Royal weddings are always fascinating, but this one might be more intriguing than most. It’s the grand finale of the story of a California girl who becomes a movie star, meets a handsome British prince, marries him and becomes a princess (okay, well, technically a duchess). Fairy tale sort of stuff.
Not since the wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton seven years ago has there been such ballyhoo about a royal wedding, making it the perfect excuse to throw a party of your own.
Here’s a list of royal wedding viewing party ideas to get your started. Keep in mind that that the wedding starts at 4 a.m. Pacific time on May 19, not including the pre-wedding coverage (thank heavens for DVRs), so you might want to schedule your party a little later in the day as most of us don’t like getting out of bed quite that early.
1. Set the tone for the party by flying the Union Jack flag and rolling out a red carpet.
2. Create a playlist of classic English rock and pop songs to play as background music. Include hits from Sir Elton John, since we will all be thinking of Diana and looking for him as he arrives at the wedding, but also include favorites from all eras: The Beatles, The Stones, UB40, Coldplay, the English Beat and the Spice Girls (the fab five are all attending the nuptials).
3. Decorate with vases of peonies (the bride’s fave) and mini-American and British flags inserted amongst the flowers. Local florist Green Bouquet Floral Designs makes gorgeous arrangement with peonies! Another option is Mill Valley Flowers where you can either ask Anabel to create a gorgeous arrangement for you or you can create your own from the many buckets of flowers.
4. Set up a proper English tea service, including Harney & Sons Royal Wedding Tea (a white tea with pink rosebuds – perfect for a spring wedding!) brewed and ready. I was lucky to get the last tin of the Royal Wedding tea at the Barnes & Noble in Corte Madera Town Center — but they said they will be restocking it. Serve the tea along with scones, sticky buns and fresh (organic from California, naturally!) strawberries and cream. For the scones and sticky buns, I suggest Taste Kitchen and Table in Fairfax, or Flour Craft Bakery (for gluten-free delicacies) in San Anselmo or at their new location (which is dangerously close to me!) in Mill Valley.
5. Add a nice touch with a scrumptious lemon elderflower cake, the same flavor as the royal wedding cake. Order tiered mini “cake pop” versions from the adorable Teeny Cake Bakery in Novato. Or if you prefer to make your own, try this recipe from Sugar and Charm for a full size cake.
6. Have plenty of champagne on hand (the royal family always serves French champagne at weddings). For those guests over 21, serve Bollinger Champagne, which has been the royal bubbly of choice since 1884. Have some Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider on hand for the underage set.
7. Ask guests to wear fascinators – those delicate (and often quirky) little hats seen on the heads of the female royal family members – and host a contest for the best one (extra points for the most outrageous!). For those guests who forget their fascinators and show up empty-headed, have some tiaras on hand for the ladies and top hats for the gents. his will create a perfect Instragram opportunity – use the most popular royal wedding hashtag #youhadmeatmarkle or create your own hashtag.
Let’s raise a glass of bubbly and toast to the newlyweds, to pomp and circumstance and to love. Cheers!
Moira Gubbins is the owner of Parties, Parties, Parties, an Event Planning company located in Mill Valley. For over 25 years she has worked closely with her clients to find the vision for their celebration and make it a reality. She loves planning any sort of celebration, and her motto is “Any Excuse For A Party!” She is also the Wedding and Social Sales Director at The Clubhouse at Peacock Gap. Follow her on Instagram at @moirapartiessf.