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Royal Wedding 101

6:11 AM, Apr 29, 2011   |    comments
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  • Kate Middleton arrived at Westminster Abbey in the royal Rolls Royce. (Today Show)
  • Princes William and Harry were all smiles ahead of the ceremony. (Today Show)
    

LONDON -- Here's your essential guide to Prince William and Kate Middleton's big day.

The couple

Prince William, second in line to the British throne, elder son of heir to the throne, Prince Charles and the late Diana, Princess of Wales, married Kate Middleton, daughter of Michael and Carole Middleton.

Inside William and Kate's St Andrews

The couple met while studying at St Andrews University in Scotland. Prince William proposed in October 2010 in Kenya, with his mother's diamond and sapphire engagement ring.

Friends open up about Kate Middleton

The bling

Kate Middleton's wedding gown as well as her sister Pippa Middleton's maid of honor dress were designed by Sarah Burton, creative director for Alexander McQueen.

Kate's wedding ring was made of Welsh gold and her Cartier tiara was loaned to her by Queen Elizabeth II.

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Getting to the church

The bride-to-be traveled to Westminster Abbey by car, rather than horse-drawn carriage as Diana, Princess of Wales did on her wedding day 30 years ago.

Kate rides to Abbey in Rolls Royce

The venue

The ceremony took  place at 11 a.m. GMT Friday at Westminster Abbey in London. The Abbey is over 700 years old and holds 2,200 people. It's been the site of coronations since William I's in 1066.

A look at the official wedding program

Westminster Abbey: In-depth profile

Many royal weddings have taken place here, including current queen Elizabeth II's to Prince Philip in 1947. The Abbey is considered a more modest, but fittingly grand, alternative to the larger St. Paul's Cathedral.

Key players

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, married the couple. The Dean of Westminster conducted the service.

The Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, gave the address. He is a family friend of the Windsors and spoke at Diana, Princess of Wales's memorial in 2007.

William chose his younger brother, Prince Harry, third in line to the throne, as best man. Kate's sister Philippa, often known as Pippa, was her maid of honor.

There were four younger bridesmaids and two younger page boys, including two of William's godchildren.

Who are the bridesmaids and page boys?

The music

Two choirs, one orchestra, a fanfare team and trumpeters played at the wedding:

- The Choir of Westminster Abbey, formed of 20 boys and 12 professional singers. The Abbey's sub-organist played the organ.

- The Chapel Royal Choir, formed of 10 boys and six professional singers.

- The London Chamber Orchestra, the longest established professional chamber orchestra in the UK. Its 39 members played from the organ loft in the Abbey.

- The Fanfare Team from the Central Band of the Royal Air Force, which consists of seven players and their conductor.

- The State Trumpeters of The Household Cavalry, eight trumpeters drawn from the Band of the Life Guards and the Band of the Blues and Royals.

The guests

Around 1,900 people were invited to the main ceremony at Westminster Abbey, mainly made up of the couple's friends and family.

Wedding invitations

The other guests will be members of foreign royal families, heads of state, members of the army, navy and air force and around 80 regular joes from the charities Prince William supports.

Check out the guest list

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One of the biggest invite snubs was for Sarah Ferguson, ex-wife of Andrew, Duke of York, who was been invited.

Royal procession

After the ceremony, the newlyweds traveled back to Buckingham Palace in a horse-drawn five-carriage procession, along a set route lined with fans and well-wishers. The route took in some of London's most historic places: Parliament Square, Whitehall, Horse Guards Parade and The Mall.

Royal route: Interactive map

Full details on the carriages

The reception

Six hundred of the couple's friends and family were invited to a lunchtime reception at Buckingham Palace hosted by William's grandmother, Queen Elizabeth.

Chefs prepare 10,000 canapes

In accordance with tradition, the couple made a public appearance on the balcony at Buckingham Palace before joining the reception.

Prince William chooses cake made from cookies!

Just 300 people were invited to an exclusive dinner in the evening thrown by Charles, Prince of Wales.

Wedding gifts

The couple asked that members of the public who would like to give them a gift instead donate to charity. They have set up a dedicated website where donations can be made. Charities from Canada, the UK and Australia will benefit and include Oily Cart, New Zealand Government Christchurch Earthquake Appeal and Earthwatch.

No wedding registry for royal couple

The honeymoon

Clarence House hasn't yet disclosed where the couple will honeymoon.

Once back, they will live on Anglesey, Wales, where Prince William works as a Royal Air Force search and rescue helicopter pilot.

What's next

The couple will go, on their first official trip, to Canada in June and visit Alberta, the Northwest Territories, Prince Edward Island, Quebec and the National Capital Region.

(CNN)

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