A Royal Wedding watch party is a great excuse to get people together, have a party as early in the day as possible, and look at some truly wild hats.
Saturday, May 19th, is the day of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding, and I am going to my parents’ house for the weekend. On Saturday, in lieu of my normal Shabbat practice, my mother and I are waking up early, putting on fascinators, and judging people way more dressed up than we are. My mother has also acquired Royal Wedding aprons, oven mitts, and cupcake toppers. It’s going to be amazing.
Here’s the when/where/what/how you can throw a successful watch party of your own.
1) When to Watch
The Royal Wedding begins at 12:00pm GMT, which is 7:00am Eastern Standard Time. There are a couple of options for timing your Royal Wedding Watch Party — an early morning live-watch party or recording the event and timing your party for sometime that evening.
The benefit of watching a recording later in the day, if you are in America, is that people will likely come to the party since it’s at normal human hours, and will likely have more energy to put effort into dressing up. There also won’t really be “spoilers” (unless something truly shocking happens) so the event won’t be ruined by watching later on.
On the other hand, it’s always exciting to watch a spectacle unfold as it happens. It is also my one and only dream to make my friends and family move all parties to earlier in the day, and I think this sets a good precedent.
One drawback to the Royal Wedding being on Saturday is that it takes place on Shabbat, which is leading directly into Shavuot. The wedding will certainly be done in time for you to still be part of the JFK (Just For Kiddush) crowd.
For those observing and not watching television, the recording tip still applies after sundown on Monday!
2) Who to Invite
When putting together your Royal Wedding watch party, invite a significant percentage of people who have similar investment levels as you. You don’t want to be the only person tearing up when Meghan Markle arrives, or the only person who is solely there for the snacks while everyone else is glued to the television.
At this point in the game, I know where I stand; I love big events and escapism. And I love Meghan Markle. A lot!
3) What to Wear
A watch party is an opportunity to truly go for it, outfit-wise. The dress code for guests of the actual wedding includes modest knee-length dresses, heels, and hats. Many women also opt to wear fascinators, which are like tiny hats that clip onto your hair.
My mother ordered us $5 fascinators online, but if you’re a true Meghan Markle/royal wedding fan, you can really go big with this one and spend a significant amount of money. This is also a good time to break out your giant Shabbat or High Holiday hat you wish you could wear more often.
If you’re having a royal wedding party at night, dress up in your finest tzniut gown, but if you’re watching live and are in a much earlier time zone, the greatest possible ensemble is pajamas, slippers, and your best fascinator or giant hat.
4) What to make
One of the few details already known about the wedding is the cake flavor. Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have opted for an elderflower and lemon cake. This Shabbat leads directly into Shavuot: the Dairy Holiday. Marry the wedding cake with Jewish culture by making an elderflower and lemon cheesecake, or even blintzes.
If a cheesecake is a little to heavy for your 7 AM morning watch party, stay on theme by incorporating the flavors into a scone or muffin.
Other British breakfast specialties in honor of the occasion can include crumpets and clotted cream (another good dairy dish for Shavuot).
Any watch party should also at least nod to Meghan’s American origins, and include American specialties like real pancakes or an American-style yogurt parfait.
In honor of the celebration and fanciness of the occasion, I recommend champagne (potentially in mimosa form) or a non-alcoholic fresh juice.
5) How to Watch
Make sure you have a way of displaying the wedding at any event you’re throwing! The Royal Wedding will be broadcast on most major channels, including CBS, NBC, PBS, and BBC America. Most channels are beginning coverage earlier than 7 a.m., some at around 4:30 a.m., to give background detail and talk about the wedding guests and venue.
If you don’t use electricity on Shabbat but desperately need to watch the event live (I get it), leave your tv on or plan to go to someone else who does.
Lisa Yelsey is the Schmooze intern. You can find her on Instagram @Lisa.H.Y or at Yelsey@forward.com.