire nation and you’ll have some idea how Crown Princess Victoria, the future Queen of Sweden, felt when she married Daniel Westling on June 19, 2010. Victoria and Daniel were able to create a perfect blend of personal desires with royal traditions.

Here’s how they did it:

– They were married at Storykyrkan Cathedral in the old part of Stockholm, literally steps from the royal palace. However, instead of arriving at the church by carriage as many royals do, Daniel walked there and Victoria arrived by car.

– Victoria opted to wear the Cameo Tiara. Overly large and topped with old-fashioned cameos, it is not an obvious choice for a modern bride. But, it entered the Swedish royal family more than 200 years ago and has been worn by numerous brides in the family including Victoria’s mom and her aunts. She also chose to wear the long lace veil that had been handed from bride to bride in the family. With these two ancient and ornate accessories in mind, Victoria selected simple, clean lines for the dress, knowing that too much fussiness would be overkill. She added a long train under the lace veil which, instead of covering her face, was gracefully draped from the back of her head.

– Victoria walked up the aisle with her father, King Carl XVI Gustaf. This decision actually caused quite a controversy in Sweden where the bride and groom usually walk together, signifying their equality and partnership. Not only were feminist groups outraged, but the nation’s top archbishop issued a statement in protest. In the end, both Victoria and Carl defended the decision as representing not only their closeness as daddy and daughter but their unique relationship as king and heir.

– Music can be important part of any ceremony, especially, I am told, in a Lutheran church in Sweden. To that end, Victoria and Daniel selected several traditional wedding marches and hymns, but after their vows, they added one song that was clearly a personal choice. The pop ballad, “When I Tell the World You’re Mine,” was performed live (in English!) as the bridal couple smiled and whispered together as if millions of people weren’t watching.

– At the wedding banquet following carriage ride and boat tour throughout Stockholm, known as the “Venice of the North,” Daniel offered a deeply personal speech. Breaking with royal protocol which usually forbids the expression of emotion, he publicly said, “I love you, Victoria, and I am proud to be your husband.”

– Finally, in one more break with royal tradition, the environmentally conscious Victoria insisted that there be no confetti or fireworks associated with any of the half-dozen public events associated with the wedding. Nevertheless, the Swedish people still had a grand time and the entire country engaged in an all-out marketing campaign to increase foreign tourism, calling 2010 “The Summer of Love.”

In fact, although Victoria and Daniel chose French Polynesia, you might consider Sweden as a honeymoon destination after your Las Vegas wedding: the royal wedding seems to have made everyone there a romantic!

As you plan your own wedding, remember what the newly titled Prince Daniel told the paparazzi who tracked them down on their honeymoon: “As many said in advance, ‘make sure you enjoy the moment.’” Indeed!