Friday, April 29, 2011

Must Watch Friday: The Royal Wedding

Harlequin Historical Author Michelle Willingham explains why she is up early today.

It's finally here! The Royal Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton is being televised and streamed via Internet today at 6 a.m. EST (11 a.m. in the UK), but guests will be arriving as early as 8:15 UK time (3:15 a.m. EST). By the time you read this blog, the wedding is either in progress or has already happened. It will be televised on CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, BBC, and all major TV networks.
Did you watch? I'll admit, I'm planning to get up early, and I'm curious about Kate's dress. What did you think? Was it worth all the secrecy?
When I got married, I went through every bridal magazine and visited every bridal salon within a twenty-mile radius. I tried on hundreds of dresses, searching for the one. Buying your wedding dress is such a hard decision because it will be in all the photographs, and every woman wants to feel special and beautiful on her wedding day.

After months of searching, I finally picked out my wedding gown. I bargain-shopped and was ready to place the order when my mother asked to talk with me. All her life, she'd wanted to make my wedding gown. It was important to her, and I was caught between being sentimental and being upset because I'd already picked my dress. I wanted that dress, not a homemade one. But I also didn't want to hurt my mother's feelings.
With regret, I passed up my dream wedding dress, and took my mom shopping. We bought a white silk shantung dress with short sleeves, off the sale rack, for about $300. I gave my mother a photograph of my dream dress, not knowing what to expect.
She ended up transforming the plain dress into my dream dress, using sequins, lace, and endless hours of time. I couldn't believe she'd done it. Did we save money? Perhaps a little, but more importantly, I gave my mother back her dream and she, in turn, gave me the perfect wedding dress. Not only was it everything I wanted, but it had pieces of love in every stitch. No daughter could have had a better dress. You can see the before and after pictures here (pardon the quality of the photos—they're almost 13 years old, and the before picture of the plain gown was torn out of a magazine. I'm wearing the "after" picture where it was transformed into a long-sleeved dress).
The dress is now preserved in a box, if my daughter ever wants to wear it. I hope she does, but I'll let it be her decision. Or perhaps, she'll let her grandmother make a dream dress.
What about you? If you're married, tell me about your wedding gown. And what did you think of Kate's? I'll give away a signed copy of my latest book, Claimed by the Highland Warrior. Sadly, there are no wedding dresses in it—only hunky medieval Scots with big…er…claymores.

Michelle Willingham is the author of over a dozen historical romances from Harlequin. Her latest releases are the royal short story "Lionheart's Bride" and Claimed by the Highland Warrior. Visit her website at: or interact with her on Facebook at:


  1. Michelle the wedding hasn't started yet but I am going to watch it. I'll be up all night as the coverage starts at midnight here on CBC or 1AM on CTV or 2AM on Global. I can also get the American Channels or the BBC as well. Lots of choices.

  2. Hey Michelle, I'm with you - going to watch the wedding - I have it DVR'd b/c I don't want to miss a minute! My husband thinks I'm crazy but I pointed out that as a romance author I'm practically obligated to watch. I can't wait to see the dress and all the fan fair! I posted something about it on my blog as well. Great minds think alike!

  3. I stayed up to watch. I really wanted to see Kate's dress and all the hats! I love her dress. It reminds me a bit of Grace Kelly's wedding dress. I think it works great for her and she looks gorgeous!! I'm not married yet, but hope someday to have a dress that makes me feel like the most beautiful version of myself. You looked lovely in your dress and I think it's wonderful that you were able to give your mom her dream.

  4. I am watching things as we speak. Very lovely. Princess Kate and her sister Pippin are both beuatiful. I love how they did everything, incliding the people etc.

    Michelle, you look stunning in your dress.

  5. Hi Michelle. I watched some of the wedding.(Had to get ready for work.) Kate's dress is gorgeous. She looked beautiful.
    You looked lovely in your dress. It is wonderful that your mom could make the dress so special for you.

  6. Michelle,
    I love your wedding story. After a career of teaching home economics, and countless students to sew, your mother's dream touched my heart.
    Your gown was beautiful...
    And Kate's dress surpassed my expectations...a real fairy tale gown. Her sister's dress was beautiful, too.
    Best wishes for the Royal couple.
    Thanks for a great blog.

  7. Wow--your gown is lovely, Michelle! And I saw a photo of Kate's gown, which was understandably spectacular. My own dress was off the rack from Nordstrom; a friend helped me add a slight train and make a veil :)

    No matter where each bride's dress comes from, it's definitely emblematic of such a special day :)

  8. Hi Michelle from Charlene Sands (couldn't get in by google)

    What a beautiful wedding dress story. You look so pretty in it too.
    I loved watching the royal wedding. I guess it's because I love history, more than because of the celebrity. Just seeing the inside of Westminster Abbey again was worth it. Have you been there?


  9. Ah Michelle ~ what a lovely story about your wedding dress. It's so wonderful that you let your mother have her dream.

    I got married in a white lace mini-skirted sheath dress.

    I loved Kate's dress. I thought it was very elegant and suited her personality perfectly. I loved how Will's eyes lit up when he finally saw her in it. I also loved the peak over his shoulder that Harry gave Kate as she was coming up the aisle. I'd love to know what he said to Will.

  10. Hi Michelle,

    Such a beautiful wedding dress story and your photos are lovely.

    I watched the Royal wedding live on TV right through to the balcony kisses! Such an awesome experience.

  11. Thanks, all! I did love my wedding dress. :)

    The look on William's face was something, wasn't it? And Kate looked terrified, gripping his hand, at the end--but she did relax and it was fun to watch them talking together.

    Charlene--I've been outside Westminster, but never inside. It's an amazing building.

    I also loved seeing all of the hats today!

  12. I watched the wedding from start to finish.Such a wonderful day for everyone.
    Such a great story and the dress was stunning.Mother's have a way of stitching and makeing things perfect.

    Happy Wedding Memories All!!!

  13. Just wanted to pick my book winner from Friday's blog. It's...Sarah Hoss! Sarah, e-mail me (michelle AT your mailing address, and I'll send you the signed book. :) Congrats!

  14. Yah! Thank you so much Michelle. How exciting. If the book inside is as hot as the cover, then I am in for a treat!