Clean lines, minimal makeup and a “messy bun”- Meghan Markle’s bridal style was beautifully simple and reflective of a royal wedding that felt truly personal. Here’s to the rise of rule-breaking weddings
On Saturday, we expected pomp and circumstance, and it was duly delivered in trumpet fanfares, horse drawn carriage processions and men in uniform, but as the nation poured prosecco and settled down on the sofa in a fascinator, great change was afoot.
From the inclusive seating plan that saw celebrities placed aside menstrual health campaigners, a notable lack of politicians and the cast of Suits given primetime spots, just a glance around St George’s chapel told you that this was no ‘by the book’ royal wedding. Next we saw Meghan emerge from the car in all of her stunningly simple glory. There was no frou-frou, contouring or elaborate flower crown to be seen- instead a sleek boatneck dress design by Clare Waight Keller for Givenchy, a slightly tousled bun created by hair stylist Serge Normant and fresh-faced makeup that allowed her freckles to shine through by makeup artist Daniel Martin. Okay, so there was the jewel encrusted tiara and 16-foot wedding veil embellished with 53 flowers of the Commonwealth, but this is a royal occasion and a degree of symbolism and historical reverence is to be expected. Otherwise, however, Meghan’s loose strands of hair, makeup that appeared to consist of little more than a lick of mascara to the naked eye and strikingly low key gown spoke of a bride not only guarding her sense of style and self on the most significant day of her life, but conversely switching things up and adding rich detail elsewhere.
Bishop Michael Curry’s now eponymous ‘Power of Love’ sermon, performances by the first ever black BBC Young Musician of the Year 19 year old Sheku Kanneh-Mason and a tear-jerking rendition of Stand by Me by The Kingdom Choir marked just a few of the departures from the ceremonial hymn sheet, so to speak. Others were more subtle, but equally meaningful, if not only to the couple themselves- Harry will be the first male royal, possibly ever, to wear a wedding ring, Meghan walked herself down the aisle for a good run of the chapel and, while we weren’t present for the rumoured reception beer pong, we’re told that Meghan gave a speech, and Serena Williams for one attended the party in trainers.
That such a momentous public and royal occasion somehow felt intimate despite the billion viewers in situ, and that Harry and Meghan broke with convention on many planes to stamp their values, family and individual heritage on the ceremony, reception and likely life as a couple going forward speaks volumes of the meaning and freedom of modern marriage. Legalities aside, you needn’t invite people out of duty, follow a traditional script or wear a princess pouf, simply because it’s “expected”. Harry and Meghan prove that, far from upsetting anyone when you shake up the wedding formula, you make the experience all the richer.
I myself am mid-planning a very non-traditional wedding- my fiancé Nick is of Thai, Polish and Chinese heritage with a Buddhist background, and I’m from a vaguely Scottish family with Christian roots. We’re getting married in Scotland under a tree next summer (here’s hoping), with my best woman doing a speech, Thai food on the menu and multiple blessings of many faiths likely to be incorporated into the marriage, plus a proposal of Polish vodka shots instead of champagne for toasts. Given that I myself am also speaking at the wedding, the shots are looking like a bad idea from here, but otherwise I can’t wait to create and represent what we’re all about. Gone are the days when a bride’s main impact was a meringue skirt or elaborate updo- by all means go opulent with your wedding styling if that’s your vibe, but shining through as you, freckles and all, should be the new matrimonial blueprint.