The party will cause her doorbell to ring about 50 times starting at 5:30 in the morning on Friday, April 29. The guests, wearing pajamas and white dresses, will file into Jennifer Khavari’s Bangor home to watch the live telecast of an event taking place 3,000 miles away (and at a more reasonable hour) — the marriage of Prince William of Wales and Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey in London.
Teacups will clink on silver trays and scone crumbs may dust her living room floor as the sun first peeks through the buildings of downtown Bangor, but their sleepy demeanor will fade when they raise their mimosas to toast to the royal couple’s fairy tale kiss on the balcony of Buckingham Palace.
“The most fun part of the whole thing is just that it’s going to be such an eclectic group of girls gathered to honor the princess in all of us,” Khavari, 39, said. “Even though I married my Prince Charming 10 years ago — secretly we’re all going to be watching it at 5:30 anyway.”
Initially, Khavari decided to invite a few friends over to watch the telecast, but as ideas started to flow, excitement grew and the “Royal Wedding Extravaganza” went viral. With an open Facebook event, she gathered around 50 attendees. She’ll need more scones.
At the door to greet early morning guests, Khavari will be dressed in a blue dress that is almost identical to Middleton’s engagement dress, handing out wedding favors and the official wedding program while she flashes her fake sapphire engagement ring (a replica of Middleton’s ring). Inside, the guests will pick over cucumber sandwiches beside British Union Jack flags, flowers and Khavari’s great-grandmother’s rose china tea set.
Ashley Lamoreau, 26, of Bangor has been a fan of the royal family since she was in middle school and Princess Diana of Wales died in a tragic car accident. Lamoreau plans to attend the party before work and will help Khavari create a London road map displayed on an easel, so the group can follow the wedding procession.
“I think it’s great. Every generation gets to watch a royal wedding. My mom and grandmother got up to watch the wedding of Prince Charles and Diana,” said Lamoreau.
When Prince Charles and Diana married on July 29,1981, at St. Paul’s Cathedral, BBC aired the event live and estimated a global TV audience of 750 million, making it the most popular program ever broadcast. An estimated 2 billion people will watch the marriage of Prince William and Catherine “Kate” Middleton worldwide.
National media have been following the story of Prince William and Middleton since they met in 2001 at the University of St. Andrews. They’ve been dating ever since, aside from a brief breakup in 2007.
Rumors of their engagement were swirling around London when Lamoreau visited Buckingham Palace while on a 10-day business trip last May. The couple’s October engagement was announced Nov. 16, 2010. Their wedding preparations are discussed daily by the media, and experts on British royalty speculate how the couple will bring their modern style to a ceremony steeped in tradition and historical significance.
It was announced that 1,900 will attend the wedding. David and Victoria Beckham, film director Guy Ritchie and comedian Rowan Atkinson are some of the celebrities on the 650-person afternoon reception guest list, along with British Prime Minister David Cameron. Just 300 guests will attend the evening reception and get the chance to dance in a nightclub set up at Buckingham Palace.
The long guest list is nothing compared to the number of people that will be celebrating the wedding worldwide, especially in the United Kingdom.
In the United Kingdom, celebrations of Mass are being held in Kent, Windsor, Berkshire, Derbyshire and London, where a group called Camp Royale is planning the world’s biggest sleepover — 10,000 people camping out from April 28 to May 1 in Clapham Common Park and watching the wedding live on big screens. And 200,000 people are expected to gather to watch the wedding on enormous screens during a festival-like celebration in London’s Hyde Park.
With websites devoted to their wedding (such as www.theroyalweddingwilliamkate.com and www.williamandkate.com), it’s no surprise that people around the world are feeling connected to the festivities and are eager to watch them unravel. A Lifetime TV movie, “William and Kate,” aired in the United States on April 18, and the cable channel TLC has had a documentary commissioned on the love story of the couple, “William and Kate: A Royal Romance,” produced by TVF International in 2011.
“I think that as children we grow up with princes and princesses being a part of fairy tale stories, but in the U.K. they’re real people and have real castles and carriages,” Lamoreau said. “I think that in [United States] history, even though we broke away [from England], we’re close allies now, and the closest thing we have to our own royalty is their royalty.”
Guests at the “Royal Wedding Extravaganza” which are a wide range of ages, will wear fascinators: large, whimsical headpieces, often worn at British weddings and an accessory that Middleton has been photographed wearing on several occasions. The most smashing fascinator will be awarded a prize.
The unveiling of Middleton’s wedding dress will be the most exciting part, said Lamoreau, because when the bride walks down the aisle, the camera will pan to faces from all over the world. Lamoreau is glad that she’ll have a group of friends to talk with about all of the guests’ elaborate outfits.
“I remember watching Charles and Diana’s wedding with my mom, and of course, I watched her funeral,” said Khavari. “This sort of brings it all home.”
The public festivities will be done by 8:30 a.m., just in time for the guests to go to work or crawl back into bed.
For those who can’t be at their televisions that early in the morning, the wedding will be streamed on the Royal YouTube Channel at www.youtube.com/theroyalchannel.