By Royal Appointment
Behind the scenes a small army of staff were tasked with ensuring that the royal wedding went according to plan. Everything from the catering to Kate's dress designer was assigned to a trusted supplier, chosen by royal appointment. You too can indulge in a feast fit for royalty by booking a table at Mosimann's, Prince Charles's favourite private dining club, who were responsible for the wedding supper. Or you can create your own royal wedding cake, take one packet of McVitie's Rich Tea biscuits...
The identity of the designer behind the wedding dress was a closely guarded secret, so well kept that it wasn't revealed until the future Duchess of Cambridge set foot at the door of Westminster Abbey. Sarah Burton, head designer at Alexander McQueen, didn't even tell her own mother that she had been appointed as dress maker to the royal bride. The official reason for the decision: "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." The result was a stunning timeless design in ivory silk and lace, with long-sleeves and a V-neck with a two-metre train. The lace appliqué for the bodice and skirt was hand-made by the Royal School of Needlework, based at Hampton Court Palace where Catherine and Sarah held their top secret meetings, planning the design of the dress. Raised in Manchester Mrs Burton completed her studies at Central Saint Martin's College of Art and Design, then joined the McQueen studio in 1996 (then based in Hoxton) as an intern. As well as the wedding dress Sarah also designed Pippa's equally stunning cowl-necked bridesmaid dress and Catherine's evening gown. Catherine's dress was accessorised with a veil made of layers of soft, ivory silk tulle trimmed with hand-embroidered flowers and a 1936 Cartier 'halo' tiara, lent to her by The Queen and presented to The Queen by her mother on her 18th birthday. The oak leaf and acorn motif diamond earrings worn by Kate, a gift from her family, as well as those worn by her sister and her mother, were designed by Robinson Pelham, a London jeweller based in Pimlico who specialise in high end jewels and bespoke pieces, available by appointment only. Catherine's dress, tiara, earrings, veil and shoes are on display at Buckingham Palace during the Summer Opening (until 3rd October 2011) and can be seen along with replicas of the bouquet and the cake by Fiona Cairns.
And what of William's attire? He was looking pretty dapper on the day too. Where would you go to find the tailor who created his Irish Guards scarlet tunic? In the run up to the wedding everyone was keeping schtum and many speculated that Savile Row tailors Gieves & Hawkes would be the suppliers of Prince William's uniform. But in the end it was the relatively less well known (but long associated with royalty) Kashket and Partners who were appointed official tailors for the big day. Tailor Russell Kashket and his team designed and manufactured the Prince's uniform as well as the outfits worn by the best man, Prince Harry, the pageboys and 2,000 other military uniforms. More than 350 members of the Kashket staff made the outfits, which also included the drum majors' gold state coats, Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment dress, and uniforms for all five Footguards regiments. It was a family affair with suits made by hand by staff led by Mr Kashket's brother, director and tailor Marlon, using couture hand-stitch techniques to embroider real gold, spun into wire, into the collars and cuffs. Kashket's sister company Patey's, who make equine and traditional headwear and have a shop on the corner of Connaught Square, were responsible for the military hats including William's Forage Cap. William may have decided to stay away from Savile Row but a few of the wedding guests paid a visit to the London street famous for its bespoke tailoring. Among them, the bride's father, Michael Middleton, and her brother James wore suits by Ede & Ravenscroft, whose shop can be found at 8 Burlington Gardens, just off Savile Row. Richard James, the "modern face" of Savile Row, dressed three men for the Royal wedding but (perhaps wisely) won't say who – though he is known to be the tailor of choice for Prime Minister Mr Cameron. And Thom Whiddett, one half of bespoke Mayfair tailor Thom Sweeney, also made several suits for the royal wedding.
The beautiful wedding flowers, from the 20 foot trees in Westminster Abbey to the surprisingly small lily of the valley bridal bouquet, were the creation of Belfast-born florist Shane Connolly. The west London-based florist holds a Royal Warrant awarded to him by the Prince of Wales in 2006, marking him as the official supplier of flowers for royal events. He runs Shane Connolly Flowers with business partner Jamie Marlar from whom you can commission your very own floral masterpiece. Shane first started out with an apprenticeship at London-based florist's Pulbrook and Gould, where he stayed for two years before starting up his own business in 1989. For the Royal Wedding he selected flowers from Windsor Great Park including blossoms, azaleas, rhododendron, euphorbias, beech, wisteria and lilac. But most striking of all were the eight 20ft-high trees dominated the nave of Westminster Abbey: six English Field Maple, which suggests humility, and two Hornbeam trees - linked to resilience - all growing in planters made by craftsmen at Highgrove, the Prince of Wales's residence in Gloucestershire. For the simple bridal bouquet he used seasonal, local, UK grown flowers: lily of the valley, associated with trustworthiness and meaning 'return of happiness', sweet William (how appropriate) meaning gallantry, and hyacinth, to represent constancy of love.
Photographer Hugo Burnand and his six-man team, including his mother the photographer Ursy Burnand and his wife Louisa Hallifax, decided to cycle from his studio in Notting Hill to the palace before the big event. Described by The Daily Mail as "Charles and Camilla's favourite society photographer" the Old Harrovian has worked at Tatler magazine since 1993 and was also the official wedding photographer at the wedding of Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall in 2005. Mr Burnand only had 26 minutes to take all the official photographs, including the now famous image of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with their page boys and bridesmaids which he hoped looked ''effortless, relaxed and friendly''. But Hugo wasn't the only photographer documenting the Royal Wedding, Millie Pilkington (0781 575 0141 firstname.lastname@example.org), a friend of the Middletons who has worked with the family, photographing for Party Pieces Children, was asked to take informal photos of the new Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during their wedding reception at Buckingham Palace. She took the pictures that the public won't see, the photos that the couple will have just for themselves.
For the wedding reception at Buckingham Palace Mark Flanagan and his team of 21 chefs and three pastry chefs created around 10,000 canapés served to the 650 guests attending. Canapés were made using British ingredients from Royal Warrant holding companies including Gressingham duck, English goats cheese from Paxton and Whitfield, English asparagus, Welsh organic celery salt, langoustines from the north west coast of Scotland, pork from the Cotswolds, English crayfish, Windsor Estate lamb, smoked Haddock from the East Coast of Scotland, beef from the Castle of Mey and English rhubarb. The French bubbly (Pol Roger reserve) was the only thing that didn’t come from the British Isles. To enjoy the cooking of the royal chef you'll have to be invited to dinner at one of the royal palaces - Flanagan is responsible for the catering at Windsor, Sandringham, Balmoral and Buckingham Palace - but you can sample the produce used and a trip to London cheese shop Paxton and Whitfield is a good place to start. Not only is the cheese good (they have held a Royal Warrant since 1850) but their Jermyn Street shop offers a quinessentially English shopping experience and comes highly recommended.
Why have one wedding cake when you can have two? That was clearly the thinking behind Kate and William's decided to commission Leicestershire based Fiona Cairns AND biscuit makers McVitie's to create their wedding cakes, plural. For the traditional wedding cake Fiona and her team took five weeks to create the eight-tiered confectionary masterpiece from 17 individual booze-soaked fruit cakes. The white icing covered cake was intricately decorated with 3D scrollwork and around 900 individually iced flowers including an English rose, a Scottish thistle, a Welsh daffodil and an Irish shamrock. The garland design around the middle of the cake matched the architectural garlands around the top of the Picture Gallery in Buckingham Palace, the room in which the cake was displayed. Kate was one of approximately 1,000 brides who chose Fiona Cairns for their wedding cakes last year and, thanks to her decision, we suspect that number will rise dramatically this year. Fiona Cairns may be based in Fleckney, in Leicestershire, but you can buy her cakes in London at Harrods, Selfridges, John Lewis and Panzer's. She also has a book out, Bake & Decorate, if you fancy having a go at creating your own royal wedding cake. For the 'groom's cake' the McVitie's test bakery in Stockport, Manchester, created a rich chocolate biscuit cake (a childhood favourite of William's) from 40lb of chocolate and 1,700 Rich Tea biscuits. McVitie's Rich Tea biscuits are available at all good newsagents and supermarkets, just add butter, sugar, and (we suspect), Mars bar and Golden Syrup, no need to bake, then cover in chocolate.
Catherine's bridal up-do, the half bun - or 'demi chignon' - was styled by James Pryce, creative director at Richard Ward's Chelsea salon where Kate has been a regular since her university days. Celebrity stylists James and Richard created an up-do style which was designed to combine a "classic bridal look with a regal, couture finish" while allowing Catherine's 'halo' style Cartier tiara, lent to her by The Queen, to sparkle. James Pryce then accompanyied the Duchess of Cambridge as her official hairdresser on the couple's first official tour of North America and Canada. If you want to get the royal hair treatment you can visit the Richard Ward team, many of whom helped tame the tresses of the bridal party at the Richard Ward Hair and Metrospa on Duke of York Square just off the Sloane Square (ask for Fiona Chandler if you're looking for the lady who styled Pippa's hair). Down the street, a second Kings Road hair salon, Lockonego, was responsible for the hair style of Prince Harry's on/off girlfriend Chelsy Davy who chose Jonathan Long from the salon to do her hair.
On the actual wedding day Miss Middleton chose to do her own make-up but Kate was rumoured to have had a series of private lessons prior to the wedding from Kilburn-based make-up artist Arabella Preston. The make-up artist offers bridal make-up sessions and consultations so you too can learn how to create the smoky eye and heavy eye liner look that Kate wore at her wedding.
Never has a hat had more column inches than Princess Beatrice's headpiece, created by milliner to the stars Philip Treacy. The Irish hat designer is famous for his outlandish creations but this taupe coloured topper (unkindly said to resemble a toilet seat or possibly a pretzel) is surely his most talked about for years. Despite the column inches of criticism someone must have liked it – they paid £81,000 for it in a charity auction turning the fashion faux pas into a positive PR episode for the young princess. Beatrice’s wasn’t the only Philip Treacy creation to appear at the Royal Wedding, far from it. He’s estimated to have made 36 hats for guests at the wedding including Victoria Beckham, Tara Palmer-Tomkinson, Zara Phillips and Beatrice’s sister Eugenie. His beautiful London boutique at 69 Elizabeth Street is crammed full of such eccentric creations (and some more wearable ones too) and is certainly worth a visit.
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