Twenty-four million Americans witnessed Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s splendid royal wedding, the society event of 2018, on May 19. The spectacle, held at Windsor Castle, was a traditional British Royal Wedding powdered with hyper-sentimental elements related to the couple, bringing personalization to the forefront once again. “In the face of everything that’s going on in the world, this wedding was a multi-generational, open, beautiful, heartfelt and overall lovely moment,” says celebrity wedding planner Marcy Blum. “I think Meghan nailed it, and they are going to have a great partnership.”
The Duke and the Duchess of Sussex put significant thought and meticulous detail into each component of their wedding, from the décor to the musical selections, having the nuptials reflect their own personal love story. Here, the editors of The Knot source 10 trends from Harry and Meghan’s wedding that you will see everywhere in the year ahead—from an abundance of greenery to more sentimental bouquets.
Alternative Walks Down the Aisle
“It’s less about who’s ‘giving the bride’ away, which feels so old school, and more a statement of support for such an important moment in your life,” says The Knot Editor-in-Chief Kristen Maxwell Cooper. “Couples should choose whoever they want to share that moment with.”
In a rather symbolic moment, Markle walked herself down the aisle halfway inside St. George’s Chapel, leaving behind her former life—her social media accounts, her acting career and more—to be ushered into the royal family’s arms, or in this case, with Prince Charles by her side. The sweet gesture, after a rather tumultuous week leading up to the wedding day itself, moved viewers to tears.
“It signified a rapprochement between Charles and his sons,” notes Blum. “In fact, I had two brides this last year ask their future father-in-laws to walk them down the aisle all because their fathers had passed or they were estranged.”
Markle’s simple bouquet had an abundance of sentimental value. The floral cocktail consisted of sweet peas, lily of the valley, jasmine, astrantia, astilbe and sprigs of myrtle, a royal tradition representative of luck in love. Perhaps the most sentimental portion of the bridal bouquet, crafted by London florist Philippa Craddock, was the addition of forget-me-nots—a favorite of the late Princess Diana, who was honored in numerous ways throughout the wedding day.
“Couples are not only putting much more thought into the meaning of the flowers they select for their day, but also the sentimentality behind their blooms,” says our Style and Planning Editor Alyssa Longobucco. “They’re allowing their flower choices to speak volumes about their love story.”
Whether it’s dreamy scented jasmine that the mother of the bride recalls from her youth or tulip buds planted by a late grandparent, there’s a significant story to tell through the bridal bouquet.
Social Media and Online-Driven Vendor Discoveries
Markle discovered her photographer via Instagram, a method couples are increasingly using to source potential vendors of their own. According to The Knot 2017 Real Weddings Study, 54 percent of couples are researching wedding vendors on their smartphones, up from 31 percent in 2014. And that’s not the most astounding statistic: 92 percent of couples are using their phones for wedding planning activities.
“Couples are no longer having to rely just on word of mouth to find great pros,” our Editor in Chief adds. “Instagram has become a popular source, as well as online marketplaces like on The Knot. They have access to reviews from other couples and examples of their work instantly.”
Blum corroborates this point from her professional planning perspective. “Grooms and brides are much more into their photos than they’ve ever been, because it’s going to be all over Instagram,” she notes. “My colleagues have been scouring Instagram for new ideas and vendors, especially when we’re doing international events.”
Going for the Greenery
Tasked with designing Harry and Meghan’s ceremony space is no simple feat, yet Philippa Craddock managed to bring freshness to the forefront, particularly with the magnificent installations framing the entrance of St. George’s Chapel and its interior chambers. Craddock, fittingly dubbed the reigning queen of London-based florists, revealed that she used foliage for the base (stocks, nigela, astilbe, asparagus fern) topped by white garden roses and peonies—all sourced from Windsor Great Park.
“Greenery just feels fresh and vibrant,” says Cooper. “And it’s also easy on the budget, which is always a good thing.” Plus, couples can exercise flexibility by adding flowers to an already lush base.
We predict more weddings will feature fresh and organic arrangements in line with what was seen at the Royal Wedding, but with unique design elements (think, urns and intricate vases). “Decide on a theme and go and shop it,” says Blum, a spokesperson for HomeGoods. “It’s unlike any other store. I love their stuff.”
In the Moment-Style Wedding Photography
Effortless-yet-borderline editorial is how we’d describe the royal couple’s wedding day portraits. While Harry and Meghan went with a high fashion photographer, the candid image of the newlyweds laughing on the castle steps truly exudes the loving warmth that’s come to define their relationship.
“It was just one of those magical moments when you’re a photographer and everything falls into place,” photographer Alexi Lubomirski subsequently said. “They were just laughing because they were joking about how they were exhausted and finally, it was over.” More couples will likely seek this quality of imagery as they look to combine authentic moments into their wedding photos–with an aspirational twist.
The Rise of Kid-Driven Bridal Parties
Markle maintained royal tradition by having an entire junior bridal party, though the bride—at age 36—still honored her inner circle in a lovely way. The former actress specifically asked all three children of her best friend, stylist Jessica Mulroney, to be in the bridal party.
“The idea of having, which I have been saying for years, is a kids’ bridal party,” Blum says. “It’s the way they’ve always done it in Europe. Americans haven’t seen it a lot, but it’s a charming way of going about it.”
Skincare-First Bridal Beauty
Markle opted for a dewy, barely-there makeup look on her wedding day, gloriously stepping out as… herself. The bride’s makeup artist revealed that the former Suits star wanted the dress to be the focus as opposed to her face, so she went for an accessible bridal beauty look. Markle stepped out with a subtle smoky eye, tinted moisturizer that showcased her freckles, and a pop of pink lip color for a flawless and timeless finish.
The star’s facialist Nichola Joss previously revealed that Markle has always considered facials to be essential to her beauty routine. The Duchess also cautiously follows an at-home routine comprised of natural beauty products for maintenance in-between facial sessions. Finally, Markle has previously expressed her love of coconut oil, which has become a staple in her beauty routine over the years.
“Her wedding style was simple and effortless,” says our Fashion and Beauty Editor Shelley Brown. “I think that speaks to a lot of brides—and is definitely easier to replicate than a more over-the-top aesthetic.”
More Gospel Choirs With a Contemporary Twist
The Duke and the Duchess of Sussex put great thought into their musical choices by including an award-winning cellist and a London-based gospel choir to deliver melodious sounds for their guests. For example, the Kingdom Choir’s rendition of Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me” moved the guests and viewers worldwide.
A fresh twist to the couple’s choice of the Kingdom Choir, is to implement their favorite modern-day songs. “We do a lot of choirs singing contemporary songs,” Blum explains. “That is definitely a hot, hot, hot trend.”
Back-to-Basics Cakes With Upscale Flavors
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle certainly took a page out of The Knot’s 2018 trend report, where we reported how inventive, mouthwatering flavors are on the upswing for food-adoring couples. The royal couple broke tradition by opting for a lemon elderflower confection that still honored the family: the elderflower syrup came from the Queen’s estate in Sandringham, which again raises the point of the couple considering sustainability as they planned their nuptials.
Overall, food-adoring Markle likely wanted her guests to enjoy the wedding cake, which was simple in its presentation with a buttercream frosting and fresh flowers. “We like our flavors to shine as much as the design,” says Emily Lael Aumiler of Lael Cakes. “A recent favorite is fresh strawberry puree with basil-infused oil for an unforgettable filling.”
“We’re seeing a lot of couples starting to go back to basics, putting more of an emphasis on the flavor pairings and keeping the exterior fresh and simple, like a clean finish of white frosting,” Longobucco reveals. “With food becoming a huge focus overall for couples, it’s no surprise that it’s what’s inside that counts.”
Simple Dress Silhouettes With Ornate Veils
Markle stepped out in an understated-but-lovely custom gown by Givenchy artistic director Claire Waight Keller for her wedding day, a choice that will impact both brides and designers in years to come.
“Given that Kate Middleton’s ballgown with lace sleeves basically reintroduced sleeves to bridal fashion after years of strapless silhouettes reigning supreme, I expect to see a lot of unembellished dresses with clean lines, boatneck and mock turtle necklines next Bridal Fashion Week due to Meghan Markle’s influence,” Brown says.
While her dress was more low-key than expected, Markle’s cathedral-length veil was a truly regal option as it cascaded down the steps of St. George’s Chapel. According to the palace, the former actress had all 53 countries in the Commonwealth represented and embroidered into her veil. Expect to see an uptick in simple dress silhouettes paired with standout, sentimental accessories and statement pieces.
Looking for your wedding day vision? Start with The Knot’s Style Quiz, here.