While almost 30 million people tuned in last weekend to watch the Royal Wedding, two of THE biggest #harryandmeghan fans are here today to share the wedding trends we think The Royal Wedding may inspire in the coming years. Your hosts today: Carly Totten from Carly is Inspired and (ahem), me, Jillian, the editor behind Red Oak Weddings! From Meghan's dress(es) and her natural look, to the elaborate ceremony and breaking tradition, we're covering it all. Grab a seat and your favorite morning drink (we don't judge), and get ready for our very first coffee chat! And once we're done, let us know... what did you think?!
ONE | SOPHISTICATED, MODERN DRESSES
Carly: As a planner, I’m so fortunate to see brides debuting their wedding dresses for the first time. Often, I see the gown on a hanger inside her suite for the first time, and I can honestly say I love every one every time. There’s never a moment where I wish the bride had chosen something else because each gown seems to suit her and her personality perfectly.
I may not have planned Meghan and Harry’s wedding (what a dream role…with a big dose of stress!), but I felt the same way about seeing Meghan’s ceremony gown as I do when the brides whose weddings I do plan reveal their dresses for the first time. I loved it. It was modern in a way that suited her personality and style wonderfully, and I thought it allowed her veil to truly steal the spotlight. I also thought Meghan’s reception dress was so fun – it had the same simple, modern feel, and it looked effortless and so chic on her. There was never a moment where I thought the dresses were wearing her; she was always shining the brightest, which is the way I always think it should be. I also was thrilled both gowns were designed by women!
Jillian: I'll be honest, when Meghan stepped out of the car, I was a little shocked... I felt like it was missing something... but as the ceremony went on, I started to fall in love with her gown, and what I (think) it stood for. I've always said that brides should always do what they want, and ultimately I realized that's exactly what she did.
I think Meghan wanted her ceremony dress to be the elegant, quiet backdrop against everything else... her incredible veil, the pomp and circumstance, the flowers. It was all so "big", that her dress was an opportunity for her to stay true to who she is as a person, while still looking like a bride. I read an article the day after the wedding about how her dress was made for a "person not a princess", and I whole-heartedly agree. Meghan did Meghan while the whole world was watching, and for that, she deserves so much credit.
And her second dress? Oh my GOODNESS. Absolute perfection. Trendy but classic. Completely flattering to her frame. Incredibly chic, and looked stunning next to Harry's tux. Nothing was chosen on accident here - both dresses were deliberate, and absolutely beautiful.
TWO | NATURAL MAKEUP
Carly: My closest friends and family will tell you that I’m not a huge fan of makeup. I feel most comfortable (and like myself!) when I wear minimal makeup or none at all, and I almost always wear my hair naturally curly. As a result of my own preferences, I completely understood and applauded Meghan’s hair and makeup choices.
Fans mentioned her loose bun hairstyle is one of her favorite looks, and at one point I remarked to my mom, “You can see her freckles!” She had her hairstylist create an up-do that she could identify with, and her makeup highlighted something that I believe wholeheartedly – less is more. I have to imagine her hair and makeup styles allowed her to feel like herself throughout moments when she could have felt the most unlike herself in her life (I can’t imagine getting married to a royal with millions of people watching throughout the world!). These two pieces were two more among many that made me feel Meghan and Harry are doing things their way, which I think is so refreshing.
Jillian: I loved Meghan's makeup and hair, and hopefully, the Royal wedding begins a trend where brides feel comfortable not going "full glam", if that's not really who they are. Her looks were still timeless, but again, stayed true to who she was.
This all goes back to the "person not the princess" mantra: Meghan's wedding was perhaps, one of the most televised weddings ever... she's marrying into the Royal family, and if I had to guess, this was probably not her dream growing up. Staying true to who she is: her roots, her heritage, and ultimately her new role as the Duchess of Sussex was all part of her decision for natural makeup and hair. She looked gorgeous!
THREE | EMPHASIS ON THE CEREMONY
Carly: Whether it’s because my grandparents were married for over 70 years or because I feel the ceremony is the most important part of a wedding day, I watched Meghan and Harry’s ceremony and was completely riveted for the entire hour it aired. To me, it was everything.
I loved watching Harry and William arrive and later talk near the altar as the start time neared, and I couldn’t wait to see Meghan’s full wedding dress when she walked out of the car. My favorite moment from their ceremony is such a small one, but I’m fairly certain my heart swelled for the page boys when they walked into the church carrying Meghan’s veil and the music reached its crescendo. You could just see the pride, honor, and excitement on the boys’ faces, and I thought it was so sweet.
I lost count of the number of times I remarked to my mom that they had “gone rogue”. My family is English, so I have experienced the reserve of the English people firsthand. Yet, Meghan and Harry’s ceremony had so much passion. I could tell they had carefully planned every moment together so it would be meaningful to them, and it’s the single thing from the royal wedding that I hope trends. My hope is for couples to feel a renewed sense of pride for their ceremony inspired by Meghan and Harry.
Jillian: While this isn't a "trend" per se, I think the Royal Wedding may reignite the way people see wedding ceremonies. As an editor, I can tell you that I rarely get a lot of pictures from the ceremony, and as a bride (many years ago!), I do understand why. If you're married in a church, there are a lot of rules about decor and flowers and how and where the photographer stands, but this is more than that... Harry and Meghan's ceremony was a thoughtful, purposeful testament to the merging of cultures and families, and perhaps that may change how we view them down the road.
FOUR | FAMILY HISTORY + REMEMBRANCE
Carly: I was so curious about how Meghan and Harry would blend their personal styles with the duties they have to honor their country during official events, including their wedding day.
I was fascinated to learn the lace on Meghan’s unreal veil was designed in each of the Commonwealths throughout the U.K. It was a beautiful way to showcase how people can come together. Although I was stunned by Meghan’s dress and veil, I have to admit I was initially underwhelmed by the size of the bride’s bouquet. However, I felt completely different when I learned Harry picked flowers for Meghan’s bouquet from their garden, and the piece also included a nod to Princess Dianna with the inclusion of her favorite flower, forget-me-nots.
Lastly, photographer Alexi Lubomirksi released the family portraits he captured, and the couple can be seen sitting on a green sofa. I just learned it’s the same sofa Princess Dianna sat on during the photos captured on Prince Harry’s christening.
I’m certain there are so many more subtle nods, and I love continuing to relive their day as new details emerge daily.
Jillian: While most of us don't have Royal family roots we need to honor, I think everyone can identify with the need to carry tradition or family history throughout their wedding day. From remembering loved ones to honoring your roots, The Royal Wedding serves as a reminder that not everything needs to be "spelled out". If putting a photo and a sign out to remember a loved one isn't "you", there are other ways to honor them. Harry and Meghan chose to honor Princess Diana in so many elegant and understated ways, that its important to remember it's about YOU and there's not always a need to publicize it.
Maybe it's a charm, a piece of jewelry, a piece of lace or even, something much more subtle. I read about a bride the other day who wanted to honor her grandmother, so she wore her favorite shade of lipstick. How memorable! I think the ways in which these two chose to blend family history and honor Princess Diana are admirable, and something that we'll see more often down the road!
FIVE | ALWAYS DO YOU
Carly: There isn’t a doubt in my mind that Meghan and Harry placed a strong emphasis on personalizing their wedding day. Royal or not, I think it’s the single thing that binds any couple planning a wedding together. Everyone wants their story to be highlighted.
To me, the ceremony was one of the most obvious ways they personalized their day. I don’t even know her, yet I felt a strong desire for the media to stop reporting on whether or not Meghan’s dad would walk her down the aisle. I can’t even fathom the pressure she must have been feeling, and I’m certain her family dynamics weren’t a helpful addition to the mix. As a result, I thought her decision to walk halfway down the aisle alone was fantastic. I also think it shows her strength as an individual to opt to ask Prince Charles on her own if he would be willing to walk the second half of the aisle by her side.
The sermon was also unreal. I felt Reverend Michael Curry’s sermon about love was fantastic. His sermon clearly resonated with the couple and Meghan’s mom, and I also thought Reverend Curry did a wonderful job of representing the hopeful positivity so many of us in the United States want highlighted again. The gospel choir singing “Stand By Me” made me feel as though my favorite movie, “Love Actually”, was happening in real life, and I thought their rendition added even more joy to the day. And, I was obsessed with the gospel choir’s inclusion of “Amen, Amen, Amen”. What a wonderful way to represent Meghan’s African American roots!
Jillian: I think the "breaking of tradition" was the most fascinating part of their wedding day, and something I'm still thinking about weeks later. I also think, this is something SO many couples struggle with, on a smaller scale. Think about the stage this was on... arguably, one of the biggest, and most tradition-laden cultures in the world, and Harry and Meghan still chose to pave their own path. From Harry watching Meghan walk down the aisle, to wearing a wedding band, to Meghan walking herself down the aisle and adding a gospel choir... it was all for them.
I can see how family or religious traditions can sometimes make this part hard, but again, I go back to "always do you". Maybe it's reading that's not normally shared at a wedding, or non-traditional vows, or even (gasp) not wearing a wedding dress... staying true to who you are as a couple is one of the most important pieces of your wedding day, and I think (I hope!) the royal wedding will inspire brides and grooms to continue to do just that!
Credits: Carly Totten of Carly is Inspired