The Official Royal Photographs of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

I know that I am exhausted so I can only imagine what the new Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are feeling.

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Like so many everyday couples they have the family portrait and yet these are just…well…a bit more royal than most.  I’d honestly love to see the more fun pictures but these are amazing by Hugs

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The Bishop of London’s Sermon at the wedding of William and Catherine

This is the sermon – OMG This is so beautiful and I think worthy of every couple reading it.

“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” So said St Catherine of Siena whose festival day it is today. Marriage is intended to be a way in which man and woman help each other to become what God meant each one to be, their deepest and truest selves.

Many are full of fear for the future of the prospects of our world but the message of the celebrations in this country and far beyond its shores is the right one – this is a joyful day! It is good that people in every continent are able to share in these celebrations because this is, as every wedding day should be, a day of hope.

In a sense every wedding is a royal wedding with the bride and the groom as king and queen of creation, making a new life together so that life can flow through them into the future.

William and Catherine, you have chosen to be married in the sight of a generous God who so loved the world that he gave himself to us in the person of Jesus Christ.

And in the Spirit of this generous God, husband and wife are to give themselves to each another.

You look beautiful...yes she does

A spiritual life grows as love finds its centre beyond ourselves. Faithful and committed relationships offer a door into the mystery of spiritual life in which we discover this; the more we give of self, the richer we become in soul; the more we go beyond ourselves in love, the more we become our true selves and our spiritual beauty is more fully revealed. In marriage we are seeking to bring one another into fuller life.

It is of course very hard to wean ourselves away from self-centredness. And people can dream of doing such a thing but the hope should be fulfilled it is necessary a solemn decision that, whatever the difficulties, we are committed to the way of generous love.

You have both made your decision today – “I will” – and by making this new relationship, you have aligned yourselves with what we believe is the way in which life is spiritually evolving, and which will lead to a creative future for the human race.

We stand looking forward to a century which is full of promise and full of peril. Human beings are confronting the question of how to use wisely a power that has been given to us through the discoveries of the last century. We shall not be converted to the promise of the future by more knowledge, but rather by an increase of loving wisdom and reverence, for life, for the earth and for one another.

Marriage should transform, as husband and wife make one another their work of art. It is possible to transform as long as we do not harbour ambitions to reform our partner. There must be no coercion if the Spirit is to flow; each must give the other space and freedom. Chaucer, the London poet, sums it up in a pithy phrase:

“Whan maistrie [mastery] comth, the God of Love anon,

Beteth his wynges, and farewell, he is gon.”

As the reality of God has faded from so many lives in the West, there has been a corresponding inflation of expectations that personal relations alone will supply meaning and happiness in life. This is to load our partner with too great a burden. We are all incomplete: we all need the love which is secure, rather than oppressive, we need mutual forgiveness, to thrive.

As we move towards our partner in love, following the example of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit is quickened within us and can increasingly fill our lives with light. This leads to a family life which offers the best conditions in which the next generation can practise and exchange those gifts which can overcome fear and division and incubate the coming world of the Spirit, whose fruits are love and joy and peace.

I pray that all of us present and the many millions watching this ceremony and sharing in your joy today, will do everything in our power to support and uphold you in your new life. And I pray that God will bless you in the way of life that you have chosen, that way which is expressed in the prayer that you have composed together in preparation for this day:

God our Father, we thank you for our families; for the love that we share and for the joy of our marriage.

In the busyness of each day keep our eyes fixed on what is real and important in life and help us to be generous with our time and love and energy.

Strengthened by our union help us to serve and comfort those who suffer. We ask this in the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Dutchess Catherine of Cambridge

Simply Stunning the future Queen

Catherine Middleton’s Wedding Dress has been designed by Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen.It’s a gorgeous ivory and white silk gazar and lace applique handmade by Royal School of Needlework at Hampton Court Palace.

Miss Middleton chose British brand Alexander McQueen for the beauty of its craftsmanship and its respect for traditional workmanship and the technical construction of clothing.  Miss Middleton wished for her dress to combine tradition and modernity with the artistic vision that characterises Alexander McQueen’s work.  Miss Middleton worked closely with Sarah Burton in formulating the design of her dress.

The dress epitomises timeless British craftsmanship by drawing together talented and skilled workmanship from across the United Kingdom.  The dress design pays tribute to the Arts and Crafts tradition, which advocated truth to materials and traditional craftsmanship using simple forms and often Romantic styles of decoration.  Ms Burton’s design draws on this heritage, additionally giving the cut and the intricate embellishment a distinctive, contemporary and feminine character.

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The design

The lace appliqué for the bodice and skirt was hand-made by the Royal School of Needlework, based at Hampton Court Palace.  The lace design was hand-engineered (appliquéd) using the Carrickmacross lace-making technique, which originated in Ireland in the 1820s.  Individual flowers have been hand-cut from lace and hand-engineered onto ivory silk tulle to create a unique and organic design, which incorporates the rose, thistle, daffodil and shamrock.

Hand-cut English lace and French Chantilly lace has been used throughout the bodice and skirt, and has been used for the underskirt trim.  With laces coming from different sources, much care was taken to ensure that each flower was the same colour.  The whole process was overseen and put together by hand by Ms Burton and her team.

The dress is made with ivory and white satin gazar.  The skirt echoes an opening flower, with white satin gazar arches and pleats.  The train measures two metres 70 centimetres.  The ivory satin bodice, which is narrowed at the waist and padded at the hips, draws on the Victorian tradition of corsetry and is a hallmark of Alexander McQueen’s designs.  The back is finished with 58 gazar and organza covered buttons fastened by Rouleau loops.  The underskirt is made of silk tulle trimmed with Cluny lace.

The Fabrics

French Chantilly lace was combined with English Cluny lace to be hand-worked in the Irish Carrickmacross needlework tradition.

All other fabrics used in the creation of the dress were sourced from and supplied by British companies.  The choice of fabrics followed extensive research by Sarah Burton and her team.

The Royal School of Needlework

The Royal School of Needlework (RSN), based at Hampton Court Palace, assisted the Alexander McQueen team in accurately cutting out the delicate motifs from the lace fabrics and positioning the lace motifs with precision into the new design.  The lace motifs were pinned, ‘framed up’ and applied with stab stitching every two to three millimetres around each lace motif.  The workers washed their hands every thirty minutes to keep the lace and threads pristine, and the needles were renewed every three hours, to keep them sharp and clean.

The RSN workers included existing staff, former staff, tutors, graduates and students, with the youngest aged 19.

The RSN’s work was used primarily for the train and skirt of the Bride’s dress, the bodice and sleeves, the Bride’s shoes and the Bride’s veil.

Veil and Jewellery

The veil is made of layers of soft, ivory silk tulle with a trim of hand-embroidered flowers, which was embroidered by the Royal School of Needlework.  The veil is held in place by a Cartier ‘halo’ tiara, lent to Miss Middleton by The Queen.  The ‘halo’ tiara was made by Cartier in 1936 and was purchased by The Duke of York (later King George VI) for his Duchess (later Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother) three weeks before he succeeded his brother as King.  The tiara was presented to Princess Elizabeth (now The Queen) by her mother on the occasion of her 18th birthday.

The Bride’s earrings, by Robinson Pelham, are diamond-set stylised oak leaves with a pear shaped diamond set drop and a pavé set diamond acorn suspended in the centre.  Inspiration for the design comes from the Middleton family’s new coat of arms, which includes acorns and oak leaves.  The earrings were made to echo the tiara.  The earrings were a personal gift to the Bride from her parents for her Wedding Day.

Robinson Pelham have also designed and made a pair of diamond earrings for Miss Philippa Middleton.  These earrings are more floral in nature to compliment the headpiece worn by Miss Philippa Middleton during the Service.

A tourmaline and diamond pendant and matching earrings have been designed and made for Mrs. Carole Middleton.  Two gold stick pins, one with a single gold acorn at the head and the other with an oak leaf, are also worn respectively by the Father of the Bride, Mr. Michael Middleton, and the Bride’s brother, Mr. James Middleton.

Wedding Shoes

The wedding shoes have made hand-made by the team at Alexander McQueen and are made of ivory duchesse satin with lace hand-embroidered by the Royal School of Needlework.

The Bride’s Bouquet

The bouquet is a shield-shaped wired bouquet of myrtle, lily-of-the-valley, sweet William and hyacinth.  The bouquet was designed by Shane Connolly and draws on the traditions of flowers of significance for the Royal Family, the Middleton family and on the Language of Flowers.

The flowers’ meanings in the bouquet are:

Lily-of-the-valley – Return of happiness

Sweet William – Gallantry

Hyacinth – Constancy of love

Ivy: Fidelity; marriage; wedded love; friendship; affection

Myrtle: the emblem of marriage; love.

The bouquet contains stems from a myrtle planted at Osborne House, Isle of Wight, by Queen Victoria in 1845, and a sprig from a plant grown from the myrtle used in The Queen’s wedding bouquet of 1947.

The tradition of carrying myrtle begun after Queen Victoria was given a nosegay containing myrtle by Prince Albert’s grandmother during a visit to Gotha in Germany.  In the same year, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert bought Osborne House as a family retreat, and a sprig from the posy was planted against the terrace walls, where it continues to thrive today.

The myrtle was first carried by Queen Victoria eldest daughter, Princess Victoria, when she married in 1858, and was used to signify the traditional innocence of a bride.

Miss Philippa Middleton’s Dress

Miss Philippa Middleton’s dress was designed and created by Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen.  It is of a heavy, ivory satin-based crepe, with a cowl front and with the same button detail and lace trims as the Bride’s dress.

The Young Bridesmaids’ Dresses

The young Bridesmaids’ dresses were designed by childrenswear designer Nicki Macfarlane to echo the Bride’s dress.  The four dresses were hand-made by Ms Macfarlane and her daughter Charlotte Macfarlane at their homes in Wiltshire and Kent.

The Bridesmaids’ dresses have been created using the same fabrics as the Bride’s dress.  The ballerina-length, full, box pleated skirt gives the dresses a sculptural quality, with the layering of ivory over white satin gazar adding depth of colour.  They have all been hand-finished with delicate English Cluny lace, which is visible under the skirts, and four layers of net underskirt.  The puff sleeves and neckline are trimmed with the same English lace as the Bride’s underskirt.  The backs have been finished with the same button detail.

The sashes are made of pale gold, wild silk, which is tucked at the front and tied at the back in a sumptuous bow.

As a special memento, the Bridesmaid’s name and the date of the wedding have been hand-embroidered onto the lining of each dress.

Capes (These may or may not be worn dependent on the weather)

The waist-length capes, also created by Nicki Macfarlane, are made from ivory Yorkshire wool, edged in fine English lace and tied at the front in the same satin gazar as the dresses.

Shoes

The Bridesmaids’ shoes were designed and made by Devon-based Rainbow Club.  The classic Mary Jane style shoes are made from satin and finished with a Swarovski crystal buckle. Devon-based Rainbow Club have been designing, making and colouring handmade wedding shoes since the mid-1980s.

Bridesmaids’ Flowers

The Bridesmaids’ flowers were designed and made by Shane Connolly.  The ivy and lily-of-the-valley hair wreaths worn by the younger Bridesmaids were influenced by the Bride’s mother’s own headdress at her wedding in 1981.  The bouquets held by the Bridesmaids replicate the flowers used in the Bride’s bouquet, and they incorporate lily-of-the-valley, sweet William and hyacinth.

One day until my wedding nerves are taking over

Dearest Lisa,

My heart is pounding because there is less than 24 hours until I marry the man of my dreams…my true Prince Charming William.  I have butterflies the size of birds and am terrified of flubbing my vows or god forbid crying as I walk down the aisle messing up my makeup.

I must say that I’ve just heard that William’s brother Harry, his date Chelsea who I like, is planning a change of dress.  I don’t know if that is proper.  I’m not jealous by any means – my dress(s) are simply gorgeous; I just don’t think I would have done that if the rolls were reverse.  There are just so many little things I don’t know if they are done and it’s really getting late.  I’m having a family dinner and William is going to be with his father and brother.

I can’t believe that I’m getting married in the morning!!

Honestly, I can’t thank you enough for keeping me calm, all your wonderful vendor recommendations and for simply being someone I felt comfortable with.  Wish you were coming but I realize you have other brides to help.

Thank you very much my dear Fairy Godmother.  Today I sign off as Kate…tomorrow I’ll be Catherine.

Warmly,

Kate

My Dearest Kate,

I’m really excited for you.  Did you know there is another Kate getting married in the morning as well??  Of course you did.

Let me remind you to breathe! I know it may sound simple but when you want perfection on your wedding day there are times when you simply forget to Breathe.

This is all you have to remember:

You will be a beautiful bride! No matter if you think you should have lost an extra 5 or 50 lbs, if there is a zit that appears or if you get a run in your stockings…YOU WILL BE BEAUTIFUL.  No one will remember the small things; they will only remember your smile, your joy, your happiness on this day.

You can’t worry about what others will wear (even though I think a guest changing is a bit tacky!).  You are the star of this day and all eyes will be on you.  Nothing will take away from your bridal glow.

Tears of joy…I don’t know many people who wouldn’t think it sweet if you shed a tear or two.  Now, a full-on gut-wrenching sob…that might be a problem.  If that should happen, stop take a moment, gather your self, take a deep breath and if you think it just nerves, don’ worry – proceed.  IF however you think you’re marrying into the wrong family, there is absolutely nothing wrong with postponing the start of your ceremony or even canceling it.  Don’t worry if you’ve spent $20 thousand or $1 million.  You must be happy.  Better to end it now then spend years of unhappiness.

So tonight what should you do?  Go and enjoy dinner with your family.  They will be your support and keep you grounded no matter what happens in the future. Do limit your drinking, as alcohol will cause you to bloat and have puffy eyes.  So not a good look no matter how much make-up you have.  Then take a bath and try to rest.  I know you’re excited and you should be.  You’re a bride.

So off you go rest and wake up refreshed, ready for a full day of fun.

Here’s wishing you tons of happiness, years of love and laughter.

Yours In Bridal

Lisa

Royal Wedding Wishes for Kate and things I’d love to see

Obviously about everyone well at least an estimated 2+billion people will watch the wedding on April 29th. I actually feel for her. Can you imagine the pressure of:
1 – We know you’ve dated for 7 years but do you really know this man? The same guy that doesn’t pick up his socks or put the seat down MAY one day be King and you…the Queen. Talk about a 24X7 day job. No really, how cool is that?!
2 – What if you trip as you get out of the car? I mean can you imagine all eyes on you and you trip and fall, possibly chipping a tooth? Was this a concern and why you picked Westminster – no stairs?
3 – It’s bad enough when he has a middle name…when he has 4 or 5 and none of them a last name, like “Jones” or “Smith” how can you keep them straight?
4 – Talk about pressure of the ‘first kiss’. No dribble, not too long and none of the funny business of inhaling her face in.
and finally
5 –Keeping it white until after your official photo. That means no last-minute glasses of wine to calm your nerves (I’d just do a quick scotch straight down), no touching up of red nail varnish and truly stay away from any baby because, no matter how cute, baby puke no matter how royal, stains.

You have the Ring+Prince...Now, be happy!

If I had an opportunity and she asked, I’d tell her my top 5 things I’d love to see during happen during the Royal Wedding:
1 – Kate step out in a dress that would make the Queen blush. Hey, as long as your shoulders are covered and not too much cleavage, I’d rock those legs Kate!
2 – As you recite all 400 of his names, sneak in your private pet name for him. Even if it’s a whisper and what’s one more name right? More, it will probably make him giggle and we want to see Wills blush!!
3 – Do the famous “Dip-Kiss” when you get back to Buckingham Palace. You know the one from the end of WWII.  It’s your stage and hopefully the one and only time you’ll have people looking down your throat while you kiss, so make it worth their while. Give her a right proper smooch Wills!!
4 – Change 4 times and have your last party frock, be one that you’ve designed yourself. Show people that you are more than “Waity-Katie” and a former glorified sales girl, but someone with a proper head on your shoulders and a true eye for style. Then after your honeymoon, open your own bridal line. It would truly be “From one Princess to another” OR design one for Disney Weddings. I hear they are looking for a new Princess to create a movie for.
Finally and I don’t really like this but…
5 – TRASH THE DRESS. While I hate this concept – truly, I’d love to see you take it back to your village where you and the Prince live and really give it a good throw around. What are they going to say to you – you have the ring, the new title and the Prince? I’d say …you’re good.

Most of all, as someone who attended Oxford and actually was lucky enough to meet Prince Charles (quite the charmer) I can only imagine what you must be feeling. You’re honestly much more woman than most and good for you. Just keep your head on straight, your face forward, don’t loose your sense of self (or humor) and fun and if William gets out of hand…just tell his grandmother. She’ll put him straight away.

NYC EVENTS: Royal Parties by Molton Brown

I’ve been obsessed with three English brands since my days at University at Oxford.

1 – Lush – Thank GOD they finally came across the pond. My luggage used to weigh a ton with all the bath bombs!

2 – Boots – Anything/everything at Boots was amazing.  Just so you know “Boots”, when we get it here is equal to the generic brand.  Boots is the name of the pharmacy not a type of beauty company….but Their #7 products rock!! (get them at CVS)

3 – Molton Brown – I loved the gels and candles…

I’m THRILLED that all three of my favorite brands are here.  I’m even MORE excited that Molton Brown is hosting not one but two parties this week for the Royal Wedding.

Like every good thing, you start with the Bachelor Party at their Madison Avenue Store.  Looks like some great goodies and chances to win some great products.

Since you didn’t get an invitation to the Royal After-party, why not head down to their Soho Shop for more fun.I know what will everyone in the wedding world do after Friday and of course all the ‘should have, could have’ commentary?  Do I hear…baby in the works….that’s an entirely other blog.