Wake Up & Wedding: Everything You Need to Throw a Royal Wedding Watch Party
Can't make it to Windsor for Meghan and Harry's big day? We've got you covered.
Throw a Royal Wedding Watch Party 00:55
In just a few days, our two favorite lovebirds, Prince Harry and his American bride-to-be Meghan Markle, will tie the knot at St. George's Chapel in Windsor and we-can't-wait. We're so excited, in fact, that we decided to throw a wedding watch party and you're invited! Grab your fanciest PJs, set your alarm (5 a.m. if you're on the east coast) and get ready to "wake up and wedding" with our fun-yet-sophisticated drink, food, craft and game ideas.
Not an early bird? No worries. Prep all your party essentials the night before while tuning into the pre-wedding festivities on TLC, including an inside look at Harry and Meghan's whirlwind romance, beginning Friday, May 18 at 8/7c.
Break out your finest teacups and get the party started with a light, British-inspired morning mar"tea"ni. This easy, big-batch drink is made from tea-infused gin, orange marmalade and sweet lemonade. Pinkies up!
Nothing says "breakfast party" quite like plates piled high with fresh baked goods. But if slaving over a hot oven all morning isn't your idea of fun, don't fret. A few boxes of store-bought scones and some basic ingredients are all you need to create an eye-catching party spread that looks as fancy as it tastes. Grab our recipes for bananas foster scones, easy lemon-elderflower glaze and ham-n-cheese "scone"wiches below.
Splendid Sweet Treats
Don your baker's hat and whip together an Instagram-worthy dessert, like this gorgeous (and delicious!) lemon-elderflower cake inspired by Harry and Meghan's actual wedding cake flavors. Lemon not your thing? Get recipes for a few of our other sugary faves below.
Harry and Meghan's royal wedding cake is perhaps the most highly anticipated confection of the year, and it’s sure to be stunning under the trusted hand of Claire Ptak, chef of Violet Bakery. According to Kensington Palace, the cake will be lemon and elderflower to 'incorporate the bright flavors of spring'. We've spent some time deep-diving into royal bridal news for descriptions of the impending confection, then whipped up a version for you to enjoy at home (no royal wedding invitation required!). Get the recipe >>
Raspberry Rose Water Cake
Much like elderflower, rose water is a primary flavoring in a wide range of desserts and pastries in Europe. It’s made from the purest fragrant petals and used to perfume sweets with the scent of an English garden. We think it would make a lovely counterpart to elderflower in the impending Royal Wedding cake. If you’ve never tried it, this cake is a good place to start. Get the recipe >>
Rosé Toasting Cakes
Toasting cakes are beautiful bite-sized confections infused with your favorite sparkling wine or champagne. We think they’re perfect for a bridal shower, bachelorette party or 'hen night' which is a distinctly British take on the girls-night celebration. Get the recipe >>
Edible Wedding Bouquet
This edible bouquet cake is a playful way to showcase (and eat!) your favorite blooms. We can only guess which flowers Meghan will choose for her bouquet but myrtle is almost a certainty. It’s been a tradition since Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter carried it down the aisle. The custom has since been followed by Queen Elizabeth and the Duchess of Cambridge. Get the recipe >>
Surprise, There's Cake Inside!
Perfectly sized to generously serve two people, this petite confection doubles as the wedding bouquet and a sweet post-ceremony treat for the bride and groom. Learn how to make the sugar paste posies >>
A Dozen Rose Cupcakes
The rose is a symbol of England, so it’s no surprise that Prince William and Kate Middleton’s 2011 wedding cake was embellished with a multitude of fondant roses. Will Prince Harry and Megan follow suit? We already know royal wedding cake-baker Claire Ptak has an affinity for fresh flowers (not fondant) but whether or not they’ll be roses — we’ll just have to wait and see. Get the recipe >>
Chocolate Wax Seals on Honey Cupcakes
You’re more likely to see wax seals on the royal wedding invitations than on cupcakes (or fairy cakes in British parlance), but you can easily add this graceful touch to sweets. There are many stamp designs to choose from, but for a royal statement, a crown motif is most fitting. Get the recipe >>
Earl Gray Au Lait Cake
Teatime is reportedly the Queen’s favorite meal of the day, and a most important milestone for Meghan’s engagement was having tea with Harry’s grandmother. We suspect that Queen Elizabeth might enjoy a slice of this Earl Grey-infused cake with her Twining’s. Get the recipe >>
Spring Battenburg Cake
Battenburg cake is said to have been created to celebrate the wedding of Prince Louis of Battenburg to Princess Victoria in 1884. It's still a well-loved traditional cake in modern times, and is a common offering at formal European celebrations. Get the recipe >>
Prince William's Groom's Cake
Prince William’s request for a modest no-bake groom’s cake in 2011 was quite a surprise to us all. According to royal chef Darren McGrady, it is his favorite cake made with rich tea biscuits (translation: cookies) and more importantly, lots of chocolate. Will Prince Harry surprise us too? We’d bet on it! Get the recipe >>
Red Wine Chiffon Cake
In addition to Prince Harry, Meghan’s other great love is red wine and she’s even professed her affection for it in a mug of hot chocolate. Decadent chocolate + rich, red wine, we’re sure she’d be a fan of this cake. Get the recipe >>
Poached pears are particularly luxurious with their supple texture, and even more so when infused with saffron — which is the world’s most expensive spice. It comes as no surprise to learn that saffron was the prized by kings and emperors. While we’re not sure it will make an appearance at the royal wedding, it wouldn’t surprise us if it did. Get the recipe >>
Pink Champagne + Gold Leaf Layer Cake
Queen Elizabeth’s personal chef has been known to use edible gold in sweets for royal fetes, and confectioners the world over are eager to see if it makes an appearance on the royal wedding cake. Learn how to apply edible gold leaf to cakes using this recipe. Get the recipe >>
Raspberry Bavarian Torte
English cakes and tortes are commonly made with classic genoise; a sponge cake that's ideal for soaking up flavorful syrups and liqueurs. It’s likely the foundation for Prince Andrew and Duchess Fergie’s 1986 five-foot-tall wedding cake soaked with rum, brandy and port. This Chambord-soaked version offers European flavor to the home baker. Get the recipe >>
Ultimate Sampler Cake
Meghan is a self-proclaimed foodie, so we’re certain she’d love a cake that offers one of everything! Having every flavor of cake and eating it too — what could be more royal than that? Get the recipe >>
Portable Banana Puddings
We have it on good authority from the royal chef, Darren McGrady, that Prince Harry is bananas about — bananas! Even the first reports of the wedding cake flavor presumed it would be banana to suit the prince. These take-away banana puddings are something we’re sure Harry would love and are just the right size to treat throngs of Royal Wedding guests. Get the recipe >>
Transform your wedding-watching into an interactive game of bingo! Download and print our free bingo sheets for up to ten players.
Channel your inner princess (on a budget) with a fashionable, DIY hat inspired by Kate Middleton and Princess Beatrice's most famous looks. Would you believe the gorgeous fascinator above was made out of a placemat? Make one for yourself the night before the wedding, or go all out and set up a fascinator-crafting bar for your party guests! Click here for more inspo.
Add a touch of wedding-inspired elegance by filling your party space with vases of romantic peonies, Meghan Markle's favorite flower. Peonies not in the budget? Opt for cream roses or soft-white carnations instead.
Proper Party Props
No party is complete without a little kitsch, right? Stock up on Instagram-worthy props, snap all the pics, then send them home with guests as fun keepsakes. Check out our list of must-haves below.
The ceremony itself will begin on May 19th at noon GMT, which works out to 7am ET. NBC’s TODAY show crew will "capture every aspect of the day" starting at 4:30am ET. Whether you plan to rise with Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb for their live pre-dawn broadcast or program your DVR and sleep in, you’re going to need some wake-up juice. This festive and luxurious Grand Wedding blend includes sunflowers, exotic fruit, and enough black tea to kick-start a celebration in any time zone. BUY IT: TWG Tea, $40
When your guests begin to turn on you after a few hours of way-too-early-morning television, serve them a subtle snack-based reminder (based on a print-at-home template) to KEEP CALM AND PARTY ON. Royal weddings are marathons, not sprints. BUY IT: Ainjewelz via Etsy, $4
Kate Middleton wore a 12-karat sapphire-and-diamond engagement ring, and Meghan’s features diamonds from Botswana and Princess Diana’s personal jewelry collection. We suggest you wear champagne: Combine a bottle of bubbly with 16 ounces of sliced strawberries and 6 ounces of raspberries, then divide among molds and freeze overnight. BUY IT: Target, $15
In Victorian England, ladies of the house used tea towels to handle delicate china (and to show off their embroidery skills). These days, they’re popular as commemorative keepsakes — and this one is sure to delight the winner of your royal family costume contest. (By the way, you’re having a royal family costume contest.) BUY IT: Victoria Eggs, 12 pounds (about $18)
Since this graphic bunting is Anglophilic rather than wedding-specific, you can hang it to celebrate Meghan’s new citizenship and British cultural milestones of all sorts — such as when Jodie Whittaker begins her first full season as the Thirteenth Doctor on BBC’s Doctor Who this fall. (You can also just leave it up all the time — hey, no judgment.) BUY IT: Nessa Foye via Etsy, $36
About 600 people are invited to join Meghan and Harry as they exchange vows in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, and another 1,200 have been invited to the castle grounds. It’s up to everyone else to document wedding-viewing garb remotely, and a 19th-century illustration of the historic venue will make an excellent photo booth. BUY IT: Vintage_World via Zazzle, $26
If you and your guests fancy a stiffer form of the Grand Wedding Tea we mentioned awhile back, spoon about 15 grams of it (or tuck six bags of a tea of your choice) into a bottle of vodka, then let it sit overnight. Strain or remove the tea in the morning, and presto: You’re a few mixers away from a signature drink, presented with a top-hat swizzle. BUY IT: Keepsake Motifs via Etsy, $11
Guests of Honor
While it would be irresponsible for us to explicitly support traumatizing potentially-sleep-deprived royal wedding watch party attendees by arranging diminutive cutouts of Meghan and Harry so that they peep out of the sides of your crudité platter...we’re not calling it a bad idea, either. BUY IT: Powell’s, $10
Crowns All 'Round
There’s no real consensus among wedding and royal jewelry historians on whether Meghan will marry Harry wearing a jeweled headpiece like Princess Diana’s Spencer Tiara or the Queen Mother’s Cartier Bandeau (as is traditional in her new family) or forgo a headpiece (as is more popular among American brides). You and your crew, on the other hand, should definitely wear crowns. How often does that opportunity come up for most of us? BUY IT: McRay Designs via Etsy, $6
Speaking of special-occasion toppers, we’re still thinking about the stupendous Philip Treacy headgear Princesses Bea and Eugenie wore to Will and Kate’s nuptials in 2011. Protocol requires royal women to wear hats or fascinators for official engagements, and the host or hostess of an official royal wedding watch party should absolutely follow suit. BUY IT: John Lewis, 100 pounds (about $142)
Meghan Markle trivia buffs know that she named her now-shuttered lifestyle website, The Tig, after her favorite wine. Tignanello is a full-bodied Italian red made with a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc grapes, and the clear choice if you’re planning an extra-special toast. (If you’re hoping to spend a bit less, ask the pro at your local wine shop for a "super-Tuscan" at a lower price point.) BUY IT: Wine.com, $98
Her Majesty The Queen has ruled for longer than any other monarch in the history of Britain. She has also become the unofficial star of snack time, thanks to a cookie cutter in her image. BUY IT: Suck UK, $8
As the festivities wind down, grab a few QE2 cookies, pour yourself the last glass of Tig and curl up with an embroidered cotton-canvas version of the Union Jack. Well done, you master of ceremonies. BUY IT: PBteen, $33
Fancy Fun Facts
Do you know the one flower every royal bride carries in her bouquet? Can you name Queen Elizabeth's favorite pet? Break the ice and impress all your friends with fun little nuggets of royal knowledge.
Set your alarm (or your DVR if mornings aren't your thing) and tune into TLC's live coverage of the royal wedding beginning Saturday, May 19 at 5/4c. You might even spot a Spice Girl or two!