I’m so excited for the Royal Wedding this weekend. As a massive anglophile I love the ceremony, the carriages, the hats, and every tiny detail of these events. All the pre-show stuff is also pure joy for me. I know I am not alone in this! I have many friends who feel the same. I blame my mom who got me hooked on English culture starting with Lady Di.
I’m the generation that saw Diana and Charles’s wedding on television as a teen. We watched as ‘Shy Di’, nursery school teacher, become the world’s favorite princess. Who didn’t love seeing her boys grow up? The tragedy of her death after her sad marriage is still too hard to even think about. I believe a big part of the world’s love for William and Harry comes from the public’s wish to make things right after their mother’s horrible death. Seeing these two young men be happy in marriage and life seems to help heal this wound we all have from seeing the fairytale destroyed. Do you not agree?
I plan to record the wedding- as the festivities begin at 1:00 a.m. California time. I am no longer 14, so I’ll pass watching it from floor in a sleeping bag like my mom and I did back in 1981! (I still remember wondering why Diana liked this old guy who seemed super nerdy.)
I’ll have a few friends over beginning around mid-morning so we can watch the highlights and after shows in fascinators and hats with some British treats. In the U.K. many people have street parties or neighborhood gatherings on special days like royal weddings, coronations and the Queen’s Jubilee. They typically decorate with buntings (pennant like flags strung on a line), more Union Jack flags, and serve cakes, tea and typical British fare.
I was lucky to receive this fantastic box from Jolly Goods from a friend. I was over the moon to get some authentic Royal Wedding souvenirs, and a bunting to hang for Saturday! It was almost as good as getting to go, which I would have done in a heart beat if I could. Thanks to Stephen I have some souvenirs – and a new addiction to Lion bars, maybe not so good!
Decorating For a Royal Wedding Watch Party-
Get festive with Union Jacks, tea cups, silver pieces, and any British souvenirs. English candy bars, shortbread and digestive biscuits (chocolate covered cookies) are fun put out in bowls or cute tiered trays.
British street party via Pinterest.
For your menu:
Tea, cucumber tea sandwiches, scones and clotted creme, strawberries and cream and Pimm’s cups.
I did a little pre-run for the wedding yesterday, took out my floral china pieces, washed up the silver bits and my grandmother’s vintage tea tin from the Queens’s 1953 coronation!
These Lemon Dill Cucumber Sandwiches are the best of the recipes I have tested. I modified the recipe by using regular creme cheese with the greek yogurt and also white bread, not the one she’s promoting on this post.
My results below. Don’t do like I did and slice the cucumbers too thick. They need to be thin. The addition of the fresh dill and lemon is essential. My husband said the whole house smelled delicious. These can be made a day ahead if need be.
Another sweet idea is to serve strawberries and creme in vintage tea cups if you have them. I have this pretty tea set from my dear late neighbor Grace. I also have a collection from my grandma I will use. I found the little flags at my neighborhood party place, Affordable Treasures. I think they look so cute on the desserts or sandwiches.
Strawberries and creme is served at Wimbledon and many English summer events. I used home made whipped creme, but they serve it in liquid form- unsweetened and simply poured over the freshest berries. So try it that way if you want to be authentically English.
Many people are talking about the lemon-elderflower cake Meghan chose by California baker Claire Ptak. Claire worked at Berkley’s Chez Panisse under Alice Waters before opening her Violet Bakery in London. It sounds light and delicious and if you are motivated to give it a try, the recipe is here on HGTV and seems fairly straightforward.
I love the fresh ingredients and decorations. More history on royal wedding cakes, in this article which not surprisingly started with Queen Victoria. The lovely cookbook from Violet Bakery is so pretty and I just ordered it.
Scones are one thing I have to have homemade. I have used this recipe from The Rose Bakery cookbook for as long as I can remember. It’s the best as far as authentic scones with buttery layers go. I make it with walnuts and raw sugar sprinkled on top. It’s also terrific with peaches added or strawberries. They can be made a day ahead and then baked the morning of if you keep them in the frig.
To serve with your warm scones you can often find Sommerdale Double Devon Creme at World Market or other spots that sell British food. Lemon Curd, orange marmalade and other jams are also a nice accompaniment to scones. If you cannot find double creme – home made whipping creme or mascarpone -or the two mixed together can serve as a stand-in.
Tea I am fortunate to have some Christening Tea (commemorating Prince George’s Christening) from Fortnum & Mason to serve. It’s a bit fancier and one of my favorite blends that has a hint of Earl Grey. The English way is to brew it in a pot- leaves and water mixed and then pour out into cups with a strainer. If you don’t have all that, a few bags in a pot can work in a pinch. Most Brits like a little milk in their tea and having some lumps of sugar- I like these -la Perruche cubes also bought at Cost Plus, and they look pretty with the tea service.
I just noticed Fortnums has a special Wedding Bouquet Blend they are selling with a mixture of American mint and rose. It’s a special edition made just for the wedding.
Most important on Saturday may be the Pimm’s Cups! Pimms is a wonderful British cocktail that is traditionally served most everywhere during the summer. It is light, herbal and sweet and filled with fresh cucumbers and strawberries.
I particularly like the twist on Pimms that Halfbaked Harvest shared with a dash of elderflower aka- St Germain in it. For a party, make a pitcher or two ahead of time as the fresh fruit can soak a bit overnight in the refrigerator and then garnish each glass with fresh mint and add a few raspberries so they look pretty. In this recipe she has a bit too much fruit for my liking. I’d do less as you want some liquid in there!
Have you been following the nightly PBS Royal Wedding Watch? So good all that behind the scenes stuff.
Here is another special about it all from ITV.
This is a little article on fascinators if you aren’t familiar with this royal headgear and who wore the best ones lately…
St George’s Chapel, where the ceremony is being held is one of the most lovely churches I have ever been in. It was begun in the 1400s and has the most amazing history and stories. I particularly loved the stalls of the Knights above the choir, with the helmets and crests. You can read more about the chapel here. It’s one of the best parts of a visit to Windsor Castle and I can see why Harry chose it.
So what about this to do with Meghan’s dad? So sad for her with all that getting out. Seems like her stepsister orchestrated the whole photo thing and put some pressure on the dad as he was out of shape? The poor guy was probably intimidated by it all. The sister sounds like a real piece of work as does the step-brother. All trying to profit off her already. Luckily she has a great mother who everyone raves about and hopefully will be the one walking her down the aisle. That will be a very modern touch and appropriate as she mostly raised her from what I understand.
I think Meghan is chic and is definitely a modern American girl who is not afraid to speak out for what she believes in. I think she will be the most exciting addition to the royal family with her American style in clothes and in manner. I cannot wait to see her dress either!
I wish her and Harry much happiness. Enjoy everyone. We may not have another royal wedding for quite some time.