LIFESTYLE
19/05/2018 17:23 BST | Updated 13/07/2018 00:07 BST

How Britain Celebrated The Royal Wedding - With Cocktails, Flags and Inflatable Churches

Britain raised a toast to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

St George’s Chapel had Oprah, a radiant Amal and George, and Serena totally acing it. (Sorry). But it wasn’t just the stars on Meghan and Harry’s guestlist who turned out for a right royal knees-up on Saturday. 

In Windsor, people from all over the world had decided to camp out to get the best view of the couple today. HuffPost UK’s Natasha Hinde got on the first train to Windsor this morning, to go and meet them. (Among those she bumped into: a man eating fish and chips at 8.30 in the morning, which is party behaviour if we’ve ever seen it.) Here’s how the day unfolded on the town’s streets.

Natasha Hinde in Windsor writes …

For the thousands who flocked to Windsor to catch a glimpse of Harry and Meghan tying the knot - waking up, damp and cold, after a night of disrupted sleep outside the grounds of Windsor castle - the snatched moment when the royal pair glided past in their carriage made the camping worth it.

Angel Allen, 35, had arrived at the Long Walk with a group of friends the night before the wedding. “It was okay, it felt very safe with all the policing,” she said. Her friend chimed in: “It was cold, we woke up wet.” But Angel felt it was “very worth it for the two minutes of them going past”. And all of her friends agreed.

There was an overwhelming positivity from those in the crowds. People pitched up next to one another and instantly became friends, bonding over a shared desire to celebrate the big day of two people they’ve never met. Angel agrees: “Everyone has been really friendly.”

The Windsor crowds were on form throughout the ceremony: whooping when Harry and William arrived, screeching when the Queen arrived, gasping at Meghan’s dress, cooing over the bridesmaids and pageboys, laughing at the faces of wedding guests during the preacher’s sermon. There was also a fair bit of singing and dancing. And, of course, a gazillion gallons of Prosecco were drunk.

People had travelled from round the world. Zoe Lane, 32, and Monica Barajas, 32, told me they had travelled from Los Angeles for the event, and even went to the same school as Meghan. She was a few years above them, and the said the impression they got was that “she was kind”.

Natasha Hinde for HuffPost UK
Zoe Lane and Monica Barajas travelled to Windsor from LA

If Windsor was full of more traditional royal wedding celebrations, Margate did things rather differently. Reporter Amy Packham headed down to the Kent seaside town to visit the amusement park Dreamland, which was taking an inventive approach to celebrating Harry and Meghan’s nuptials – including a mass bouquet toss, and free entry to people wearing wedding dresses. Sadly, we couldn’t convince Amy to follow suit, although she did wear a special Harry and Meghan t-shirt for the occasion.

Amy Packham in Margate writes …
Mums, dads and kids came dressed in wedding dresses to get in for free and all queued up to have pictures in front of the huge inflatable church. Crowds clapped and cheered while lounging in the sun at all the key moments, and host Miss High Leg Kick got everyone up doing a conga with fake vicars (yes, you read that right) to “love is in the air” after Harry and Meghan had their first kiss.

A huge bouquet toss had crowds of people up on their feet with enthusiasm - it was caught by Sophie Agwulonu. “My boyfriend is dressed as a Prince over there so I’m going to go over and let him know and then we’re heading to the inflatable chapel!” True to her word, she immediately rushed off waving the bouquet of flowers at her boyfriend … 

The cowboy-dressed vicars went round doing “blessings” in the inflatable church, where I witnessed one couple making vows to each other entirely about doing the washing up (priorities). And when the live stream of the wedding ended – we had been watching on big screens – the waltz dance lesson commenced, and adults and kids tried their luck at the classic ballroom and folk dance. 

“I actually really enjoyed that,” one guy said to me after the events were over, seeming surprised. But with all the joy Dreamland brought to the day; it was hard not to. Cheers to the newlyweds!

Sloans, Glasgow’s oldest bar, was also raising a glass to the newlyweds today, with a massive royal wedding party today.

Brogan Driscoll in Glasgow writes ...

During the ceremony all three floors of the bar were packed – It was a rollercoaster of emotions: from fits of giggles at snippets of the guests’ reactions to the sermon, to tears of joy when things got romantic - and of course cheers when Harry and Meghan had their first kiss on the steps.

Confetti was thrown, mini cupcakes were eaten and wolf-whistles were aplenty when David Beckham came on screen. People were upstanding for God Save The Queen, and in the bar one woman donned her Queen’s mask and took centre stage, to the glee of her friends who bellowed at the top of their lungs.

Sloans was serving BBQ and special cocktails – Brogan took on that important research and tried the Ginger Prince on your behalf. Made of Irn-Bru and gin, she reports that it tastes “a bit like a concoction you’d make at the end of a house party, when all the other booze has run out.” To be honest, a booze shortage sounds an actual possibility, given that the party shows no sign of slowing down.

Here’s Brogan again.

The courtyard remained abuzz with chatter and laughing. Many were still wearing royal masks, crowns and union flag hats on their heads, with plans to “see where the night takes us”.

One of the royal wedding cocktails, The Meghan Sparkle - gin, strawberry puree and prosecco - was still going down well at the end of the day. “We’ve had so many they taste like juice at the moment,” said Shona Logie, 38, a lawyer, who is out for her friend’s 40th birthday.

Jackie Shields, 28, who works in recruitment, had plans to run a 10km race on Sunday, but that didn’t stop her drinking pints with her friends and crying to ‘Stand By Me’. Later, she planned to head to a hen party. “Because of the 10km, my night is limited by how much I can drink. But Harry and Meghan are worth it.”

Also in the party spirit: people at the Book Club in Shoreditch, east London. Reporter George Bowden headed out to see how people in the capital were celebrating the royal wedding. And found that booze certainly seemed to be part of proceedings (who would have guessed?). Here’s his report.

George Bowden for HuffPost UK

George Bowden in east London writes …

For the hundreds gathered at east London’s trendy The Book Club bar, the Royal wedding was a chance to celebrate in style. Dozens of empty bottles of rose champagne adorned the tables along half-filled Royal wedding bingo cards. Among the bingo moments? “Visible tongue kiss” and “dude in a monocle”.

Emma Hunter, 24, shed a tear when she saw the Duchess’s dress. “I cried. We’ve been here since 9:45 and it’s been wonderful,” she said. Emma’s friends Sophie and Christy said they were especially excited about the celebrity attendees. “Idris Elba... wow,” Sophie said.  “It’s only her mum so I think a lot of the guests are like family to her,” Christy added.

Even when the ceremony had finished, dozens of people were still arriving. Something told us there would be lots of sore heads on Sunday morning …