The newly minted Duke and Duchess of Sussex are busy adjusting to married life, but it’s not so easy for us mere commoners to move on from the royal wedding. The elegant event was a showstopper on every level, from the sweet nods to Princess Diana to Prince Harry being in total awe of his bride. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding day truly stood out among the royal nuptials of the past, and that’s thanks in large part to all of the ways the royal wedding broke with tradition.
Weddings in general are steeped in traditions and superstitions. There’s the whole borrowing something blue thing, the traditional giving away of the bride, and, of course, the bride and groom not seeing each other on the big day until the bride walks down the aisle lest their marriage be doomed. Royal weddings are even more intense. After all, when the whole world is watching, the pressure to adhere to protocol is strong.
However, Meghan and Harry have been doing things their own way since their relationship began, and their rebellious spirit shone through on their wedding day. Whether it was Meghan making a kickbutt feminist statement or Harry opting to make a special statement of his own, here are all of the ways their royal wedding broke the rules (and was better off for it).
- Harry wears a wedding ring. Men wearing wedding bands is still a relatively modern trend, and it’s not one that’s caught on with the royal family. Prince Philip doesn’t wear a wedding ring, and neither does the jewelry-averse Prince William. Prince Charles didn’t wear one while he was married to Princess Diana, but he does wear a signet ring on his pinkie finger now. However, Prince Harry opted to become the first man in his family to wear a wedding band on his ring finger.
- An American speaker. The Bishop Michael Curry is the leader of the American Episcopal Church, and his sermon on love provided the event with one of its most powerful moments. But his presence was definitely a break from tradition. In the past, the speakers at royal weddings were almost always British priests.
- No maid of honor. Previous royal brides have chosen a maid of honor to be by their side on their big day, but Meghan decided it wold be too hard to choose just one person from her group of pals.
- Meghan walked herself down the aisle. In perhaps the most stunning departure from royal protocol, Meghan walked herself down most of the aisle. And even though Prince Charles escorted her the rest of the way to the altar, she wasn’t “given away.” This was a major change for the royals but definitely a welcome one.
- So much prewedding PDA. Remember all of that hand-holding the royal couple didat the altar? That’s actually super unusual for royals. In the past, there’s been little to no touching prior to the big kiss on the Buckingham Palace balcony. Speaking of which . . .
- No Buckingham Palace kiss. To be fair, Meghan and Harry weren’t married at the palace, so it wouldn’t have made much sense for them to drive all the way there just to kiss on the balcony, but still, all of the royal couples in recent memory have either kissed on the balcony or stood there postwedding as the public cheered.
- The American gospel music. Meghan made sure the wedding was a multicultural event that included nods to her heritage. One of the ways she did this was through the musical choices, which included American gospel music — something that’s definitely never been done at a royal wedding before.
- The bridal party. Half of those adorable bridesmaids and pageboys were children connected to Meghan. Usually, the bridal party consists of young royals only, but Meghan and Harry made it a priority for her friends’ children to be included too.
- No take-home cake. Since Queen Victoria’s wedding to Prince Albert, the royal family has been serving up a British fruitcake at their weddings, and guests were sent home with a slice. Meghan and Harry decided to choose a different cake flavoraltogether (lemon elderflower), and they reportedly didn’t send slices home with their guests. Just to keep the rule-breaking coming, it also wasn’t tiered, and it was made by an American baker.
- Harry watched Meghan walk down the aisle. Myka Meira of Beaumont Etiquettetold Good Housekeeping, “At a British wedding, the groom and his best man (or supporter) will face the altar as the bride walks down the aisle. He won’t turn to look at her until she is beside him.” Harry watched every step Meghan took and melted many hearts in the process.