For those whose invitation to the royal wedding got lost in the post (yeah, ours too), this weekend is the perfect moment to show off your hosting skills with a royal knees up to celebrate Prince Harry and Meghan Markle getting hitched.
Whether you’re a staunch royalist or simply want to get royally pissed, it’s a perfect excuse to throw a party - and the FA Cup Final is on afterwards, so all the more reason to get involved. Here’s how to mark the royal wedding in style according to the people throwing their own parties this weekend.
Location, location, location
It might be quintessentially British to close off the roads and party in the street, but if you haven’t applied for permission you might be a little late to do so –you needed to have sent your request to the council at least four weeks ago.
But that doesn’t mean a party is out of the question. Instead, get creative. Why not move the party to someone’s back garden? Or even host it in a driveway? You could always head to a park but this’ll mean you won’t be able to watch the proceedings on a big screen, which is kind of the point. (A phone just isn’t the same.)
One word: weather. Be prepared for a washout and have adequate rain cover, this is the UK after all.
There will be no shortage of telly coverage with the BBC, Sky News and ITV all broadcasting live from Windsor. The BBC broadcast will be anchored by the likes of Dermot O’Leary, Huw Edwards and Kirsty Young.
The service begins at midday sharp at St George’s Chapel in Windsor, but there will be hours of coverage building up to the big moment. Expect shots of guests arriving (here’s hoping for another interesting hat from Princess Beatrice) and footage of excited crowds, including the eccentrics who will have camped out for days hoping to get a glimpse of Harry and Meghan.
Street parties and other special events can watch the royal wedding without having to pay the license fee usually charged to screen events - so spend the money saved on some extra Pimm’s. Worth noting: this fee waiver doesn’t count for the FA Cup Final which kicks off later in the day. So after the nuptials, head to the pub!
Food and booze
From pork pies to cheese and pineapple on sticks, this event calls for finger food and lots of it. Stock up on sausage rolls and crisps and dips, washed down with a large jug of Pimm’s or some English Breakfast tea.
Lots of brands are trying to make money from getting in the spirit of the royal wedding by launching specially-themed food. HuffPost UK had the pleasure of trying some of them ahead of the big day - check out our review here.
Personal stylist Hester Grainger, 40, who is throwing a party for family at her house in Reading, has taken great care to ensure the menu caters to the tastes of the newlyweds. Her guests can expect “cream cheese and cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off, and roast chicken and fries, which are apparently Meghan’s favourite.”
Vicky Chandler, a 24-year-old journalist, is making her own cocktails: “Gin and ginger beer (to honour Prince Harry) and gin and Prosecco (sparkle for Markle). We’re also drinking English sparkling wine from Chapel Down as it’s rumoured that’s what they’re drinking at the wedding!”
Nothing says British summer party more than bunting, so get yours in abundance. Whether it’s this bargain royal wedding version with Harry and Meghan’s faces on or making it at home.
If you’ve got kids coming along, why not get them involved with involved with the arrangements to help them feel part of the day (as well as halving the workload). Get some colouring pencils and paper so they can draw some pictures.
Hester will be serving her food on Union Jack plates, naturally, while drinks will be served in Charles and Diana glasses she ordered from Ebay.
Harry and Meghan have invited members of the general public to their wedding, so take a leaf out of their book and share the big day with many as your space will allow. Invite neighbours, friends and family - making sure they are excited about the wedding (or share your vision of an anti-royal wedding party, if that’s more your thing).
Extra points for guests who come in fancy dress, especially dogs.
To keep your guests occupied throughout the boring bits of the ceremony, make sure you’ve got plenty of games planned.
Journalist Vicky Chandler is having friends and family over in her London home and has thought up some creative ways to get everyone involved. “We’ve done a sweepstake on what designer Meghan will be wearing,” she tells HuffPost UK, adding that they’ve also adapted the British classic pin the tail on the donkey to “pin the veil on the Meghan”.
HuffPost UK has created a fun wedding dress competition that all the family can get involved in. All you need is some loo rolls or newspaper, sellotape and a couple of willing party guests to be your models.
No party would be complete without music, let alone a royal wedding party. So don’t leave music until the last minute.
Vicky has got the right idea for her party. “Once the wedding watching is over we’ll switch to all the wedding dance floor classics - ABBA, Queen and Stevie Wonder,” she explains. Meanwhile, Hester is creating a playlist including all the wedding songs from their friends and families weddings.
If you’re still stuck, how about doing a Spotify search for all song titles including the words “royal” or anything by Queen, naturally.
If you are throwing your own royal wedding party on Saturday 19 May, send your pics to #HuffPostStreetParty