When Prince Harry and Meghan Markle tie the knot in May, there will undoubtedly be parallels to Prince William and Kate Middleton‘s 2011 nuptials. Although they will both be royal weddings watched by millions, there are quite a few differences between the brothers’ big days.
As the future king, William had to adhere to certain protocol for his wedding day, while Harry and Meghan are able to do things a little bit differently (banana cake, anyone?). And just one week after announcing their engagement, the couple is already proving that their nuptials will be all their own.
Here are five big ways Harry and Meghan’s wedding will differ from Will and Kate’s nuptials.
1. It will be held at a much smaller church and will likely be more low-key.
While William and Kate’s wedding was a grand affair held in one of the United Kingdom’s best-known churches, Westminster Abbey, Meghan and Harry wedding will be decidedly more low-key. They’re marrying in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, and while it’s a gorgeous venue filled with royal history, it’s more understated than Westminster Abbey. St. George’s can hold 800 people, while Westminster can hold 2,000.
Since Harry will likely never be the monarch (he’s currently fifth-in-line), there’s less responsibility on his shoulders to have a traditional ceremony with all the pomp and circumstance of his brother’s wedding. And while it will certainly be grander than your average wedding, it won’t be on the same level as William and Kate. And we likely won’t get another wedding on that scale until Prince George ties the knot (many, many years from now!).
2. There will be no balcony kiss.
Hate to break it to you, but it’s true: Because the ceremony will be held on the grounds of Windsor Castle, the couple will not be making the journey back to Buckingham Palace — 45 minutes and 22 miles — for a kiss on the balcony, like William and Kate did. Here’s hoping we get one on the chapel steps instead!
3. There won’t be a procession through London, either.
If they’re not coming back to London for a kiss on the Buckingham Palace balcony, then they’re probably not coming back for a traditional procession by horse-drawn carriage through London. However, Meghan and Harry have said that they want the public to feel like they’re part their big day, so it’s likely they’ll find some sort of substitute for the traditional royal ride through London.
4. It won’t be a bank holiday.
On the day their engagement was announced, British Prime Minister Teresa May also announced that there would not be a bank holiday for the wedding, meaning citizens won’t have a day off from work and the banks won’t be closed for the day.
May said that she looked to past royal precedent to determine the decision: When Prince Andrew married Sarah Ferguson in 1986, there wasn’t a bank holiday. However, when Princess Anne married her first husband, Captain Mark Phillips, in 1973, there was a bank holiday — but perhaps that was due to the excitement of the first royal wedding of her generation.
What does this mean for locals? Britons won’t get the day off work automatically to line the streets of Windsor for a glimpse of Harry and Meghan on their wedding day. But we don’t think that will stop the crowds from gathering!
5. There’ll be less dignitaries — but more celebrities!
Because Meghan and Harry’s wedding will not be a bank holiday and it’s also not a full-on state occasion, there will be less obligation to invite global dignitaries and members of foreign royal families. Royals like Queen Margrethe of Denmark, Prince Albert of Monaco and Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden were guests at William and Kate’s wedding. And politicians throughout the Commonwealth and the entire world were in attendance as well.
While there will surely be several royals and politicians invited to Harry and Meghan’s wedding, since he isn’t the future monarch, there’s less pressure for an expansive list. (And since they’re marrying in St. George’s, there’s less room, too!)
However, given Meghan’s Hollywood background, there will likely be quite a few more American celebrities on the guest list than there were at William and Kate’s wedding. Meghan is friends with stars such as Priyanka Chopra, Serena Williams and her Suits co-star Patrick J. Adams, all of whom could be present at her wedding in May.
And two Americans who will almost certainly nab an invite? Former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama, who’ve developed a close relationship with Harry over the years. Chances are high that they’ll want to support their friend — and their fellow American!