Royal Wedding Anniversary

It was one year ago that I set the alarm for 4 am to make sure I caught the first glimpse of the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton. For some time I was left shaking my head wondering why the wedding was so conservative ….. I get it; social unrest, economic downturn, high unemployment but, there was still the  lingering doubt in my mind that for the same amount of money spent (roughly $32 million US dollars) they could have had a little more pizazz. Then it dawned on me – this is not a flashy couple. This is a very conservative couple with very conservative taste and by anyone’s standards the task of organizing and planning an affair of this magnitude was oppressive. One year later I think they did a fantastic job of nearly every aspect.  Although neither of the future Queen’s bridal gowns was life-changing, as I had hoped, there are some very interesting facts surrounding the gown, the couple and the entire affair.

The needlework team, from the Royal School of Needlework, that was given the task of  cutting and re-assembling the delicate lace appliques on the gown, shoes and veil with intricate hand sewing, was required to washed their hands every thirty minutes and replaced needles every 3 hours to keep their work fresh.

Upon his coronation, Prince William will be the tallest British monarch ever, at 6ft 3″ tall, making him one inch taller than Edward Longshanks who was the creepy, villianous King with the white curly beard and alleged gay son depicted in Braveheart. Remember when Mel Gibson was the good guy? Ahh the 90’s.

Princess Catherine was the oldest royal bride in history at the age of 29 years, 3 months and 20 days old….not that anyone’s counting. The youngest royal bride was Isabella of Valois, who was aged just six when she married Richard II in 1396. That would have been a great reality show, if only they had TV in the 1300’s.

Princess Catherine is allergic to horses, although she has never missed a game of Polo in which Prince William was playing.  Would you?

Princess Catherine’s mother-in-law, The Duchess of Cornwall (Camilla) is required to curtsy to the future queen, her daughter-in-law, unless her husband,Catherine’s father-in-law is in the room. In that case, Princess Catherine is required to curtsy to both of them. Princess Catherine is second in curtsy protocol only to the Queen. Can you imagine family reunions? I would need a scorecard…. and a cane.

After the wedding, Catherine placed her wedding bouquet on the tomb of the unknown soldier, as her husband’s mother and grandmother both did. Touching and thoughful….maybe that’s something all brides should do.

The wedding rings for the marriages of King George VI to the Queen mother, Queen Elizabeth to Prince Philip, Princess Margaret to Antony Armstrong Jones and Prince Charles to Princess Diana were all made from the same nugget of Welsh gold. The gold was all used up in 1981 so, the Queen commissioned a new nugget. The Duke and Duchess of York, Princes Charles, The Duchess of Cornwall and Princess Catherine’s rings were all made from this new nugget. FYI- Welsh gold is quite rare and very expensive to buy…. was there any doubt?

By the way – Prince William is the only Royal  in history to NOT wear a wedding band. Does it make a difference? I doubt if there is anyone who can read or owns a television who doesn’t know he is married so, not really that big of a deal.

Happy Anniversary William & Catherine!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago




Hats and Misses – Royal Wedding Fashions

If you missed the royal wedding coverage, don’t despair! I am here! Too bad the  “E” channel didn’t let Joan Rivers and the rest of the Fashion Police (minus the tasteless Kelly Osbourne) loose on the royal wedding. Joan vs. everyone who attended the royal wedding? I would buy a ticket!

In lieu of that, I am going to let my proverbial guard down and get right to it:

Worst Dressed: Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie. I don’t know which one is which but, in this case it doesn’t matter. The redhead seemed to think that ‘heroin-chic’ makeup was good for daytime and a hat that looked like a cartoon uterus was a fine idea. The brunette opted for raiding the closet of the costumer from “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas”. Both equally bad ideas. Maybe they were making a rebellious statement in response to the fact that their mother was un-invited. Someone needs to remind them the best revenge is living well, and looking good!

Best Dressed Guest: Lady Sophie Windsor wore exactly the right suit with exactly the right hat. The Armani Prive silk suit fitted her perfectly and her Philip Treacy hat was flawless. What she did right that so many other, including the mother of the bride, did wrong was her hair. When you are wearing a hat, your hair should be styled into the hat.  Her look was glamorous for a daytime wedding and pure Audrey Hepburn.

Best Dressed Future Monarch – Charlene Wittstock wore two of the best accessories a woman can have;  a beautiful smile and Prince Albert of Monaco. Her suit was stylish and  dignified and her hat was simple. Having recently become engaged to what many consider the world’s most eligible bachelor works well for her.

The “Enough is Enough” award goes to Tara Palmer Tomkinson. This picture is only worth a few words. Here goes:  The hat, shawl, gloves, shoes and dress don’t all need to be the exact same color, it makes you look like a children’s cartoon character, ezpecially with that particular hat.

Speaking of which, Queen Elizabeth chose yellow. Not the best color choice. The suit was fitted perfectly and had some nice detail. I kept thinking it was a familiar look and then I found this picture….. Smokin!

The “Everything but the kitchen sink” award goes to Miriam Gonzalez Durantez. Hurry, hurry, step right up! We have polka dots, big flowers on the head, satin,netting and more. Too many confusing elements make this outfit one of my least favorites.

Best Turquoise outfit of the day – Princess Michael of Kent. This is how it’s done. Everything doesn’t have to match! The pearls! The hat! the jacket! The hair! She has taste and knows how to put a daytime outfit together.  Turquoise was a big color, also being worn by Prince Harry’s on again off again girlfriend in an ill-fitting, too busty, unflattering suit (don’t get me started on the hair) and also by Samantha Cameron, wife of David Cameron, the prime minister of England. Samantha arrived sans hat and completely under-impressed me with a ruched dress, carrying an orange shawl.

What was your favorite look?

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

The Crown Jewels – How much Bling is too much?

For centuries, bridal tiaras have been worn by brides during their wedding ceremony. The purpose of a crown or tiara has always been, to portray the wearer as someone special, someone ordained by the gods. Tiaras were worn exclusively by royalty since no one else could afford the diamond and jewel  encrusted headpieces. 

Today brides everywhere adorn their bridal up-do’s with tiaras, crystal embellished headbands and glittery hair combs to remind us all that we are all special and deserve a place among the gods.

Catherine Middleton has a rare opportunity. As a ‘commoner’ she will be the first woman of no royal lineage to ever set her head under one of the priceless tiaras in the collection of the British Monarchy. It is feasible that she could wear any of the tiaras in the collection, some of which are downright garish. Fortunately she seems to have impeccable taste and will not opt for one of these huge, gaudy or over-embellished pieces. Unfortunately she will probably be wearing something ‘gifted’ to her from Queen Elizabeth so her choice will be not as much of her’s  as one would think.

There has been talk that she might wear her hair down. Perhaps, although I don’t think so. Realistically she will look fantastic no matter her hairstyle. However, she will keep in mind that her wedding portrait will  a) become a stamp b) be  forever immortalized in the portrait gallery of Buckingham palace and c)  also be featured on every gift, knick-knack and teacup in any gift shop in England… and beyond. She can wear her hair down for the rest of her life. This will be the most talked about, copied, over-analyzed wedding in history, give us an up-do for God’s sake. I would speculate her reasoning for considering wearing her hair down is that it symbolizes her down to earth, conservative nature and does not portray excess, especially during hard economic times.

 In case you were wondering; a tiara should be worn in the middle of the head, not the front, and slanted at a 45-degree angle. The tiara is usually backed by an up-do which means that you can’t see through it–the hair acts as a backdrop to the tiara and allows the headpiece to become part of the hairstyle rather than a separate piece. Never perch your tiara at the front of your head like a beauty pageant winner or prom queen! Remember, you are a princess bride, not a bride wearing a tiara.

Which tiara will she wear? In this case, the sky is really the limit. There are dozens to choose from! Since the engagement ring belonged to William’s mother, I personally think it would be odd to wear his mother’s wedding tiara. Diana wore the “Spencer Tiara” as her ‘something borrowed’. It was made around 1830(according to some reports)  for lady Sarah Spencer, Diana could trace her name back to the tiara so it had some personal and historical significance. Kate had none of this so it would be redundant.  My choice for her would be Queen Elizabeth’s wedding choice, the “Fringe Tiara”. It is the long shot by betting standards and London bookmakers have placed the odds at 12-1. I’ll still take the odds. My reasons are simple: There are two things we know about Queen Elizabeth, she has a killer jewelry collection and she adores her grandchildren. She will want to be as close as possible to his wife since we all know what happens when there is a rift with the royals! Sharing a wedding tiara is a significant step in the right direction.

It is entirely feasible, however, that the Queen will gift to her the Cambridge Knot Tiara worn by the queen herself and Princess Diana numerous times. This would forge a bond between the three of them, never ot be broken.  It was returned to the Queen After the divorce of Diana and Charles as she was no longer representing the state at functions.

Occasionally I hear or read that the future princess will wear flowers in her hair. I think this is pure speculation. I highly doubt a this choice is significant enough for this event. I also think she is smart enough to know that.  I might have to eat my words but, I doubt it. Catherine Middleton does not strike me as impulsive or rebellious, and although her recent Chelsea past seems rather bohemian to some, it is not bohemian enough to instantly become a flower-child.

Again, whatever she chooses Will become an instant global sensation. Flashing cameras will capture her image and within hours of her first appearance, copies will be available.  Sit tight, future princesses, less than 48 hours until the Royal Wedding!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago