Here in the UK excitement is mounting ahead of the wedding of Prince William to Catherine Middleton tomorrow. Weeks of build-up on TV, online and in the press have whipped up a frenzy of anticipation, and all but the most cynical Brits wish the young couple well.
Of course the Royal Wedding is a global phenomenon too, with an estimated 2billion people expected to view Friday’s ceremony at Westminster Abbey and the obligatory balcony kiss between the newlyweds at Buckingham Palace.
So whether you say “I do” or “I don’t” to watching the wedding, here are a few insider’s tips from London on how we’re preparing for the “Big Day.”
Wedding gnomes and other gifts
We’re known as a nation of shopkeepers so it’s no surprise that all manner of commemorative memorabilia, both kitsch and classy, are for sale.
Many people are simply celebrating the fact that the UK has been granted an extra day’s holiday on Friday to mark the moment, and KK Outlet from uber-cool Hoxton has a range of commemorative plates including one that says: “Thanks for the free day off”.
Street party planning
Around a million people are expected to turn out at more than 5,000 street parties and organised events up and down the nation – truly Britain at its most neighbourly.
Streets bedecked with bunting will fill with long lines of tables groaning under a weight of home-made food. A typical menu will include gallons of tea, glasses of champagne and Pimm’s, dainty cakes, and crust less sandwiches. As people prepare, our client supermarket group Morrisons has reported a rise in sales of cup cakes and other party items.
Many events will also feature fancy dress and games, a popular choice being tugs of war between republicans and royalists. Hopefully weather won’t spoil the occasion: after weeks of sunshine, rain is forecast for Friday.
Royals and “royals” online
This is the first British Royal Wedding to be given an added dimension on social media. YouTube will stream the event live on its royal channel while Facebook is already hosting a profile for the British Monarchy with 360,000 fans. On the day, the #royalwedding hashtag will bring together news and views from across the Twitterverse.
Earlier this week online community Mumsnet made news for claiming Kate Middleton was taking place in a pre-wedding Web chat – only after “Kate” had answered questions did the site admit it had hoaxed fans. A more successful spoof came from T-Mobile whose version of the wedding ceremony featuring Royal lookalikes dancing down the aisle has already been viewed by 12 million people worldwide.
But nothing can match the pageantry and pomp of the wedding itself – so here’s to a Great British celebration on Friday!